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What is “IT” Factor in Actors

What is “IT” Factor in Actors?

What is “IT” Factor in Actors?

They’ve got it.

They’re successful.

They have that “je ne sais quoi.”

The room changes when they walk in.

I can’t take my eyes off of them.

We’ve heard or even said these phrases about talented actors before… but no one quite pinpoints exactly what that feeling is.

Well I’m here to tell you— It’s Energy.

Now I don’t mean energy so much as in bouncing off the walls, 3 coffees deep type of energy. I mean internal vibrational energy made up of two primary things… CONFIDENCE and POSITIVITY.

The energy of someone who walks into an audition with training, experience and a positive self-affirming outlook is measurably different than someone who walks in with the energy of desperation for a booking. That desperation has usually eroded confidence, EVEN if the person is well trained and talented. Both desperation and lack of confidence are also indicators of a negative and self-destroying outlook– and this energy will lose you the job before you even open your mouth.

Casting Directors are experts in matching the energy of the actor, to the energy of the opportunity. They have spent thousands of hours assessing the “fit” of a person for a role and a project and they weigh everything from the ability to handle the character with craft and ease to the ability to work seamlessly with the on-set production team. These questions have always transcended look and resume to include the ENERGY of the performer.

So you need to FEEL like the right choice so you can give off the RIGHT energy in order to book the job.

Well how do you do that?

Here’s a few tips:

1. FULLY PREPARE. Do ALL of your actor homework. Get as off-book as humanly possible. Know your backstory, intentions and immerse yourself in WHO this character is.

2. BRING YOURSELF TO THE WORK. They want YOUR take, not a second hand version of what you think someone ELSE would do/ Find a way to personalize the work and bring your own sense of uniqueness to it.

3. MEDITATE that day. Get yourself in the zone. Clear your mind and center yourself so you can stay crystal clear and focused

4. VISUALIZE your success. Have fun imagining what a great audition looks and FEELS like. Rehearse the FEELINGS. This does WONDERS for your energy

5.DON’T RUSH. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive and plenty of time to perform.

6. STAY POSITIVE. Keep holding onto the joy that brought you here in the first place and stay committed to thinking positive thoughts about yourself and your abilities!

Need help training while you do the important work of building up your IT factor energy? Check out our many classes and events at www.actorsconnection.com to help build your confidence and skill level in this competitive field.

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Untraditional Improv Practice for this Holiday Season

Untraditional Improv Practice for this Holiday Season

Untraditional Improv Practice for this Holiday Season

As we head into the holiday season, people may be seeing family– including those adorable younger members– the kids! I know, you’ve already graduated from the children’s table long ago and you look forward to connecting with older family members you haven’t seen— but don’t underestimate what time with the younger ones can do for you AND for your creativity. This holiday season, I challenge you to take some time away from watching the holiday specials and sipping your favorite seasonal cocktails to get down on the floor —- and work on your acting career. How? Practice your improvisation skills!

Children are naturally brilliant improv artists. When you watch a child play, you’ll see them effortlessly create characters, scenarios and voices— making them the perfect holiday scene partner! Little kids can turn anything into a character and any amount of random items into a game using a bit of imagination. Help them create powerful memories and feel great about their own creativity by participating in a little creative play yourself!

Little kids will giggle at the creative voices you are working on in your voiceover class and will love the characters you create using skills from your dialects class. They’ll enjoy your ability to build a story and have a great time as their contributions help or hinder the character of your creation. They will delight in your comedic timing (or help you fine tune it) and they will give you great insight as to what is important to them thru their own impulses and choices. You’ll both learn as you test your ability to create stories on-the-spot without the pressure of a teacher, audition or comparison to a classmate.

These cute little peeps understand LOVE thru TIME and ATTENTION. Give them both of those things this season and give yourself the gift of remembering the joy that exists in this craft for yourself.

Don’t have young family members? Explore ways you can connect with kids in your local area by volunteering at a children’s hospital or getting involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters. There are many kids out there craving a positive role model– why not help your career AND be a great human!

Looking for classes to finetune your skillset in the meantime? Check out ActorsConnection.com and learn from ANYWHERE with our large selection of online classes. Explore voiceover, improv, commercials, working on camera and much more in one of our many offerings you can explore from the comfort of your home! For a full listing of programs, visit:  www.actorsconnection.com/classes

Share your favorite moments of Untraditional Improv Practice this Holiday Season with us on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ActorsConnection

Photo Kindly by Andi Chatfield.

