Making a living

Making a Living While Trying to Make it Big

Being a successful actor is the ultimate dream for many, but reality for few. Acting is one of the most if not the most competitive careers in the world. Making a living while trying to “make it” can be tough, since Los Angeles/Hollywood is one of the most expensive cities in the US. While trying to catch your big break, here are some great ideas for income opportunities:

Waiter/Waitress

This may seem a cliche side job for an up and coming actor, but there’s a reason serving tables is a tried and true income option. The flexible schedule allows you to trade shifts with your co-workers when an audition pops up, and, if you’re good at it, tips can be pretty good money. This is especially true in Los Angeles, where some of the trendier restaurants are hangouts for the Hollywood big shots. There’s a good opportunity to network while getting tips, so it’s really a win-win for those still looking to get their big break.

Bartender

Like waiting tables, bartending is a great way to earn a full-time income while working flexible, part-time hours. Working at a popular nightclub or a fancy restaurant in Los Angeles or New York can earn you some serious cash, all while keeping you free for auditions.

Bartending

Provide Another Type of Service

Nanny, dog walker, pet sitter, and even personal assistant are all unique services you can provide that people in New York and Los Angeles would be willing to pay top dollar for. It might not be as easy to get your foot in the door like waiting tables or bartending, but if you find a way to market yourself appropriately, you might have quite the business going for yourself that will support you while you audition.

Telemarketing

Okay, so this is no one’s dream job. But, unpleasant as it may be, it can pay the bills. You might even consider role-playing on one of the 1-900 phone companies. It’s not the most respectable acting gig, but hey, there’s money to be made if you need it.

Blogger/Web Writer

If you’re computer savvy and have a way with words, you might want to look for opportunities for someone to pay you to write web related content. A digital media company may hire you to write web page content or manage the social media pages of their clients. You can also try blogging. A successful personal blog may get you advertising revenue, as well as a certain breakthrough fame to get your foot in the door on your other endeavors.

For more great tips on how to make it by financially while trying to make it big as an actor, you can read our post here. Being an actor requires a lot of hard work and perseverance. CGTV’s program prepares young talent every step of the way. To read testimonials, success stories, and to learn more about our program, please visit our website or call (818) 284-6698!

Memorizing Lines

Trouble Memorizing Your Lines? Try These Tips!

Memorizing lines can be stressful, however, if you’re someone who has trouble remembering what line comes next, there are many tips out there that can help. Read below for a few new tips to try the next time you can’t remember your lines.

  1. Think of your script as just a string of sentences that are grouped together. Then break down those sentences into groups of pictures. Those words you’re using are creating images that are being used to convey the story and the meaning of the story. Try and connect images to each sentence, or even parts of a sentence, to recall your lines quicker.

  2. The first time you read a scene, read through it as if it were a novel. Picture yourself as the character, what they’re feeling, where they are, and what they’re thinking. This will help set the scene and make it feel like a reality, so the next time you run through the scene, it will be easier to place yourself into the surroundings of your character.

  3. Remember to take breaks often! Read through one section until you think you’ve got a solid grasp on it, and then step away from it for awhile. When you come back, run through the scene then move onto the next. Repeat this process until you’ve finished all scenes or acts that you need to memorize.

  4. Think of your lines as a train of thought. If you can think about these strung together as opposed to single lines, you’ll be able to remember what you’re talking about and what comes next. Focus on what you’re trying to talk about rather than thinking about how you’re going to go about saying it.
  5. Try thinking about the meaning of the scene and the words you’re saying as opposed to memorizing them exactly as is. Many people can memorize sentences, but don’t really pay attention to the meaning of the sentence. Focus on the meaning of the scene or act, and go from there.

Many of these tips are just suggestions and won’t work for everyone. The most important thing is to find a way that works for you and to stick with it. If you find that you’re still having trouble, contact CGTV to talk to any one of our many acting coaches.

