BU Film School

Monday, February 27, 2006

FT 706 Lecture: Tuesday, September 30

Where to get actors
Film and TV office -- book of headshots/resum├ęs.

Find the money (perhaps $100?) to approach a casting director (be honest about how much you can afford). Casting director will go through headshots in files (picture-pull). Don't call anyone until you have a completed script and firm shoot dates. Be clear about which roles are paid and which aren't.

Other sources: newenglandfilm.com, StageSource, and Boston Phoenix classified ads (has auditions section). PK has database -- send role descriptions with movie stars. Also send contact info and when/where of auditions.

Be specific about what you're casting for.

Audition tips
Two ways to conduct auditions -- have actors read from script (PK recommends), or actors read from monologue.

Can schedule auditions (request headshots, then call actors and set audition slots -- more labor-intensive, time-consuming), or do an open cattle call (better to do two short sessions instead of one long one).

Reasons an actor wouldn't do your film:
-- bad previous experiences on student film(s)
-- disorganized
-- shoot dates that are unclear or that change
-- audition shenanigans
-- bad or incomplete script

Before an audition starts, chat with the actor and ask if s/he has questions, then answer them. Actor may ask for directions, say let's just read it. Feature film auditions rarely tape, commercial auditions always do (need lots of copies to send out for approval).

Give actor piece of direction (test communication).

Three acting unions: Screen Actors Guild (SAG), American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA), Actors' Equity Assocation (AEA). All are members of the Teamsters, which belongs to AFL-CIO. Unions guarantee wages and conditions, get their workers work.

SAG -- film. Older union, founded in LA.

AFTRA -- TV, radio. Founded in NY, when air travel was rare. Doesn't include high-end commercials. Cheaper to belong to.

Status depends on recording medium -- if on celluloid, always under SAG contract -- "ER". If taped, AFTRA -- "All in the Family," game shows, news, talk shows, soap operas, reality shows.

What about DV, Internet?

Two things that happened in past year -- SAG struck commercials, proposed SAG/AFTRA merge, which failed (PK's theory -- SAG is exclusive, AFTRA non-exclusive).

AFTRA -- got dues, come right in.

Two ways to get into SAG:
1. Get hired for SAG role in SAG project. Mostly commercials. Become SAG-eligible, must join before 2nd SAG job. Initiation $1200, also dues. Also happens on TV shows -- if say one word/line, get SAG card.
2. 3 voucher rule (which may be obsolete), for extras. If SAG actor does not show up, get voucher to take slot (to fill SAG voucher quota). Must show up early, plead with/lie to AD.

All types of SAG contracts. One of note for grad students: experimental limited contract. Limits where film can play -- can't be shown for money. BU will bond you (insurance). 100% deferral contract -- actors' salaries are 100% deferred -- pay SAG off completely if get revenues. % compensation agreement.

Public screening -- 3 days in row for $ -- get into pool for Oscar nominations.

Equity is exclusive. EMC points system -- get hired as non-Equity member in Equity production, accumulate points. Fewer Equity theaters in Boston, not as much difference between Equity and non-Equity as there is between SAG and non-SAG.

Repetition/responding exercises
Repetition exercise -- listening. Meisner -- listening/responding foundation of actor's work.

How do I feel -- at ease, intent, sniffly, trying to pay attention, a little anxious, shy, slight frown. Day getting better (unclog toilet).

Responding exercise -- what did you get, how did it make you feel?

Instincts are always appropriate.

Nate -- questioning tone, slightly exasperated, confirming answers.

Symptoms vs. causes. Toothache -- take aspirin (sympton), go to dentist (cause). Talk cause when it comes to actor's work. Facial expression, volume -- symptoms. Boy jogging knee (symptom) because needs to go to bathroom (cause). Symptom directions draw attention to wrong thing -- doesn't get to why.

Actors always talk about scene as "it" -- distinct from them.

Eraser forces tempo, physicalizes exchange. Send thing out, absorb what's coming at you.

Exercise is difficult because:
-- urge to tap-dance (being watched)
-- appropriateness/propriety

Private vs. public.

Mike -- laughing -- little bit of a challenge, maybe? hard to tell.

Acting is an emotional game. Person who feels the most wins (not person who feels the most right feeling wins).

Mike/CC -- confirming each other -- stating obvious -- getting quieter. Expressses frustration with "You're wearing a bandana."

Don't filter. Not emotion for emotion's sake.

Acting is not about the words.

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