Finding a Legitimate Agency

Hello Focused Ones!

Ashley here, a.k.a. The Fearless Actress, wanting to share with you the number one way to find a legitimate agency. If you are reading this post, then you are ready to take your acting career to the next level. However, there are many scams out there! Not everyone is out there to help your career. To cut out the foolishness, here is the best way to find an agency: NETWORK!

ashleyjackson_Now, you might be thinking, “Ashley, what does networking have to do with finding an agency? I want to be in commercials, movies, plays, right now!”  Networking has EVERYTHING to do with finding an agency. Need an example?

Back in 2013, I graduated from college with my degree in Theater Arts. During that time I had no idea how to begin my career. I foolishly thought my degree was the ultimate benchmark to my acting journey. This type of thinking is absolutely wrong! No one knew who I was and, most importantly, I didn’t know anyone in the industry.

Without wasting time, I searched the internet for acting and filmmaker groups in my area. I joined Meet-up.com and joined as many groups as I could. One group I found, Tacoma Filmmakers, hosts monthly networking events with accomplished men and women in the film industry. I took a chance on myself and attended the networking event. At the end of the night, I talked to everyone in the room and I listened intently to every conversation. It was at the Tacoma Filmmakers group that I found out about different shoots in the Seattle and Portland area.

Weeks later, I was at a shoot for an industrial for Kroger in Portland, Oregon. I made sure to talk to (and listen) to as many actors and crew as I could. Throughout the day, I learned more about agencies in the greater Seattle area than I would have by solely searching the internet. Whether good, bad, or indifferent, I heard it all! Because of all the information, I was able to make an informed decision about which agency to contact for representation.

Simply put, here are the action steps to take to find an agent:

  1. Network, network network!

-Find filmmaker and acting groups in your area and meet people! Don’t be scared. Get out there and become friends with successful people in the industry.

  1. Keep a notebook with you and take notes.

-Make sure to keep a small journal or notebook with you! The information you will hear will

be vital to your success.

  1. Use the internet to find contact information for agencies.

-Please do this step AFTER you complete steps 1 and 2. The internet is a great tool to find agencies in your area. However, the point of networking and becoming friends with people in the industry is to have support for your career.

  1. Be authentic! 

– People are smart. They know if someone is genuine and if someone is not. Get to know people in film. Trust me, you need friends to make it in this life. 🙂

There you have it! Networking is crucial for finding an agent. The entertainment business is a relationship-based industry. Get out there, make friends, and create your career. For more acting tips, suggestions, and advice, check out my site at www.thefearlessactress.com and subscribe! When you subscribe, you will receive my free e-book, 5 Fearless Ways to Conquer The Audition. Stay blessed!

To your success,

Ashley ❤

P.S. Special shout out to Tacoma Fillmmakers for helping me with my acting journey!  For more information about their group, go to www.tacomafilmmakers.com.

Ashley Noelle Jackson possesses many talents on and off stage and film. Originally from University Place, Washington, she attended Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts in 2013. Shortly after, she won Best Actress for her lead role in the short film, UnReflected at the Wait-A-Minute Film Festival in Tacoma, Washington. Jackson worked at KBTC Public Television and gained experience in TV production and hosting. She now resides in her hometown of University Place, Washington, but is willing to travel when the opportunity arises. When she isn’t working, Jackson loves playing video games, especially the Nintendo 64.

Advertisements

Using Dance in Film

FilmmakersFocus_700x700_UsingDanceInFilmI fell in love with filmmaking while collaborating on The Navigator, a music video for the band March to May.  I had to learn everything I could about filmmaking in order to make this project come to life and when it came time to shoot it, all I could think was “why have I not been doing this my whole life???”  Since then, I’ve been diving head first into filmmaking!

If you’ve thought about using dance as part of your music video or film,  there are a couple of
basic tips that will help make it a successful project.

For the Choreographer:  Let the camera be part of the choreography.

Like any other type of artist, choreographers are taught composition tools such as variety in levels and other choreographic tricks to make the dance more visually interesting.  When you add a camera to the mix, there is a whole new tool to work with!  The camera can add a lot of movement, so you don’t necessarily need to make the dance as complex as you might for stage. For instance, the choreography in The Navigator is extremely simple and 2-­dimensional.  This was intentional on my part because I already knew that we were going to be shooting in three different locations (including underwater!), and that we had planned a fair amount of camera movement.  I wanted a beautiful dance that wasn’t overwhelming or overstimulating.  It was also a stylistic choice because my inspiration was pulled from hula, belly dancing, and flamenco­ all of which are cultural dances that don’t require a lot of space.  That doesn’t mean you have to make your dance super simple.  Take a look at this dance film I made with DP Dave Patterson and dancer Abby Heil.  Abby is all over the place and uses the entire floor!  The dance was choreographed a looooong time ago with no intention of putting it on film.  It is more complex and requires more space than The Navigator.  So, we shot it in one location and used the camera in a very different way.  Which brings me to my next tip…

The Navigator BTSFor the Director or DP:  Study the dance like it’s a script.

