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Casting
Woody Harrelson to Educate You on the Finer LSDetails of Timothy Leary’s Life

Woody Harrelson to Educate You on the Finer LSDetails of Timothy Leary’s Life

As psychedelics make their way back into the cultural conversation, from medicinal microdosing to having a great time during your weekend in Denver, the time is ripe for taking a kaleidoscopic paisley-patterned trip down Memory Lane to visit one of their biggest proponents. According to Deadline, Woody Harrelson will play Harvard psychologist, LSD advocate, and fugitive Timothy Leary in the upcoming limited-run series The Most Dangerous Man in America.

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Casting Director Arlene Schuster Teaches ‘Actor Etiquette 101’

Casting Director Arlene Schuster Teaches ‘Actor Etiquette 101’

Actors often hear the advice to be bold and aggressive in getting their names out there. But if you approach casting directors in the wrong way, it can be a turn-off. If you follow proper protocol with casting and get an appointment with their office, you have to know the right etiquette for the audition itself. And if you happen to book the project, you still need to mind your p’s and q’s. So how can actors put the right foot forward when approaching casting directors? Arlene Schuster of ASG Casting, known for “The Mole,” “Sons & Daughters” and iconic commercials such as the Capital One campaign with Jennifer Garner, sat down with Casting Networks to give her take on “Actor Etiquette 101.”

 

Lesson 1: Reaching Out to Casting

Postcards are a great way to connect with casting, Schuster suggests, and their messages need to include one important thing. “The postcard should always have some piece of information that shows you’re working, no matter what that means,” she remarks. Her examples of what kind of information is noteworthy include: taking classes with a certain acting coach or teacher, performing in a local play or booking a role on a show.

Schuster does not recommend that actors drop by to leave their headshots and resumes. “I really do not think it’s appropriate for an actor to just stop in a casting office,” Schuster says. “We’re very busy … it just never sits well.” She offers a solution for actors who may be having a hard time connecting with a specific casting office. “Say to your agent, ‘Hey, are you giving gifts [to that casting office] this year? I’m more than happy to be one of your runners and drop them off,’” suggests Schuster. She advises this way of connecting with casting during the holiday season because it’s not obtrusive or pushy.

 

Lesson 2: Auditioning

For this lesson in “Actor Etiquette 101” Schuster says, “I’m going to start with the lobby because I think it’s really important when you have an audition to make sure you’re prepared.” Being ready for a commercial audition, she explains, extends beyond knowing the copy and the product. Actors should sign in immediately and stay nearby, even if there’s a wait, so that they’re available when their names are called.

“That’s step one,” Schuster notes. “Step two is once you’re in the audition room, really listening … It’s like going and taking an exam like the LSATs or the SATs. You need to know the directions because you have x amount of time.” Schuster advises actors to pay close attention to instructions regarding pronunciation and emphasis. The final thing actors in the room should keep in mind is to treat everyone with respect. “I see people come in, and they feel like, unless they talk to me or [my partner] Justin, it’s a waste of their time. And that is so not true … If anyone treats our people at ASG inappropriately, they get a red mark.”

 

Lesson 3: Booking

“Once actors book, if they want to, they can send a gift, but it’s never expected,” Schuster says. “But thank-you notes are always appreciated.” She recommends including a business card in any type of thank-you note for visual reference. And actor etiquette doesn’t end after booking the role. “No one wants to work with someone who’s difficult,” Schuster warns. She says that working well with others includes reading the room. “It should be so easy for actors to do since they need to always read the characters.”

Schuster’s advice can point actors in the direction of forming strong, healthy relationships with casting. From offering to deliver your agent’s gifts during the holiday season in order to connect with casting to treating everyone with respect once you’re in the audition space, building a solid rapport with casting involves the full continuum of interactions. And don’t drop your good manners after booking the role. Your behavior on set reflects back on casting, so be the actor with whom people want to keep working.

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Wayne Roberts on Writing and Directing Feature Film ‘Katie Says Goodbye’

Wayne Roberts on Writing and Directing Feature Film ‘Katie Says Goodbye’

Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One) stars as a teenager in love in a small desert town in the indie drama Katie Says Goodbye. To make ends meet, she waitresses at a truck-stop diner in addition to prostituting herself to regular customers. When she meets and falls for an ex-convict (Christopher Abbott), the romance upsets the balance of the men who take advantage of her and slowly spirals her life out of control. Mary Steenburgen, Jim Belushi, Mireille Enos, and Nate Corddry costar.

Written and directed by Wayne Roberts, Katie Says Goodbye premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. You can currently find it in theaters and on VOD. Casting Networks sat down with Roberts to find out how he managed to assemble a luminous cast of young up-and-comers like Cooke and Abbott, along with seasoned veterans like Belushi and Steenburgen.

 

How did you build the cast of Katie Says Goodbye?

This one had a unique process because we already had someone attached to the role of Katie. I think it’s always smart to cast the lead [first] because it’s alchemy. We had somebody cast as Katie, and then we cast everyone else around her. Then three weeks before we were supposed to get on set, we parted ways with our lead. But then we found Olivia, and luckily, it worked. It worked to an even stronger degree of chemistry and alchemy. Olivia just elevated the film.

 

How did you find Olivia so last minute?

Olivia was presented to us by our casting directors Cindy Tolan and Adam Caldwell. They made me familiar with her work. I don’t watch television for the most part, so I’m not always familiar [with] young talent. Luckily for us, we had brilliant casting directors.

 

Did you have to recast the secondary roles around her character?

No, we were lucky that everyone stayed on board. It’s so easy for a project to fall apart, particularly if you had your lead walk away. But we had a great team of actors around us who believed in this story and had faith that things would work out for the better. And they did.

 

Jim Belushi plays a truck driver who has a sexual relationship with Katie in exchange for cash. It’s not a role you’d expect to be played by a guy who starred on a network television sitcom called According to Jim for 8 seasons.

I believe that if you’re a comedian, there’s also a great well of sadness that exists in you. In addition, nobody wants to be locked into just one thing. People also want to show that they are capable of doing other things. In this case, during the casting process, the agencies put together actual books with hard copies of the actor’s headshots of the talent that they have. I will always remember having a reaction in my gut, a ping against the spine, like a nerve, when I saw a photo of Jim Belushi’s face.

 

So you followed your gut instinct. Did you worry about the audience accepting him in a kind of role they’ve never seen him portray?

For Jim, I didn’t think it would be a problem, but I see what you’re saying. There are some people who have a public persona that’s not even the result of their own doing, but just the beast that is Hollywood. I wasn’t worried about that with Jim. I knew he would do a good job. He read the script before we made an offer, and he and I connected. He had a complete understanding of the material and of the character. And he wanted it. When an actor wants it, then you’re in the best position possible to bring out the best in your talent. I could not be more proud of the work that Jim did. He really dedicated himself to the role.

 

Bruno, played by Christopher Abbott of Catch-22 and Girls, has a past that’s never discussed or alluded to. All we know is that he’s been in prison. But there is obviously much more going on there. Do you come up with the backstory for the characters, or do the actors do it themselves?

Christopher is a good friend of mine, and I knew him before we shot the film. He and I had conversations regarding the backstory of Bruno. But for all the other cast, I put together a long, 15- to 30-page document of the backstory, as well as some potential things the characters went off to do after the film is told. So the actors have a wellspring that they can tap in to. They have a skeletal structure of who their character was beforehand. It’s their job to put the muscle and the meat and the flesh on it. They have some freedom to work with, but also a clear understanding of what has made their character who they are before the film starts.

 

Which role was the most difficult to cast?

