Mastering the Callback

Mastering the CallbackWhat is a callback?

In any performing art, there are auditions. These are where you put your best foot forward in the hopes of interesting the project leaders enough to hire you. When they end up liking more than one person for a job, they hold a second audition, formally known as the callback. It’s at this that you are paired against the other runner ups in a bid for being cast.

What do you do?

Typically there is no prep work for the callback itself. You are simply asked to return and then perform whatever actions they ask of you better than anyone else there. This is done so that all auditioning are on equal footing and can show off innate talent. While there, do what the directors ask to the best of your ability. Sometimes it will be complicated, other times it will be to simply stand and smile before you’re taken back off stage.

What can you expect?

Expect other people there that are all vying for the same gig you are. Be courteous and cordial to everyone there since you might run into them again at later gigs. Expect the judges to be curt and very straightforward about what they want from you. Expect that they very well may ask you to do something then stop you in the middle of the action. Expect to get little to no feedback in regards to how you’re doing compared to everyone else there. Regardless of this, never fail to give it your all so that you walk away feeling proud of yourself and not wishing you had done something differently.

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Working the Runway

Working the RunwayIn every art, there are styles practiced by all and mastered by few. Though often used as signatures by different models, how one walks down a runway and turns is also a style choice that can be based on the type of outfit being worn or the show being performed at.

Walks

The Crossover

Great for when you’re in a tight skirt, the crossover is not one to be attempted by models with poor balance. While the hips remain centered, the legs come forward and slightly over to the opposite direction, creating an elongated crossover of the legs.

The Grunge

When you’re in a show or outfit that needs big attitude, nothing screams “look at me” more than the grunge walk. Taking long steps forward, the weight of your body is shift from one side to the other to create a dramatic hip sway and even more dramatic steps.

Turns

One and a Half

Great for models that choose to offer the audience an encore, the one and a half allows audience members two chances to take in the look. At the end of the runway, you pose for the audience then turn and head back. Halfway down the catwalk, you turn forward, walk back to the front, pose again, and then do a final turn to walk back to the stage.

Full

Not as dramatic as the one and a half, the full turn, like the crossover walk, is one that relies on balance to pull off correctly. Halfway down the runway, you place your feet so that you can pivot around in a full circle before completing the journey to the end of the runway. Walking back, you do one more full turn before heading to the stage.

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Strong Resolutions

Strong ResolutionsAs the new year begins, so, too, does our focus on reflecting over the past year coupled with preparing for the new year. As you face down the end of 2016 giving way to the opportunity of 2017, don’t take your resolutions lightly. Instead of aiming for a lofty dream that’s near impossible to reach at your current level, plan smart so that your new year turns out to be one of measurable progress.

Be Realistic

If you are just starting out as an actor, don’t make winning an Oscar in 2017 your resolution. While a great goal to ultimately aspire to, it’s unrealistic based on your current skill level and situation. Instead, aim for something that isn’t so far away. Resolve to be cast in x number of shows. Resolve to audition for more types of performances. Resolve to practice more. All are doable and still push you to your dream without leaving you depressed next December.

Be Specific

Never be too general with your resolutions. Exercising more is not a plan. It’s a statement. Exercising three times per week is an achievable goal. While you shouldn’t be too specific, you should be specific enough so that the goal is something that can be tracked. This will then fill you with a sense of accomplishment that spurs you to keep going.

Be Ambitious

While resolutions should be achievable, they should also be lofty enough that you’ll need to push yourself to reach them. Success is hard work, and if you want to one day reach the top, you’ll need to make sure that one goal achieved doesn’t mean you get the rest of the year off. What it should mean is that you now get to move to your next goal ahead of schedule.

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Working Off The Holiday Weight

Working Off The Holiday WeightNo matter how much you promised yourself you would resist those holiday treats, your willpower broke. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, it’s nearly impossible to fully say no to all of those decadent sweets that make their appearances once per year. Fear not, though. While you might fear for your waistline, the extra pounds you put on won’t be permanent if you work hard to sweat them off.

Lift Weights

While cardio is often portrayed as the weight loss exercise, lifting weights is actually far better in that arena. The reason for this is that it gets your body working even while you’re not working out. During weight lifting, you are damaging your muscles so that when you aren’t working out, your body is burning fuel to repair and rebuild them. With cardio, the work only happens during the workout itself.

