Dear Ms. Bubbette: January 2003
by Ms. Bubbette
To all my wonderful readers, thank you for the most interesting questions this past year. It's gratifying to know my answers help those new actors stumbling around in a very strange but fun business! Have a super Christmas with family and friends and may 2003 find you landing plum acting roles in film, commercials and on stage. Let us know when that happens so that we can all celebrate and enjoy your talent.
Being a new comer to the acting scene, I decided take someone's advice and check out austinactors.net. I am glad that I did because I found a forum that could answer some of my questions about a recent casting call-for Ron Howard's The Alamo.
The casting call advertised itself by whatever means, I just happen to catch it on the news, of all places. It was held downtown, as most everyone is aware of by now.
Anyway, long story short...the film starts shooting in January and goes till May, possibly June. The part that got me was the fact I should not shave or get a hair cut till the filming is over. A piece of paper giving a little FYI, indicated that if we had not heard from them by June to go ahead with aÊshave andÊa hair cut-obviously a joke.
How long after a casting call should I expect a return call?
btw-Thanks for some of the advice from the columns. I realized one of my mistakes from reading your advice. I should have paid for a professional headshot instead of the $15 for Polaroid film.
Congratulations for learning from your 'mistakes' re the Polaroid headshots! By reading my previous columns you've realized how this business works and, to appear genuine, we actors must always show professionalism all the way. Never sell yourself short as YOU are the 'product' on the market.
When there is a huge casting call for 'extras' it is often done over the media - radio, TV, newspapers. This is the only way the casting director involved can hit a huge community. When we did "Heartbreak Hotel" (Elvis story) and Dolly Parton's "Wild Texas Wind" we needed around 5,000 extras in the audiences at Palmer Auditorium. What's more they were asked to dress in 70's style to match the period being shot. In lieu of pay they were offered good meals and special door prizes - one as large as a complete new kitchen make-over.
Now for the 'Alamo', again period costuming will be necessary - probably, in this case, all supplied by the studio involved. But the no-shaving and long hair is no joke during the shooting of the movie. Movies can run from weeks to many months depending on the complexity of the subject. If you are prepared to be 'Background' in this movie you will have to keep that beard and long hair until they finally 'wrap' in June. To ward off those curious stares just smile, shrug your shoulders and say "I'm in a historical movie - heard of the 'Alamo'?"
How long before they call you? Because of the special costuming you may be called in before the movie starts for a costume fitting. Then you may not hear again for weeks if they plan to use you in a random scene. Should you be chosen to be part of the 'Alamo' bunch, you may find yourself being called in regularly for various crowd scenes. Or you may only be called in for a day or two. In most movies you only get a 24 hour ( or less) warning, which can still change according to weather problems. It's all in the lap of the gods. But as long as the movie is shooting, you will have to keep that facial fuzz and straggly hair as per your agreement on that piece of paper. Nobody said being an actor was glamorous!! You will, however, be part of a fine movie, get paid and partake of hearty meals. Enjoy!
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
I was wondering where the cheapest place to get headshots reprinted is? I live in Austin by anywhere is fine. Thanks, Kelley Nicole Crowder
Most professional actors in Austin use Austin Quantity Photo , 2906 San Gabriel. (512) 481-1911. Check it out at firstname.lastname@example.org. They do headshots on disc too. Their prices are competitive and they print on photographic paper - not lithographs.
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
I was hoping you could help me
. I lived in LA for about a year and truly enjoyed the background work I was able to do through Central/Cenex Casting. Im currently in Houston and will more than likely be here a while, but I would love to background for whatever may come to Houston or in the surrounding areas. My question is : Is there a casting agency in Houston for this kind of work? Ive looked on the Internet with no luck (Maybe Im not typing in what Im looking for correctly, but I came across you).
Thank you in advance ,
Because of the millions (?) of actors in LA, talent agents can diversify and specialize in just one area, e.g. commercials; film; stage; extras. They even have a union for extras SEG - Screen Extras Guild (as opposed to SAG Screen Actors Guild) so that they can be assured of a decent daily pay. Not so in our 'lesser' towns. Most Talent Agents cover all fields. You might call some Houston Talent agents for information on this. Here are a couple to start with. Tell them what you've told me. Actors Etc, Inc (713) 785-4495 and Good Karma Management (713) 964-2604
The only one I know of in Austin is Third Coast Extras Casting - mail your request & headshot/resume to 501 N. IH-35, Austin Texas 78702 for their files. NEVER call, fax or page Casting Directors. That luxury is reserved for directors, producers and talent agents.
My only other suggestion is to keep your eyes open for 'Cattle calls" through the media - TV, radio, Newspaper.
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
I`ve read several articles which mention that when you have your 8x10 `s done you should have your resume cut to size ie..8x10. my guestion is: Can you just have your Headshot printed on 8 1/2 x 11" paper and maybe using the extra space on the bottom of the photo for some contact info such as an email address. Or would this be considered not proper.
Also I`m going to have some photos mass produced soon and I want the best quality reproductions. I hear that photographic reprints is the best way to go. question 2. Is it easy to tell if your pictures are actually lithographs or laser printed verses photographic printed? I want to make sure I`m getting my moneys worth.
