Box Office Friday with Lisa Gold

The Roommate opens today!

Hooray…for those that having a wonderful and supportive living environment, a roommate can be an amazing addition you your circle of influence in your acting career. However, if your roommate is “one of those” (you know…we’ve all had them at one point or another) that detract, deter and depress you, you know your life is affected in ways that stop you from progressing.

As a New York acting coach, I often advise people to clear their space to be able to be focused on the core activities and actions that will move them forward toward their goals. Having a desk that’s uncluttered, with only items pertaining to your show business career is imperative. If no room for a desk, then at least a shelf containing nothing but your headshots, resumes, acting related books, database of contacts…you get the gist. It makes it easier for you to concentrate.

Same thing goes for your living “space” where people are concerned. Living with people (and sometimes you can’t choose them if they’re family, oy!) who make it difficult to concentrate is an obstacle, but not a problem if you know how to say what needs to be said in order to have you always move forward and stay positive.

Tell your roommate(s), parents, siblings, spouses, “Hey, I’m up to huge stuff here and it’s simple but not easy, so if you can’t be a support then kindly just say nothing.”

If that doesn’t work, MOVE! I mean it…nothing’s worth more than having a comfortable “space” to come home to.

Enjoy the movie and here’s to your success!

Lisa Gold

Show the best “you”

A.C.: Have you ever seen someone audition for a role that wasn’t so hot but wound up getting cast in the role?

DALE BROWN: This is a loaded question! So many factors go into casting a show. It’s not always the “best actor” or singer with the “most amazing vocals” that gets cast. There’s chemistry. There’s look. There’s concept. I can say, there are many that give amazing auditions who cannot be used at this time. You can only come in and show us the best “you.” Then let it go and allow the team to determine what best suits their needs. Focus on the things you can control and release those that are out of your hands.

DALE BROWN just finished leading a 5-week Musical Theater Showcase.Click here to learn more about the showcase.

Dale joined Tara Rubin Casting in 2007. His current specific projects with TRC include on-going casting for all US companies of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and the original casting of both BILLY ELLIOT, THE FIRST WIVES CLUB and Des McAnuff’s production of GUYS & DOLLS.

Insider’s Secret Tip for Actors #3

By Tony Nation

If indie and feature films are what you want to be doing, make sure you’ve trained on-camera. When you are on set, most directors don’t have time to work with you and EXPECT you to be able to deliver the goods in the moment.  That’s why when you are in the audition/director’s session, your first take MUST be your best from the get-go. NEVER expect a second chance.

For actors who are transitioning from stage to film and TV and want to get the skills necessary to work in the industry, I would recommend taking: “inTREATMENT” On-Camera Class: Technique for Film & TV 4 Week Class with Roz Coleman, Film Director and On-Set Coach for HBO’s In Treatment.

Click here to learn more about Roz’s class.

Our actors continually RAVE about famed New York acting coach Roz Coleman and I know from first-hand experience working with her how amazing she is as both an acting coach and actress.”

For actors with film and TV experience, one of the best classes in New York City to work on-camera and to improve your film skills is our Indie Film Intensive with Casting Director Brette Goldstein. Brette’s fresh, upbeat style coupled with her years of indie film casting and coaching actors are a winning combination!

Click here to learn more about Brette’s class.

A word (or two) on voice over reels.

AC: Voice over actors definitely need a reel. But if he or she doesn’t have a reel, what’s a good place for him to start creating the reel?

Paul Liberti: I would like to clarify: it is 2010, actors need a DEMO. Reels are something we had in the 70s and 80s when they actually were ‘reel to reel’ tapes. That term ‘reel’ is going away more and more. If you want to seem current in the business, an actor does a ‘demo’—not a reel. I also have people ask me, “Can I send you my demo tape?” They mean CD but they just gave away how long it’s been since they marketed themselves as a voice actor!

It is AMAZING how many actors produce their first demo, send it to me and when I ask “How many other demos have you heard before you made this one?” The actor has usually heard few—or NONE!

The first step is to go to a web site like and hear great working demos. You can find any actor on either coasts that has an agent on the site. Listen to what is good, hear what is bad, hear what works and learn what is current.

To only hear demos that your coach has produced is shortening your sights. Listen to demos from the best voice actors out there. Pull up star voice actor names like Ruby Dee, Tony Roberts, Richard Dreyfuss, Demi Moore and hear what they are using as a demo as well. Those are the people you will be compared to. Not because you sound like them but because star voice actors are in touch with THEMSELVES and sound like no one else.

The same is true for you: tap into the truth of who you really are! That is what I explore in my New York voice over classes!! LISTEN! Learn all you can and be READY to do a demo when the time is right. Don’t just do a demo to get one done. That demo may stay around a long time, even after you grow and improve!  Know who your competition is!!

