Tuesday, September 11, 2018

6 Useful Tips for Hacking Past The Acting Struggle!

6 Useful Tips for Hacking Past The Acting Struggle!
Photo: Variety Magazine;  Elsa Keslassy

When it comes to acting, those big dreams are likely to take you to great heights but it's still important to keep your feet firmly rooted on the ground. I'm sure so many people agree that you've got the talent and the drive to make it as far as you desire to go, but it doesn't mean the road won't get rough. You'll have dry spells. You won't get the part 3, 4, 5 times in a row. You'll get discouraged and wonder if you've got what it takes and you know what? You can't let yourself drown in the self doubt. You've got to be ready for the fearful thoughts that come your way. You need to know how to keep charge of your path even when it doesn't go according to plan. How, you ask? I'm so glad you asked. Because over here at the New York Acting School for Film and Television, we know what holding to the course is all about and there are a few things we've learned along the way to help us keep stride. 

Remember your WHY: The first thing you need to do - as a preemptive way to keep your head straight - is tor remember why you do what you do in the first place. Remember what your dreams are and what you love about this art. I'd recommend having a "This is My Why" sort of manifesto printed on your wall at your desk or wherever you might see it most. Just don't forget to read it! 

Keep getting BETTER: Learning how to act is hard work. It seems simple to the outsiders but the truth is, it takes practice, and consistent learning. Of course, there are some people born with tremendous acting talent, but the majority of actors spend years in classes and in training. This isn’t a bad thing. Taking classes and participating in workshops, or studying in full-time drama/theatre programs, can help you fine-tune your existing skills and pick up new ones. You’ll learn from instructors, directors, and other actors. It’s also good to take on as many roles as you can, so audition for student films and community theatre.

Manage your MONEY: The beginning of an acting career isn’t usually a lucrative one for most, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that balancing your books is on this list. Most acting jobs are in large (expensive) cities and if you don’t live in one already, the cost of living may be a shock. Do what you can to build a safety net: Get a loan, roommate, affordable apartment, part-time job—whatever you need to. Just don't put yourself in a hole trying to make ends meet. Another idea for flexibility sake is to hustle a skill of yours online. Go in business for yourself and there won't be an income cap or a schedule to keep. Do your thing on your time, without stressing about the finances along the way. 

Stubbornly find a WAY: Most actors have to split their time between honing their craft, performing, working other jobs, and finding auditions. You won’t have a lot of time to be social. “To be in this business you really have to want it, commit to it, and work for it,” says actor Sarah Jean Hodkinson. “There’s going to be a lot of sacrifices.” Go to networking events, enroll in classes, hire a coach... do what it takes. Never stop learning.
Have other HOBBIES: You don't want to get burned out on what you love, so make sure there are other fun things filling your life. Like writing and other creative activities, acting benefits from having quality life experiences—for example, it’s easier to play a character that loses someone if you’ve been through something similar. This doesn’t mean that you should cause trouble just to feel what it’s like or have a story; it just means that you should try to embrace things when they happen and appreciate the lessons you're learning. 

RELAX: Lastly, the best thing to beat the stress is to do whatever it takes to get out of your own head. It's time to meet new people and do new things. Get registered for an acting class; you’ll gain new experiences and perspectives that you can apply to future roles.

From all of us at The New York Acting School, we salute to your success!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Not All Actors Have Unshakable Confidence. But Here Are Tips To Get It.

Not All Actors Have Unshakable Confidence. But Here Are Tips To Get It.
Just because you’re a performer, doesn’t mean you don’t get insecure. It’s actually pretty common for people to feel shy, introverted or even afraid of getting up in front of people and performing. But you’re great at it! So there’s got to be a way to hack that hold-back and get fully into the confident skin you’re ready to show the world. And there is!  We as The New York Acting School for Film and Television would love to share a few simple confidence increasing tips for every actor out there, so you can stop feeling held back by your racing mind and instead get in front of your audience and shine!

