Decoding Acting

Decoding ActingOf all the artistic industries, acting is one of the most prolific when it comes to inventing terms to describe oddities only found on the stage. This is hardly surprising, however, since so much of their livelihood revolves around playing with language.

Agent – Most professional actors have an agent. This handler is the person responsible for getting the actor in contact with film or theater companies for auditions. Should the actor be hired, the agent negotiates the financial aspect of the contract.

Blocking – On stage or film, actors are told where to stand, what to do at certain moments and when to enter and exit. All of these directions are called blocking.

Booking – In short, a booking is a job. When an actor is booked, they are hired.

Cold Reading – When an actor is asked to read from a script with little to no preparation, as is common in film, they are asked to do a cold read.

Downstage/Upstage/Stage Right/Stage Left – In theater, stage directions are reversed. Downstage means closer to the front of the stage. Upstage means further to the back. Stage right means the left of the stage from the audience’s perspective. Stage left means the right.

Headshot – An actor’s business card, the headshot is typically an 8×10 close up of their face that should always be a current reflection of how they look. Sometimes their resume is printed on the back.

Off Book – This refers to having all of the performance’s lines memorized so that the actor can recite everything without holding the book of the script.

Projection – When asked to project more, an actor is being told to speak louder.

Strike – The strike is what happens following the final performance or final scene when everything is dismantled and packed away.

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Decoding Modeling

Decoding ModelingTo understand an industry, one must first understand its language. Though most newcomers are slowly introduced to these terms as they work longer in the field, there is still a beginner’s hump to overcome where everything you read or hear sounds like it’s in an entirely different language.

Agency – This is a company that represents you as a model. Model Agencies more specifically represent models for the fashion industry while Casting Agencies represent talent for numerous fields and tend to get models other types of jobs.

Buyout – Occasionally negotiated before a shoot or occasionally already included in the contract, this is payment given to the model for the use of their photographs.

Composite Card – This is your business card in the modeling world. It is a piece of thick card that has at least two photos of you printed on it as well as your and your agency’s information.

Head Sheet – Basically a head shot (as is used in the acting world), this is a small poster with a close-up shot of the model’s face printed alongside the model’s and their agency’s information.

Model Release – Arguably one of the most important aspects of the job to understand, this release is the legal document that allows the photographer to use the photographs taken during a specific shoot.

Prints – These are the printed negatives of a photo or series of photos.

Tearsheet – Often required by media buying agencies, a tearsheet is a page torn from a publication used to prove that a specific advertisement was published.

Usage – Another legal term, usage denotes the fact that models are paid each time and for each medium their photograph is used. From magazines to billboards, the longer and more widespread the photo, the more the model is paid.

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Dinner Dash

Dinner DashIt is inevitable. No matter how clean we keep our diets at home, we will be forced to eat out at some point. Maybe we’re traveling for auditions. Maybe we’re on location completing a job. No matter, there is no excuse to not continue to eat healthy when away from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Pack Smart

If you’re truly dedicated to controlling your meals, pack food. Flights don’t prevent you from bringing meals and road trips are a free for all. However, because you’ll be away from your kitchen, you will have to focus on foods that are (mostly) nonperishable. For protein, tuna and chicken snack packs are the best. For carbs, freeze dried veggies are amazing. If you know you’ll have a small cooler or can bring a small cooler with you, refrigerated veggie snack packs will be a necessity. For fats, invest in healthy veggie dips, like hummus.

Eat Smart

Should you not bring food, you will be at the mercy of what restaurants are in your area. Luckily, most now do serve better options. When placing your order, you don’t have to study the menu inside and out, just choose those things that you know are better for you. Grilled foods are healthier than fried. Veggies are healthier than grains. Water is better than every other liquid. As for fats, it’s safe to assume that what you order will already come cooked in some sort of fat, so there’s no need to worry about supplementing that part of your diet.

In truth, eating healthy while traveling is not hard. It’s super easy, but it’s also not glamorous and can feel underwhelming when faced with all of those deliciously unhealthy choices. Remain strong, though, and you’ll have no trouble maintaining your look.

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Fall Trends 2016

Fall Trends 2016And with that first cold snap, summer is quickly giving way to fall. Alongside the changing leaves, the rerelease of classic coffee drinks and the preparation for the overwhelming holiday season comes this year’s fall fashion. Hot off the runway, these trends will be making their grand appearances over the next few weeks.

