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6 Tips for Strengthening Your Voicec

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2. Television - Do's & Don'ts

By Gerry Sont

1. Don't be late. Be 10 minutes early if possible, make a cup of

coffee and relax.

2. "High-Lite" your dialogue. Always have a pencil to add directions.

3. Keep script changes to a minimum. But if something is too banal
then request and offer a possible alternative.

4. Always prefix what you say with "Do you think." etc, when
addressing a director or "Is it possible."

5. It's always impressive if you know your script. Then at the

rehearsal (which is really blocking) you can do your "performance"
so that the director can have a chance to offer advice. Tape day is
too late. They rarely leave the control box.

6. Always have script memorized for Tape day.

7. Never make suggestions to other actors.

8. Don't be over enthusiastic - be calm and focused.

9. If you hate your wardrobe / hair / make-up - be subtle about it.

10. If you fluff during a "take" - say damn (or similar) so they
have to stop tape. Otherwise your fluff goes on air.

11. Two takes is OK. Five you're a worry. 10 you will never work

12. Listen to your floor manager. He knows "who, what, where, when"

13. Try to keep your cool even if you are 2 hours behind schedule,
you've got an appointment and the crew are slow and your fellow
actors can't get it right.

14. Watch, Listen and Learn.

15. Do not rush off set to view the playback on a monitor. Start
preparing for your next scene.
16. A lot of time is wasted while actors wait for their next scene
- avoid gossip and discipline yourself with work or a good book etc.

17. Television gets monotonous very quickly - Stay alert and

creative building character life in each scene.

18. If you don't have an agent to represent you for television or

commercials, be sure to get one. A great place to start is sending
a headshot and resume to these agents:



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1. How to Choose the Best Audition Monologue

By Chad Gracia

Choosing the best audition monologues requires a little more time,

effort, and research then most young actors (and quite a few
experienced ones) tend to put into the choice.

An audition monologue MUST put you into a character immediately.

You cannot splice and dice dialogue from a play to form your own
monologue; you need several strong, short pieces that reveal your
strengths as an actor. You need to have at hand between two to
four contemporary pieces, and two to four classic pieces. The idea
is to show off your best skills as an actor, emotionally,
physically, and psychologically.

When choosing your audition piece look to the plays both on and off
Broadway that have done well for the last three or four seasons.
They will lead you many times to other plays and scripts by the
same writer. You are going to choose something age appropriate and
a stretch ONLY in that it can show your emotional range while in
character. For younger actors, some of these books might be helpful:


In an audition, you don't have time to create a character; you must

literally be a character all within a space of one to five minutes.
If you are physically young looking then steer away from attempting
old age and vice versa. Choose a character that you immediately
understand and fit with.

Beware choosing the monologues that have been done to death from
standard, favorite plays. Not only to they usually come with the
burden of having been created by a particular actor or actress, who
it is entrenched in people's memories as 'belonging' to that
person, but to a word weary director they can unfortunately cause
him or her to tune out. Called "Listener's Boredom", it is simply
the case of having heard one too many Annie Sullivan's from the
Miracle Worker or, in the case of the classics, one too many
Juliet's or Romeo's.

Of course, that doesn't mean that you can avoid learning a

"classical" monologue. Usually that means one from the Greeks,
Shakespeare, or something a few hundred years old and in verse.
Here are 50 of my favorite classical monologues for women and girls:


Properly chosen audition pieces will allow you to not only

demonstrate emotional depth, but also character motivation.
Naturally, some of the best monologues in plays come at key points,
but, again, read the whole play and there is a good chance you will
see some subtler, but equally rich, speeches that show character
motivation leading up to the critical juncture of the play.

They may sound fresher, causing the artistic and casting directors
to pick up their ears, and they demonstrate your ability to
understand the character on an intellectual level.

Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse, of course, but you also need to

have your monologues critiqued prior including them in your
repertoire. What does a respected director or teacher/coach think
about your choices and what does the average person on the street
think about them as well? Solicit up to three opinions of people
you trust to give you an honest and unbiased evaluation. You may
want to prep them by writing a two - to five question questionnaire
to help them know what to watch for in your performance. Ask them
what would they suggest you do to improve - ignore their
compliments, their criticism is what's most important to you.

It is better to run the risk of auditioning with a well-rehearsed

monologue that is short, than worrying about running over time. Do
NOT dress the part of the character as much as suggest the
character through a piece of jewelry or article of clothing that
may add to your confidence without detracting from your
performance. If you chose to do a monologue from a play not
immediately familiar to the masses, it is a good idea to memorize a
one to two sentence summary of the play and character to set the

Audition monologues should not remain static despite the fact you
can call them up and perform them instantaneously. The best way is
to lay them aside for a few weeks and then pick them up again.
Have you been allowing the character to emerge with a distinctive
voice or have you let the novelty wear off and present them with
scant attention to speech and pacing as well as emotions? As you
grow and change as an actor, you will also need to add new
monologues to your repertoire - ones that can begin to convey a
broader range.

Properly chosen audition monologues are yet another part of the

successful package you present to a director along with your resume
and headshots. Their importance lies in not only what you bring to
them, but also what they bring back to you as a showcase for your
individual talents.

Once you've got the perfect monologues, you're ready to polish up

your auditioning skills. The best coach in the world for this is
Linda Zern, and you can learn about her amazing approach here:



Curious if you have what it takes to be a successful actor, check

out our new book, "Becoming a Successful Actor," here:


2a. Hints for Headshots in LA

By Chad Gracia

Your headshot is the one critical element that will keep you either
in or out of the casting directors' trash pile. Entire careers have
been launched on just that right "twinkle in the eye," so don't
just think that a headshot is just an actor's business card. It's
your career on an 8x10" glossy.

Casting directors are so swamped with headshots that some may go

through thousands just to fill a bit part, and will likely look at
each one for less than a second. You have to consider the headshot
a critical marketing tool where every aspect is as close to perfect
as you can get it, in order to make the most of that fleeting gaze.

Note: Remember, with clear headshot envelopes you can get the edge-
having your picture in view without even opening the envelope.
Learn more here:


Choosing the right photographer can make or break your headshot.

Don't just go through the Yellow Pages or even the trades to make
your choice but visit their studio, preferably unannounced so you
might catch them working, and observe. Are they taking the time to
get the most from the subject or is it an assembly line operation?
Are they communicating or just barking out orders? Take your time
to study their portfolio and be critical. If the lighting is too
dramatic, the depth of field is off, or even if the expressions are
wonky, then look elsewhere.

Don't expect the perfect photographer to be located near Sunset and

Vine or even in The Valley. Some superlative photographic artists
are located in the OC or even the Inland Empire, and they are worth
seeking out. Steer clear of $99 "complete packages" designed to
appeal to naive amateurs. You should count on spending at least
$300 and possibly more for a shoot that will likely last several

When you do find a photographer you're comfortable with, forget the

"glamour shot." Your clothing, makeup and hairstyle should be
neutral, so avoid handicapping your headshot with Western, Street
or other costume cliches. Stick with simple solid colored clothing
of elegant but minimalist design.

Beware of excessive expression. A humorous headshot could eliminate

you from the running for a drama, and vice-versa. You want to
promote your personality and depth, so you have to make love to the
camera like you never have before.
Don't rely on Photoshop to fix the image, so make sure your eyes
aren't bloody from drinking all night, or your teeth stained from
smoking. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and stay out of that
California sun for at least a week prior to your shoot, so you'll
look your best. Plan to keep your hairstyle and overall look for at
least a year, as you want to walk into the casting director's
office looking like your photo.

To a greater degree in L.A. than elsewhere, many of the

conventional restrictions surrounding headshots have been relaxed
lately so that can be used to your advantage. You can now submit
black and white or color photos, either in portrait or landscape
mode, and even in full bleed (no white borders) allowing for
greater latitude in photographic creativity. Remember to never vary
from the standard 8x10" size and keep the photo airy, avoiding the
current trend to claustrophobic over-cropping.

It's very easy to end up with a bad headshot, but considerably more
difficult to get a great one. Therefore, take your time, use common
sense, and stay focused on quality and detail. Your career will
certainly benefit!

Note: Once you've got a great headshot, make sure your resume
matches, get tips here:


2b. Behind the Scenes of New York Theater Tickets

By Chad Gracia

Let's face it, paying full price (or God help me more than full
price from the most evil of creatures "a Broker") for theatre
tickets is for bus tours from Baltimore on their way to one last
"Beauty and the Beast" hoorah, or ladies groups with names like "No
Kids 2nite" from Long Island who just gotta see "Jersey Boys" on a
Saturday. Those of us not in the Red Hats, who don't play bridge
and rarely tunnel, except through our laundry for that still sort
of clean sweater, have almost no excuse to be caught shelling out
our shekels even for the best show seats. How do you get those
cheap seats?

The first thing to know is producers want desperately to fill their

houses. An overflowing house means a prosperous show, and in the
business of show, appearances are all that matters. Often, either
to bolster the beginning of a new show or as the show houses start
lagging, the producers hemorrhage tickets. They almost never give
these out very far in advance and they're almost never for prime
nights, so you may have to be willing to take up arms on a Tuesday
at very short notice.

Note: Seeing shows is a great way to get see some quality acting
and get monologues ideas to boost your own repertoire, find more
monologues here: