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Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Gazillion Twilight / New Moon Questions Answered

by admin

Time to tackle another round, since we continue to be bombarded with questions about the Twilight series.

We’ll repeat once more: WE ARE NOT CASTING “NEW MOON.”

We cast many of the smaller roles in “Twilight,” but the sequel is shooting in Vancouver BC, so we are not working on it. We know nothing about the casting of “Eclipse” or any further productions based on the book series.

We can, however, give you some insights as to how things usually work in the business and if you take the time to read through some of the older posts on this blog, you’ll find lots of other tips and tools that can help you get started in acting.

On with the questions:

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A ROLE TO BE CAST?

Q: I actually did send my submission [for the “New Moon” Native American open call] on time and received the auto response. So do I still have a chance or does this mean they have already contacted those who they are interested in? Or are they still at this moment going through submissions?

Q: I’m sorry to bother you with a question that probably has an obvious answer. I was wondering how long it usually takes a CD to go through audition tapes? Also, if 2 weeks has passed since submission deadline, then they probably already narrowed things down… I submitted the Native American piece for Emily (I’m part Native American). I figured it was a long shot since I live so far away. So, I just would like to know your thoughts.

Q: How long do you have to wait to hear something if you already sent in your video audition to René [Haynes]?

Q: Lana, Have they got people casted [for “New Moon”] from the LA area? did they contact who they wanted?

Q: Ok, so I actually sent my headshot and contact info in [to Rene Haynes] almost a week ago. Never received the packet of info. Does this mean no luck? Or are you still viewing people’s submissions who sent them on time?

Q: Do you think Rene Haynes Casting is sending an information package to everyone who emails their picture or are they selecting the individuals who appear within the criteria of the roles they are casting?

A: I have not been in contact with René for several weeks, so I don’t know where they are in the process.

That being said, the shoot dates are coming up soon, so I would imagine that they have probably contacted everyone they were interested in from her January call for submissions by now and are beginning to finalize casting.

HOW CAN I AUDITION FOR ONE OF THE ROLES?


Q: i want to be the blonde chick who is human but works for the volturi. small simple roll. but i fit the description. whens that casting?

Q: I am interested in auditioning for the part of Leah Clearwater. But from my research it seems that the screenwriter of New Moon has not included her in New Moon. Is it true that Leah will make her first appearance in Eclipse? If you do not know, where can I get this information?

Q: For so long now I’ve been pondering about what it would be like if I was in a Twilight movie. I’ve already been told about thirty times that I am only one of one of ten billion. But I want to be able to have a chance at this. I don’t really know how it works or what to say, but I just wanted to inform you that I was thinking of auditioning for Leah Clearwater. If you would please reply back, that would calm my nerves knowing that you read my message.

Q: If I wanted to audition for the role of Leah Clearwater, when would be the best time to try to land that role? And, will there be an open casting call for the role? Like there is now for the Native American roles?

Q: Since the role of Leah Clearwater is not up for grabs now, when will the auditions be held for that? And will there be an open casting call for the role? Or do we need an agent to help us on that part?

Q: i would also love to audition for Leah and don’t know where or when to throw in my resume and picture. It would be great if someone could give us a heads up on the issue. I guess Leah will not be in “New Moon” ??

Q:I have done your actor survey, and I have also sent in my headshot and resume because I want to be considered for the part of Jane in New Moon. Do you think I have any chances of getting an audition?

Q: I want to be Tanya/Bree/Jane/Alec/Aro/Vampire #4. How do I audition for “New Moon” and other “Twilight” sequels? Who do I talk to?

A: Sigh. As we have mentioned many times before, all of these roles will likely go to established actors with a track record. The smaller roles may not require actors as famous as those who will likely be chosen for the larger roles, but producers will seek the most experienced and established actors possible.

If there’s a possibility that a role will be difficult to cast among the pool of established, known actors, then an open call may take place (as was the case for the Native American roles), but the purpose of this is to find out if there are any talented and experienced actors out there that the casting directors are unaware of.

It’s very rare for a completely inexperienced person to land a role of any significance in a film like this one, unless the casting specs rule out absolutely everyone else.

He or she may land a teeny, tiny role, if they’re primarily seeking a “look” and there are so few lines that acting ability is not the biggest concern. But he or she has a much better chance of being hired as an extra than as a principal actor (as long as he/she lives in the area where the film is shooting; they don’t want extras who live thousands of miles away).


WHEN AND WHERE ARE THE “NEW MOON” AUDITIONS?


Q: Will there be “New Moon” auditions in London/Tokyo/Brazil/Small Town, USA?

Q: I am so sorry for bothering you with that, but do you have any preview of when the casting of other roles for the [“New Moon”] movie will be annouced? I am really interested in trying for a role, but I am going to NYC soon, for an acting couse. If you could, would you please give me some information? And will you be casting in New York?

Q: Hello, I wanted to know about more information about the extra casting for New Moon. I’m very interested and I would like to participe for extra casting in Vancouver, BC. I would like to know if there is an e-mail address where I can send my picture and my personnal information. I have heard about TBA who will take care of extra casting in Vancouver. That is why I would like to know if I can contact them or wait until they publish news about casting.

A: We are not casting “New Moon,” so we don’t have this information. If we ever hear anything and know it to be true and not a rumor, we’ll post it on the blog. Unfortunately, there simply isn’t enough time in the day to run a casting company and answer individual inquiries, especially about a project we aren’t casting.

We will only ever post information about casting calls we know are 100% legitimate. When we post about a casting call, the post will contain every last bit of information we have and are able to share with you. If we get new information to share, we’ll update the casting call posting. If the information you’re looking for isn’t in blog post, it means we won’t have the answer. (That goes for casting calls for specific characters and casting calls in various locations.)

WHO IS PLAYING THE ROLE OF X?