Swim

A mixture of resistance training and cardio, swimming is a little bit of both worlds. In addition, it’s the best exercise when it comes to preserving joint integrity. Where running puts continued, sudden pressure on the body, the weightlessness of swimming means far less shock even though the water resistance amps up just how hard the body has to work to move.

Exercise Self-Control

Finally, you won’t lose any weight if you don’t go back to exercising self-control in regards to your diet. No amount of exercise will help you lose those pounds if you can’t say no to unhealthy foods like soda, candy and burgers. While you might think of this as a copout, self-control is something you have to practice as much as, if not more than, physical exercise. Abs, after all, are made in the kitchen.

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Dress to Impress

Dress to ImpressWhile you might think you need a full wardrobe to even hope to have enough clothes for every type of modeling audition, the fact remains that you really only need one look. In truth, modeling auditions are not gaudy affairs. The judges are there to see the natural you in order to then determine if you fit the look they’re aiming for.

Good Skin

Before looking at your clothes, it’s imperative your skin is in order since, regardless of the amount of makeup they put you in, blemishes are hard to cover up. If your face is healthy and shining, it will come through in photos. Be sure to drink plenty of water and go light on the makeup if you wear any at all. The more natural the look, the better your chances.

Simple Clothes

As a rule of thumb, it doesn’t matter what you wear so long as it’s fitted. Keep the clothes clean. Make sure they are free from any wear and tear. Keep patterns quiet and pants plain. Dark, form fitting jeans and a simple fitted top is often the best choice. As for cleavage, keep it covered up as much as possible. If you’re aiming to show off your legs, stilettos are a great way to increase height and create an appealing look.

Controlled Hair

Like everything else, keep the hair muted. So long as the look is simple and keeps the hair from hanging in your face, it’s a great choice. Remember, the judges want to see what you look like as a blank slate so they can picture your potential. The crazier you go with your look, the less they can envision you in the idea they have for the job you’re auditioning for.

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2016 Winter Fashion and Trends

2016 Winter Fashion and TrendsWith winter arriving in full force, it’s time to start dressing for the colder weather. If you’re planning to look your best this year, here are the trés chic trends sweeping the fashion industry this season.

Hoodies

Starting with the most casual haute couture, hoodies are in style this year. No matter the material and no matter the design, it seems comfort is a part of this year’s look.

Velvet

Once out of style, velvet is now back in. Soft and highly versatile, velvet has reemerged as a power material that is being shaped and used for a variety of pieces, including coats, dresses and pants.

Metal Details

Though minimal, metal details are nevertheless becoming important aspects to tie a look together. Most are being used as clasps though occasionally longer, gaudier pieces of metal make their way onto an ensemble.

Pinstripes

Pinstripes have always been cool, but that doesn’t mean they’ve always been in fashion. Luckily, this winter is your year if you’re a fan of suits with stripes. Vertical or diagonal, stripes are in.

Chokers

Women with long necks will rejoice to hear that chokers are now back in season. However, it should be said that the most fashionable chokers are those that are loud and cover almost all of the neck.

Embellished Guitar Straps

For purses, invest in a style that comes with a big strap that is overly decorated. While the actual handles used to carry the purse remain plain, having the accent strap is a must.

Capelets

In winter, any type of covering is appreciated. Luckily, this year comes with smaller cover ups as well. While large coats will always be fashionable simply because of their practicality, capelets allow those in warmer climates to keep cozy without having to bundle up.

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Gifts for Your Model or Actor

Gifts for Your Model or ActorYou’re not a photographer. You’re not a director. You can’t offer your model or actor friend the gig they want. Luckily, though, both models and actors do need practical things that you can gift them with to help them get that much closer to touching the stars.

More Makeup

Both actors and models rely on good makeup for stage and film. Even if you can’t afford a full Ben Nye set, most have two or three things they’d like to add to an already large set they’ve amassed over the years. Ask them if they’re in need of a new brush or a special foundation. More importantly, though, be sure to ask them what brand, if any, since makeup can be a very personal choice.

Headshots

Like makeup, headshots have to be traded out regularly to capture the current look. While a good one might be able to last a maximum of three years, headshots are an investment that can really set an actor or model back financially. If you are a generous gift giver, headshots are a fantastic way to help them curb a big expense.

