Tips for Self-Taping from Judy Henderson, CD, Judy Henderson Casting

Emmy Award winner Judy Henderson, currently casting the Emmy Award winning Showtime TV series HOMELAND, provides a few tips for making the most of your audition time at midtown NYC rehearsal studios.

Ashley Self TapeWith ever-changing advances in technology, actors are now able to tape auditions on their own and with their agent’s assistance with greater frequency. In light of these changes, we have compiled a list of taping recommendations designed to assist you in achieving the highest level of quality in your auditions. We hope you find these instructions helpful, as we want all of our actors to have the best chance at landing that role that helps them achieve their dream to perform in NYC!

A FEW GENERAL RULES OF THUMB:
-Please do not use the black fade in and out feature on your camera.
This makes editing difficult. You should never see black on your tapes at the beginning or end of your auditions. Thank you.

-All auditions should be saved in WMV, MOV, or MP4 Format. The size of the audition file should be limited to 100MB with ideal range being 20-40MB. Very large files do not send or upload well.

-If you need to save your file into a different format, please use conversion software such as FORMAT FACTORY (http://www.pcfreetime.com).
It is free to download.

TAPING INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Start each audition with framing that shows the actor’s head and shoulders only. Tape should lead with audition first (not slate).

2. Sound must be clear. We recommend using a lavalier mic if possible.
If not, please be sure that the mic is directed toward the actor and the reader STANDS BACK so as not to overpower the actor’s voice. The actor’s voice should be clearly heard and the reader’s should be quieter.

3. Lighting should be good enough so we can see the color of the actor’s eyes. Use soft lighting if possible – avoid stark white light.

4. Please tape auditions in front of a light-colored, solid wall or backdrop. Try not to have anything behind the actor that will distract the viewer’s eye, like furniture, pictures, windows, etc. Again, a clean, solid wall or backdrop is best.

5. One good take, please. A second take is acceptable only if you feel strongly about showing a different creative choice and it is a good read.

6. At the end of your take, each actor should slate his/her name and role they are reading with head and shoulders framing.

7. Then pull back for one, quick full body shot.

8. In addition, it is acceptable to use a simple title block that shows actor name, role and agency at the very beginning of the tape.

Emmy Award winner Judy Henderson is one of the busiest CD’s in town and is currently casting the Emmy Award winning Showtime TV series HOMELAND.  Besides TV, she also casts for film, theater and commercials.

Need to put an audition on camera and upload or send it digitally? Actors Connection can help!

In recent months, many actors and agents have contacted us looking for an affordable place for actors to have their auditions recorded and posted digitally or emailed.

We are now set up and ready to make this service available to you with our NEW SELF TAPE AUDITION PACKAGE.

This $40 package includes:

– 30 minutes in the studio for taping, playback, and review with reader/camera operator. (additional taping time can be requested at $35/per half hour)

– Your audition clip will be sent same-day with such options as email via YouSendIt/Hightail/Dropbox or by uploading to a webpage like Vimeo or YouTube.

To inquire about appointment times and availability, please call us at 212-776-4900.

5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 AM By Jennifer Cohen

300px-Thatcher-loc-20131014-221404-569Rise and shine! Morning time just became your new best friend. Love it or hate it, utilizing the morning hours before work may be the key to a successful and healthy lifestyle. That’s right, early rising is a common trait found in many CEOs, government officials, and other influential people. Margaret Thatcher was up every day at 5 a.m.; Frank Lloyd Wright at 4 am and Robert Iger, the CEO of Disney wakes at 4:30am just to name a few. I know what you’re thinking – you do your best work at night. Not so fast. According to Inc. Magazine, morning people have been found to be more proactive and more productive. In addition, the health benefits for those with a life before work go on and on. Let’s explore 5 of the things successful people do before 8 am.

1. Exercise. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Most people that work out daily, work out in the morning. Whether it’s a morning yoga session or a trip to the gym, exercising before work gives you a boost of energy for the day and that deserved sense of accomplishment. Anyone can tackle a pile of paperwork after 200 ab reps! Morning workouts also eliminate the possibility of flaking out on your cardio after a long day at work. Even if you aren’t bright eyed and bushy tailed at the thought of a 5 am jog, try waking up 15 minutes early for a quick bedside set of pushups or stretching. It’ll help wake up your body, and prep you for your day.