Memorizing Lines

References

https://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/backstage-experts-answer-18-ways-quickly-memorize-lines/

Improving Your Improv Delivery

Life is improvisation. And scripts are improvisation from our characters’ lives. If you embrace this, you’ll realize the roles for which you audition are just moments in the lives of the characters. This means they’re improvising their way through a movie and we are just flies on the walls of their lives. Taking this into consideration, you’ll see how the following can help improve your improv delivery and enhance your auditions.

Take Classes

Some people are born with a natural stage presence. Most aren’t. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn the skills necessary to be an awesome improviser. And as an added bonus to taking improv classes, agents and casting directors often scout at places such as UCB, The Pit, Magnet, National Comedy Theatre, etc.

Listen and Be Supportive

As simple as this seems, it is probably one of the most difficult skills to master. Listening will free you from having to think of what you are going to say ahead of time. Assuming you have listened, you will be able to agree with what was said AND add information (“Yes, And.”). The agreement is what allows a scene to progress!

Don’t Try So Hard For Laughs

The hidden riddle of improv is that the harder you try not to be funny the funnier your scene is going to be. Why? Because the very best kind of improv scene you can do is an “interesting” scene, not necessarily a “funny” one. When you do an interesting scene, a very surprising thing happens…the funny comes out all by itself. The best ways to go are to stick to your character, stick to the story that is being told, and to stay within the reality of the scene you are playing.

Understand Your Character

Be sure to read all the material that is provided for you so you fully understand what is happening and what your character wants. Familiarize yourself with the sides and script to better understand the relationship between the characters, as well as your characters’ backstory.

Have Fun

Even if the scene starts taking a weird turn, just relax, have fun, stay in the present, and go with the flow!

CGTV is a high-level TV, film, and entertainment program designed to help connect talent with some of the top agents, casting directors, and managers in Los Angeles. Learn more about the services we provide by visiting the CGTV website or calling 818-284-6689.

Improv Delivery

Sources:

http://cgtv.la/

https://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/11-improv-audition-tips/

https://www.backstage.com/backstage-guides/everything-you-should-know-about-improv/

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1583&bih=758&tbs=sur%3Afmc&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=T0VfW_TJO8KZjwSrmp-QDw&q=improv&oq=improv&gs_l=img.3..0i67l3j0j0i67j0l5.59043.60296..60632…0.0…72.355.6……1….1..gws-wiz-img…….35i39.3owkHzEL98E#imgrc=xi862c2XCSM5QM:

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1583&bih=758&tbs=sur%3Afmc&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=T0VfW_TJO8KZjwSrmp-QDw&q=improv&oq=improv&gs_l=img.3..0i67l3j0j0i67j0l5.59043.60296..60632…0.0…72.355.6……1….1..gws-wiz-img…….35i39.3owkHzEL98E#imgrc=z3yuvFbMLdEb3M:

 

Jackson Robert Scott

CGTV is Proud of its Many Success Stories

As painful as it is to admit it, sometimes, individual dreams of stardom remain just that; only dreams. But with the proper guidance and support, those dreams become easily attainable and become reality. This is what happens when you have a qualified, encouraging, and knowledgeable resource like CGTV. Several of our clients have gone on to have successful and lucrative careers in the entertainment industry. Here are a few success stories of our many standouts that, like you, are doing what they love and making a huge impact in the world of entertainment.

RJ Cyler

RJ CylerRJ Cyler featured as one of Forbes Magazine’s hottest young talents under 30 in their 30 under 30 list, is a name that is certainly going places. After landing a lead role in the hit Indie film “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl,” Cyler next used his talents as the coveted blue Power Ranger in the recent big screen hit. As if you needed another reason to binge TV, he can be seen in Brad Pitt’s “War Machine” on Netflix.

