Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Casting advice and self promotion as an actor or aspiring model

Recently I noticed this post from Jagger who runs a FREE casting service, ( I love it) of http://www.ActorsFirstNY.com & http://www.AffordableActingClasses.com. I think they can be very helpful for any aspiring model or actor.

Q: Are you a member of any industry or acting related boards?
A: Actually no I am not. While I do feel some boards are helpful I also feel they can be agenda filled. One of the negatives about the Internet is the fact anybody can say anything about anybody without responsibility. If I was an active member on such a board, I would be involved in many discussions & wind up potentially being pulled into areas I rather not get involved in. I am not in business to put others down and potentially hurt their careers and/or business. If there is something important for me to say, I get interviewed enough and I have this great group in which to do so & both are agenda-free!

Q: http://www.ActorsFi rstNY.com & http://www.Affordab leActingClasses. com seem to be doing more & more "industry nights", is that where the group is headed?
A: Actually we only do about 3 every 10 weeks at most, so they are not nearly as frequent as you think. Also our events are somewhat different than most because I actually coach & prep all my students/attendees & we do not just take the money & wish you good luck. I stay until the very last person is seen & will personally get everyone excited & nerve-free by the time they do their work. I coach & prep an hour before the event begins & will cheerlead or tough-love you right up until your one-on-one. As with everything we do check out the accolades and see how we strive to be different.

Q: What are your opinions on mailing headshots cold to industry?
A: The day of an agent or casting director opening up an envelope and getting excited over a headshot from an unknown actor looking for representation/ bookings are no longer a reality. Do I feel you should mail still? Yes, of course but you need to be a lot more pro-active than just bulk-mailing to garner attention.

Q: Do you recommend any other teachers/classes besides http://www.Affordab leActingClasses. com?
A: What I recommend is to make sure you MEET any potential instructor in advance before you decide to take a class. If you do not feel a vibe, chemistry or feel pressure to pay, I would re-think taking that class. Do not forget that you are the one paying and you are the one that needs to feel 100% comfortable in spending your hard-earned income. Talk to other actors about who they enjoyed studying with and if you feel that you might be interested in a teacher contact them and ask to meet them so you can discuss everything face to face. Outside of my one-day intensives, I meet all my potential students in advance to see if we are a fit. Word of mouth is a great way to find out who might be right for you ... don't be afraid to ask others at your level who they recommend & then from that point use your judgment!

Q: Lately it seems most free casting sites are inactive- how come?
A: I have no idea, but I know how hard it is to keep up so I won't slam anybody for discontinuing. I would miss this group if I stopped and while some days its a chore most days I get inspired by the incredible members of http://www.ActorsFi rstNY.com. If I get an email telling me of a success story, an accolade or sometimes the simplest of correspondence that inspires me, but I can understand if others do not have the time, will or desire anymore. Just be glad they were once active and that you grabbed a few auditions of them and be thankful :)


Q&A from April 22nd, 2008

Q: Who came up with the idea of a casting group with emails delivered?
A: Not me, but I certainly loved the idea & kept it going while others moved on. As I said in a few interviews, I began this journey helping one of the pioneer webgroups by moderating casting notices and looking for potential scams. About 4-5 years ago there were several active groups competing with each other & they either folded, became a paysite or a message board. I always loved the ease of having a free service that delivers notices ASAP in inboxes so I started my own group 4 years ago. While I followed the basic format of "groups" I did begin doing something nobody else was (as far as groups) & that was compiling notices to send. I take my position in this community to heart & felt putting in the effort of finding & researching notices would be a positive for both the community & myself & I was correct.

Q: Who do you consider competition for http://www.ActorsFi rstNY.com?
A: Nobody! A few years ago I was caught up in that but its way too petty to deal with. I had other casting entities go on the web & tell people how to unsubscribe from our group, make email addresses that sound similar to mine to confuse talent, post blatent lies that my student accolades were fake & then refuse a retraction & the worst was when one contacted a charity after Hurricane Katrina (our group raised money) to alert them I was a scam artist (I only have 8 years of charitable history online lol) & cost that charity valuable time & man hours (as well as money) just to find every dime was accounted for. I rather stay above that & put my energy towards you guys! Nobody has the vibe & sense of community we do & I could out the above people & blast them on the web, but why bother ... I rather just focus on us instead of "web wars" (lol)

Q: Are there really almost 9,000 people on http://www.ActorsFi rstNY.com?
A: Well ... I honestly doubt it. I know about a year ago YahooGroups did a purge of dead emails & I heard/saw other groups lose thousands while http://www.ActorsFi rstNY.com only lost about 100. I am sure there are people that just delete the emails because they do not bother to unsubscribe (the option is in EVERY email). I have no idea how many are actually reading everyday but because the group is run through Yahoo the numbers are publicly posted & a decent barometer.

Q: What does it take to be banned or deleted from the list?
A: Mostly spammers & scammers but I also killed off a few rude & disrespectful members.

Q: Where is the video link to http://www.ActorsFi rstNY.com 4th Anniversary Party/Event?
A: OK I made that one up but its at - http://www.ActorsFi rstNY.com ... duh :)


Q&A from April 17th, 2008

Q: Why don't you have a MySpace for either http://www.ActorsFi rstNY.com or http://www.Affordab leActingClasses. com?
A: I hate myspace personally and while I understand the importance of "Web 2.0", I really like the "non promoting" aspect & vibe of our groupg. Most of our members/students come from word of mouth and I like that vibe. We are kind of like "the little engine that could" & I think the lack of advertising & following trends gives us that family feel. When I find out that actors working on a set discuss what we do its an amazing feeling & I much rather the "you mean you don't know AFNY?" way if promoting over Web 2.0 ... I might be incorrect & was actually told I was, but ...

Q: Have you ever thought of filming your classes for a DVD or online/cable access broadcast?
A: 3/4 years ago my buddies at SceneInteractive came & filmed a class as an idea for a reality show. While it was a lot of fun, I noticed some students were aware of the cameras & reluctant to be themselves so I never went that route again. I also recently turned down another TV show about actors auditioning because I do not feel our "art" should be a "contest" with judges. I realize "Reality Shows" are everywhere but I think a class should be about the "student learning" & not about the teacher. If I feel anything will disrupt an actor in my class (that they "paid for") I will stop it immediately ... classes are about the students learning & not cool video clips of the instructor trying to look good.

Q: Why do you do http://www.ActorsFi rstNY.com if you do not make money?
A: Well to be completely honest, AFNY does make me money in a roundabout way. AFNY allows me to build my name & trust in this great community & that allows me to promote my survival jobs of teaching, etc. I do turn down huge money from businesses looking to promote because I feel over-commercializat ion will hurt the group & the few companies I do promote on a casual basis I really believe in.

Q: Will http://www.ActorsFi rstNY.com ever charge actors?
A: Hi, my name is Jagger & its nice to meet you ... NO!!!! I have turned down a few business proposals for that exact reason ... NEVER EVER EVER!!!!

Q: How do you choose notices to allow through?
A: Gut instinct. Last year we had about 3,600+ notices & I only had 3-5 suspect notices (as alerted by members - you guys rock) & I put that % up against ANYBODY. If I see a notice that doesn't seem right I won't allow it through ... its my right & I rather be safe & keep the % high instead of running up numbers to brag about "how many notices I sent".

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