2. Map Out Your Day. Maximize your potential by mapping out your schedule for the day, as well as your goals and to dos. The morning is a good time for this as it is often one of the only quiet times a person gets throughout the day. The early hours foster easier reflection that helps when prioritizing your activities. They also allow for uninterrupted problem solving when trying to fit everything into your timetable. While scheduling, don’t forget about your mental health. Plan a 10 minute break after that stressful meeting for a quick walk around the block or a moment of meditation at your desk. Trying to eat healthy? Schedule a small window in the evening to pack a few nutritious snacks to bring to work the next day.

3. Eat a Healthy Breakfast. We all know that rush out the door with a cup of coffee and an empty stomach feeling. You sit down at your desk, and you’re already wondering how early that taco truck sets up camp outside your office. No good. Take that extra time in the morning to fuel your body for the tasks ahead of it. It will help keep you mind on what’s at hand and not your growling stomach. Not only is breakfast good for your physical health, it is also a good time to connect socially. Even five minutes of talking with your kids or spouse while eating a quick bowl of oatmeal can boost your spirits before heading out the door.

4. Visualization. These days we talk about our physical health ad nauseam, but sometimes our mental health gets overlooked. The morning is the perfect time to spend some quiet time inside your mind meditating or visualizing. Take a moment to visualize your day ahead of you, focusing on the successes you will have. Even just a minute of visualization and positive thinking can help improve your mood and outlook on your work load for the day.

5. Make Your Day Top Heavy. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student still studying in a New York acting school or an established star. We all have that one item on our to do list that we dread. It looms over you all day (or week) until you finally suck it up and do it after much procrastination. Here’s an easy tip to save yourself the stress – do that least desirable task on your list first. Instead of anticipating the unpleasantness of it from first coffee through your lunch break, get it out of the way. The morning is the time when you are (generally) more well rested and your energy level is up. Therefore, you are more well equipped to handle more difficult projects. And look at it this way, your day will get progressively easier, not the other way around. By the time your work day is ending, you’re winding down with easier to dos and heading into your free time more relaxed. Success!

Do Your Own Thing – Casting Director Jamie Carroll sheds light on Hosting Gigs

Written by: Kelly Calabrese

“You have this dream,” you want to host a show…

“But you can’t go to Barnes and Noble and learn how to be a successful host,” says casting director and lifestyle expert Jamie Carroll who casts for HGTV, FOOD NETWORK, MTV, the TRAVEL CHANNEL and more!

“That’s why I offer to help, why wouldn’t I,” Jamie says with an energy that refreshes the air. SECRET REVEALED…

Jamie Carroll WANTS you to succeed. (As do most casting directors! It is the truth… and so helpful to believe).

Starting out as an intern in a casting office, Jamie, “was lucky enough to work with someone who took her under their wing.” Soon, her career took off. She worked at MTV casting contestants, then experts and hosts.

To succeed as a host, it does take hard work. It takes a unique idea, a treatment, some sizzle and the guts to pitch it! But don’t get overwhelmed because Jamie Carroll breaks down every step in clear terms that make you feel at home.

For these sound, bites of advice from host & lifestyle expert Jamie Carroll…

Q: What makes a great host?

Someone very aware of themselves and very aware of their strengths.
I always say, “I look for a stronger personality than me in the room.” I want you to come in and take over. Don’t wait for too much direction from me because it’s all about you in that moment.

When you walk into that room you’ve got to trust that you are unique, that you are interesting and that you have a lot to say – because everyone does. If you sit in a room with ten people, they will all have interesting stories and interesting hobbies, which is what makes everyone unique.

Click here to read this article in it’s entirety

Fall TV Season Delivers a Mixed Bag in Prime Time by Bill Carter

seasonjump1-articleLargeThree weeks into the new television season, network executives have drawn some initial conclusions.

While every network has at least a glimmer of a new hit, in an era of increased delayed viewing, patience is more crucial than ever. Decisions on the fates of shows must factor in quality as well as quantity. And the oldest scheduling technique in the world — putting a new show behind an established hit — is still the most effective tool at a network’s disposal.

Finally, if you want a new show to do well, it is probably best to avoid Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays, because nothing is going to pry viewers away from the National Football League.