Q: I heard that the role of [Jane/Leah/etc.] has been cast. Can you comment/clear up this “New Moon” casting rumor?

A: We won’t comment on rumors. When we have news to share that has been verified by reliable sources we know and trust, we will share it. We promise!

CAN YOU GET SOMETHING TO X FOR ME?


Q: I wrote a song/know a song that would be perfect for “New Moon.” Can you help me get it to the director?

Q: Can you pass on my headshot and resume to the “New Moon” casting directors?

Q: I have something I want to give to Robert Pattinson. Can I send it to you to forward on?

A: Sorry, but we can’t forward your information, casting/music suggestions, etc. to the filmmakers, crew or actors. Again, if a bona fide channel opens up for these kinds of things, we’ll share the steps with you and give you all of the information we can to help.

WELL THEN, HOW DO I BREAK IN?

Q: I have close to no experience in acting, and in answer to the question “Is it possible to get hired as one of the main characters in a film if I don’t have experience and don’t live near the shoot location?”, you said you had to have recognition as an actor, in a lead part, to get this role. But I am wondering, how do you get a director to take a risk in casting you as a part?

A: Aha! This is something we can help you with. You need to start with building blocks. You can’t go from never having flown an airplane to being the pilot without first going through some rigorous training and logging a lot of flight hours.

It’s the same with playing the main characters in a major feature film. The producers are looking for someone to fly their very large, expensive airplane (i.e. the movie). They don’t want someone who has never flown before! It’s too risky.

What would you do if your dream were to be a pilot? Would you start applying for jobs right away? Or learn how to fly a plane first?

  • Step One: Get training

 

  • Step Two: Get experience on smaller projects and work your way up

 

When you were little, you probably learned how to ride a tricycle before you learned to ride a bike. And you probably had training wheels at first, when you graduated to bicycling, because you were a little wobbly.

Producers don’t want wobbly. They want solid. They want to reduce risk as much as possible.

Pilots learn to fly smaller planes, before they’re allowed to fly commercial aircraft. They need to earn their wings, before taking on such a large responsibility. You do, too.

Read up as much as you can on acting, on the business and on anything else you can get your hands on. Feel free to browse some of the older posts on this blog for info or sign up for our mailing list.

Take classes with only the very best acting teachers. Learn how to recognize scams and avoid them. Get some theatre experience. Audition for some independent films.

Eventually, you’ll be ready to approach talent agents and casting directors, but not until you’ve logged enough flight time.

We do our part to help you; now do yours!

Friday, February 27, 2009

GO PRO Waiting List Spots to be Released at 5pm

by admin

We’re down to the wire on this weekend’s GO PRO workshop and will be releasing several spots in both the Beginner and Intermediate/Advanced sessions to those on the waiting list at 5:00 pm today.

NOTE: If you received a reminder and still haven’t made payment, your spot is in jeopardy! Please make some sign of life, if you still plan to attend, or we’ll free your space up for someone else on the stroke of five.

If you are on the waiting list, we’ll let you know this evening if we can get you in.

If you’ve been on the fence, but now think you might like to come, email us right away at toolsforactors[at]castironstudios[dot]com, so we can add your name to the waiting list. We’re hoping to be able to accommodate everyone.

See you this weekend! Don’t forget to bring a snack, a notepad and your signed release form.

Friday, February 27, 2009

GO PRO Take Two: 3/1 Workshop Almost Sold Out

by admin

A short update on the GO PRO workshop taking place this Sunday, March 1st in Portland, Oregon.

There is now a waiting list for both sessions, so if you received an invoice but haven’t paid yet, you should probably hop on it ASAP, as we’ll be giving away unpaid spots starting mañana (Friday, Feb 27th).

Did you miss the boat? Not based in the Portland area? Check out this post if you’d like to attend a future GO PRO workshop in Portland or beyond.

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beware of Acting and Modeling Scams

by admin

Okay, folks, today I’m officially MAD!!

[rant]

Every so often, friends and family ask me whether or not some casting call, acting/modeling school or audition website is a scam.

Well, this one really got my goat and I’m in a baaaad mood about it. $#@%&*@!!

I got permission from the young person who was almost the victim of this scam to share the following information, so that none of you fall prey.

Please, if you know anyone who is new to the business, curious about it, or trying to break in, forward them the permalink to this page.

ANATOMY OF A SCAM

I’m going to break this down, so you can see where I saw the red flags. TAKE HEED.

1. Aspiring Actor/Model Sees Craigslist Post

This in itself is not necessarily indicative of a scam. Many of the job offers on Craigslist are legitimate, but because of the nature of sites like these, it pays to be vigilant.

Here’s the post:

Nationwide branding campaign requires 20 models

We are looking for male and female models, we will be shooting sunglasses and spec’s.There will be 10 different brands, it will be shot over a five day period starting 6th April 2009. You do not need any experience and we need 20 models in total.Please submit a photo and a short description.

* Location: Portland
* Compensation: $500 per shoot

Even though there are some punctuation errors, nothing here is necessarily indicative of a scam as of yet, but when I read this, I asked myself:

  • If it’s a nationwide campaign, why is the rate so low? Models command much higher rates for national exposure.
  • If it’s a national campaign, why is it open to models with no experience? Usually big national campaigns use established, agency-represented models.
  • Of course, it’s possible that they are looking for more of a “real” look, but since they’ve given no indication as to the exact types they are looking for, they are going to get swamped with submissions.

When we post casting calls (unless it’s for extras), we only want to get swamped with the RIGHT submissions, otherwise it makes our job impossible. So we are very specific in our casting breakdowns. For example:

“We are looking for Asian men in their 20s who are based in Oregon or Washington.”

“We want two boys, one age six and one age nine to play Brendan Fraser’s sons.”

Why would they want to be swamped with submissions, if it’s not extras casting…? Just asking.

