COFFEE AND FREE ADVICE, ON ME?
A LOT OF OF PEOPLE REACH OUT TO ME ASKING FOR ADVICE AND I FIGURED I WOULD PUT MY VERY LIMITED WISDOM HERE ON THIS PAGE.
ALSO ADDING SOME ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS… HOPE THIS IS HELPFUL
Can you help me Audition for a show?
I cannot, I’m sure you’re talented but you need REPRESENTATION through an agent or manager first.
There are no shortcuts.
10 TIPS FOR YOUNG FILMMAKERS by Donald Foreman
1. WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT. Don’t write that epic crowd scene unless you know there’s a festival happening next week that you can steal as a backdrop. Play to your strengths. There’s probably something unique that you or your family have access to that you can use in your movie. If your dad has a tractor, write a movie around that. If he doesn’t, don’t.
2. YOU CAN’T BEAT HOLLYWOOD. Tempting as it may be to try to imitate the style and gloss of your favourite blockbusters, let’s face it; the game is rigged in their favour. You can try, and your failure may be unique and interesting (or at least funny) in its own right—but you can also just do your own thing, and try something that the studios wouldn’t have the balls or the imagination to do in the first place.
3. STUDY FILMS. A lot of the mistakes that young filmmakers make could be avoided if teenagers actually just paid attention to their favourite films. Pick a movie you love and watch it with the sound down; look closely at the camera angles, the editing and the lighting. Watch short films on Youtube and see how an effective story can be told in five minutes. You won’t be able to match the production value of these films—and you don’t need to, anyway—but oftentimes the craft of good filmmaking doesn’t cost any money. You just have to actually watch films.
4. PUSH YOURSELF. Every film you make should teach you something you didn’t know before, and achieve something you didn’t know you were capable of. This doesn’t mean you have to go out every time and do something that you have no idea how to do. You should draw on the skills and techniques you’ve already learned—but if you’re not building on them, if you’re not pushing yourself further in some way, you’re playing it safe. It will show.
5. KEEP IT SHORT.
6. TEST SCREEN. Showing your film to an audience is one of the most important ways of figuring out what you’re doing right or wrong as a filmmaker—but that isn’t the same as saying that you always have to try to please the audience, or make a film that you think “they” will like. A lot of the time just seeing your film with other people in the room will help you see it more objectively. And if you’re still thinking your film has to be 20 minutes long, just imagine how long that 20 minutes is going to feel when 300 people are sitting beside you watching it…
7. DON’T NEGLECT THE BASICS. Audiences will forgive a lot of technical flaws in your film if your story is compelling, your actors are engaging or your jokes are funny—but there’s still a threshold point where the technical mistakes start to get in the way. That point is usually when they’re no longer able to clearly see, hear or follow what’s going on. So get to know your equipment, and practice with it. Learn the basics of shot composition. Do your best to record quality sound, and if that’s beyond your means, make a silent movie—there’s too much talking in most movies anyway.
8. EMBRACE LIMITS. The limitations of teenage filmmaking can often be discouraging. How the hell are you supposed to make a great film when all you’ve got is this crappy camera and your stupid friends? Well, the first step is to change your attitude. There’s an old French filmmaker named Robert Bresson who said, “Someone who can work with the minimum can work with the most. One who can with the most cannot, inevitably, with the minimum.” In other words, you should be celebrating the fact that all you’ve got is a crappy camera and some stupid friends: that means all your solutions to the problems you encounter are going to have to be creative ones, and as Robert Rodriguez wrote, “that can make all the difference between something fresh and different and something processed and stale.”
9. DON’T GIVE UP. If you haven’t failed at filmmaking yet, then you probably weren’t being ambitious enough. If you have, congratulations; you’re on way to becoming a great filmmaker. Just keep at it, and as Beckett put it, “fail better” next time.
Finally, the über-rule which contradicts all the other ones:
10. DON’T LISTEN TO ANYONE. Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman famously said of the film world that “nobody knows anything”; and it’s true. That doesn’t mean you should ignore everything anyone tells you, but if you’re really passionate about a project, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Make the film that you want to make—not the film you think people want to see, or the film your teachers or your parents want you to make. Most of all, don’t listen to people who say that you can’t do something, or that what you’re aiming for isn’t possible. I’ve argued above that limitations are your friend, but the types of restrictions that really get in the way are the ones that you let get stuck inside your own head. Who says films have to cost a certain amount, look a certain way, be made a certain way, or contain this element or that one?
Hint: they don’t.
7 Tips for Young Actors and Performers by Katherine Steele.
1. Train, train, train.
As an actor and performer, you have to train like you would for any other career path. Study ballet, learn theatre fundamentals, practice an accent! Get as much experience and training as you can to really build a solid background for yourself.
2. Remember: your vocal cords won’t mature until later.
If you’re singing in a middle school or high school production, don’t stress that you don’t sound like your favorite cast recording. Even they don’t sound like that in person! Not only are your vocal cords still maturing, but singers will always sound different in person than they do in a studio.
3. Do. Your. Research.
Watch as many shows as possible, read as many scripts as possible, do what you can to really immerse yourself in theatre because you can always learn from it. And if you don’t understand something, look it up! There is a lot of information readily available on the internet, so use it.
4. Focus on what you can control.
Spend your energy on the things you can control, like preparing for an audition, handling rejection, developing your character, or learning your lines. Sometimes it’s more important to focus on how you react to a situation than the situation itself.
5. You don’t fail when someone else succeeds.
Too often we compare ourselves to others, especially when we feel like they are succeeding more than us. This is far from the truth! Opportunities come at different times for different people and the right opportunities for you will eventually happen.
6. If you’re not good at something, work on it!
You can always showcase your strengths, but also pay attention to your weaknesses. If you’re rejected after an audition or you got a different role from the one you wanted, look at what you can learn from it and work on that.
7. Do it because you love it.
You should always love what you do, especially professionally. Fame and wealth won’t come for a long time, if ever, so they shouldn’t be the only reasons you perform. And if you’re passionate about what you do, it will show. Directors want actors who want to be there.
Every audition and performance will be a new learning experience, so don’t stress about the little things! Just be ready to listen to your director, your castmates, and even your own instincts. Break a leg!
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