For starters, half the time, the things we worry about are simply the product of our imaginations running wild. So keep those fear thoughts in check by asking yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Imagine what the real worst case scenario could be and decide how you'd deal with it. Once you know what the worst case situation is, and it's solution, it's hard to come up with more excuses not to do it! We only have a certain amount of energy so let’s apply it to living well, bettering our careers and meeting our goals INSTEAD of wasting that energy worrying. Take action on what you have control over and minimize risks for what you don’t. Then invest your energy wisely.

You’ll go into the situation with all the worst case situations mapped out and prepared for. The funny thing here is that you find yourself so proud of all the ‘solutions’ you created for the problems you imagined - that when you don’t need to use them, you might even be disappointed! But thankfully, you’ll get over it quickly enough.

What might even be a better point to share, before even preparing for the worst, is to not take it all so seriously! I mean, really? Is that worst case scenario really that bad? There was a scientific experiment done once where there were people of different backgrounds all living in the same building, but dealing with psychological issues. As different people would come in, raging angry or in a panic, the leading doctor would say, "Remember rule #6?" Instantly the person would snap out of it. What was rule #6? "Don't take yourself so seriously." (It was a little more colorful than that, but you get the idea.) As humans, we take everything so much more seriously than it is. So you might make a fool of yourself. Who cares? It was the effort that mattered. Life is fun. Acting is fun. Have fun.

There was a scientific experiment done once where there were people of different backgrounds all living in the same building, but dealing with psychological issues. As different people would come in, raging angry or in a panic, the leading doctor would say, "Remember rule #6?" Instantly the person would snap out of it. What was rule #6? "Don't take yourself so seriously." (It was a little more colorful than that, but you get the idea.) As humans, we take everything so much more seriously than it is. So you might make a fool of yourself. Who cares? It was the effort that mattered. Life is fun. Acting is fun. Have fun.

In the end, most of the fears we get swallowed up in are a result of the biggest fear of all; the unknown. So before you tackle the next big (or small) challenge, imagine it as an already done thing. Imagine what the success felt like, imagine handling the challenges, and imagine how proud you are of your growth. The truth is, the mind doesn't actually know the difference between something clearly imagined and something that's real. So activate your right brain and imagine as vividly as possible, what it is you want to accomplish or overcome. Use as many senses as you can. You may really surprise yourself at the ease you create!

At the  New York Acting School for Film and Television we pride ourselves on our teaching techniques, experienced coaches and interactive classes. To learn more or to register, please contact us today.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Stress Free Tips To Help Actors Memorize Lines Faster and Easier

Stress Free Tips To Help Actors Memorize Lines Faster and Easier
Nothing is worse than finding out you’re needed to read for a part but you’ve got hardly any time to learn your lines! You’re talented and ready to show what you’ve got and the last thing you want is to ruin it with a bad (or stressed out) memory. (I will say though, the sooner you can accept that it’s bound to happen at one point or another, the easier you’ll be able to shake it off when it does happen. Because it will happen, mark my words.) However, since this post is not about experiencing worse nightmare, rather avoiding it, let’s talk about the special tips I love most, to help you learn those lines faster and without the stress.
First of all, lines aren’t meant to be simply spoken, they’re meant to be communicated. And a performer knows they’ve communicated best when a connection has been made. What creates connection? Emotion. So the first tip I want to share with you is that when you’re reading through your lines, allow yourself to be overcome with emotion. You can even exaggerate; it’s encouraged. Exaggeration not only allows you to have a better memory of the scene and it’s details, but helps you confidently embody the character you’re performing as. Then, when it’s time to audition or get in front of the camera, you just pull back all the practiced emotion into contained presentation; held back yet strongly felt emotion that keeps your audience connected to you on the edge of their seats.

Turning emotion into practical memorization tips, do you know why emotion is so helpful in the process? Our minds not only memorize words, but also the rhythm, cadence, and tone of voice they’re expressed with.  So speaking words with emotional dynamic and feeling creates muscle memory and tells you that it must be this way each time.  
So infuse that concept into your practice. Try repeating your words and lines over and over again in a monotonous robotic voice, without any inflection. This allows your mind to simply ingrain the formation of the words in to your memory, creating a strong foundation for the emotion to be built on.  Once you rehearse the scene, it'll be different every time! One day you'll be upset and yelling, and the next day you'll be able to deliver those lines with joy and exclamation. It's a great practice. I dare you to try it.