2. Aspiring Model/Actor Responds to Post

So, our aspiring model responded to the Craigslist ad, with a photo attached:

My name is Jane Doe and I am 20 years old. I don’t have any modeling experience, but many people have told me I should try it out. I am putting myself through school and could use any extra money, and who knows, I could end up liking this! I think it would be fun to try out and meet new people.

Had I responded to this ad, I would have also asked for more detailed information, such as:

* Name of production company and/or photographer?
* Name of casting company, casting director or person in charge of hiring?
* Which brands of glasses/sunglasses would I be modeling for?
* How long are the shoot days?
* How many of the shoot days would I be needed, if cast?
* Is any nudity required?
* Are there any charges or fees in order to be considered?

Here’s why:

Who are these people?

  • Sometimes our clients want to remain confidential in terms of which brand(s) they are creating ads for, but you should be able to at least find out who the production company and casting director are, before taking the next steps.
  • When we post casting calls, we put our casting company name clearly in the ad, with a link to our website, so that people can check us out and see that we are the real deal.
  • We often don’t post the name of the project or production company publicly, because we don’t want them to be swamped with phone calls that should be coming to us. But once we’ve decided to audition someone, we give them all the information we’ve been authorized to release.
  • Professional models and actors sometimes have conflicts with certain brands (for example, if they appeared in a Ford commercial, they are not allowed to appear in a Honda or Mercedes commercial, until the term of the Ford commercial runs out). So at some point, you should be able to find out which company you would be advertising for.

What’s in it for me?

  • Models and actors should also be able to find out how many days they’d be needed, how long they’d be working each day, how the photos will be used (magazines, billboards, point-of-purchase displays, brochures, websites, internal company use only, etc.) and for how long (13 weeks, six months, one year, buyout in perpetuity, etc.).
  • This may not be in the initial post, but if you’re invited to audition, you should be able to obtain this information beforehand, so you can decide whether or not the money is worth it to you. Working 16 hours and getting paid $500 for a buyout in perpetuity for all uses in a Gucci or Armani campaign is not a good deal!

Nudity

  • Nudity, if required, should be clearly stated up front in the ad. If they are evasive about this kind of information, or only tell you upon arrival at the audition, get the heck out of there! And never go to an audition alone, if you’re not absolutely sure that it’s an established, well-reputed company.

What’s it going to cost?

  • Actors and models should never, ever, ever have to pay a fee to audition. Period. End of story.

3. Company in Question Responds

This is what really got me angry: the company’s email response to our aspiring model. I’m going to break it down line by line and comment throughout, so you’ll see all the red flags that I saw.

My name is Hayley Smith, Casting Manager for Talent Panorama.

First of all, maybe it’s just me, but this name sounds a bit generic.

Secondly, what the heck is a “Casting Manager”? I’ve never heard of such a job title. There are casting directors and talent managers, but those are two separate jobs with different functions (similar to the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent in real estate transactions). Combining the two job titles seems fishy to me.

I did a Google search on “casting manager” + models and “casting manager” + actors and most of the hits that came up were followed by 1-800 numbers and had lots of CAPS and exclamation points!!! CASTING MOVIE EXTRAS WANTED!!!!! Hmmm.

Next, I searched for “Talent Panorama.” Nada. Zip. No such company, as far as I can tell. So…they’re casting a big national campaign for brand-name sunglasses and they have NO web presence? Hmmm. Curious.

The email continues:

The good news is I received a positive feedback, and I am waiting responses from the others. Yes, they are interested to know more about you.

This is not necessarily a deal breaker, but the English in the first sentence isn’t grammatically correct. Just noticing.

What’s starting to strike me as strange, however, is that in these first few sentences, they sound like they’re trying to pump her up.

When WE reply to someone who has responded to a casting call listing, we might write something like this:

    “Thanks for your interest in our project. Auditions are taking place on Thursday, May 1st at the following location:

1234 Main Street
Anywhere, CA 12345

“Please show up anytime between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, wearing normal street clothes. We will take a digital photo and have you fill out a contact sheet. If you have any scheduling conflicts during the last two weeks of May, please be sure to include them on the contact sheet when you sign in. Thank you.”

Or this:

    “Thanks for your interest in our project. We are forwarding your information to our clients. If they would like to book you for this job, we will be in contact with you with further instructions.”

No flattery. Just information. See the difference?

The “Casting Manager” continues:

I also have some other roles in my mind for you. I will work on them and let you know how it goes.

Umm, this is not something we’d likely ever tell an actor or model. If we think they’re right for something, we’ll just call them in for an audition or submit their photo to our client and contact them, if there’s any interest. There’s no need for us to get their hopes up about nothing. Plus, it all just seems really vague.

Again, it’s starting to sound like hype to me.

Moving on:

I should try to arrange your appointment sometime soon since video production will be starting within the next two weeks. I would like to make the arrangements right now.

Umm, no. If you’re shooting a video in two weeks, you should have a casting date already set. Why doesn’t the “Casting Manager” just tell her when and where the audition is? Why is it so vague?

Because we need to make sure you are committed to us and you do not change your mind during the casting process, we want you to be in an official database.

Whoa. They need to make sure she’s committed to them?? She’s not allowed to change her mind about the casting process??? RED FLAG.

And why do they qualify the database as having to be “official”? Sounds like hype.

That is nothing unusual, that is a standard in the industry.

So, now they’re trying to justify why she has to join a database in order to be considered. I’m starting to think that this is more about getting her to sign up for the database than it is about hiring her for a job.

If they are selling subscriptions to a database, they need to have said this up front; not post a phony casting call to try to lure people to respond. This is called BAIT and SWITCH.

We work with Talent Watchers and we trust them because they are a well known name in the industry.

Aha! Finally we get the name of the database company. But wait, the “Casting Manager” of (the non-existent) Talent Panorama says they work with Talent Watchers.

That’s interesting, because she (with her generic-sounding name) emailed our aspiring model from talentwatchers.com. So does she work for Talent Panorama…or does she work for Talent Watchers? And if she works for Talent Watchers, why does she have to say she trusts them? Why doesn’t she just say she works for them?

4. Company Lures Aspiring Model/Actor to Sign Up for Paid Website

For the record, I’ve never heard of talentwatchers.com. This is not a website any casting director I know uses to find talent. There are some legitimate ones out there; they don’t use hype or bait-and-switch tactics, though. And they don’t have any of the red flags this one does.

Read on:

www.talentwatchers.com is also a part of extras and models limited company.

Again, English is not great, neither in the email or on the website. Although they claim to be based in Canada on the Terms and Conditions page, the spelling and grammatical errors all over the place seem indicative of a non-native speaker of English. So either the site was created by a non-native speaker based in Canada who wasn’t professional enough to run his/her copy by a proofreader prior to publishing…or perhaps the site is based somewhere else. We don’t know.

Later in the Terms and Conditions, it says the materials contained on the website are protected under the laws of New Zealand. Which one is it?

And, by the way, NZ is also an English speaking country, which still doesn’t explain the weird grammar. Curiouser and curiouser (that’s not proper English, either).

Moreover, all the blog posts and articles are very generic and utterly useless:

TV has been around for a very long time, but it continues to evolve and to intrigue us. Reality TV shows have definitely found their niche in the homes of people. The desire to become one of these TV contestants is common as well for those watching.

There are plenty of different types of acting out there, and many of them depend on where in the world you happen to be. An acting audition US is very different than the audition technique UK style. An acting career Canada is going to offer you different opportunities than what you will find in other…

These do not seem to be written by anyone who has a clue about the industry or a command of the English language.

Also, most of the acting gigs look like freebies; there are some “adult” jobs listed throughout and a disproportionate amount of models dressed very scantily in their photos. Creepy.

The “Casting Manager’s” email continues:

The client wants to be able to contact you directly and I cannot disclose your email address because you are not our official client.

OK, wait a minute. Now the “Casting Manager” is not casting a job, but recruiting our aspiring model to be a client of Talent Watchers?

Casting directors don’t represent actors or models; their clients are producers. Agents and managers represent actors and models.

Edited to add: Oh, and by the way, we never pass on an actor or model’s contact information to our clients until AFTER he or she has been chosen for the job and booked. We only show photos, audition clips and/or acting resumes, depending on what kind of project it is. Once clients decide whom they want to use, they let us know and we inform the agents (or the actors/models directly, if unrepped) that our client would like to book them. When an actor or model accepts the terms of the job, he or she is booked and THEN the client gets contact info. (End of edit)

So are we dealing with a casting director, a modeling agent, a talent manager, what? It’s murky (and a conflict of interest to do both, by the way).

Please upgrade your membership at www.TalentWatchers.com and upload any updated photos of yourself right away so I can get your information off to the producer ASAP

Upgrade her membership? But our aspiring model already sent her photo. Now she has to pay money to be considered for the part? Bait and switch.

MORE DUE DILIGENCE

I checked out the Talent Watchers Terms and Conditions and it says that it is owned by Symur Group. Later, it says it is owned and operated by TalentWatchers talent agency. Which one is it?

When I Googled Symur Group, I found a URL, but try clicking on it: http://www.symur.com

A non-existent website.

There doesn’t seem to be any such thing as TalentWatchers Talent Agency, either. Just the website.

I also noticed that there is no Customer Service telephone number or address. So if you want to cancel your subscription and no one responds to your email, you have no other way to reach them.

Please let me know if you have questions at this time.

Regards,
Hayley Smith
Casting Manager

Umm, yes. I have a lot of questions.

I Googled “Hayley Smith” + “Casting Manager” and found no results.

Is this even a woman…?

Is it a photo-collecting troll? Or worse?

IF YOU’VE GOT THE LOOK, LOOK OUT

This is a classic example of bait and switch. Luckily, our aspiring model was not taken in by it, because her parents were smart enough to seek advice before moving forward.

Please read this important article on the US Federal Trade Commission website, before responding to any open casting calls (especially ones with lots of WORDS IN CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!):

If You’ve Got the Look, Look Out! Avoiding Modeling Scams

And check out companies that seem dubious with the Better Business Bureau before digging into your pocketbook.

OK, I’m done. I hope this helps someone. After over 20 years in the industry, I’ve heard too many stories of actors and models who have fallen prey to these kinds of losers.

Please pass on the permalink, if you feel inclined. Knowledge is power.

[/rant]

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Back by Popular Demand: GO PRO Workshop on March 1st

by admin

We’re doing it again!

The last GO PRO workshop in Portland sold out in a record 24 hours, so we’re offering it one more time.

Sign up now for GO PRO on Sunday, March 1st, 2009, because both sessions will fill up fast. In fact, we opened registration yesterday to those who were unable to attend the last round and they’ve already started to reserve their spots.

Once again, there will be two 4-hour sessions, one for Beginners and one for Intermediate/Advanced actors.

NOTE: This is a repeat of the workshop offered in January. If you’ve already taken GO PRO and are interested in a “What’s Next?” type workshop, shoot us an email and let us know!

Also, this workshop is ideal for adults (or parents of child actors wanting to know how to better market their kids). It is not specifically geared towards children, but we will consider mature and serious child actors on a case-by-case basis.

Not in the Portland area? Check out this post if you’d like to attend a GO PRO workshop in a city near you.

(Hop to the bottom if you want to register now)
 

_______________________________________
WILL YOU MISS THE BOAT?

In the coming year, regional actors will audition for Hollywood films in cities all across the country.

    • Some will get cast.

 

  • Others, who may have been perfect for the role, will not be chosen.

 

 

  • Many more will miss the boat entirely.

 

Which group do you think you will you belong to?

Most of you know that I’ve owned a casting company in Oregon for almost 10 years and have worked on a lot of these kinds of films. Before that, I worked as a stage actor, director and producer on three continents. Over this period of time, I’ve learned a few things about what it means to be a professional in the entertainment industry. And, as you may have already figured out, I’m passionate about showing Hollywood that regional actors have got the goods.

But sometimes very talented actors I know blow their chances, because they don’t understand that it takes more than being a good actor to book jobs.

It takes developing the mindset and focus of a pro. It means upping your game, wherever you are in your career. For beginners, this means breaking into what seems like an unbreachable fortress. If you’re already working in film and TV, it means taking your career to the next level and booking the jobs you deserve to be booking.

THE NEXT LEVEL

Is it really possible that, despite being the best actor for the role, you may not advance to the final rounds of consideration or even get a chance to audition, because your professional skills aren’t on a par with your skills as an actor?

Hate to break it to you, but YES.

It kills me to see actors miss out on opportunities that they have the talent to be a part of right now, simply because they haven’t made the mental switch to PRO. That’s why the idea of this workshop keeps nagging at me. Especially if some of the projects we think may be coming down the pike materialize over the next several months.

And since I’ve got some tools and advice that I think can help you make that leap from amateur to professional or professional to force of nature, I figure why not pass on the information?

Just so everyone understands, though: This is not an acting or auditioning workshop. You won’t be asked to get up and do a cold read or perform a monologue.

I’m going to talk about how to develop the mindset of a professional actor, utilizing simple, proven techniques that I’m very confident will take you to the next level in your acting career.

I’ll cover topics such as:

    • How to evaluate yourself and where you are in your career

 

  • How to determine what you REALLY want as an actor and set goals accordingly

 

 

  • What it means to GO PRO

 

 

  • How to develop a strategy for success

 

 

  • How to market and brand yourself

 

 

  • How to take your career to the next level, whether you’re just starting out or have been acting for years

 

If you’re already booking all the jobs you can keep up with, you probably don’t need me. You’re already leveraging your acting skills and professionalism into paid gigs. But if you’re like most actors, you’re not doing everything you could be to make that career leap.

THE BUZZ

By the way, I offered just a taste of this material in an online course (no longer available; check our Workshops page for current offerings) I taught at over 1500 colleges and universities for more than six years. Here are some of the comments my students made:

“I feel so fortunate to have literally stumbled across this class, never imagining that someone with your extensive experience would be slightly interested in sharing all of this priceless information with others like myself, who simply haven’t had a clue how to start making their dreams become a reality.”

“I have learned so much from this class. The information is so valuable, that I have printed out each lesson and the binder is now a permanent installment to my acting reference books. You are now in the likes of Audition by Michael Shurtleff!”

“Since I’ve started this class, I’ve pushed up my game and have gone on three auditions and have been cast in one, so far. My confidence has really soared because I am armed with good, solid advice. Thank you.”

“This course has given me more information than the past five books I’ve read on ‘making it’ in this business. Your advice is intelligent, well researched (well, you ARE living it!), well written and on and on. How come you haven’t written a book? Never mind, if other actors are in the dark about the acting process/business, then *I* have a better chance, having armed myself with all of this knowledge! THANK YOU!”

I’m no longer offering this course online, but I can tell you that the new material I’m developing is ten times more powerful (I can hardly wait to finish it!). Alas, my book is not yet available, so for now the only place to get this information is this Sunday.

PRICELESS TOOLS

Here’s an example of some of the things I hope to send you home with:

    • A blueprint for achieving your acting goals

 

  • Effective strategies for leveraging time and money, in order to have more of both to devote to your acting career

 

 

  • Things you can do TODAY to jump-start your career

 

 

  • An understanding of your perceived roadblocks to success and your REAL roadblocks, so you can overcome them

 

 

  • Tools to change your mindset from “How can I get them to hire me?” to “How can I create so much value that they’d be crazy not to?”

 

Hundreds of you have confided to me that your biggest fear is never getting the opportunity to live your dreams; that you need someone with an inside knowledge of the industry to guide you, give you advice and provide you with the tools to success.

Next Sunday will be an opportunity to download all this information from my brain directly into yours. After almost two decades living and learning this stuff, I have condensed all the most powerful material, so that you can see results in a much shorter time frame.

I’m looking for actors who are ready to develop the mindset of a pro and the laser-like focus of an Olympic athlete. If that’s you, I’d love to see you there. Space is extremely limited and the next time I offer this workshop, it won’t be in Portland, so hop on the list right away, if you don’t want to miss the boat.

Plan to bring a sack lunch or snack, so we can spend more time working rather than hunting for food. Also bring your headshot and resume (or your closest approximations of them, if you’re a beginner) and a notepad.

I look forward to seeing you!

Lana Veenker

____________________________________________________

GO PRO will take place on March 1st, 2009 at the Portland Acting Studio, 107 SE Washington Street, Portland, OR 97214 (map).

    • The Intermediate/Advanced workshop is from 10:00 to 2:00 pm, including a lunch break.

 

  • The Beginner workshop is from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, including a snack break.

 

 
The cost of the workshop is $75, payable in advance via PayPal.

Payment must be received to hold your spot and is fully refundable until noon on Friday, February 27th.

____________________________________________________

PS: I would normally charge up to twice as much for this material, but since many of you have written to say that times are tough for you right now, I’m taking your advice and offering the workshop at a highly discounted rate.

I’d rather make it a bargain, so that more of you get the opportunity to learn these tools and apply them to your lives. Hollywood is knocking. Let’s raise the bar and show them what we’ve got.

Level the playing field. Come join us on Sunday.

MORE BUZZ:

“Thank you, Lana, for confirming what it was that I was feeling about my present marketability and for the priceless advice. What is so satisfying is that I have been provided with unbelievable tools to help me accomplish any goal I set out to conquer. Thank you!”