From Hobby Actor to Professional: Here's 5 Tips to Help you Get There

From Hobby Actor to Professional: 5 Tips to Help you Get There

From Hobby Actor to Professional: Here’s 5 Tips to Help you Get There

So many people begin their love of the industry thru school or community theatre and it just blossoms from there… but making the jump from hobbyist to professional is not an easy step for many actors. Enjoy these 5 helpful tips when making the leap into paid performance opportunities as an actor.

 

#1- KEEP TRAINING

The work of an actor is NEVER done. You need to constantly expand your skills and practice what you have learned time and time again. A series of community theatre or school productions does not equivalent real training with experienced educators. Find a teacher who is passionate about the craft that challenges you to be better. And don’t be the best person in your acting class… aggressive learning and training doesn’t happen when things are easy. Allow yourself to be in a classroom where it feels HARD!

 

#2- HOLD OFFICE HOURS FOR RESEARCH and MARKETING

Professional actors spend hours each day working on moving their career forward. I suggest protecting hours each day to do this. During this time, you should be researching industry trends, opportunities, potential partners, learning new materials, marketing yourself, tending to emails and more. You need to be an expert in what types of opportunities are out there for you, who you need to know to get them, and how to start building those relationships. This requires a daily commitment.

 

#3- DRAW THE LINE and PHASE OUT OF FREE WORK

In order to be seen as a professional and get paid for your work, you’ll need to get REALLY picky on what work you decide to do for free. You can’t expect others to value your work if you don’t. Giving things away constantly does not create a sense of value. I’ve seen this be a hard step for actors– but it is very important. Only take on free projects that could have MAJOR impact on your career thru connections or big resume credits— and even then— be really really picky. Do you need another role like this on your resume? Or does your resume already show you can do that type of part? Will the time you put in be worth what YOU receive for doing the project? Draw a line for yourself and hold yourself to valuing your contributions and performances. If YOU don’t do this for yourself, NO ONE ELSE WILL.

 

#4- GET PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOTS

Maybe your sister-in-law is a good photographer and does a fabulous job at your family photos– but that doesn’t always make her a good choice for a headshot photographer. It is very worthwhile to select a photographer who is experienced in this area. Notable headshot photographers have an understanding of what types of shots help actors get work and how to creatively obtain an organic shot from you. You should have a photographer who understands characters and storytelling so they can help you achieve pictures that clearly broadcast the emotions of the most common characters you can play. Headshot photographers also know the difference between a good picture of you and a good HEADSHOT of you. Just because a picture is flattering doesn’t make it a good headshot. You need to look just like you on a good day– not an over airbrushed magazine cover model.

 

#5 FIND A MENTOR

There are tons of information on how to go about the path of becoming a working actor and it can feel overwhelming at times. I strongly suggest that all actors find a mentor in the business; someone who is working professionally who has learned the ropes and can help you avoid mistakes and missteps along the way. As you go about your journey you’ll have questions about unions, contracts, pay rates and representation. It is enormously helpful to have a go-to person (or people) to help you learn professional protocols and standards along the way.

 

Looking for more help getting started along your career path from hobby actor to professional actor? Actors Connection is here to help you access the training and information you need to get to the next level. Sign-up here for a completely FREE program consultation to learn more about what we suggest as your personal next steps.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and learn how to take yourself from from hobby actor to professional, by watching our InterAct Q&A Webinars series with industry professionals. 

Avoid Feeling Powerless in Your Acting Career

Learn How to Avoid Feeling Powerless in Your Acting Career

How to Avoid Feeling Powerless in Your Acting Career

If you feel like you are doing more waiting than working in your career– well then honey this blog here is for YOU.

Actors are constantly giving their power away in this industry while they sit and refresh their email hoping that an opportunity or an audition will appear. Well friends, that is NO way to build a career OR live your life.

We see it in the dating world all the time. Someone waiting by the phone for that person to call or text. Putting all their eggs in one basket and placing all their happiness on one person. It’s a sad and lonely existence and ya know what it doesn’t prioritize? YOUR HAPPINESS and YOUR SUCCESS.

So if you feel like you have been waiting for the right agent, the right job or the right contact to really feel like an actor— read the tips below and take your power back in this career. Time to step into the Boss Babe role you have always deserved!