Rebecca Taylor-Klaus

Rebecca Taylor - KlausIf you are a fan of action movies then you are familiar with Rebecca Taylor-Klaus, who starred with Vin Diesel in The Last Witch Hunter. It’s such a joy to see Rebecca kick butt not only on the screen but in real life. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

 

Jackson Robert Scott

Jackson Robert ScottDid you happen to catch the Stephen King’s IT in the theaters last year? If you did, you know that the movie starts out with the haunting scene of little Georgie being tormented by the evil titular clown. Well, if you HAVE seen that movie, then you know Jackson Robert Scott, who played Georgie in the successful film!  Scott has also been seen in commercials for Kay Jewelers and an episode of Criminal Minds-there is no doubt that he has a bright future ahead of him.

These and other of CGTV’s success stories started out with big dreams; Become one of our many success stories and contact CGTV today. Our rigorous curriculum, which covers everything from audition techniques to marketing tips, is designed to help connect young talent with the agents, managers and casting directors that will let their career take off. We’d be honored to help you advance your career in the entertainment business. Call us today at 818-284-6689 or email hollywood@cgtv.la to set up your first appointment.

Aspiring Actors

Best Resources for Aspiring Actors

No doubt, the minute you decide to move to Los Angeles and begin your acting career, you will encounter many naysayers and people second-guessing your move.  The good news is that there is a network of aspiring actors out here and ironically, these other actors are not necessarily your competition. In many ways, other actors have used crowdsourcing in order to help themselves to support their own acting career, and you can too.

There’s an emotional hurdle, but also a fundamental to-do list hurdle, serving many practical purposes.  How to find an agent? What seminars and classes to take? Where to go to find the best available scripts?  Where can I find a tailored monologue? Let us compile a list so that you can quickly build your acting career.

Backstage Casting Not only does this site have a huge up-to-date selection of great gigs, one of the best features of Backstage is the ability to filter by a whole range of metrics.  Instead of having to troll through hundreds of posts, simply select your working location, age, ethnicity, your pay scale, and any keywords which might apply and you’re locked and loaded.  

Ace Your Audition Monologues  Actors are often required to have a repertoire of monologues.  This website culls monologue pieces. Individual auditions might call for something specific.  Welcome to over 1,000 free monologues. The monologues are broken down by category. So, if you’re a female 25-50 or a young adult male 15-20 looking for something in particular, you are only a few clicks away. 

YouTube Did you know that YouTube is the third most popular search engine on the planet? YouTube is not ‘just’ a video streaming service, it is the go-to place for self-promotion.

If you’re trying to get your name and face out there, you’re doing yourself a favor by getting plugged into YouTube. Be marketing savvy and recognize this opportunity.  Build an audience early on in your career.

Actors Website Templates Today’s demo reel.  If you don’t have a website, you are selling yourself short, decreasing your chances of somebody finding you. It’s also a lot easier to click over a URL to an agent or potential director rather than posting a  resume into the casting vortex.

CGTV is a high-level TV, film, and entertainment program designed to help connect talent to the industry. Talent is guided by top celebrities from ABC, NBC, CBS, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. In addition to our ongoing workshops and classes, our program offers cold reading and audition, audition techniques, audition with sides, and marketing yourself in acting.

Call us or email us! Phone: 818-284-6689 • Email: hollywood@cgtv.la

Resources for Aspiring actors

Sources:

https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/the-top-five-essential-and-free-resources-for-acting-students/

http://cgtv.la/celebrity-videos/

Audition Tape

That’s a wrap! How to Make your Video Audition Tape Stand Out

There are so many social media platforms that currently exist for actors and musicians to engage friends and followers on. Just consider for a moment the social media accounts you follow, particularly Facebook and Instagram. Your favorite pages are likely filled with staged or stylized shots, images of their lives that instantly make the person more appealing. It’s images like these that not only make you their devoted fan and follower, but that are inspirational to countless aspiring actors like yourself.

