“Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that you’ve got it made.”
Thanks to our founding vice-chair Lora Lee Jones for her early efforts in compiling this list.
I think the saying in LA is something like, “98% preparation, 1% luck and 1% being at the right place at the right time.” Unfortunately, I cannot offer you any lucky charms or tell you where to be and when (except, make sure you’re on time, and by on time I mean, early!) I can offer assistance in your preparation. Here’s some general information to help you in your search for jobs and your ongoing persistence to being an artist.
I. Casting Opportunities
a. Join VPA’s Listserve to receive notices including auditions and other acting opportunities.
b. Virginia Actor’s Forum – VAF includes advanced & beginning actors within Virginia who meet monthly in Richmond to workshop scenes & discuss craft; promoting audition & agent networking, mentorship & special events.
c. Actor’s Access – An online service that provides resume services, articles, audition monologues and links. You can even choose the location you’d like to receive breakdowns from – New York, and Southeast are our closest regions. You can join for free, manage your headshots, resume and profile, review casting notices and submit yourself for projects.
d. Backstage – A weekly paper or email subscription service. You can subscribe to Backstage East which primarily focuses on the New York stage and film actors but also has notices for the southeast region. Backstage West caters to the Los Angeles and southern California actor. Backstage provides advice columns, casting and job notices, an actor’s Yellow Pages, reviews, blogs and more!
e. Now Casting – An online service that allows actors to submit electronically to projects created by casting directors on their website. You can choose what kind of notices you’d like to receive: SAG feature films, SAG pilots, well paying non-union jobs, student films and much more! Actors can also choose their type of membership, and the site provides an actor resources page!
II. Local Classes
a. The Bent Theater - The primary source of Charlottesville’s comedy scene for the past 5 years. They perform monthly shows at Milano Cafe and Play On! Theatre. They have also been featured at Rapunzel’s in Lovingston and First Night VA.
b. Erica Arvold – A casting director from Los Angeles, Erica provides one on one career advice and on camera audition techniques for actors. For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact her at:
c. Live Arts – Offers a wide variety of classes and show-specific workshops.
Live Arts – Offers a wide variety of classes and show-specific workshops.
Youth Classes – Live arts offers after school classes, workshops, and Summer camp intensives for young people ages 4-18 with and without theater backgrounds. Young actors can learn from theater professionals, make new friends, and develop a lifelong passion for the performing arts.
Adult Classes – Structured beginning, advanced, and master class programs for acting, technical theater, and musical theater that are fun, effective, and affordable. Live Arts offers an ongoing series of Actors’ Labs and technical theater instruction as well as free educational programs and groups such as Readers’ Circle and Playwrights’ Lab.
d. Old Crozet School of Arts – Offers a wide variety of classes for preschoolers to adults, including juggling, swing dance, acting and Shakespeare, African drumming, French, etc. For more information or to sign up for classes, visit http://www.oldcrozetschoolarts.org
e. Webster Studios – Offers classes and instruction, plus: audition techniques, monologues, scripted scenes with partner, and improv scenes, all on camera!
f. Wuprov Academy – Provides improv classes for actors.
III. Actor’s Resources
a. SAG – Includes information for beginning actors, member and industry services, FAQs, contracts and the SAG awards.
b. AFTRA – “The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.” Union representing professional actors, dancers, singers, and broadcasters.
c. Actors‘ Equity Association – the labor union representing American actors and stage managers in the theatre.
d. VARIETY www.variety.com
e. HOLLYWOOD REPORTER www.hollywoodreporter.com
f. ROSS REPORTS
g. BREAKDOWN SERVICES www.breakdownservices.com
h. Regional Agents & Managers : under construction right now, but this will be a really cool resource when we are done!
i. Regional Casting Directors: under construction right now, but this will be a really cool resource when we are done!
IV. Some of Our Favorites:
HOW TO BE A WORKING ACTOR by Mari Lyn Henry and Lynne Rogers
AUDITION by Michael Shurtleff
AUDITIONING: AN ACTOR FRIENDLY GUIDE by Joanna Merlin
HOW TO AUDITION by Gordon Hunt
ACTING IN FILM by Michael Caine
AN ACTOR PREPARES by Constantin Stanislavski
CREATING A ROLE by Constantin Stanislavski
BUILDING A CHARACTER by Constantin Stanislavski
THE STANISLAVSKI SYSTEM by Sonia Moore
SANFORD MEISNER ON ACTING by Sanford Meisner
RESPECT FOR ACTING by Uta Hagen
CHALLENGE FOR THE ACTOR by Uta Hagen
STELLA ADLER: THE ART OF ACTING by Howard Kissel
ON THE TECHNIQUE OF ACTING by Michael Chekhov
THE INTENT TO LIVE by Larry Moss
ACTING FOR THE CAMERA by Tony Barr
TRUE AND FALSE: HERESY AND COMMON SENSE FOR THE ACTOR by David Mamet
Always keep going until the director shouts “Cut!” and then keep on acting for a bit.
Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Please email vicechairCVPA@filmva.com!
c. Important Terms
Sides – Sides (always referred to in the plural) are abbreviated scripts prepared specially for casting purposes. They include only the pages for actors to audition. Sides for call-backs should be long enough to demonstrate the actors’ ability to develop a scene. Sides of dialogue between two characters work better than sides of soliloquies or long speeches.
Slating - This simply means look into the camera and state your name and the role you are playing. The casting director may ask for “profiles” after you slate. For this, all you need to do is turn to the left side and then to the other. This allows them to see how your profile looks on camera. They may pan the camera up and down for full body shots. If they do, stay still.
V. Actor’s Directory: under construction right now, but this will be a really cool resource when we are done!
d. Application Process