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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Secret to Guaranteed Success

by admin

Read up as Lana offers a New Year’s gift to readers in her latest Backstage Expert installment:

The Secret to Guaranteed Success

The Secret to Guaranteed Success | By Lana Veenker | Posted Dec. 27, 2012, noon

A most cherished holiday tradition has formed among my friends—my inner circle, my Mastermind group—in which we come together to talk about the year that has past and the year yet to come.

As creatives lacking the structure of a nine-to-five job or a boss to tell us what to do, we need friends and advisors to keep us focused on our objectives and moving daily towards their realization.

Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich,” defined a Mastermind group as “two or more people who work in perfect harmony for the attainment of a definite purpose.” He claimed you could accomplish more with your Mastermind partners in a single year than in an entire lifetime of your own efforts. I have found this to be true.

Our group previously gathered each New Year’s Eve. In recent years, we’ve chosen December 21st (the solstice) instead, to better accommodate everyone’s holiday plans.

Before tackling our resolutions, we reflect on the previous twelve months. At first, everyone feels they fell short of their ambitions, particularly the loftier ones. Why didn’t I write that book I’d been talking about? How come we’re not rolling in dough like we thought we’d be?

When assessing last year’s goals, however, we often find that three quarters of them did get accomplished! Of the remaining quarter, a handful are no longer relevant, and the rest too ambitious for a single jaunt around the sun, although usually steps were made in the right direction.

Next, we list all other achievements for the year and read them back to each other. Only then can we get a clear picture of our successes and identify areas lacking in effort (areas typically surrounding the midriff and thighs).

Inventory complete, we tackle dreams for the coming year, detailing them under headings like Business, Creative, Home, and Personal. We work individually for a block of time, then read our goals back to each other. We discuss, debate, fine-tune and encourage. We highlight the five most important ones. We make clear and definite plans.

Often, a pattern emerges and we’re able to assign a theme for the entire year. We assign a single word or phrase gathering all our aspirations into one package, such as “Reinvention,” “Prosperity,” “Go Huge!” This helps in the decision-making process throughout the new year, as we weigh choices against the litmus test of our key word. Does this path represent Reinvention or more of the same?

Our meetings include exercises and recitations to jog creativity and hone our focus. We’ve relied on classics such as Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” and Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art,” as well as books on leadership, business and relationships. Anything that inspires us.

The key is to stretch the meeting out with no time constraints, ensuring all avenues are explored and everyone has a chance to participate. We may (and do) have mini-Masterminds throughout the year to stay on target, but our solstice gathering is long and luxurious, involving tea or wine, candles, and music. Phones are off and all focus is on each other’s success and happiness.

It’s our annual ritual and the greatest gift to ourselves. And now, it’s my holiday gift to you. All the best in the New Year.

Link to original article.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We Provide Leverage: “The Long Goodbye Job”

by ranielle

A special gift, just for you!  Don’t miss these Pacific Northwest actors in the season 5 finale of “Leverage“, tonight at 10PM on TNT.

Top Row (L-R): Paul Root, Aaron Blakely. Bottom Row (L-R): Don Stewart Burns, Hillarie Putnam, Matt Barnett.
Top Row (L-R): Gretchen Treser, Ben Gonio. Bottom Row (L-R): Steven Beckingham, Matt Dotson.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

2nd Annual Meals for Monologues Post-Game

by admin

Our 2nd annual Meals for Monologues event on Wednesday, December 5, was a rousing success!  Actors from all over the Pacific Northwest joined the effort and the results were amazing.

After nine hours of open call auditions, Casting Directors Lana Veenker and Eryn Goodman saw nearly 200 actors perform 2-minute monologues and Cast Iron Studios collected 760 pounds of food for the Oregon Food Bank.  Veenker and Goodman were joined throughout the day by local talent agents.

Catch this clip from when KGW dropped by our offices (there’s a delay after clicking play, but it does eventually kick in):

KGW Visits Meals for Monologues

We are thrilled once again at the tremendous community response and we look forward to next year’s Meals for Monologues event.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We Provide Leverage: “The Toy Job”

by ranielle

Don’t miss these Pacific Northwest actors in an all new episode of “Leverage“, tonight at 10PM on TNT.

Top Row (L-R): Riley Donahue, Rodney Hicks, Matt Barnett. Bottom Row (L-R): Khanh Doan, Nicole McCullough, Karen Charnell, Nina Hambleton.
Friday, December 7, 2012

6 Real Auditions Gone Horribly Wrong

by admin

My latest Backstage Expert column is whipping up a firestorm in comments on the Backstage website!

I knew I was writing it with a cheekier tone than my norm, but some feel it comes across as offensive. Have a read and see what you think:

6 Real Auditions Gone Horribly Wrong

Casting Director Lana Veenker reveals disastrous actor choices in the audition room…and what to do instead.

By Lana Veenker | Dec. 6, 2012

1. Kissing the client is never okay.

  • Situation: The actor insisted on kissing my hand—even when I tried to pull away—then grabbed my producer’s hand and slobbered on hers, too!
  • Thought Process: The actor thought it would make him memorable. It did…for all the wrong reasons.
  • Why it didn’t work: Germs! Eww!
  • What to do instead: Enter, wave a quick hello, and find your mark. If we make a move to shake hands, great. Otherwise, assume we are germaphobic and don’t want your clammy hand in ours.

Link to full article.

There’s at least one actor who gets my obscure sense of humor, having posted on her Facebook that “There should be a Portlandia skit that rolls all six of these into one disastrously wonderful audition fail.”

YES! Exactly!

Now imagine Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in an audition room, and reread the article. Still offensive?

More importantly, are you likely to ever make these mistakes yourself, now that you’ve read about them?

What do you think: Should I stick to my usual warm and fuzzy ways, or kick up some dust from time to time? What’s the more effective approach, from a learning standpoint?

Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below.



PS: Oh, and Backstage inexplicably changed “he” to “they” in example #4. The sentence should read: “The director told me he didn’t have enough time left on Earth to risk having his ear talked off on set.”