But posing for a beautiful picture, where you can determine and manipulate the lighting, angles, and background, is an entirely different thing than appearing on an audition tape. That is a whole other level when it comes to making sure you, an actor, are perfectly presented.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to make sure your audition tape is a powerful representation of who you are as an artist:

1) Get the Technical aspects right

Make sure that your tape is not only well lit, but that you have the proper sound equipment so you can easily be heard. There’s nothing worse than a casting director clicking on your footage, finding the sound is too low, and immediately dismissing you and moving on to the next actor.

That’s why you need to gather a quality camera with a built-in microphone, a basic tripod, lighting equipment (or use natural lighting), a solid background color, and a reader. Test your equipment properly before you push record.

2)    Get to Know the Script

Although you must know the script like the back of your hand during your audition tape, it’s still important to have it on hand. Doing this will signal to the casting director that while you are an actor that is prepared, that you are treating your performance as a work in progress. You must convey that you will never stop working on and perfecting your craft.

3)    Forget the Slate

This is a common mistake, but unless specifically instructed to, don’t slate for a self-taped audition. It’s another easy way to make your audition tape stand out from the rest.

Every actor knows how important it is to stand out from the rest, how there is never a time where their unique beauty and poise must be showcased in the best possible way. By following these best practices, you’ll guarantee that your audition tapes get you noticed and allow you to be successful in this competitive yet wonderful field.

For more helpful tips on making your audition tape stand out, contact CGTV at 818-847-6689 or email us at hollywood@cgtv.la. We’d be honored to help turn your dreams into a reality.

acting industry terms

Get to Know These Industry Terms!

You don’t have to look like Margo Robbie or Jude Law, or have the acting chops of Emma Stone or Denzel Washington to break into the acting business.  It helps, however, to be informed and educated.  One way to get informed is to learn some of the following industry terms:

Above-the-line – Creative talent such as actors, directors, producers, and writers OR the part of the budget which includes costs and fees associated with the above talent.

Actors Equity Association (AEA/ Equity) – A union that has jurisdiction over performers in live stage productions in theaters, such as Broadway and community theater.

Agent – A representative of talent, petitioning on behalf of the talent for work within the entertainment community. Agents, by law, have the right to both solicit employment and negotiate terms for the artists they represent. Not to be confused with manager.

Callback – A follow-up audition, after they have narrowed down the competition.

Call Sheet – The daily schedule of a given production, listing “call times,” actors involved and scenes.

Commercial Agent – an agent that represents talent for television commercials.  This is not to be confused with a print agent which represents models for commercial print ads.

Commercial Modeling – Otherwise known as Print Modeling, this is modeling done for print advertisements, catalogs, etc.

Day Player – An actor who is paid a flat daily rate and generally only has a few lines in the production. Characters that appear in only one scene are generally played by day players. This is sometimes a “step up” for an extra who is asked to read a line on-set.

Dailies – As the film is shot, production and development units view footage the following day. This film stock is known as ‘dailies.’ The producer, director and various studio department heads critically analyze the previous day’s results, looking for any visible problems, from wardrobe to set dressings and performances. In theory, dailies depict the progression of the film in relation to the course of production.

Director – The principal creative artist on a movie set. A director is usually (but not always) the driving artistic source behind the filming process, and communicates to actors the way that he/she would like a particular scene played. A director’s duties might also include casting, script editing, shot selection, shot composition, and editing.

Executive Producer – A producer who is not involved in any technical aspects of the filmmaking process, but who is still responsible for the overall production. Typically an executive producer handles business and legal issues.

Extra – A person who appears in a movie where a non-specific, non-speaking character is required, usually as part of a crowd or in the background of a scene.

Honey Wagon – A vehicle/trailer/truck containing dressing rooms and restrooms.

Line Producer – The hands-on manager of a film set, the line producer organizes the practical aspects of production. Line producers and production managers are responsible for budgeting, scheduling and implementation.

Pilot -The first episode of a television show or cable show used as a “test run” amongst networks and producers before the show is greenlit.

Pilot Season – The time between around January to about May when pilot episodes are filmed and tested and possibly given the greenlight to begin production.