When Dave and I shot “Remember When it Rained,” I really appreciated that he came to rehearsal and asked questions about the piece.  It gave us a chance to talk about things like what a particular gesture or facial expression might mean.  He intentionally looked for interesting movements or shapes and planned his shots to emphasize those.  Just like actors have words in a script, dancers communicate with a movement vocabulary.  What gestures might call for a close­up of the dancer’s hand?  Or eyelid?  What aspects call for a feeling of distance or isolation? What do you want to the audience to feel? All the same questions you would ask when reading a script.

For All:  Immerse yourself in dance films.

Youtube is your best friend!  These days, we have easy access to this kind of stuff, so there is no excuse not to study it like a maniac!

 

Thanks for reading, and make sure to watch for The Navigator Official Music Video being released later this summer!

Cheers,   Erin Nichole Boyt

ErinNBoytwww.VersionExcursionDance.org

Follow Erin on Twitter and Version Excursion on Facebook

 

How A Volunteer Gig Turned Into Big Money

FilmmakersFocus_700x700_VolunteerGigBigMoneyA few years ago I was asked if I would be willing to make a video for a local youth ministry called Thrive.  My initial response was no but then I figured since I had the time it couldn’t hurt to at least have something else on my video resume, plus I’d be blessing these people at the same time.  I banned together with a guy named Mike Trittin who was a leader for the outreach, Nate Ward who was production assistant and a young lady named Rebekah Parkhurst who scored the video and created the end graphic.  All three were great to work with.  The video wasn’t extraordinary, but it wasn’t bad either. (video can be seen here)  They loved the end product, and I left it at that.  I expected nothing and was fine with that.

A while later Mike, who is a realtor, recommended me to a client of his.  Bang!  Mike recommended me because he appreciated my attitude in volunteering and more importantly he appreciated me delivering a product he appreciated.  Mike has continued to recommend me to people within his circle of influence, something I am always grateful for.

Then Rebekah started recommending me.  She plugged me in with a local business group she was affiliated with.  This turned into some paid gigs.  Just recently she introduced me to her father who owns an e-marketing business called Greenhaven Interactive.  They needed a video person they could confidently recommend to their clients.  She showed her father the work we had done on that volunteered gig which was now a few years past.  This will likely lead to more work.  Potentially a lot of work!

In closing I will challenge you to do some volunteer work with the skills you have.  Help those in need and see what happens.  Give them the same effort you would a paid client.  Have a good attitude about it and have fun.  You never know who’s watching either now or later.  Worst case you’ll have another notch on your production belt.  Best case?  Time will tell and no promises of course, but it sure is worth the little time investment for a potential big return.

– Doc

Please follow Filmmakers Focus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

 

 

3 Tips for Holding Auditions

I love acting.  If I’m not acting I want to work with actors, hence directing.  Auditions can get to feel like they’re a dime a dozen.  Walk in, say your lines, walk out.  No wonder actors get so easily depressed.  Walk in, say lines, walk out.  Walk in, say lines, walk out.

FilmmakersFocus_700x700_AuditionTipsI was at an audition recently that changed things for me, not only as an actor but as a director.  I walked in and first thing that impressed me was they knew my name without me saying it.  Calling someone by name in any circumstance gives them a feeling of being appreciated.  We then sat down and the director and I spent a good five minutes talking about the character and his thoughts on it.  Then he asked me my thoughts and what I saw in the character.  That was exciting to me!  Too many directors put their foot down on what they want the character to be and aren’t open to other interpretations.  It doesn’t matter if it’s used, but just knowing my opinion was valued meant a lot.  We then spent another ten minutes go through the script.  When I left there were others waiting to go in but what I had experienced was more than worth the hour drive.

My advice to filmmakers is to do the same.

1)  Do your best to call the person by name.  Actors are people, not a commodity.  Treat them with respect and you’ll get the best from them. Promise!

2)  Take your time with the actors.  If you don’t have enough time, prioritize it.  These people are doing their best to do work that can be difficult.  They’re taking their time, often traveling a distance to have their opportunity with you.  It’s easy to keep the focus on ourselves and what we’re doing.  Put a little attention on them and help them shine!

3)  Put some value in their opinion.  They will love you for wanting to know their thoughts and they might even have ideas that make sense.  This should actually be #1 in my opinion because of the overall effect on the people you work with.

In closing, I got the part because the filmmaker appreciated my insight on the character and the friendliness shared during our few minutes together.  I’ll talk about friendliness in another post.  In the end, this business is about relationships.  Remember this and you’ll go far!

– Doc

Please follow Filmmakers Focus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram