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The Power Of Inspiration

photo(1)L-R Anne Hubbel, Tiffany Shlain, Rose McGowan, Mamrie Hart, Kamal Sinclair

By Marci Liroff

In my last column, I wrote about how my film, “The Sublime and Beautiful,” made its world premiere at this year’s 20th annual Slamdance Film Festival. Slamdance started as a ragtag festival running simultaneous with the Sundance Film Festival, and features emerging talent in films made for under $1 million. While I was there, I tried (to no avail!) to get into screenings at Sundance, but tickets are at a premium and mostly sold out—or you stand in a long line outside in the cold, only to be turned away. But then I discovered the panels! The panels at both film festivals were eye-opening. Beyond being there for my film, I found my true reason for being there: inspiration!

Inspiration can sometimes be an elusive thing, but when it strikes, it’s so powerful that you just know you’re on the right path.

The Women in Film panel at Sundance was especially inspiring. Anne Hubbell from Tangerine Entertainment moderated, with guest speakers Tiffany Shlain (founder of the Webby Awards), YouTube sensation Mamrie Hart, actor Rose McGowan (at Sundance with the short film she directed, “Dawn”), and Kamal Sinclair, senior manager of the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Story Lab.

One of the themes repeatedly discussed was “community supporting community,” and the notion that you should not wait to be asked to the party by looking for permission to create. There are so many different ways to “crack the nut” to launch your projects, whether it be in film, television, Web series, or theater. Whatever your art is, surround yourself with advocates, put together your team of like-minded, incredibly talented, and creative people, look for your mentors, and keep your eyes open for your inspiration.

A Slamdance panel discussing short-form content had Chad Hurley (the co-founder of a little thing called YouTube!) and brothers Joe and Anthony Russo, who were at Slamdance in 1997 with “Pieces,” before Steven Soderbergh hired them to direct George Clooney’s “Welcome To Collinwood.” They then directed the pilot of “Arrested Development,” became executive producers–directors on NBC’s “Community,” and most recently co-directed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

In this panel, they talked a lot about how short-form content (i.e., Vine videos, short films) can be a “point of access” to decision makers. Joe Russo says his daughter doesn’t watch comedy TV the way we used to. Now she watches Vine videos for an hour and laughs hysterically to get her “hit” of comedy. He mentioned Vine star Rudy Mancuso as a good example of how you can be discovered, “because somebody like me sits in an office, laughs, and says, ‘Find this guy.’ ” They liked him so much, they contacted him about doing a project, all from watching his six-second videos! I wondered if all this short-form content was fostering short attention spans in the viewers. I think our brains, especially in the younger folks, are actually being rewired to only be able to view and retain short-form content.

The Russo brothers suggested that if you’re a filmmaker, you should have scripts ready so that when you get the opportunity, you actually have content to show. Decide what kind of career you want and use the question, “What do you want to be doing in five years?” to reframe your thinking and choose your path.

So I ask you: What do you want to be doing in five years, and how are you going to get there?

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

Glad you’re here.

Marci

WHY TABLE READS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS AUDITIONS

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By Marci Liroff

I’ve seen actors win big at the table read, and I’ve also seen them get fired. It can be an exhilarating and dangerous place.

A table read is when actors sit around tables in a large room (or sometimes your living room!) and read through the script aloud. Each person plays a different role, and sometimes they play several roles. We have table reads for a few different reasons. When we’re trying to get the project off the ground, we invite investors and put together our favorite actors to help sell the material. Sometimes the writers and the creative team need the screenplay read so that they can hear how it plays. They often invite other writers so that they can discuss it after and do a “punch-up” for dialogue or for comedy. When I’m casting a feature film or television project, we invite the newly cast actors to a table read for the creative team, along with the studio and network executives. These readings can be very scary for the actor—even if she’s already been cast.

Years ago we had an all-star table read with the main actors, a superstar producer, the president of the studio, and all the executives, along with our director and writer. The hot young love interest of our lead female actor arrived wearing a baseball cap slung low over his eyes. I knew that he was somewhat new to this experience, so I suggested that he take off his cap when we did the reading so that we could see his face. Our director also told him to take off his cap and spoke to each actor to make sure they acted at “performance” level during the read-through. Our producer had some of the best weekly read-throughs on his series, so we knew his expectations would be huge.