Better Equipment

Actor or model, professionals always have equipment. For the actor, that could be a camera or microphone used to film auditions. For the model, it could be a camera used to practice poses at home. Either way, there are probably a few things they would enjoy upgrading during the holiday season. Like with the makeup, talk with them about what they use and if they’re hoping to upgrade. In the end, it might be that they aren’t looking for upgrades so much as inexpensive add-ons to make their work easier.

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The First Movie Stars

The First Movie StarsThe film industry is relatively young, really only getting going in the early 1900s. Despite this youth, major movie stars arose almost as soon as there were audiences to fill seats. By the 1910s, Hollywood was already pumping out household names.

Florence Lawrence

Born in Ontario, Lawrence began performing on the vaudeville stage with her mother at the young age of three. In 1906, she was cast in her first movie role because she knew how to ride a horse. From there, the rest is history. She is now recognized as the first movie star and went on to appear in over 300 films during her lifetime.

Mary Pickford

Around this same time emerged Mary Pickford, born Gladys Louise Smith. Awarded the second ever Academy Award in 1929, she did much to set up the Hollywood we know today, including acting as co-founder of United Artists and as one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

King Baggot

King Baggot carries the title of the first male lead America celebrated even though he would evolve to become a popular name across the globe. Like Lawrence, he would appear in over 300 movies, but unlike Lawrence, he dabbled in screenwriting and directing during his time in Hollywood.

Judy Garland

With the influx of sound, many silent film actors felt themselves unable to keep up. It was in this vacuum of power that Garland entered and stole the world’s heart. Trained in the vaudevillian arts like so many early film stars, she was unique in that she had a contralto voice unlike any other. Able to dance, sing and act, Garland remained a prominent Hollywood figure until her death at the young age of 47.

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Learning Lines

Learning LinesMemorization is an essential for every actor, whether you prefer to perform on stage or in front of a camera. Many, however, also find this to be the most challenging part. Luckily, technology is changing all of that with apps designed specifically for line memorization.

Script Rehearser Free – Android

For those in need of a more economical script memorization app, Script Rehearser Free is arguably one of the best on the market. Once a script is loaded, you have access to a text reader that will recite your partner’s lines to you so that you can practice speaking back. You can even skip areas you know very well or repeat scenes that are giving you trouble. Like most free apps, there are a few bugs but nothing that can’t be overcome.

Off Book! – iOS

Another free app, Off Book! is a great option for the iPhone users of the acting world. What makes it unique, however, is its reliance on aural memorization rather than text. To set it up, you simply record the scene you want to practice. Once done, you now can add your own unique edits by either muting your lines, cueing your lines or just letting everything play through to the end. While the set up may take some time, it’s the perfect companion for the actor that learns best by listening.

My Lines – iOS

Costing only $1.99, My Lines is a tool developed specifically for actors. In it, the entire script is shown with your parts highlighted. When ready, these lines can then be turned off so that the script is still there but you see blank space where your lines should be. On top of this, all lines can be recorded to provide you with both a visual and aural means of practice.

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How to Learn Accents

How to Learn AccentsHaving at least one or two accents under your belt increases your marketability. Luckily, there are ways to learn and practice accents without needing to dump money into a language coach. So long as you can master the basics, you’ll have no trouble picking up new accents.

Find a Phrase

Actors enjoy a certain level of mimicry. This is the key to unlocking an accent. In order to put themselves into the mindset of a specific accent, voice actors have single lines they say that help them easily jump into a specific way of speaking. Find a line you like, mimic it and then continue talking for as long as you can hold up the accent for.

Study the Face

Speaking is an extremely physical activity. Not only does it require the inner workings of your larynx but also your lips, tongue and jaw. Once you have a few accents you feel you’re decent at, watch native speakers and mimic their facial movements. Do they open their mouths wide? How do they move their lips? Can you see any peculiarities with how they hold their tongues? All of these minute changes only add to how legitimate the accent sounds and looks.

Record Yourself Reading

The key to pulling off a convincing accent is knowing it so well it seems natural. To reach this level, however, you’ll need to actually be that comfortable with the accent. At least once a week, record yourself reading the newspaper or a book in your new accent. Listen to the take and note what you like and what you don’t like. The next time you use it, practice improving the weaker parts of the accent until you reach a level of proficiency you’re happy with.

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