THINGS TO KNOW: Episodic Genres

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I recently received an audition from an actor for the show Rectify. If you are familiar with the show, then you already know that it is specific and subtle. Rectify is a slow burn and very southern. The actor who auditioned was southern, but most actors work hard to get rid of their southern accent, replacing it with what we refer to as a standard Amercian dialect/accent. This versatility in speech is mandatory for any proficient actor. Just because we work in the south does not mean that every tv or film project is inherently southern.

However in the case of Rectify, they are almost always looking for a southern accent. In fact, casting often notes that if you are not southern, they do not want you to attempt it. For those of us who are southern, there is nothing worse than a bad imitation of what southern is and sounds like. This particular actor added in a very strong southern accent, and the audition itself was over the top, aka BIG. It was not submitted. We watch every audition that is turned in to casting for both quality and to be sure that all of casting’s instructions are followed.

When I reached out to speak with the actor, give feedback and explain why we had not submitted it, I asked if he had seen the show. The actor said no.

You should not submit an audition on a show without having viewed a trailer or clip of it at the very least. It is best to watch a few episodes. The show does not need to be your favorite, but you need to know the genre and style of the piece in order to bring that to the audition. I would argue that this is as important a tenet of acting as knowing your objective or who you are talking to in the scene.

If you are working and living in the southeast, then you should be familiar with every show that shoots here. There is a ridiculous amount of really good television on right now. I cannot keep up with all of the shows I want to watch, but I do not attempt to submit on projects that I have not watched.

If the show is new, then get on the internet and do some research. If it is not new, you should still get on the internet. It is an amazing resource that is right at your fingertips. Use it. Know what you are auditioning for–know the story, the characters, the feel of it. Do not simply rely on the information provided to you by your agent. Do your homework.

And, what I say today, may not be true tomorrow. 

Image Credit: Tracy Thomas/Unsplash

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FELDSTEIN/PARIS CASTING: 5 Questions

Chase Paris and Tara Feldstein of Feldstein/Paris Casting are by far some of the most active, honest, and busy casting directors in the local Atlanta area. We recently met for lunch, and I followed up with a few questions for them for the third installment of 5 Questions. They weigh in on their experience working both as an agent and a CD, plus their most rewarding projects and infamous Twitter lunches. They are a wonderful source of information for casting in the south east region.

Special thanks to Chase and Tara for their time. Enjoy!

1. How has your past work experience informed and influenced your work as a CD for Feldstein/Paris casting?

It’s been incredibly beneficial. Having seen both sides of the table, I feel like my eyes have been opened up to the entire decision making process. It took some transition to go from working for the actors to working for production, but I think I’ll always partly be an advocate for the actor when possible, and that’s due to working so closely with them as an agent.

Some may find this hard to believe – but because of my experience as an agent, we try to cater as much of our process as possible to making the agent’s and actor’s jobs easier. Granted we don’t meet every need and request, but we at least try!

2. Which projects or types of projects (no need to give names unless you want to) have been the most rewarding for you to work on? What has made the projects gratifying and productive?

The Accountant and The Founder stand out to me. Both creative teams, especially the directors relied on us heavily for our input, and we put together an amazing cast full of locals in prominent roles. Productions can often be wary of local talent which limits our creative involvement, so when we’re able to spread our wings and show what we (and our local talent!) can do, it can be very rewarding. It also doesn’t hurt that both films are getting early box office and reward buzz.

On the TV side, we recently wrapped Atlanta, which I loved because it felt so genuine to the city. Donald Glover grew up here and just wrote what he wanted to see, but having lived here my whole life, it’s refreshing to see a project that takes place in Atlanta that isn’t the “LA” version of Atlanta, which can happen at times. We were also forced to dig deep to find new talent, which is always fun!

3. What is the best way for an actor to get to know you?

Twitter lunches are the best way to get to know us one-on-one, which we’re finding is more important than we thought previously. But we both still want to get to know you as an actor above anything else, so good auditions and pitches from your agent are the best way for US to get to know YOU.

I don’t know that it’s necessary for YOU to know US – we’re both boring suburbanites with 2.4 kids and a dog. =) We’ve made a push this year to be more social and get out in the community more, so there might be other opportunities to see us, but I think talent should be more concerned with US knowing THEM than the other way around. Plus, we’re pretty boring!

4. How has your outlook on the business changed since you started Feldstein/Paris?

For me, it was really eye opening to see the true level of talent we have as a market vs. only seeing what was in my talent agency. It’s astounding what we have to work with at times, and if you don’t get the chance to see what all is out there, you can be blind to it in your own little bubble.

It’s also amazing to see how much the industry has grown down here in the past 4 years, and it’s only picking up steam.

It’s also amazing to see how much the industry has grown down here in the past 4 years, and it’s only picking up steam. It can be a daunting amount of work at times, but that’s also why we feel like we need to work at such a fast pace on everything.

5. You both have amazing families, so how do you balance your work and your family? You guys make it look kind of easy, and I know it is not.

The funny thing is we don’t really plan too hard. We have the luxury of working from home, so we get to be around our families a lot, which really is one of the best perks about what we do. At first we poured every bit of free time in to the job and sacrificed a lot of personal time, but recently we’ve been carving out 1-2 hrs a day for personal time, be it the gym, quality time with kids or spouses, etc.

I’ve found that very valuable, and it’s just about committing to it and not giving yourself over every waking moment. We love our jobs so it’s easy to just default to work, and we do that often as is, but we work hard for our families, so we don’t want to neglect them!

Pet Peeve: What is a pet peeve that you have about our market/actors?

Other than self-tapes with a smart phone that’s being held in portrait mode – I’d say it is actors being patient with the market. It’s evolving; it’s getting better, more and better opportunities are coming your way, but it’s moving slowly, and you can’t force it to move faster.

Just because the work is here doesn’t mean you’re entitled to the large roles in that work, not yet at least. We’re still a local market, we may be a bigger one, but we’re still a tier down. It wasn’t that long ago we were happy with a fraction of the work we have now – please keep some perspective and be patient!

Advice: What is your best piece of advice?

Be yourself. Most of our roles don’t require a ton of acting, we need you to be yourself in that role, not try and fit outside of your mold. The actors that work the most in this market are still working within their type – if a role feels like too much of a stretch then it’s probably not a good fit. Go in and do the best YOU for each role, and I believe you’ll book constantly. If you find you have to keep ACTING for each role, it’s probably not working!

Images: Courtesy of Feldstein/Paris Casting

5 Questions: Feldstein/Paris Casting

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It’s time for another ‘5 Questions’ segment, and this time I got to speak with Tara Feldstein Bennett and Chase Paris of Feldstein/Paris Casting.

We exchange emails often regarding current projects, but it was refreshing to send another type of email to F/P to hear their perspective on casting, willingness to meet and greet with local talent, and their overall presence in the Atlanta market.

Stay tuned for the third installment of ‘5 Questions’ with Feldstein/Paris Casting.