Sure enough, our guy didn’t heed our advice, kept his hat on, and mumbled through the script at half-volume. Not only could you not hear him, he was basically just reading the lines—no intention or character choices. I think fear gripped him. Sadly, I knew he’d be replaced by the end of the day and started going through my mental Rolodex for choices to cast instead. As I suspected, the producer and director came up to me afterward and asked me with whom we’d replace him.

Another actor I asked to help us out at a table read made disparaging comments about the material in front of the writers, studio executives, and producers. She was not asked back and will most likely never be hired there again.

On another film, we weren’t fully cast but we staged a table read to hear if the material was working, using all the actors we had cast thus far. It was voiceover for animation, and one role was particularly difficult to cast. I knew we weren’t going to persuade the actor I wanted to audition for the part; I couldn’t get the studio to just make him a straight offer. I convinced the actor and his agent to take a leap of faith and help us out with our table read—knowing that if everyone liked him he would probably end up getting the part. Sure enough, he was brilliant and they offered him the role.

So many things can be tricky on a film. You always want to serve the material and be your very best. You never know.

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

Please share your comments/stories on table reads. We’d love to hear your experiences

Glad you’re here – Marci

AUDITION BOOTCAMP ONLINE COURSE IS HERE!

“How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp” is now online!

 

Hey gang, Happy Holidays! I wanted to let you in on a special limited time offer on a new online course I’ve created. Thousands of people have bought my Audition Bootcamp DVD and many have asked me to put it online.

Are you a really well trained actor, but you seem to stumble when it comes to auditioning?!

Or, are you just starting out and need a road map to navigate the slippery slopes in Hollywood?

How would you like a VIP pass to learn casting secrets on booking more acting jobs from one of the top Casting Directors?

Based on my top-selling DVD, Marci Liroff’s Audition Bootcamp, I created a one-of-a-kind online class to help actors learn exactly what it takes to win the role in a film and television audition. I’ll take you step by step on the audition process.

This is a must have for any actor! The online course is designed to provide a clear perspective of acting and auditioning from the business end to the creative side. From my over 35 years as a casting director and producer, I will give you insider secrets such as:

  • Audition techniques that will make them remember you
  • Re-framing your perspective to book more jobs
  • On-camera technique to show that you’re a pro
  • Essential knowledge into the competitive world of auditioning from the point of view of directors, producers, studio executives and casting directors.
  • Easy-to-follow video clips take you through the process from preparation, what you should be doing in the audition room (and what not to do!), and your all-important mindset before, during and after the audition.
  • As an added bonus, several of my blog articles are included throughout to highlight the course.

Competition is huge in this business – this course will give you the edge over other actors.

I know you’re all being sold gimmicks and tools and shortcuts to “Get on the red carpet” and “Get on the A-List”…frankly I don’t think that should be your goal. If all you’re seeking is fame, then you’re probably in it for the wrong reasons.

I believe, and I think you do too, that you’re an artist – a storyteller. You want to be on stage and on screen because you have a story to share and characters to embody.

“Your audition should not feel like a visit to the doctor! It is your time to show us what you’ve got. I will help you feel more in your body than you’ve ever felt before.” – Marci Liroff

Read what people are saying about Marci Liroff’s “How To Audition For Film And Television: Audition Bootcamp” – scroll down after class description to “Testimonials”

I’m teaching this course on the UDEMY website. UDEMY is an online education platform and one of the largest destinations for online courses. I find it to be easy to use, free to join, well organized and once you subscribe you have lifetime access to my course.

The course is priced at $29. You can get a lifetime of viewing for this course here. I’ll be adding new lectures throughout the year.

Make a commitment to yourself and take advantage of a rare opportunity to sharpen your audition skills under the guidance of one of the most respected and successful casting directors in Hollywood.

Happy Holidays everyone. I hope you’ll take advantage of this offer!

Marci Liroff

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