Paul is currently co-leading “Professional Voice Over Tune Up” on Mondays at 6:30 pm. Click here to learn about the next class he will be teaching.

Learn more about voice-over work by taking one of our voice-over classes in New York. Check out the tabs at the top of this page.

Box Office Friday with Lisa Gold

OK folks, this isn’t the biggest weekend for movies, but hey, The Mechanic is finally here!  I’ve been hearing about this movie and it’s stars for the past few months but wasn’t really EAGERLY awaiting it’s release. Why not? I’ll explain.

Its got amazing star power (Jason Statham, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn), a neat plot line (an elite assassin with a strict code and unique talent for cleanly eliminating targets with detachment gets personal when his close friend is murdered) and has had some wonderful marketing and now is opening with wide distribution. So how come I’m not going to see it?

It’s not my cup of tea…not a fit for me.

It’s so interesting as actors who simply want to “be up there on that screen, stage, little screen” that we don’t consider what the “end user” wants or needs. We are VERY concerned with our talent and what we want for our career but very few actors take into consideration what this biz is ultimately about — providing entertainment, art, enjoyment for SOMEONE ELSE.

This weekend I invite you to be the audience…forget for a moment about what you want as an actor performing in NYC, but check into what you want as the consumer of entertainment.  Be an observer of other actors great work…if you’re in SAG, don’t forget to vote as the deadline is today.  And the Oscar nominations are out…are you aware of who is up for the Golden Statue?  This is part of your job as an actor…being aware of others and where everyone fits (including the audience) in show BUSINESS.

To your success!

Lisa Gold

What are some good questions to ask a head shot photographer?

If you want to perform in NYC, you need great headshots.

Photographer Shirin Tinati has been shooting for over ten years. Agents from both coasts recommend Shirin to their clients. Her philosophy on photography is about capturing the individual and letting the picture tell their story. Her unique shooting style allows for a creative and  collaborative photo session by dedicating as much time needed to get the job done (one client per day).

If you weren’t able to make Tuesday night’s free Photographers Forum at Reproductions, here is some video of Shirin offering her advice to actors about what to ask photographers:

Click here to view past and upcoming events at Photographers Forum.

Insider’s Secret Tip for Actors #2

by Tony Nation

When you do a student film, it’s going to be usually for NO PAY. You’re doing it for the experience, credit and a copy of the film. But sometime’s getting your footage so you have something to show New York casting directors can be a pain in the #$%. So, my advice to you-get it in writing. Draw up a contract that you and the student director sign saying that for your time and effort, that you will receive a copy of the film by a stated date. When you have a business contract, it provides leverage. Believe me, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.

What makes a great headshot?

by Joe Henson, photographer

Acting in New York City requires having a great headshot, but what exactly makes a headshot great?

A great headshot is the perfect balance of quality, individuality, and effectiveness.

A great headshot works on two levels:

  • First esthetically – it looks good to the eye, even upside down. It grabs the attention of the viewer and pulls him/her in. Agents receive thousands of headshots a month. Your headshot has to stand out from the group and grab that agent by the lapels and say, “Look at me!”
  • Secondly, it has to place the actor within a context that makes it easy for the industry professional to mentally cast you. They should be able to envision you in specific types of roles. This actor would make a great romantic lead, that one would make a great villain. The headshot should be specific enough to define elements of your “type” but not so specific that it limits you to only one note. No one headshot can represent all of the possible roles that a talented actor could play, but an effective headshot can represent qualities that give a perspective for casting that actor.

Audiences take in cues from the presence of an actor, i.e. looks, physical attributes, voice, style, and they make judgments on who that character is.  The cardinal rule of a great headshot is that it represent the “truest presence” of the actor.  Photography is a visual language that opens a wide gamut of interpretation of a subject.  The best headshot photographers stick to the truth as “ground zero” for the basis of what they do.

Joe Henson will be a panelist at Monday night’s Photographers Forum at Reproductions. Click here to learn more about the event.

If you’re interested in exploring our full list of New York acting seminars, click on the Seminars tab at the top of this page.

Box Office Friday: Step by Step to Your Goals

In Lisa Gold’s nine step system (for actors, entrepreneurs and others), the process of taking any goal from an inspired idea to a tangible result is explained. This video contains the first 3 steps to this three part series. Check back next week for Part II.

What is your biggest “don’t” in the audition room?

As an actor, do you ever wonder what not to do when you go into an audition room? Here is casting director Merri Sugarman’s answer:

Looking for acting classes in NYC? Merri will be leading a musical theatre audition master class on Thursday, January 21, at Actors Connection. Click here to learn more about the class.