Mariko Ballentine Casting
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$20 cash at the door (Adults Only)(No reservations required)
$159 (8 Actors Max Adults Only)
(You must check for space availability for the On-Camera Intensive)
|Offer Expires: Friday Oct 5, 2012|
Hello Actors, Agents, Managers and Friends!
I think one of the most amazing parts of the Summer Olympics has been watching the Gymnasts on the Balance Beam. I sometimes trip over myself just walking, let alone doing acrobatics on a piece of wood that is 4 inches wide! How do they do that? Of course they practice...they practice balancing.
|Balance for the Actor|
Actors have to practice balancing...career, family, friends, health and so much more. One of the most important balancing acts I believe an actor must address is the balance between their heart & mind.
Yes the actor has to use their mind...this is, after all, a "Business". But one thing that I often notice about many actors, is that they think too much!
It's very easy for the actor to get into their head...waiting in the lobby and playing casting director, "Oh, that actor over there would be perfect!" Once they get into the room, if they are not greeted warmly, "The CD doesn't like me." When given some direction, "What do they mean?" And just in general, "I want to get it RIGHT!" Your head is the worst place to be, especially at an audition, which in the land of commercials may very well be the only performance you get!
There is a time and a place for thinking vs feeling. One of the ways an actor can "get out of their head" has to do with why they are in this business to begin with. What motivates an actor to become an actor?
|What Motivates You?|
In Daniel Pink's book, "DRIVE" he writes about motivation. Here is his TED conversation to give you a small taste of his wonderful book.
There are so many wonderful concepts to address in this book, but one that I connect to actors, is the concept of Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation.
Traditionally speaking, this is a world of extrinsic motivators. In our entertainment business this can be particularly true, and my belief is that those extrinsic motivators often zap actors of their creative juices, trap them in their head, and lead many Hollywood projects on the road to mediocrity.
One of the biggest and strongest extrinsic motivators for actors is: money. People might think that actors make a lot of money, but that's only a small percentage of actors. Most actors do not make a lot of money, most actors have to do something else in order to be able to afford to be an actor.
There is nothing more crippling to an actor than the fear of economic insecurity. Extrinsic motivators like fame & fortune are the exact thing that make an actor less creative, less willing to take risks, and more fearful of making the "wrong" choices.
|Emphasize the Intrinsic|
In a nutshell:
-Be sure to have that flexible job that allows you to audition. This job will hopefully pay your bills, and steer you away from economic insecurity.
-Without the desperation of "having to book", you can stop trying to guess what everyone else wants and be true to your own UNIQUE self.
-Emphasize your Intrinsic rewards.
If the actor looks inward for their rewards...(INSIDE of themselves, instead of OUTSIDE of themselves), then I believe they will access more of their creativity, have more fun, be less in their heads and be more in their flow*. The irony? The potential of more Extrinsic rewards!
Learn more about about how to Shift Your Perceptions about Auditioning at my Friday Night Seminar! Then put that into action at my Saturday On-Camera Intensive!
Please Share with Others!
Mariko Ballentine Casting
JUNE 20, 2012
Making Meaningful Connections when Networking
|Greetings Actors, Agents, Managers and Friends!|
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the CalCPA Young and Emerging Professionals event at the Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery. CalCPA is a professional organization of certified public accounts, and I spoke on the subject of "Making Meaningful Connections When Networking."
I think many of the CPAs started off rather curious as to why a commercial casting director was the speaker for this event, and you might be too! I'd like to share with you a summary of what I spoke about because I think that making "Meaningful Connections" is a very large part of what we do in our industry!
|From Mariko Ballentine Casting Summer Time|
Greetings Actors, Agents, Managers & Friends!