Last fall, there was almost universal derision for the assemblage of new entries on network television, with viewership suffering accordingly. The numbers this fall show slight improvement, though, with overall network prime-time viewing averaging 8.21 million viewers, up from 8.16 million in the period a year earlier.

“It definitely seems that broadcast TV has come back strong and given people a lot of reasons to watch,” said Andy Kubitz, the executive vice president of program planning for ABC, citing the rosy side of the early returns.

Brad Adgate, the top research executive for the media-buying firm Horizon Media, has seen enough new television seasons to be cautious about reading too much into early success. This fall’s start is “a little better than last season,” he said, “though that’s not saying much at all.”

The new dramas “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on ABC, “The Blacklist” on NBC and “Sleepy Hollow” on Fox all opened to hit-level ratings, and they have not shown signs that viewers will drift away as the weeks go on. CBS has two new comedies on Thursday showing some staying power, “The Millers” and “The Crazy Ones.”

Dan Harrison, who has the top scheduling job at Fox, said, “It feels like there is more sampling going on than last fall. Everybody has some embers to blow on and everybody has some work to do.”

Actually, there is plenty of work to do: in terms of ratings, the lows have never been lower. Several new shows have set records for their network’s worst performance ever. One, the drama “Lucky 7” on ABC, was canceled after two airings. CBS dumped the comedy “We Are Men” last week.

But numerous other shows also have quickly fallen, especially on NBC, which is still performing well above its competitors in the area that drives much network commerce: viewers between the ages of 18 and 49. A new NBC drama, “Ironside,” collapsed in its second week; so did the new comedies “Welcome to the Family” and “Sean Saves the World” last Thursday.

Not coincidentally, that was a night when the NFL Network offered a game with strong appeal in two big cities, the New York Giants against the Chicago Bears. The top 13 shows this season are all N.F.L. games.

The upside for NBC is centered on “The Blacklist,” which has not only posted hit ratings for its initial telecasts, but set a record in its second week by adding five million additional viewers after just three days. None of NBC’s comedies last Thursday attracted even four million viewers.

As much as network executives now say they must show more patience, because initial ratings often soar when delayed viewing is counted, shows that fare extremely poorly the night they are first on have little hope of survival.

“We are in the urgency business,” Mr. Harrison of Fox said. “If we put on a show that nobody watches until two years later, that show isn’t going to exist anymore.”

As Mr. Kubitz of ABC put it, “The real difficulty comes in your middling shows. So you have to judge how strong the creative elements are, how strong the producers are, whether or not the show is engaging socially. You have to look at all these different pieces.”

ABC had only middling success with a drama it introduced at midseason in 2012. It did see signs of a passionate following on social media, however, and last spring those signs turned into a fever. Now “Scandal” is one of the hottest shows on television.

Fox is hanging on to some struggling shows, like the new comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” because it believes it is a fundamentally funny show that has a chance to catch on. Comedies have a long history of taking time to take hold, with examples ranging from “Seinfeld” to “Cheers.”

Similarly, CBS has reason to have faith in the new comedy “Mom,” which has been one of those middling performers so far.

Mr. Adgate of Horizon Media notes that “Mom” has two appealing stars in Anna Farris and Allison Janney, and one of the most reliable hit makers in television history, Chuck Lorre, as its producer. “That’s the kind of show you stick with,” Mr. Adgate said.

CBS might have already guaranteed hit status for “Mom” had it chosen to slot it on Thursdays at 8:30 instead of Mondays at 9:30, where it has had to face “Monday Night Football” on ESPN — as well as “Sleepy Hollow” on Fox and “The Voice” on NBC.

Any comedy would prefer Thursday at 8:30, because it would then come behind the powerhouse comedy “The Big Bang Theory” (also produced by Mr. Lorre). “The Millers” won that position, and the show has been rewarded with healthy numbers, while “Mom” on Mondays landed behind “Two Broke Girls.”

That comedy has seen its previous hit status slide — to the point that CBS moved it up to 8:30 this past week.

Kelly Kahl, CBS’s top scheduler, knows the business has changed vastly, but he emphasized how important it was for a new show to be able to draft off the audience provided by its lead-in show.

“The single oldest scheduling strategy seems to be the most effective,” Mr. Kahl said of the lead-in factor. “It speaks to how difficult it can be to get viewers to come to a show cold.”