Dear 'No name',
It definitely would not be considered 'proper' to print your Headshots on any other size but 8"x10". This has been the standard for many, many years. Follow protocol and bite the bullet - cut your resumes down to 8"x10" to fit!! Imagine this scenario: An agent's wall is covered with the usual 8"x10" Headshots -all neatly in a line - then along comes one 8 1/2" x 11" upstart! Throws the whole balance off doesn't it!! Also your agent sends a talent Headshot 'book' containing your pic. to the casting directors for their library. These are thumbed through regularly as the CD searches for a particular 'type' to be auditioned. If your Headshot is a rebel size it probably would be cast aside ( i.e. garbage can) in preference for those who followed the 'standard rules'.
As for mass production please read the answer above to "Kelley". Each photo is a direct print from a negative they make which also contains your name. Lithographs are quite detectable as they are usually not on standard photographic paper, but rather on a thinner, cheaper paper. Laser prints could be done on quality photo-type paper but would prove rather expensive and time consuming. Far better to let the professionals handle your mass production. No-one can compete with their prices or their quality.
Other Texas Mass production Photolabs:
* BWC Photolabs, Dallas (214) 528-4200 email: email@example.com * Mass Photo, Houston (713) 523-4503 or toll free (800) 306-7883.
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
Hello. I am 21 and am and always have been an aspiring actress. I just graduated college and do not want to go to California right away because i have no connections and no money. I decided to take a year to save money and research and practice my craft further...Texas is also a right to work state and California is not so that's a plus as well. I was wondering...I keep hearing about artistic showcases... are there are any showcases that can be entered in Texas? I feel it would be a great opportunity and a wonderful experience, but I cannot seem to find where any are....please help! Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
If you do the 'right thing' and get yourself a talent agent, they will know where and when the artistic showcases are held. Remember that Talent agents do not cost you anything to join. If they want to represent you, there will be a contract to sign but no money - ever - should pass hands at this stage. They earn a commission once they've landed you a job..
Lately the only showcases I have noticed have been in Dallas. You might contact S.T.A.G.E. (Society for Theatrical Artists' Guidance and Enhancement) (214) 630-7722 and bend their ear. Austin has them from time to time. Anyone out there with any information on this? Send it in so that I can share it please.
Good luck with your acting career. Get into new acting classes - it's best place to find out 'wha' zup'... Ms. Bubbette
Dear Ms. Bubbette
I have no idea if you can help me with my problem being that I want to work behind the scenes, but I thought I would take a chance because you seem so open to help people in this industry.
I'm a huge movie lover and I have been since I was very young. For the last few years of my life I've been struggling with what I want to do for the rest of it that would make me a living and at the same time make me happy. A friend of mine asked me what I was passionate about and I had to really think about it. I finally told her movies and she said there you go. It was that simple. I know now at the young age of 28 (smile) that I want to make movies. I have so many ideas and I really feel that I can contribute to the world of film, but I have absolutely NO idea where to begin. However, I do have the internet, so I thought maybe I could reach out and touch someone who would know.
Can you (or someone else you know) please take a little time out in your very busy life to give me some direction? I'm mostly interested in writing and directing, but I feel I also need to know as much about producing. Should I be going to school, and if so, what classes; can I get all the training I need through workshops; how important is networking; where should I start? Any advice you can give me on how to gain a foundation in this industry would be GREATLY APPRECIATED. Thank you so much for your time and any advice you have for me.
My sister once told me that God uses what you already got. I truly believe that now and I got a thing for movies, so I think it's time to use it.
Chas (a lot lost)
Good for you - discovering what you 'really' want to do in this life. So many people drudge their way from day to day, hating what they do and never having the courage to explore their hidden talents.
I would suggest you get into Film, TV classes. If not at University then try your local community college. If that's not feasible then consider looking into Local Access Television classes. Wherever there's cable there is usually a local access facility for camera work, producing , editing, lighting, sound classes at a very reasonable price. While there, you will meet other aspiring writer/producers, and get to shoot and air your original 'films' while using their studios and equipment. Later, many branch out into their own production business. I know this because that's how I became a screenwriter/producer and director of my own Video Series! I really enjoyed the classes, and having hands on experience in fully operational TV studios was incredible. When I had absorbed all I could, I bought my own equipment, set up my studio and the rest is history!
To get work - and learn the business - as a crew member on movies you might call the Texas Film Commission for names to contact. (512) 463-9200. Get on Dan Eggleston's mailing list - they are often calling for crew members. firstname.lastname@example.org
Make it happen, Chas!
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
I just moved from San Antonio to Dallas and found that there is a lot going on up here with acting. I wanted to get started and while I was doing an internet search I found austinactors.net and it brought me to your page. I am not exactly sure how to get started. Could you give me some general information on what to do? Thanks.
If you are really serious about acting and all that goes with it I suggest you do yourself a favor and for Christmas buy the BIZ Directory - a complete show business reference guide used by thousands of professionals in Texas. It has over 400 pages of everything you ever wanted to know about the acting business, from Headshots, to resumes, from classes to Talent Agents. It's all there covering Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. And with several other States thrown in for good measure.
Start by taking an acting class - you might contact KD Studios in Dallas Toll free 1-877-278-2283.
Also contact S.T.A.G.E. - see letter above to Sexyangel! Once you have something under your belt then you can consider being represented by a Talent Agent in the area.
Good luck! Let us know how you get on.