This is where we post our Top Secret stuff for Actors. Not to be shared all over the Interwebs.

Audition Tips

FIF Mentor Ashley J.

Here are main tips for self-tape auditions:

1. It’s best to have a reader, BUT there are ways around it. I found this app called Script Rehearser. With that app, you are able to record your lines and act against yourself! :D

2. Also, if you are not able to have a reader physically there, this is something that I’ve done numerous times. I have used skype or facebook messenger to video chat with my friend, then used my camera phone to record the audition.

3. Always record your audition Landscape and not Vertical (portrait).

4. Slate (say your First name, last name, role, turn to your left and right then center)

5. Do two takes to show variety.

6. Make sure to shoot at a well lit area and make sure the wall is neutral with nothing on it.

7. Use a tight medium frame. (Either from Belly Button to top of head or from chest to top of head).

FIF Mentor Lera V.

Slate in the beginning, your name and name character you are reading for, for example “Hi, Danielle Bowman, reading for Mary”.

Be yourself while you are slating, warm energy and smile, take a moment to get in character and go for it!😜

Make sure you have off white/light blue no print background. Set up lights that compliment you. (You can find tips on it in Google).

Make sure you have good sound, even phone can work for this one. Just make sure you don’t have any destructing noises, and make sure you have a partner off camera who reads lines for other characters and we can hear him/her too.

Erin D. shows us her Self Audition Tape:

And here is her Eye Line Add On note:

Erin recording herself for her auditions using some pretty nifty methods:

Acting Tips

Danielle posted in yammer about submitting an acting audition. The role is a drunk/high paranoid mother. She asked for tips on how to play drunk on screen. Read Ashley J’s response below.

FIF Mentor Ashley J.

OMG please do not actually get drunk!
lololol 😂😂😂😂

I’ve actually had roles like this! There is one technique that I like to use.

So this technique is from Ivana Chubbuck, The Power of The Actor.

Think of the time where you have been inebriated. Really focus on that memory…

Now, remember the effect it has had on your body.

Write down everything that you felt. You know, like slurred speech, over correcting your body movements, things like that.

Then study the text. Find out what you’re saying, THEN use the experience to help with your intention.

So no, you don’t have to get drunk lolol but you can recreate that experience by using your emotional recall and memory to make it real.

What if I don’t have an acting reel?

Ali C. shares what’s in her acting toolkit.

Amber B.

Saw a casting call on fb. I met the description and messaged him directly. First to like and comment the post.

Talked a bit on messenger and gave him my email. He said anything he receives for auditions he will send to me.

Asked me if I have a reel and instead of just saying no I wrote this….

“I’m finishing up a short right now. So nothing yet. I will be making some soon with a group I have in Chicago that is making up some skits for reels. I can film something for you if you would like.

Then he sent me an audition script from 1975.”

I offered to film something instead of just no I do not have a reel yet. Got to be sneaky to get that chance!

Background Work

Background casting companies for the Pacific NW!

Lizzy S.

Hey everyone, great call today! As suggested by FIF Mentor Parker, I am sharing background sites I am a part of! [Please note these are mostly PacNW based]: – I got my first extra job in 2010 for a tv movie [I remember it being a big deal not only because it was my first, but because I missed a day of school for it!]. They send you e-mail notifications with a job code, and if you want to apply you enter the code and give your availability. I remember finding out late the night before the gig that they needed me. So be prepared to work at any given time! – This website requires a one-time payment of $10. Once you have your profile set up you can apply for jobs. I get e-mails every day with new available roles. Most are in my area, while others are in CA or NY. You can also post your own casting call if you are looking for actors. – They cast for Portlandia, which I got to be an extra on this summer, and since I was already in their database I was contacted for another extra opportunity [and probably more to come]! *This isn’t a member-based site. You can look at current projects and sign up for which one you are interested in.

Marinella Hume Casting – I am not part of the website, but I follow the FB page for opportunities. I was able to be an extra for a new Netflix show, and let me tell you, it definitely helped already knowing the casting director! It’s all about connections!

FACEBOOK GROUPS! – There are so many opportunities on FB groups for extra or production work. I am a part of Portland Casting Hub, which has over 7,000 members. The more members the group has, the better. Just search for groups in your area and you will find something to join!

I hope this helps! I know with some of these sites there are monthly or yearly payments, but if you can get work from it I think it’s definitely worth spending the bit of extra cash. I love doing background work, and am looking forward to the experiences to come! Hope you all have a great week ahead :]

Lizzy shares her experience as an extra on a new Netflix show!

Lizzy S.

Hey FIFers! I want to tell you all about my most recent extra experience!

Yesterday I got to be an extra for a new NETFLIX SHOW! It was by far the best extra gig I’ve had. Everyone was so nice and friendly. I had previously met the casting assistant, and she told me how after I applied she sent my info to the director and he picked me from 10 other girls for the role [she immediately thought of me when the role came up]. That made me feel pretty special 😊 I was a ‘nerdy Blockbuster employee’. Talk about throwback! The show is based in the mid 90’s.

The call time was 1:18pm [random, I know]. I left over an hour early to allow extra time. It was 45 minutes away, and I arrived with 20 minutes to spare! I had my own Honey Bucket [mini trailer] with my character title on the door. I felt like a star! I also got my hair and make-up done. As I was chatting with the make-up artist I found out she did special effects make-up for a couple seasons of The Walking Dead. So cool! That is something I would love to get in to. After the extras were ready we were shuttled to set which was at the Blockbuster just down the street [one of 9 or 10 left in existence, I heard]. After a rehearsal, we waited outside for a while…much of the time was spent waiting. I didn’t mind too much, though I wish I brought something other than my phone to keep me busy. I did talk with the other extras, and watched what the crew was doing. They had a few PA’s running around and I kept thinking to myself, ‘that is what I want to be doing!’. There were two other Blockbuster employees’, one of which I didn’t even realize was the director until I saw his title on this little side pack he was wearing. As nighttime approached I wished I had brought my jacket… Rule #1- be prepared! Luckily the casting assistant was sweet enough to offer to go grab mine, and she also brought other jackets from wardrobe to pass out. The main thing I noticed from yesterday was that everyone called craft service crafty. It always makes me smile when I hear it because I first learned that term in FIF 😊

We finally wrapped at 2:25am and I was EXHAUSTED. I was called in to shoot scenes quite a few times throughout the day, so I know you will definitely be able to see me on screen! I am super excited for this to come out. It’s called Everything Sucks! Watch for it on Netflix in 2018! And who knows, maybe by then I could be PAing for a series 😉

How to stay in contact with casting assistants

FIF Mentor Ashley J.

I would keep in contact with that assistant! Add the assistant to your magic list if you haven’t already!!! I would send her a thank you email for the experience and also look up the casting agency the assistant works for.

Then I would go to that website and see if they offer classes and sign up for them. Some casting agencies teach various classes on how to audition, cold reading, headshot workshops, etc.

Every so often, I would email the assistant, sending updates on what you are working on as well as seeing how she is doing. I would do this maybe once every 3 months or so. Not all the time because that would be weird lol.

How Ashley J got her acting agent

FIF Mentor Jessica P.

Hey FIF Mentor Ashley J!! I wanted to get your insight as to how you found your agent for acting? I know you were on set and working and asked around. I’m now at that point but the people i have talked to are not very helpful and I would love your insight! :)

FIF Mentor Ashley J.

I was an extra for this industrial for Kroger in Portland, Or. and I started talking with the other extras. I didn’t have an agent at the time so I was genuinely curious. Now, I wasn’t going up to extras asking in an intrusive way. I was asking about their journey as an actor and what they have learned along the way.

During the conversation, the actors would naturally talk about their agents and who were the best and worst agents to work with.

I spoke to as many people as possible, just getting to know them and networking.

When I was done filming, I went home and created a section on my master list of all of the agents they talked about. I made a good and not so good list lol.

Here are the top questions I’ve asked:

1. How long have you been on your acting journey?
2. What have you learned along the way?
3. If you could go back, what is the advice you would give your younger self?

Additionally, I listened intently to their responses and asked follow up questions.

From there, I contacted the agents that I liked!

FIF Mentor Jessica P.

Awesome..thank you for that information. Can you tell me about what happened when you contacted the different agencies, what you said, questions you asked? How did you decided on the one you have now?