Velvet Vixens

Having retired from the fashion world for a while, velvet is on its way back as a warm, versatile fabric used by designers for chic warm wear, casual track suits and fantastic footwear. Though sometimes used as an accent, this year the material is making a bold move as a main piece in a broad array of eye catching colors that serve as a stark break from the typical browns of fall.

Nothing but Neck

From neckerchiefs to chokers, accentuating the neck is a must this season. Both trendy and a requirement in colder climates, expect bland scarfs to be thrown to the wayside as ladies everywhere adorn themselves with colorful, soft materials and beautiful lace. Many are even using these additions to add on to turtlenecks.

Off the Shoulder

Few things are more alluring than an off the shoulder ensemble as the weather ever so slightly gets chillier. Just warm enough to pull it off but still cold enough to require some warmth, no other season embraces exposed shoulders more than fall.

Pants Suits

Though the extreme angles of the 80s seem to be gone for good, pants suits are making a comeback. Allowing women to revel in the warmth of a look that covers the whole leg, it’s no surprise that such a staple of modern feminine power is once more making a resurgence.

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The Perfect Pose

The Perfect PoseWhile every pose is different for every model, that’s not to say every pose is perfect. Even if you feel like pushing the conventions of current posing to really bring out your inner fire on camera, there are still tried and true methods you should know about to ensure your bold beauty doesn’t turn out to be an disturbing dud.

Nurture the Neck

Your neck is a part of your overall beauty. When tucked away, we look downright ugly. Regardless of what you do with your shoulders, always make sure your neck is visible. Practicing elongation is the best way to figure out how to always include the neck without making it look unnatural.

See Past the Camera

The eyes are the windows to the soul. When people look at a photo of you, they should be able to see a fire in your gaze. To achieve this, though, you, yourself, have to create an intensity during your shoot. Don’t just stare off into the direction the photographer points to. Look at that direction and find an emotion to shoot at it using your eyes alone.

Keep the Limbs Out

When you hug your limbs to your body, it pushes the skin and muscle outward, creating a larger appearance. Instead, use one of the best tricks of the trade by holding your limbs slightly away. This will keep your look slim through optical illusion.

Relax Your Hands

Though given little focus, the hands are actually incredibly important parts of a photo. Keep them relaxed at all times. Ideally you’ll want to practice keeping the fingers rounded and never showing the camera the backs of the hands. Sides of hands create interesting shapes and lines.

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At Home Exercises

At Home ExercisesWe’ve all been there. As much as we want to exercise, the world is working against us, forcing us to stay home. When push comes to shove, though, there are always options. Instead of giving up, take on these bodyweight workouts to increase your muscle mass and strength while promoting a higher metabolic rate after the workout is over.

For both, aim to do 5 to 8 repetitions three times each with a 60 second rest in between each set.

Push Ups

The ultimate in upper body strength, push ups engage not only the chest but the arms, core and back as well. Start in a plank position with your hands wider that shoulder width apart and slightly back behind your shoulders. This is so that when you lower yourself, your forearms remain vertical throughout the entirety of the motion, reducing the chance you’ll inure yourself. When ready, lower yourself until your chest touches the floor and push back up to plank. If this is too hard, drop your knees to the floor. If that is still too much, perform this action against a wall to eventually build up enough strength to do a full body.

Pistol Squats

As the push up targets the entire upper body, the pistol squat targets the entire lower body, including the quads, glutes, hamstrings, abs and back. With arms extended out in front, stand on one leg with the other held out in front of you. When ready, lower your body down until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Push back up. Remember to keep the back straight for the entire movement. If you need help balancing, perform this around something you can grab onto if you start to fall, such as a door frame.

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The Reel Deal

The Reel DealEvery artist needs a portfolio. For the artist, this means paintings. For the singer, this means songs. For the actor, this means the reel.

The Demo Reel

In its simplest iteration, the reel is a collection of the best work you’ve done for filmed media. Like any good portfolio, it showcases your talent to take on a variety of roles and succeed in performing them. It’s your selling point. It’s your interview. Put together an incredible compilation, and you’ll find more work than you can possible hope to do.