The most difficult role to cast was Katie because of what was going to be required from that actress. I needed to make sure that whoever was going to portray her was comfortable with what we were doing. I didn’t want to cause any lifelong damage to the actress who would be playing her. She needed to be extremely strong because in the film there’s nudity and horrible things that happen to the character. Sometimes residue of that kind of stuff can affect an actor’s personal life, and I didn’t want that to happen to the actress we cast. Olivia is mature. She’s European—British—so there were no holdups about nudity. If you’re making a film about prostitutes, and if you can’t blatantly present that as it is without any sort of judgment, then you are passing judgment on the actual actions themselves. It won’t work. It’s not going to hold up.

 

Katie has many sexual partners in the film, some of whom she is with willingly, some not willingly. How do you decide when it’s appropriate to show nudity that often comes with sex?

I wouldn’t do nudity for nudity’s sake to satisfy the urges of perverts and teenagers. But if it’s a situation where you’ve just had sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you’re usually completely naked and having a conversation after. In situations where it might be transactional, you might not even undress at all.

 

Do you write with certain actors in mind?

There are things I’ve written with particular people in mind, but if they don’t do it, that’s alright. I will take no for an answer and move on because, otherwise, you’ll have someone working for you in a half-assed fashion. Generally, I write with no one in mind. I just don’t think it’s the smartest thing to do unless you already have a working relationship with that person and understand them.

 

How important is it for you that actors stick to the script during shooting?

The way I work, I want the language to be respected and stuck to. Unfortunately, I see this approach right now where, to add to the performance, a lot of actors use the script as a jumping-off point. It’s not a freewheeling thing! Those words are carefully selected for a reason. You change the word, you screw up the rhythm of it and destroy the cadence. You’ve got to sit down, do the work, learn the lines, and be professional with it.

 

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Richard Madden and Amy Adams on Nude Scenes and ‘Acting As Therapy’

Richard Madden and Amy Adams on Nude Scenes and ‘Acting As Therapy’

Amy Adams and Richard Madden are famous for on-screen virtue — Adams has played a crusading linguist in “Arrival,” a good-hearted nun in “Doubt” and a fairy-tale princess in “Enchanted,” while Madden’s first big role after the heroic Robb Stark on “Game of Thrones” was the Prince in Disney’s “Cinderella.” This year, both plunged into moral ambiguity as trauma survivors trying to solve dark mysteries, Adams on the Southern noir “Sharp Objects” and Madden on the British counterterrorism thriller “Bodyguard.”

Read the full article at Variety.com.

Essential Tips for Getting Brilliant Commercial Headshots

Essential Tips for Getting Brilliant Commercial Headshots

Commercial headshots is well-covered ground. After looking at a slew of headshots myself and talking/listening to countless commercial actors, there seems to be two camps on the topic: the believers in the power of the headshot and the non-believers. OK, there may be a third camp of actors who didn’t get the memo at all. So this is an attempt to convert the neutral and the naysayers and fill in any remaining lack of information about the importance of headshots. 

Commercial actors should never have anything less than brilliant headshots.

Brilliant? Do I really mean brilliant? As a matter of fact, I do. But what does “brilliant” mean? You’ve heard the usual criteria that the headshot has to (really) look like you, the eyes need to be alive, the shot should pop, etc. All these are true, but it’s much, much more. 

And why isn’t a merely good headshot sufficient? Because casting directors look at (no exaggeration) thousands of headshots per role. If I’m not taken with your headshot right away, I’ll never get to your resume, training, and skills. You can’t charm me with those, because I’ll never see them. The headshot comes first, and there are plenty of actors who have fantastic ones. When a casting director doesn’t know you, the headshot in most circumstances, is your introduction. 

Here are a few thoughts on how to achieve brilliant commercial headshots. 

 

Go with a top commercial headshot photographer.

Not all headshot photographers are made equal, and not all headshot photographers specialize in commercial headshots (which are distinct from theatrical headshots). When you want brilliant commercial headshots, you’ll want to go with one that specializes in just that. I won’t name my favorite Los Angeles commercial headshot photographers here, but I can say that most are booked several months out. Talk to your actor friends who’re getting commercial auditions. Find out who they shot with. Talk to your agent and get their preferred list. Don’t have your photographer pal take your headshots and don’t go with a fabulous headshot photographer known for taking great theatrical shots. 