When you are an actor, you are the CEO of your own company and you should be working your connections and making new ones with the confidence of a BOSS. Act like a leader. Get focused and committed to your business with the confidence and knowledge of a 7 figure CEO. The successes and failures of the company are on YOU. So train, prepare, and work like you mean it.

When in doubt– MAKE and CREATE. Haven’t had an opportunity land in your lap? Time to make-one. Connect with writers or even write for yourself. Create a team and do play readings, short films, podcasts or even commercials for local businesses. You need to constantly be putting excellent work out there to help more and more people discover who you are and what you can do with your craft. Radio silence doesn’t put you in the right place at the right time so help the universe out! Creating and marketing your own work gives you way more opportunities to sync up with people who can help you get to the next level.

Research and Reach Out. Are you an expert on the type of work being produced right now? Is your brain a full-on encyclopedia of people who are working in the entertainment business who do work that you’d love to be doing at all sorts of levels? If not, then make RESEARCH your new best friend. Troll articles, postings and announcements for new names of people working on projects you’d love to get involved in and then dive down the rabbit hole learning about these people and their careers. But don’t stop there! If there is a project happening that you KNOW you are right for, REACH OUT! Offer to help or be of service in any way. Volunteer or help connect them with something or someone they may need. Get on their radar by being helpful and not needy and then keep tending to that connection until that person is a part of your network.

Help Other People. We mentioned this a bit above, but it’s worth saying again. We all have needy people in our lives and they can be exhausting. Don’t be one when it comes to your career! Offer to help friends and colleagues on creative projects instead of only just asking them to support you. Be mindful to be a giver more than you are a taker (also be mindful to set boundaries– you’re not an eternal volunteer, you are a person of value!). Being helpful is a great way to deepen relationships so your contacts will be more excited about being supportive to your success.

Live a FULL and Happy Life Outside of Your Career. You are not and will never be just an actor. You are a beautiful and powerful human being capable of all sorts of things so spend some time cultivating what some of those “things” are. Have hobbies. Have friends OUTSIDE the business. Spend time with family. Get involved in a cause you care about. The more you grow your holistic self, the easier it becomes to feel confident and happy in who you are. Never place your worth on any one thing. You are so much more than a particular acting job or a relationship. You are multidimensional greatness!

I hope these thoughts and tips will help you get back in the driver seat of your career and your life. You are the writer of your story and you DO deserve to have all the wonderful things you crave. Go on out and build the YOU that has always been hanging out there in your heart.

Take your acting skills to the next level, and learn how to avoid feeling powerless in your acting career by signing up for one of our online acting classes today! 

[Photo Kindly by Ian Dooley]

 

10 Ways to Prepare for Online Acting Classes

10 Ways to Prepare for Online Acting Classes

That brat Covid-19 is still throwing a wrench in your plans so you’ve decided to embrace learning more about your craft online.  That is GREAT!  Using this time to your advantage is one of the smartest things you can be doing as an actor right now!

As you prepare to put your best keystroke forward, here are a few tips to ensure that you have a smooth online acting experience.

  1. Determine what you want to focus on.  

There are a TON of offerings out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the numerous options.  BEFORE you go looking for opportunities, make a clear list on the skills and abilities you really want to learn.  Think about pre-covid and where you felt stuck and where you know you need to grow your confidence.  Focus on finding classes that suit those specific needs FIRST.  Not sure if the class is right for you?  Contact them and ask!

  1. Select an appropriate educator for your goals.

Just like there are many classes, there are many educators… and not all teachers are created equal.  Do your research on your school/educator before you determine they are a good fit for you.  Having a teacher that both challenges you and helps you to feel safe in your learning environment is KEY.  Look for testimonials or ask to speak to a former student.  This will help you zoom in on which educators are the best fit for you, your current needs and your learning style.

  1. Double check that you can protect that class time.

This may sound silly, but it is surprising how many people forget this step!  When selecting a class, double check your schedule so you are certain the program works for you.  If you are constantly having to miss sessions, leave early or arrive late, you will be missing out on important training that you have ALREADY PAID FOR!  There are so many options available now, there is no need to force a class into your schedule that doesn’t work.  You won’t be able to perform your best if you are constantly stressed about the time.

  1. Find a quiet place with good internet connection to take class.

I know… easier said than done… we’re working on building our career before we can afford our mansions with our spacious self-tape studios!  I get it– and depending on your living situation, you may need to get creative.  Test drive a few spots in your house to see where your wireless internet may be the strongest.  If you don’t have a pop-up background you can use, choose a space that has a simple clear wall so all the focus can be on you.  Give any roommates/family members a proper heads up that you are setting aside time to be in class so you can curb interruptions before they start.

  1. Check sound quality on your device.

Make sure you know how to use the microphone settings on your devices.  A teacher can’t bring you to the next level if they can’t hear you!  Many phones and laptops have great built-in abilities, but if you need a cleaner sound, think about getting an additional mic to plug into your set-up.  Not sure what your sound is like?  Hop on a zoom with a friend, record it, and play it back for yourself.  We’ll talk more about practice sessions later in this list.

  1. Optimize your lighting to look your best.

Consider investing in a ring light to help you achieve a well lit look no matter where you are in your house.  Getting one where you can control color and intensity is especially helpful.  Don’t have a ring light?  No problem.  Use strategically placed lamps to be sure you can be seen clearly without any weird shadows on your face or in the background.

  1. Practice using the platform class takes place on.

This will also help with your sound and lighting tests.  Hop on the learning platform in advance if you can.  Do a practice round with your scene and get used to understanding what it means to be in frame using your device.  Don’t have access to that platform?  Practice on zoom!  If you can record your practice session, I strongly suggest you do that so you can play back your scene and get a sense of any adjustments you need to keep in mind before you get into your classroom setting.  This is particularly important when you are taking class with VIP industry guests.  Even in a learning environment, you always want to come across as prepared and professional.  This business is all about relationships, and you want your new educational relationships to remember you as your best self.

  1. Write down any questions you want answered for the session so you don’t forget.

“Does anyone have any questions?” should seldomly be answered by the sound of crickets.  If you knew it all, you wouldn’t have needed to be in a class to begin with!  Think in advance about questions you hope to get answered in your online session and write them down.  Have them at the ready so you can be sure to squeeze out every bit of learning you can in every experience you invest in.

  1. Review class descriptions and prepare any requested materials.

Classes may require different prep work or homework.  Make sure you 100% understand any work you need to prepare for each session.  If you aren’t sure, ASK.  Proper preparation is KEY when getting the proper training from your learning experiences.  Don’t skip this step or do it halfway.  This isn’t 6th grade social studies homework.  This is your CAREER.

  1. Have a notebook handy.

If you have found a class perfect for your needs and your level, you will be experiencing lightbulbs of learning and little eurekas.  Don’t assume you will remember everything.  Take EXCELLENT notes during every class so you can refer back whenever you need to.  Each class you take should build upon your skillset, so you need to keep everything you learned in your brain so you can continue to climb higher, instead of being stuck in the loop of reviewal.  Keeping notes and regularly reviewing them is a great way to do that!  It’s also a very helpful tip to make sure your training is efficient and effective moving forward.

 

I hope this list will help you as you prepare to bring your best self to your online sessions this Fall.  Here at Actors Connection, we are always excited to help you make the right decisions for your training.  If you’re not sure about how to choose the best classes and online experiences for your needs right now, click here for a completely free program consultation or email us any time at info@actorsconnection.com.

Check out Our InterAct Webinars available on YouTube to Help You Prepare for Online Zoom Acting Classes.
online acting school

Zooming in on the Pivot to Online Acting

Pivot to Online Acting?

Many actors are drawn to performing because of their love of people and the thrill of an audience.  There is a kinetic creative energy that hovers in a room of artists that can be addictive to those who enjoy the craft.  Being in the same room of a beautiful performance changes you.  It alters the energetic state of full groups of people– eliciting emotions and reactions both expected and unexpected.  These delicate moments are unique, memorable and beautiful.

So How’s That Going on Zoom?

As an in-person school that made the online acting school pivot, we have to admit, we had our concerns about taking these unique in-class experiences and shifting them into the cloud.  Will the energy be the same?  How will the value be perceived?  Will the same amount of learning occur?  Can actors achieve the same amount of success in a virtual classroom?

With great relief, we can honestly say that online learning has worked even better than we have hoped.

To move forward with online acting classes and events, it required everyone (teachers/students staff) to focus on several pillars highly important in both acting and in business:  QUALITY, SPECIFICITY and GENEROSITY.