Don’t over do it tho. If you’re feeling tired or annoyed, the best thing might just be to simply step away. Go jogging, cook some dinner, clean the house - all while gently remembering your lines. This gets your head engaged in physical activity which will both relax the memorizing side of your mind a little but also allow what it *is* practicing to be associated with physical activity.

It's absolutely ok to memorize a piece now and a piece tomorrow. Keep it simple. Take your time but be efficient with it.  If you have a month deadline to memorize a script. START NOW. Procrastination will only create more stress. Start now, and you'll have less anxiety and pressure to perform what you already know you can do. Many people, under the pressure of 'not remembering' forget to breathe in that moment when they are practically reaching for that next word. So breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.  This will activate that back of your mind which both calms and is able to think more clearly. The words will come. Relax and breathe.

Here's what you need to 'remember' about memorization: You've got to have your lines so ingrained into your body and subconscious that you can recite them in your sleep. If you're struggling to remember lines during a scene, your possibly over thinking and rehearsing your fear of failure rather than the script itself.  This will rob both yourself and fellow actors of the deserved positive experience.  

Relax and enjoy this career path that you have chosen.  In the meantime, stop by to enhance your skills and take things to the next level at The New York Acting School for Film and Television. We can't wait to see you succeed!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Things To Know When You’re Finally Ready To Get An Acting Manager

Things To Know When You’re Finally Ready To Get An Acting ManagerThere are certain milestones actors look forward to in there performance career. They usually include getting an Oscar, but long before they get that, there’s the question of when to sign on with a manager. When is the right moment? How accomplished do you need to be? How do you know if your manager-to-be is the right one for you?  Of course there are many other questions to ask and we’d like to give some peace to your hungry mind with some simple answers and words of advice. It’s a topic we’ve covered before, so we’ll go ahead a recap a few of those things as well as share some new advice from our friends over at backstage.com. Sound good? 

A manager's main focus is to guide the actor's career and make connections for them; and although most of the best managers out there are former agents, the two have very different roles. It's sad to say, but most common scams in the entertainment industry involve people who call themselves managers, as this is not an occupation regulated by any of the actors unions. These greedy people will often promise the newcomer fame and fortune, but only for an up front fee, or will require you to get new headshots and update your portfolio (which can very expensive, totally useless... or both). Of course this is not true of all managers. But you should always be cautious and do your research before signing with a management company. Find out the names of other actors they represent and ask those actors about their experiences with the manager or company in question.

Another thing you should know, is that If an acting manager is legitimate, they likely won't approach an unknown actor. Of course that's the dream - to be discovered, but it's just not likely. A successful manager is already busy with experienced clients, and you'll have to work pretty hard to get their attention.

A manager should be well connected in the casting community and entertainment industry in general. Once again... do your research. See who they know and who knows them.  This alone, will do a lot for you. 

And now, a few points from Todd Etelson’s article on Backstage.com: 

Which managers are credible? There are good and bad ones out there. Do your research. It’s a case by case; there’s no union to regulate manager practice. The National Conference of Personal Managers (NCOPM) and Talent Managers Association (TMA) are great organizations that set guidelines of conduct for their respective members. Some managers are part of these organizations and some are not. In the end, it’s about the manager themselves, their experience, relationships, and ability to manage your career.

Is an agent better than a manager? This shouldn’t even be a question as they each do entirely different things. Managers help manage your career. Agents send you out on auditions. The bigger you get, the more you’ll need a manager. Agents don’t have a lot of time to hold your hand—to an extent, it’s a manager’s job. They will help you set up the proper bank account, get your headshot/resume up on submission sites and, well, manage you! If you get agent interest first, it’s up to your agent as to whether they’d like you to have the additional guidance of a manager.

Should I sign or freelance? You don’t get a choice, they’ll let you know. If your manager is in NCOPM, they have to sign you. They may send you out for a bit to see how you do before they sign doing so, but know that a contract is the end goal. In terms of contract lengths, they vary. I’ve seen everything from one to five years—it will depend on the agent. If you do have a contract and you get to a point where you’re unhappy with your manager, have a respectful conversation. Just because you’re not getting auditions doesn’t mean they’re not working for you.