FIF Mentor Ashley J.

You are welcome!

I got along with some extras alot more than others and I asked if I could use them as a reference/referral and they all said yeah! So I went to the agencies websites to check the requirements for submitting.

Many agencies require the following:

1. Actors Reel (A compilation of your best works)
2. Headshot
3. Resume
4. Cover letter (which is either in the body of the email or an actual cover letter if you are mailing a submission)

I emailed them my information and introduced myself, told them how I found their information.

The first agency I signed with is actually no longer in business, but it was a blessing in disguise because I was finally ready to sign with one of the top agencies in WA.

With the agency I am with now, I had to snail mail my cover letter along with my materials.

Now, when it comes to the actual meeting, think of it as a date LOL. No seriously, think of it as you are getting to know that person.

You will be required to audition so have a monologue memorized. But in regards to questions, I kept it pretty light. I wanted to know more about their history and how they like to communicate. Some agents like phone calls, some agents like email/text.

I also ask how they think the film industry is.

You can tell so much about an agent by those two questions alone. I also ask about what inspired them to get into the industry as well.

You want to make sure that they are as passionate as you are :D

Remember, its a partnership. The agent works for you! :D

Your acting questions answered by Ashley

Reading Recommendations

Amber B.

I think you will enjoy it if you are into acting. : ) He starts off talking about the differences between film and theater acting. I am already engaged in it and do not want to stop reading!

If you are interested in acting or already an actor and want to freshen up on some key factors Get This Book!!!! I love it. I am actually gonna go back and read some chapters and take notes on it this time!

FIF Mentor Patrick M.

Another book a friend recommends is called “Breaking and Entering” by Philip Carlson. It’s more about the business side of it, and finding an agent.

Alexandra B.

One of my favorite acting books is An Actor’s Companion by Seth Barrish, co-founder of The Barrow Group Theatre Company. If you are in New York, I highly recommend the classes there as well. They are very simple and accessible, more about stripping away obstacles than adding things on.

FIF Mentor Lera V.

One of the awesome book for the On-Camera Acting is “How To Avoid The Cutting Room Floor“, I got a recommendation on this one from editor/actor, it’s a very great book!

FIF Mentor Ashley J.

Another book I love is How to Get the Part Without Falling Apart by Margie Haber! Its awesome because it also focuses on self-care as an actor as well as killing it at the audition!

FIF Mentor Erin

A little Mentor update brought to you by…ME ! Erin!!!
I was a new member back in 2014′

Those of you who are new my recognize me from the modules.. but let me go ahead and fill you in on some NEW NEW.

As of October I signed with my wonderful Commercial and Theatrical talent agent.

HOW? (that’s the big question..)

Well .. I would send out packets to agents all over town. Agents that I wanted to work along side. I did this for months .. I would attend and play in showcases & I (finally) got called in for an interview with my current Agent and this is how it went..

Got the email THE NIGHT BEFORE! I emphasize this because ACTORS you NEED to ALWAYS have a monologue in your back pocket. Always always.

I responded that I would be there, I pulled that monologue out that I keep for occasions such as this and I re-freshed my memory that night. The next morning I went.

*side note* BE YOU!!! That is ALL they want. It took me so long to realize this. STOP over doing it with your hair and makeup..don’t wear your “Sunday best” I literally dressed as I would if I was meeting with friends for lunch. BE YOU! They find it refreshing when they interview REAL people. Not these suit and tie robots.

I signed in to the quiet office. A gentleman went in the room before me and wasn’t in very long..he was waaaay over dressed and super nervous. Don’t be that guy.. lol

My name is called. I recognized the Agent who was sitting in on my audition so we hugged and I thought SCORE! lol (Power of networking!!!)
I did my monologue (nailed it) They loved it. I ended up talking with them for about 20 min. I left feeling confident and before the end of the day I was emailed my contract.

ALSO As of November I am a member of the Iatse local 479 as well :)
Set Dec and Props

Let me tell you something though… I didn’t get here by wishing. I actively GO!
I SHOW MY FACE at events and let me tell you…weeeww y’all..I PA’d for (far too long) LOL I have “paid my dues”.. So Get out there and do the same!

Gain confidence and make this life what YOU dream!!!

I love you Janet & FIF