“Lana, thank you for one of the most exciting, informative courses I have ever taken. You covered so much more information than I expected. You were concise, consistent and funny as well. I was a sponge and I hope I got it all. Thank you for such a dynamic class!”

“This course is beyond words. I’ve learned more here than I have from all classes, workshops, word of mouth, and Yahoo! groups all together. I cannot thank you enough.”

“I took your online course earlier this year and my career has skyrocketed!”

Friday, February 20, 2009

Next Winner Announced in Actor Survey Contest!

by admin

We have a new winner in the contest for a free actor career consultation:

Congratulations to Jeannine Johnson!

Jeannine is in her third year of college at the age of eighteen. She dreams of being an actor, because she wants to entertain other people, help change their lives and make them happy.

She has already accomplished a lot in her short life: She drives a race car that goes 200 mph in seven seconds(!) and has even met Bill Gates. What impressed us the most about Jeannine was her motivation, her professional acumen, and her ability to overcome obstacles that would easily defeat others with less determination; all traits that will serve an aspiring actor well. She writes:

I’ve achieved a lot of things in my life and I know that by doing things that I never thought I could do have made me feel an overwhelming sense of joy. Not only because I got to do something I thought impossible, but because of the fact that this is my life, right now; and you only have one to live and I want to take chances to make my wildest dreams come true.

Kudos again to Jeannine. We’ll be scheduling her FREE one-hour phone consultation with Lana in the upcoming weeks and will announce our next winner as soon as we can.

____________________________________
By the way, if you weren’t around when we last held this contest, you can take a peek at this post from back in November (although please don’t submit a survey as instructed in this old post; we have a new system in place now).

The exciting news is that we’ve decided to turn this into an ongoing contest for all new subscribers to our newsletter.

NEW SUBSCRIBERS

If you haven’t yet subscribed to our mailing list (in the top right sidebar of this page), be sure to do so. You’ll receive instructions on how to complete the survey in your Welcome email.

By surveying our mailing list, we’re able to tailor our materials to your needs, to make sure we’re providing exactly the kind of information you want. It also helps us plan where to hold workshops and notify you if one is taking place in your area.

PREVIOUS CONTESTANTS

Even more exciting news is that those who previously submitted surveys will remain in the running for the contest, so there’s no need to complete the survey a second time. You’re still in consideration.

EXISTING SUBSCRIBERS WHO HAVE *NOT* COMPLETED SURVEYS

If you’re a subscriber, but didn’t participate in our original contest, no worries. Just shoot us an email at toolsforactors[at]castironstudios[dot]com with “Existing Subscriber Survey” in the subject line and we’ll send you instructions on how to complete the survey and be entered into the contest as well.

 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Twilight Turkiye talks with Lana Veenker

by admin

Our fine friends over at the Twilight Turkiye fan site have posted an interview (in Turkish) with Lana on the casting of “Twilight,” the progress of “New Moon” and the upcoming John Hillcoat film “The Road,” based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy (“No Country for Old Men“).

We were going to post Lana’s original answers, but this version adapted from Google Translate is a LOT more fun. Enjoy!

Hi, Honorable Lana Veenker

I’m from a website, which serves Twilighters in Turkey. Our Website is the biggest Twilight-Fan website in Turkey.

Sorry to disturb you, but if I can take 5 minutes, you will make more than 1000 Twilight fans happy. We have got some question for you, for “the most beautiful Casting Director of Twilight”, there are less than 10 questions, if you can answer any of them, and if you don’t break us, we will be pleased. Thanks already now.

Onur Kahveci: Why this profession?

Lana Veenker: I like the combination of talents and intellectual perspective, it is necessary for selection.

Onur Kahveci: “The Road” is on the way, do you know fully if exit date has been set?

Lana Veenker: “The Road” movie will run when I do not know, but I can not wait. It will be a great movie. The book was great and scenarios.

Onur Kahveci: “New Moon” “Twilight” Is that you can beat?

Lana Veenker: To look at this will be interesting. I think “New Moon” is much more difficult to screen as a story.

(Onur Kahveci: I asked a couple of things about the selection of players, but for New Moon” they do not work, so about that she says something is not known.)

Onur Kahveci: That Dakota Fanning will assume the role of Jane got some gossip. What you can say about this topic? What do you think? If you were elected, would be the best Jane who?

Lana Veenker: I like the idea of Dakota Fanning. I have not heard anything about other options.

Onur Kahveci: What do you think about choosing Entertainment Weekly’s Volturi? Stephen Meyer or Crispin Glover for Aro? For a character to character, Christopher Lee and Kristen Chenoweth for Jane and Caius have been recommended. Especially if we consider the reputation of Christopher….

Lana Veenker: Very interesting ideas, some suspense, I would be anxious to hear whom they have to choose.

Onur Kahveci: Some say Taylor Lautner’s Jacob Black character in “New Moon” will not continue…. the search is between other actors. Even Michael Copon was proposed. Steven Strait as Jacob was a spectacular preference for the fans. However Taylor takes again the role of Jacob. What thoughts about this issue? Instead of Taylor as Jacob, would you like someone?

Lana Veenker: Taylor I’m happy he is to hold his role; it’s hard for changes to work.

Onur Kahveci: Thanks for all the answers.

Lana Veenker: Important Not!

Link to original article (You may have to register to view)

 

Monday, February 16, 2009

GO PRO in a City Near You?

by admin

Since we keep getting emails about Lana’s Tools 4 Actors workshops, we’re thinking of going on the road!

Are you interested in a GO PRO workshop near you?

If so, be sure to register your interest using the Eventful widget in the right sidebar of this blog.

If there’s enough demand, we’ll try to work something out, so encourage your friends to join our mailing list and register their interest on Eventful as well.

Is money an issue? Are you an organized, responsible and well-connected person? Think you can round up a sizeable group of people?