As you can see, there’s a lot to be aware of as you move forward on this journey and we haven’t even covered all of it! However, if you’d like to learn more about building your career or skills in acting, please reach out to us at the New York Acting School for Film and Television and we’ll help you decide what the best next move for you is!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Big Question Is, Should You Show Up Sick For Your Acting Audition?

The Big Question Is, Should You Show Up Sick For Your Acting Audition?
( what SHOULD you do? )
With as much time as you’re putting into your acting career, it’s best you don’t sabotage the opportunities you get. You’re taking all the right classes, you’ve got your coach; you’ve gone ‘all in’ with this passion of yours. So you’re not about to ruin your reputation or career options are you?At the New York Acting School for Film and Television, we've seen aspiring actors make the same mistake over and over again, and it's time you knew something really important, so you don't stunt your career unnecessarily. There are definitely many things you should never do before, during or after and acting audition and those are the things we want to make sure you’re ‘in the know’ about now - before it’s too late and you’re left cleaning up the accidental mess you’ve made.
To be clear, the beginning of your career is less about your talent and rides much more heavily on making a proper, professional first impression. Because those that present themselves confidently and professionally are the ones people want to work with. So all the tips here are meant to guide you into that professional space with ease.
This leads me to our point of the day; which is a grey area for many actors and I’d like to share my take on the whole thing: “Should you show up if you’re sick?” Ever wondered that?
I lean toward two camps with this one. If you’re just a little under the weather, show up anyway. Sick happens and the show must go on. However, there are two times when you shouldn’t. First, if you’re so sick you won’t be able to be in convincing character, or second, if you’re contagious and will affect the rest of the cast and crew. Other than that, show up.  If you’re unable to perform or are contagious, call in and let them know.
Sure, there are specific scenarios and situations that will call for a different answer, but this has been a great go-to for myself and students to lean on. And there’s more where that came from! For more information on bettering your audition, acting classes and coaches in New York City, contact us at the New York Acting School for Film and Television and we'll get you on your way better than ever!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

12 Easy Ways to Cut Your Budget by $250 a Month with No Change in Lifestyle

One sage said: “It is easier to save money than it is to make more.” That may or may not be the case for you, but if you follow the steps below, I can pretty much guarantee you that you will save at least $250 a month and maybe $500 or more. 

Think of the ways you could use an extra $250 a month or more. How about acting lessons?
Please let us know in the comments how much you were able to save by following these ideas. 