Pitch – The meeting held between key players of a film or broadcast literary work. In most cases, this is where the writer(s) attempt to ‘sell’ their product to the producers by explaining why their product should be made by that company into a motion picture.

Slug Line – A header appearing in a script before each scene or shot detailing the location, date and time that the following action is intended to occur.

Taft-Hartley – A federal statute that allows a non-performer to work in a union position without having to first join the union. It is in effect for 30 days from the first day of employment, after which the performer must join the union.

Trailer – An advertisement for a movie which contains scenes from the film.

Treatment – Similar to an outline, a treatment is one of the first steps in developing a project. It adds depth to character and story by filling in missing blanks.

Walk-On – A small acting part which has no lines.

CGTV is a high level TV, film, and entertainment program designed to help connect talent to the industry. Talent is guided by top celebrities from ABC, NBC, CBS, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Call us or email us!

Phone: 818-284-6689 • Email: hollywood@cgtv.la

Industry Terms

Sources:

http://cgtv.la/industry-terms/

http://www.nycastings.com/acting-terminology-101/

https://www.actingstudiochicago.com/terms-to-know/

Trends

Film Trends to Watch for in 2018

With every new calendar year comes a new set of trends to follow and pay attention to. What do interior designers recommend for kitchen wall colors? Are suede and velvet really here to stay in the world of fashion? Which fad diet will have lasting results on my personal health goals?

Yes, trends are everywhere and in every market, and they seem to change and an alarmingly fast rate. But one industry where you may not immediately assume where trends are king is the film industry. But once you think about it, it really makes sense, doesn’t it? Movies are often released in a timely manner to ensure that they will have a profound impact on the culture we live in. They must speak to the issues that we currently dealing with in our modern world by telling a powerful story that sticks with us. Think of the society we are living in now and some of the movies that are being released in theaters today—do you think in general, they are relevant to the issues we are facing in 2018?

Here are a few film trends to keep an eye out for as you visit your local movie theater in 2018:

Inspirational Real-Life StoriesTrends

While very few movies were based on real-life characters in 1996, just twenty years later, according to film data and education expert Stephen Follows, about 27% of films today feature real-life inspirations. The reason for this increase is not only because people today are looking for every-day heroes, but, from a financial standpoint, biographical pictures are often much cheaper to produce.

These real-life stories can come in the form of a biographical movie or even a documentary. In recent years, although not necessarily a huge profit-maker, documentaries are given mainstream releases much more often.

Scary Movies will be King

In 2016, 1,028 horror movies were produced-that’s twice the number that were produced just 10 years earlier in 2006.  Not only is it a popular film genre or many audiences, but horror movies are produced so frequently because of improved technologies in the film industry, and the genre has lost some of its past stigma.

Films with a Religious Message

People often seek comfort and solace when going to the movies—while the movies are an escape from the stresses of real life, so is religion. That’s why you may be seeing more films released with a spiritual theme this year. While they may not immediately guarantee financial success in the box office, these movies often have huge success once they are available to stream or on DVD.

Film industry trends speak to the world that we live in and the problems people currently face. It’s no coincidence that the films that have a special impact on us are relevant to the issues we daily struggle with. And that truth is a trend that is not going away. For more insight into the film industry and popular trends in movies today,  CGTV—we’d love to hear from you and discuss this with you more. Contact us today at 818-284-6689 or email hollywood@cgtv.la.

 

Acting Talent

Nurturing Your Acting Talent

They say repetition is the mother of perfection.  In other words, the more often you do something or partake in an activity, the better you will become at said activity. Acting is no different than sports or music – practice is key to the development of any skill. Although some people are born with a “gift,” most great actors and actresses are made through discipline and love of their craft. Here are a few more suggestions as to how you can nurture your acting talent and grow as a believable actor or actress.