That makes one show, “The Voice,” television’s M.V.P. (most valuable program). It has aired for two hours on Monday leading in to “The Blacklist” and set that series up to be a hit.

Its second two-hour play on Tuesday has lifted a second-year drama, “Chicago Fire,” to new ratings highs.

“What an incredible vehicle ‘The Voice’ has become for NBC,” Mr. Adgate said.

As for an overall assessment of how the early season is shaping up, Mr. Kahl said, “The take-away is: if you have anything that draws a loyal audience, hold that dearly, be a little selective and you better use lead-ins.”

18 TIPS for Successful Auditions, Job Interviews & Presentations written by Patricia Stark

Patricia Stark, a Media Trainer and Public Speaking Coach & CEO of Patricia Stark Communications Inc., teaches NYC acting classes at Actor’s Connection. Here are her top 18 tips for perfecting auditions, job interviews and presentations.

am_meditation1. Nerves? Inhale 4 seconds-hold 7 seconds-exhale 8 seconds-pause-repeat. Calms mind/nervous system, regulates breathing, balances emotions.

 

2. Broadway Tip: A student of mine from Mama Mia uses Bananas to combat nerves. Swears they are beta blockers & calms her before a performance.

 

3. Lay off the perfume & cologne. Smell is the scent of memory. You may smell like a bad one someone else.

 

4. Confidence Tip: It is not what we “are” that keeps us from reaching our goals but what we “think” we are NOT.

 

5. Voice Tip: The Larynx/voice-box is a muscle. The more tense the muscle the higher pitched your voice will be. Massage & warmth help it relax.

 

6. Follow Up Tip: A hand written thank you note carries a lot of weight in a cyber age of emails & texts. I know folks who save them in a file.

 

7. Prep Tip: Before that big meeting or interview, visit the location ahead of time. Know your way before the big day.

 

8. Confidence Tip: We can’t focus on a negative thought & a positive one at the same time. You have to pick. It’s a choice to think positive.

 

9. Performance Tip: If you believe, the audience will believe. This goes for acting, selling, persuading, educating, inspiring or motivating.

 

10. Australian Study: Gum chewing associated with higher alertness, reduced stress & anxiety, greater performance on multi-tasking activities! (but chew right before NOT during!!!).

 

11. Confidence Tip: “Confidence comes not from always being right, but from not fearing to be wrong.”- Peter T. Mcintyre.

 

12. Voice Tip: Avoid dairy products before a speech or meeting. Coagulation occurs around vocal chords & makes you want to clear your throat. (Also coats your tongue).

 

13. Confidence: the sureness of feeling that you are equal to the task at hand. Practice & preparation are the magic bullets that can kill fear.
 


14. Psychologist Stuart Brody believes the hormone Oxytocin gives a calming effect in public speaking anxiety. Sex=Oxytocin for up to a week!

 


15. NASA study shows spiders can’t spin webs while on caffeine – may be an indicator to limit caffeine prior to an interview, audition, or speech.

 


16. Performance Tip: Tension Headache? Rub your earlobes! This acupressure trick clears your head & dulls pain above the neck.

 

17. Motivation Tip: Ditch the sunglasses on the way to that interview or audition. Light stimulates neurotransmitters which increase motivation.

 

18. Image Tip: Ditching the sunglasses will also prevent the dreaded “Opti-indentus” – those ugly indentations on the sides of your nose.


Patricia Stark is a Media Trainer and Public Speaking Coach & CEO of Patricia Stark Communications Inc.
Her clients include: OWN The Oprah Winfrey Network, Bill & Giuliana Rancic: “Ready for Love” NBC new series prep, BET’s 106 & Park cast re-launch, Fuse TV/ Fuse News Team, Style Network, E! News, VH1, MTV, Logo/Viacom, Discovery /TLC Talent Development, Martha Stewart Omnimedia and hundreds of on-air guest experts with appearances on CNN, Fox, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, CNBC, Bloomberg, Nate Berkus, HGTV, Tyra Banks, A&E, PBS, & WebMD.

Patricia is a faculty member teaching acting classes at Actors Connection at the Film Center in New York City and has been a faculty member at the American Medical Association’s annual Health Communicators Conference. Patricia is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.