 

Know what great commercial headshots look like.

How would you ever know? Well, my newest favorite trick is to follow the top commercial agencies on any number of media platforms. Often times, they’ll post a headshot of an actor who has recently booked a commercial. While it’s not a 100% guarantee, most actors who book commercials have pretty great commercial headshots. Take note of the aesthetics of these shots, and pretty soon you’ll have a solid idea of what to aspire to.

 

Don’t get creative.

Just because it seems like everyone has a commercial headshot in a blue polo doesn’t mean you should avoid it. If you’re a helpful Best Buy or Honda type, you better have a headshot with you in a polo or you’re going to be missing opportunities. Don’t strive to have unique or interesting commercial headshots for the sake of having something different. The unique shots may come in handy for modeling or as a gift to your boy- or girlfriend, but it’s not ideal for commercial headshots. Commercials deal in types. Your commercial headshots will have a similar look and feel to other headshots and that’s OK. Because YOU make them different. You and all the other actors with brilliant—though similar-looking headshots—will get the audition, meaning you’ll have to duke it out on the merits of talent from there.

 

Watch commercials, identify top types, and have a headshot that reflects each one.

Your headshot should tell the casting director how to cast you, specifically. What successfully conveys the types you can play have to do with your hair, makeup and wardrobe. How do you get the perfect Midwest mom commercial headshot? Watch commercials with Midwest moms and wear exactly what they’re wearing, fix your hair the same way and wear the same amount of makeup. Catch my drift? Copy what you see on commercials today in your commercial headshots. And remember: Don’t get creative.

 

Plan, plan, plan: wardrobe, hair, and makeup. 

Don’t wing your headshot session. Brilliant headshots don’t happen by chance, they come from thinking them through and planning ahead of time. By the time of your shoot, you should have watched a range of commercials, picked your types, purchased your wardrobe, planned your hair options, gotten your makeup/hair person, and had plenty of sleep leading up to your shoot date. These are too important to shrug your shoulders and hope for the best. Plan it out. 

 

When your agent says get them, get them—AND post them. 

I have to say I’m surprised this is a thing, but apparently, this is a thing. If your agent wants new headshots, you should get them. If you don’t trust their discretion, then that’s another (bigger) problem. Assuming you intend to take their suggestion, don’t be afraid to get their opinion on the specific types you may be missing or need to improve on in your portfolio. They should be in on that conversation! And when you get your fantastic shots, they will do you zero good until you post them online. So get it done. The longer you wait to take or post your photos, the more opportunities you’re missing. Brilliant headshots are essential.

 

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Casting in LA This Week!

Casting in LA This Week!

Every day great roles are added to Casting Billboard. Below are highlighted projects from this week!

 

Prescription Medication PSA

Rate: $500 | Female/Male, All Ethnicities | Internet

ROLES  Principal   GENDER/AGE/ETHNICITIES  Female & Male / 39-60 / All Ethnicities

DESCRIPTION  Casting experienced on-camera hosts for a short form video with ATTN.com!

Beauty Shoot – PUR Cosmetics

Rate:  $1,250 – including agency commission | Female, All Ethnicities | Print

ROLES  Principal  GENDER/AGE/ETHNICITIES  Female  / 20-30 / All Ethnicities

DESCRIPTION  Beauty Shoot for PUR Cosmetics. Gorgeous Female Model. Must have flawless skin, beautiful hands, and a great smile! Must be an experienced model – All sizes are welcome!

Ty Dolla $ign – Music Video

Rate:  $400 | Female, All Ethnicities | Music Video

ROLES  Featured  GENDER/AGE/ETHNICITIES  Female  / 18-35 / All Ethnicities

DESCRIPTION   Looking for dancers for a cool VFX shot. Actress to play an 80ft dancer using a palm tree as a pole for a Ty Dolla $ign music video.

 

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