Acting Talent

Expand Your Horizons

As an actor or actress, you have to be able to experience things from multiple viewpoints. The best way to do so, is to get out and start experiencing as much as you can. Go out and have some fun! Travel when possible. Fall in love. Get a hobby. Remove yourself from the world of casting directors and agents and live like a “civilian” for at least a little while each day. Live your life so when you do book an acting job, you’re able to breathe some of that “life” into your work.

Look & Listen

Although acting is an internal process, it does require a fair amount of observation. Paying attention to human behavior is paramount in being able to act believably. Make “people watching” your research – how they react to different situations, the subtleties in their expressions based on emotions, etc. What separates the “good” from the “great” are these little idiosyncrasies peppered into performances that can only come from observing real-life situations transpire.

Watch & Rewind

Learn from the best with this fun exercise. Put on a movie and closely watch the actors. If you see a scene that truly moves you or resonates with you – rewind it and re-watch. What about their performance is remarkable? What is resonating with you? Next, take note of how they use whatever props are available to them in the scene. Do the props aid in their performance? Remember, learning how to deliver a great performance while also believably playing in a make believe environment takes great skill.

CGTV is a high level TV, film, and entertainment program designed to help connect talent with some of the top agents, casting directors, and managers in Los Angeles. Learn more about the services we provide by visiting the CGTV website or calling 818-284-6689.

 

Sources:

www.CGTV.la

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-activities/4-ways-to-spot-and-nurture-talent-in-your-child/#.Wjgt-9-nGM8

https://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/importance-nurturing-your-talent/

https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-nurture-my-acting-talent-I-have-no-idea-how-or-where-I-can-sell-my-ability-to-act

https://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-Good-Actor-or-Actress

https://www.pexels.com/search/acting/

Pilot Season

What is a Pilot Season?

Most aspiring actors will tell you there is a lot to learn about moving to Los Angeles and taking a serious crack at show business.  For many, there is not only relocating to this city, finding a job to support them while they audition, but also managing an often ongoing self-doubt.  

There is also the nuts and bolts of the business.  How to find an agent.  How to make a connection with a casting agent.  What seminars and classes to take?  There is also the mystery behind the pilot season, what it is, when it is, and how that affects them as an aspiring actor.  

Here is an expanded typical timeline for a pilot season and how it all unfolds.  

Summer Through Fall:  Executives Pick Pitches & Scripts

During the summer, network and studio executives hear more than 500 pitches for potential new pilots.  Executives will then determine which ones they like and the network can order for the fall.  They then order pilot scripts to be written for each of those picked pitches.  Typically, each network orders around 70 scripts, needing completion before the  holiday season.  During the shutdown period in December, execs take the scripts home to read.

Pilot Season 

January: Order Pilots

After reading the scripts, executives return after the holiday and talk amongst themselves as to what appeals to them.  It is similar to returning from vacation and talking about the exciting places you visited.

Execs discuss creative issues, staffing,  how projects fit into the programming, and what projects they can afford. These talks get narrowed until between 20 – 30 scripts per network are chosen for pilot orders.  

February through April:  Pilots are Cast & Shot

This is the season that affects aspiring actors the most.  Actors are hired in February and March (along with casting directors and directors) and the pilot is typically shot some time in March or April.  

May:  Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down

This is when everybody learns if they have a job or not. After the pilot is edited and the final cut is delivered to the networks, the waiting begins.  Craig Thomas, a showrunner for How I Met Your Mother, likened it to being in high school and savoring any gossip one can get.

For those that have learned the network has green lighted their pilot for fall, it is like winning the lottery.  For those that haven’t been so lucky,  it is still an invaluable learning and career experience.  

CGTV is a high level TV, film, and entertainment program designed to help connect talent to the industry. Talent is guided by top celebrities from ABC, NBC, CBS, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Call us or email us!

Phone: 818-284-6689 • Email: hollywood@cgtv.la

 

Sources:

https://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/secret-agent-man/6-realities-about-las-pilot-season/

https://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/5-tips-first-class-pilot-season/

http://tophollywoodactingcoach.com/2012/01/what-is-a-pilot-when-is-pilot-season/