Then consider hosting a workshop in your area and attend for free. Send us an email at tools4actors[at]castironstudios[dot]com to request a Tools 4 Actors hosting packet.

We look forward to seeing you!

 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Oregon Film “Rid of Me” to Star Theresa Russell, Art Alexakis and Storm Large

by admin

After triumphing at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival with “The Auteur,” director James Westby ups the ante for Oregon film
February 13, 2009

PORTLAND, ORE. With all the buzz around the big Hollywood blockbusters such as “Twilight” shooting in Oregon as of late, local director James Westby’s latest project, “Rid of Me,” could easily slip by unnoticed. Except that Westby has quietly assembled the A-team of Oregon cast and crew–and a few household names to boot.

His previous movies “Film Geek” and “The Auteur” triumphed on the festival circuit, earning a loyal online following on websites such as YouTube (nearing 10 million hits) and garnering sales of “The Auteur” on Amazon, iTunes and soon on Netflix. Modern-day distribution channels in place, the Oregon filmmaker set out to shoot his next project.

With a modest budget and barebones production already underway, Westby confides that “[Rid of Me] already feels like the best film I have ever been associated with. An amazing cast that you won’t believe.”

A cast that included, at the outset, rockers such as Art Alexakis, former frontman of the band Everclear, and Storm Large of Storm and the Balls, who recently gained national recognition on CBS’ “Rock Star: Supernova.” But Westby felt that the role of Storm’s mother might also be right for an actress with some cachet and sought out the services of Oregon casting director Lana Veenker, to see who might be interested.

“We were overwhelmed by the response to the casting breakdown we sent out in LA,” says Veenker. “Agents of some of the top actresses in the business were beating down the doors to work on this tiny film, all because they wanted the opportunity to be involved.”

When Westby saw actress Theresa Russell’s name pop up in his email, however, his heart jumped. “This Theresa Russell idea is OUT OF CONTROL,” he scribbled to Veenker. “Have you seen her in ‘Straight Time?’ Or in ‘Bad Timing?’ ‘Black Widow?’ OMG. She even looks like she could be Storm’s Mum.” A few phone calls later and Russell’s flight to Portland had been booked.

Westby’s dream team also includes some of Oregon’s top crew and talent. Actress and co-producer Katie O’Grady (“Management,” “Untraceable”), who was billed as “hilarious” in “The Auteur” by Variety and whom Westby calls “incomparable,” takes her turn as the lead character Meris.

“Getting to work in Oregon has been a great benefit for us,” says O’Grady, “because the Oregon film community has been so generous with equipment, resources, locations and time.” She cites the examples of Bruce Lawson (key grip on nearly every major film that has shot in Oregon over the last 20 years) and creative agency Sockeye Creative, who have provided tremendous resources for their mom-and-pop shop. “It’s humbling to work with such strong talent. There’s not one weak link in the cast or crew. Everyone is pitching in to make this the best project James has ever done.”

And it may very well be, if the final project is as good as the dailies reportedly are. Cast and crew are pinching themselves already: “There’s a fluidity to James’ work that is incredible to observe; it’s like watching him conduct an orchestra. He’s musical and his creative eye is next to genius,” marvels O’Grady. Very promising news for Westby and his team, and for Oregon itself.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shooting Stars 2009 at Berlin Film Festival

by admin

I just spent four whirlwind days at the Berlinale, one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, to partake in the Shooting Stars program.

European Film Promotion (EFP) organizes the event aimed at showcasing ten of Europe’s most exciting up-and-coming young actors to casting directors, producers, directors and the press. This was the second year I was invited to participate in Shooting Stars and what an amazing program it was.

This year’s Shooting Stars were

Cyron Melville of Denmark
Samuli Vauramo of Finland
Hafsia Herzi of France
David Kross of Germany
Orsi Tóth of Hungary
Sarah Bolger of Ireland
Alba Caterina Rohrwacher of Italy
Verónica Echegui of Spain
Céline Bolomey of Switzerland
Carey Mulligan of United Kingdom

You can learn more about the actors and watch clips from their films on the Shooting Stars website.

Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees. It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope we will have the opportunity to work together in the future.

 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Casting News Forthcoming!

by admin

Hi everyone,

I’m at JFK airport on my way back from Shooting Stars at the Berlin Film Festival.

Will have some new updates soon, including:

* An announcement of the next winner of the career consultation contest (I know; this has dragged on for a while! I guess that’s the price of being a working CD).

* A full report from Berlin, where I got to meet ten of Europe’s best up-and-coming actors.

* The latest news on projects we’re casting.

* An announcement about upcoming workshops.

* And more fun stuff!

Just as soon as I recover from jetlag…..

 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Open Casting Call Tips

by admin

Now that we’ve announced a new open casting call for our latest film, “The Untitled Crowley Project” starring Harrison Ford, I thought it was a good time to post a reminder about how to ensure you have the best chances at being chosen.

CASTING TIPS

1. Be professional

The casting company’s job is to find the best and most professional candidates for the parts. Your chances of being chosen will increase if you (and your parent or guardian) demonstrate that you are reliable, responsive and serious about working as an actor.

2. Fit the specs

We are currently seeking one boy age six and one boy age nine based in Oregon or Washington, to play the sons of Brendan Fraser in the film. Those who fit these specs most closely will be given first priority. Note that the younger son will be seen in a wheelchair throughout the film, so a quieter, calmer boy would be more ideal than a fidgety one.

We will take a photo of each candidate. Boys can dress and groom as they normally would for school.

We do not need to see anyone significantly older or younger than the given ages. Definitely no four-year-olds or 11-year-olds.

Reminder: This casting call is for the roles of the two sons only. Submitting for any other roles at this time will only waste your time and the casting office’s. Please help us stay on top of all the work we have to do by only attending if you fit the specs for these two roles.

In general, it’s best if parents and guardians don’t show up with the entire family in tow. This slows down the process considerably and makes our facilities much more crowded and uncomfortable for everyone. The only children who should attend the casting call should be the ones who fit the casting specs and it’s best if they are accompanied by only one adult.

3. Follow instructions precisely

Be sure to fill out all requested information on the stat card you will be given at the casting call. It’s not a bad idea for the parent or guardian to bring a list of the child’s clothing and shoe sizes, to have them handy. Also bring a list of any scheduling conflicts (other than school) between April and June 2009.

Interested parties must attend the casting call in person with a parent or guardian. Please don’t email or call the casting office. We ask that you be respectful of our time, our limited number of phone lines and already heavy work load. Thanks!!

4. Be patient

We really do love and adore you, but we are unable to respond to requests for news and updates. We’ll only get in contact if and when there is news. Unfortunately, that means a lot of waiting and not knowing, but due to time constraints, there’s simply no other alternative. That’s show biz!

5. Gain as much experience as you can

If you’re interested in pursuing acting as a career and you don’t have a lot of experience, take some classes, find a mentor, read books and get up to speed on how the industry works, so you come across as a professional.

There’s a lot of free info on this blog and in our newsletter that will help you. You may even attend one of Lana Veenker’s workshops in the future, if you’re interested (join mailing list in the right sidebar for updates). But most importantly, find a way to learn as much as you can about the business.

Hope this helps and best of luck to everyone. We can’t wait to see you on the silver screen!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Harrison Ford Film Casting Boys Age Six & Nine In Portland

by admin

NEW HARRISON FORD FILM SEEKS BOYS AGE SIX AND NINE
“The Untitled Crowley Project” starts shooting in Portland in April 2009

PORTLAND, ORE. Casting Director Lana Veenker announced today that casting call for a new feature film tentatively called “The Untitled Crowley Project” will take place at Lana Veenker Casting, 2580 NW Upshur Street, Portland, OR 97210 on Thursday, February 5th, 2009 from 2:30 to 6:30 PM.

“The Untitled Crowley Project,” produced by CBS Films, stars Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser and is directed by Tom Vaughan. Filming is slated to begin in April 2009.

Veenker says that the Portland-based casting company is seeking two boys based in Oregon or Washington to play speaking roles as the sons of actor Brendan Fraser.

The younger son is to play age six and the older son is to play age nine. There is no charge to audition for any role.

Boys who would like to be considered for the film must attend the February 5th casting call with a parent or guardian to have their photos taken and fill out a casting information sheet.

No other roles are open to the public at this time and the office cannot accept phone calls.

For information about “The Untitled Crowley Project” shooting in Oregon, visit the Governor’s Office of Film and Television website.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How’d You Get That Gig? Portland Monthly interviews Casting Director Lana Veenker

by admin

How’d You Get That Gig?

Ah…Life on the set on a Hollywood movie. The glitz, the glam—the sixteen-hour days, the freezing cold, the 3 a.m. call times. Making movies might be the toughest job a person could ever love, and these five Portlanders should know.

By Stacey Wilson
Portland Monthly
February 2009

The Casting Director

Who I am: Lana Veenker, forty-one

Where I live: Northeast Portland

What I do: “As a casting director, I select the actors for a project based on the director’s vision for each role. I audition actors, present the top candidates to the production team, and provide input as needed with the final casting choices. The casting director handles troubleshooting that may come up during production—for example, if an actor needs to be replaced. We also cast smaller roles or those created after principal photography has begun.”

How I got my gig: “Toward the end of a ten-year overseas odyssey, during which time I studied acting in Paris and Cambridge, I worked at a casting office in London. In 1999, I returned to Portland and launched my casting company, Lana Veenker Casting, with just a laptop and a cell phone. Most recently we managed local casting for Twilight, Management, Untraceable, The Burning Plain, and Into the Wild.”

My first big show: “A film called Aberdeen, starring [the Swedish actor] Stellan Skarsgård. I was in Glasgow, Scotland, seeking a girl to play the lead actress, Lena Headey, as a child. I ended up meeting the little sister of one of the actresses who was there to audition, and it was she who landed the role.”

How much I make: “It’s feast or famine, so my income is all over the map.”

Job perks: “Playing with actors and getting paid for it. Watching people and projects you believed in become successful. Also, being able to write off cable TV, Netflix, and movie and theater tickets as research is a major perk.”

Job bummers: “‘Sorry to call you past 10 p.m., but the producers now want Latina soccer moms instead of rockers. And they have to speak Puerto Rican Spanish. Can you round a bunch up by morning?’”

Worst on-set snafu: “One time an actress’s vibrator went off in her purse right after her audition. It sounded like a jackhammer. I tried to reassure her that this could happen to anyone, but I don’t think there’s any way to recover from that.”

Brush with greatness: “Walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival for Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park was great. But one of my favorite memories is of a Christmas party years ago at Kyle MacLachlan’s house in LA. After learning we were both from the Northwest, he produced a bottle of one of his most beloved pinot noirs and shared it with me.”

Link to full article.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Call for Native American Submissions on "New Moon" Now Closed

by admin

In case you missed the update to this post on the call for Native American actors for “New Moon” (the highly anticipated sequel to “Twilight”), I’m posting it here:

CASTING IS NO LONGER ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS. THEY HAVE RECEIVED MORE RESPONSES THAN THEY’LL EVER HAVE TIME TO SORT THROUGH.

Casting Director René Haynes recently wrote to tell me the following:

Please tell the fans on our behalf how grateful we are for their enthusiasm and dedication to the project – and explain that (as with all film auditions with overwhelming responses), they will only be contacted if there is further interest.

I will still keep most of the previous post up, so fans can read it, but keep in mind that the casting is closed for submissions. René Haynes also reiterated that it is their GOAL to find Native actors for the Native roles.