  1. Get rid of recurring charges you don’t need anymore – Go through every bank statement and every credit card statement. Look for recurring charges that you have forgotten about from online resources, magazine drives, newspaper subscriptions, and more. We’ll assume you find one of these at $10 a month. You might find way more.
  2. Call your cable TV provider. Tell them you are considering going off grid or switching to satellite. If you have satellite, call the provider and tell them you are thinking of switching to cable. Watch the dance begin. You are very likely to end up with at least $20 or more in savings. Now call the competition with your new rate and see what they will do. You are likely to end up with the same or better rate and some kind of promotional money or free stuff for switching.
  3. Go off the grid on cable. Between Apple TV, Hulu, NetFlicks, RedBox, Amazon Prime, and other TV offers, it is hard to justify any upgrades to basic service on cable or satellite. The savings for getting off of cable could easily be $50 or more.
  4. On to your cell phone, internet, and land line providers. This gets a bit more complicated, but the cost of all of this is dropping fast. By changing providers, bundling, unbundling, and just shopping, you are very likely to end up saving another $30 a month and improving MBPS. Recently I tried to end my land line service, but the bundle cost less with it that without. 
  5. Saving on your utilities. The water company (at least in California) will be happy to help you cut down your water use. Check with your supplier to find out how to get free or reduced costs products to reduce use in bathrooms and irrigation. Then check to see what the recommended water needs are for your yard. The electric company will help you with lighting and other ways to save on electricity. LED lights are fantastic and save a huge amount of money. Switch appliances to natural gas to save even more. Saving $25 or more per month for these changes should be a cinch.
  6. Budget. Keep a penny by penny ledger of all expenses for three months. There are many online tools that can help with this process. Once you see where the money is going, you will almost certainly be able to find ways to cut that won't hurt even a little bit. We’ll put this down as $25.
  7. Shop your car insurance. We have 4 drivers on the policy, so your results may vary. Don’t forget to check Costco or AAA. It is not unusual to save $100 or more. You should also review your other insurance policies annually to make sure you have the coverage you need, and to see about savings on rates. Life insurance is another very likely savings point.
  8. Speaking of Costco. The savings by purchasing your groceries and other items at Costco are real and significant. Costco marks up all items by 15%. What they buy for $10.00, you pay only $11.50.  Most discount department stores mark up 50% to $100.  So you would pay $15.00 - $20.00. I know you have to buy huge quantities. Find nooks all over the house for storing commodities. Buy and extra freezer. A one-time small cost for huge savings. Multiple online sources report Costco as cheaper than Walmart, Sam’s, and Amazon Prime. Imagine the savings compared to your local chain market. Potential savings of at least $25 per month per person.
  9. Amazon Prime. When it isn't a Costco item, why not buy on Amazon Prime?!? Pricey toothpaste, supplements, household items and more are almost always cheaper on Amazon than at Target or CVS. And there is no freight and no auto expense. When you need more, you have a record of what you bought. Savings of another $10 per person per month.
  10. Get rid of any high interest credit card. Use the savings from these other suggestions to first pay off all credit cards with interest rates higher than your mortgage interest rate. The only good use for a credit card is to build credit. Pay them off every month. Or get an interest free credit card and transfer all balances into the interest free card. If you owe $10,000 on credit cards that charge interest and you put this on an 18 month no interest card, you’ll pay 3% for the transfer ($300) and save at least $1800 if you pay the card off in the 18 months for a savings of $100 a month. Most families will save at least $25 per month. If you owe more than that, try a credit union for a low interest loan. If you owe a lot more, consider a HELOC.
  11. Take your lunch to work. Eating out a lunch is expensive and usually not great for your waistline. A normal lunch your make at home will cost under $2.50. Savings of $100 a month and maybe 10,000 calories.
  12. We promised not to suggest changes to lifestyle, but if you want to add another huge amount of savings, get rid of one expensive, useless or worse, habit. Smoking, buying booze in bars, daily Starbucks, fast food, gambling (including lotto.)  This could be the biggest savings of all. An expense of just $10 per day is $300 a month.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Agents, Agencies and How To Break Into Acting Success

Agents, Agencies and How To Break Into Acting SuccessEveryone wants to be discovered and promoted as that talent that every director is lucky to have. To be in demand is every actor’s dream, right? And most entertainers assume that the only way to get from beginner to the red carpet, is to have an agent representing you. Now, I’m not saying that it doesn’t work, but I will say it’s not wise to put all your chips in on that bet. So if you have a few minutes, let’s go over some other important info first.

First thing you need to know is that in order to be represented by an agent, you can’t be at the beginner level of still learning the ropes. You need a good amount of experience under your belt with happy directors and finished works to speak of. ySo if you don’t have that, and you get approached or scouted, don’t just dismiss the offer, but go into it with eyes wide open. There are scammers out there and you don’t need to get taken for a ride. There are a lot of sketchy people out there that know how badly ambitious young actors are looking for their chance at fame.  Unfortunately these people post bogus casting calls where they may coerce you into nudity and other compromised situations. So if in doubt, bring a friend or relative along with you and always let others know where you are going. A good way to safeguard yourself is to avoid responding to small, inexpensive ads and stick with legitimate avenues to achieve your goals.

Basically, do your best, and strive to be seen as a professional. Focus on building your your resume so that when a really great opportunity does come along, you’re ready!

Keep ready by always learning. Take classes, hire a coach and make sure you’re at the professional level you need to be to be represented by agencies that can get you high quality work. Don’t be afraid to start small either. There are many online resources and well-established casting companies for inexperienced and experienced actors alike. A little diligent research and patience will pay off in the long run.  

At the New York Acting School, we are here to help you along in your goals with classes, coaching and more!  Call us today for more information!