The Making Of

Should you have a fully realized reel as you spread your acting wings for your first time out?

Not at all. In fact, on your first time out, you probably won’t have anything to put together much less build an entire video out of. Plus, because this reel will serve as a first impression, you’ll want to make sure that only your best work is presented. Your goal is not to scare off potential work because you figured your local car commercial spot was “good enough”. In show business, “good enough” is never good enough.

Instead, take your time putting a serious reel together that reflects the type and quality of work you plan on pursuing. For many, this is a process that takes years, but better to absolutely astound directors when you’re advanced enough as a performer to nail a role than to make them wonder why you even wasted their time sending them such a novice video.

As for length, make it as short as possible to get the point across. Most directors will know within the first 30 seconds if you fit the part, so create a reel based off of that assumption, filling it with only the best of the best.

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Building Your Acting Resume

Building Your Acting ResumeYour resume is a veritable offshoot of your audition. This list compliments the talent you exhibit on stage and also further emphasize other parts about you. It outlines your breadth as a performer in terms of play ages and characterizations, it speaks to your ability to continually land roles and it highlights any achievements that can draw the attention of casting directors. Even so, many an actor can feel more intimidated by putting together an acting resume than actually acting.

Format

If pressed for time, the internet is strewn with resume templates to download and fill out. These are great guides for absolute beginners as they have all of the basics. That being said, don’t be afraid to play with it a little if your skill section is still slightly larger than your performance experience section. Make sure the font is easy to read (black ink on white or off white paper) and keep it to one page. The easier it is to read by the judges, the happier they’ll be.

Substance

When filling out your resume, focus on relevant experience. While it was great you landed the lead of the school play 20 years ago, a lot has happened since then, and there’s no telling if you’re still able to carry a show. In the land of performance, the biggest and most recent roles serve as the best examples of your capabilities. If just starting out, fill in whatever acting experience you have and bolster this with skills that can be useful on stage. Dance, voice, puppetry and even juggling are potential ways to put yourself above your competition even if you’re auditioning for your second play ever.

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The Model Model

The Model ModelWithin the fashion industry lie a plethora of types of models. Because of this, virtually anyone can capitalize on their physical attributes so long as they know which type is best for them.

Fashion

Fashion is the pinnacle of live modeling and what many aspire to achieve. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most selective with the majority of models required to be 5’10 or taller and to have a thin frame. Once in this category, you might be invited to walk the runway, pose for a catalog shoot, model for editorials in magazines or be hired directly by a designer.

Commercial Print

This subsection encompasses advertisements. From lip gloss to tennis shoes, print is a bit more forgiving in terms of look as different looks sell different products. The options are as varied as the models are, ranging from corporate sales to alternative clothes so common online. It may not be haute couture, but it is abundant.

Body Parts

Finally, even if your main features don’t fit the ideal in the above categories, there’s always the chance you have one breathtaking asset, like your hair, legs, hands or feet. Not all runway models are gifted with photographic digits, leaving it up to these models to sell rings, watches, sandals, hair products and anything else that requires extreme close ups of body parts.

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Selecting an Audition Monolgue

Selecting an Audition MonolgueInstead of interviews over tables explaining your strengths and weaknesses to potential bosses, the acting audition is the monologue. Even with so much noise surrounding how to pick the perfect piece or how to write the monologue that’s sure to land you a role, it’s important to be able to look past this at the truths that never change no matter what generation of theater it is.

The Mini Play

Above all else, you need to find a monologue that tells a story from start to finish. Think of it as a miniature play that you’re the star of. It needs at least three beats where the last beat clearly shows a change your character has undergone since the start of the piece. Remember this if you choose to write your own as well. You need a solid beginning, a solid middle and a stellar end.

The Perfect You

As for age appropriateness or same gender, don’t worry too hard. Instead, focus on monologues that bring out your best. This could come from a character that is your exact opposite in every way – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re able to tap into your emotions and bring to life a character better than anyone else that auditioned before you.

The Subject

Shock pieces are not great choices. The judges judge you based on what subject matter you decide to share with them. If it’s offensive or full of graphic violence and sex, you’ll more than likely put off your interviewers more so than welcome them into a story you’re telling on stage. Anyone can grab attention with crude material. Only masters can sell the mundane as fantastical.

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