I had the pleasure of talking with one of my favorite agent friends yesterday. He told me that his agency always suggests to their roster to take the summer as the time to brush up, learn new things and improve their acting skills. He also mentioned a concern that some of his actors have expressed to him recently, and this is what I address today!
|ARGH! I Had to Audition with a Jerk!|
Frequently I get the question from an actor: "What do I do if I am in a group of actors, and given the direction to be friends for a particular audition, and one of those actors is a jerk who wants attention or is just plain inexperienced?
Sometimes the CD or the camera operator will notice the imbalance and make an adjustment. If not there are a few options!
The impulse might be to retreat...you feel almost embarrassed to be auditioning with someone who is coming across as a scene stealer, someone who has never learned the art of "give and take" in improv.
What happens in this case, is you cut off your nose to spite your face! You practically disappear in the eyes of the clients. You end up throwing the baby out with the bath water! (As you can tell I love idioms!) You've basically just thrown your audition.
On the other hand, you might start to unwittingly compete with the loose cannon, and then the entire scene gets completely out of control. You weren't even consciously wanting to compete...it's like being at an "All You Can Eat Buffet" and people start pushing, just a little, and you start edging yourself in to prove that you know how to keep up! And you walk out of the audition feeling "dirty" like you just participated in an orgy of sorts...eek!
Here's my suggestion:
Stay in character, stay truthful to the scenario and do NOT judge.
For example: You are in the audition room with 3 or 4 other actors. The CD tells you: "You are all friends having a good time at Disneyland, the camera is Main Street...go!" You and two other actors start to slowly get into the scene and create quick little relationships and begin to address the various characters at the camera. Meanwhile "Mr I Want to Make an Impression", is already jumping up and down screaming, "Mickey!!! Over here!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!"
1-Stay in character...you are almost always YOU at a commercial audition...under various situations, but almost always YOU.
2-Stay truthful to the scenario...you have been told by the CD that you are 4 "FRIENDS" having a good time...
3-Do not JUDGE! This is where it gets a little challenging...our egos get involved...you want to tell the other "actor" to knock it off, but remember, you are FRIENDS! Your eyes start darting as if to telegraph to the other actors and especially to the CD..."I don't know this guy!" But you do! You are Friends!
Don't we all have a friend or two that is obnoxious? The one that wears the lampshade on his head at parties? The one that drinks just a little too much, talks a little too loud, and has an opinion about everything!? That's your friend. And yet you still socialize with them, and actually kind of like them when push comes to shove. There might even be a time or two where you step up to the plate to save them from themselves...and that's what you do at auditions as well.
I'm not saying it's your responsibility to "save" another actor from their own worst enemy, I am saying don't judge them. You have no idea what the client is looking for. Yes, I agree with you...in a perfect world of perfect actors and auditions, everyone would be relatively skilled in the art of improvisation as well as in cold readings. But it's not a perfect world and especially in our chosen field, we must embrace the unexpected!
|But What I Really Want to Know...|
Is my audition even looked at when I audition with an actor that is totally unable to take the simplest direction?
-In the land of commercials it's 90% your "look".
-Nobody knows what anyone wants, until they see it.
-You might be a brilliant actor, your partner might be totally inept and she gets a call back because of her ineptness (and her look) and you don't. Not because of the skill level of the scene, but just "because".
-We might not always act as if we love you, but if your "look" and your "vibe" is possibly right, you most likely will get a call back.
-Frequently on call backs, when the paring is not "equal" the preferred actor is held to work with another more appropriate partner.
-In a sense, the cream will rise to the top!
-You will help yourself immensely if you remember to keep your sense of humor, and take care of your side of the street without judging your neighbors.
|My Seminars & Intensives|
It just so happens I have a lot going on this summer!
I'm just finishing up with casting for the Pechanga Resort & Casino, lots of terrific talent, thank you!
JUNE 13th I am speaking at the Cal-CPA YEP Networking Event!(Only for Cal-CPA members)
JUNE 16th I will be teaching a Parent & Kid workshop for the Asian Community, kids ages 4-8 and 9-12
Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to others!
Mariko Ballentine Casting