Communication has to be clear in online settings and that requires QUALITY.  Instructions need to be bulletproof to help those of all backgrounds provide their own at-home tech support to successfully access their sessions with ease and clarity.  Foibles in tech can lead to a lack in confidence for those on the sending AND receiving end of material.

This time gave everyone a crash course in how to optimize their virtual capacities and we saw an unprecedented amount of learning in lighting, sound and video quality among students.  For years we have heard casting director concerns about self-tape standards and I am certain that these months have allowed many actors to upgrade and correct their previous issues without the stress of looming taping deadlines and everyday life.  The ways in which this will serve these performers is limitless.

Clearer quality gives SPECIFICITY a front row seat during this pandemic.  It is vital for clear character to character communication and to successfully tell a story within frame.  There are things that are lost in person but are under a spotlight when you are face to face with a camera lens.

Every reaction is seen.  And every MISSING reaction is seen.  Every accidental facial movement is under a microscope.  Details are naturally encouraged in this environment and that magnifying glass is helping actors go deeper into their stories than ever before.

They are regularly realizing new levels of specificity in their performances from the constant practice.  It is specificity that is the hero of noteworthy performing and this forced focus for both on-camera and stage actors is serving everyone at this time.  Actors Connection has personally witnessed how this has accelerated learning for many students.

Rounding out our list is GENEROSITY.  When things get tough and EVERYONE is feeling the squeeze, there is a human instinct to hoard and protect what you have at all costs.  The entertainment industry decided to handle it differently.  Actors Connection and many of our partners and colleagues have used this time to focus on FREE programming.  With normal deadlines being halted in their tracks, it allowed our whole industry to hold a space of generosity that so many have craved for years.

This time has led to numerous free learning, training and networking opportunities that have never taken place at this level EVER before.  These free programs also allowed us all to get some risk-free practice in online platforms, helping to make our industry’s online pivot to be as comfortable as possible for both staff and students.  We are even happy to report that Actors Connection’s FREE at THREE series even led to several actors finding the right representation and signing contracts– even in the middle of a pandemic!

Red CarpetCovid-19 may have closed downs movie sets and long running theatrical performances, but it NEVER closed down the work of an active actor.  It set the craft on FIRE.  We expect that actors that used this time to practice effective online communication quality, get more specific in their craft approaches, and benefit from the generosity the industry embraced during this time, will soar to more successful experiences as projects open up and more online auditions begin.

When I look back to Spring, I remember the pit in my stomach as everything related to our beloved livelihood shut down.  Sitting here now, I recognize these months as an exercise in resilience and creativity and am grateful for the opportunity to totally focus on the love we have for our actors.

And just wait until you see them now.  They are going to knock your socks off with their new arsenal of abilities… and this next year of theatre and tv is bound to be pretty freakin’ impressive.

Check out our YouTube channel to learn why people love Actors Connection! 
online acting school

Take Acting Classes Online!

2020 has been a wild, wild rollercoaster of a year. Actors Connection has had to change with the current times and as an online acting school offers a wide variety of classes, intensives and seminars for actors of all levels.

Our online Zoom acting classes are being held Monday through Saturday with both day and evening programming.

In addition to our paid online acting classes, Actors Connection also offers on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm our FREE AT THREE series with top agents, casting directors and industry professionals from across the country. It’s totally free to attend these 1 hour Q&A sessions where you’ll learn about each guest, receive invaluable information and inside tips on the entertainment industry.

All actors who are new to Actors Connection should attend one of our complimentary New Actor Orientations to find out how to best utilize our services for your own acting career.

You’ll gain lots of information and advice on how to get started with us plus discounts and other special offers just for attending.

As an online acting school, Actors Connection provides acting classes that offer training in a wide variety of areas including: Film, Television, Theater, On-Camera Commercials, Voice Overs, TV Hosting and Commercial Print.

All classes are in a group format and vary in price. Our industry networking seminars start with a group Q&A and then you’ll meet with each guest one on one in the order of registration.

You’ll find the training you receive with our top industry professionals will definitely help you to improve both your acting technique as well as your online auditions and in studio auditions.

We also offer acting classes for children as well as our annual Kids and Teens Performing Arts Summer Camp.

Ready to get started, check out our online acting classes here.

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