Your site is so great, it makes researching the business sooo much easier having all the info in one place! thankyou thankyou thankyou.
Amada, aspiring actress, Sydney, Australia
Just wanted to say that this site is FANTASTIC! It's helped me quite a bit and it's now my #1 bookmarked item, which means I'm going to be visiting here regularly :) Thanks again,
Rob, aspiring actor, Canada
I absolutely love your site - it's SOOOO helpful and very impressive!
I am a frequent visitor and have signed up for the newsletter, plus I think it's so good I have recommended it to all my acting friends! Thank you for creating such a wonderful website!
Wow Tony! I would just like to comment on how much you have affected my life.
First of all, any questions I have are answered extremely fast, and not only that, you give me a very helpful answer every time. Also, by reading your newsletters, I obtain just the right information that I need to succeed in the acting business. I am so happy I discovered your site, and I hope you know how much we actors appreciate you. Thanks again, and I can't wait to read your next newsletter!
Laura Doukas, Actress
I did what you said and I got two interviews with two agents! Thank you! Sorry but can I ask you how do I prepare to go meet the agent? What do I have to do?
Marsha P., New York, NY, USA
This site has taught me a lot that I needed to know without dragging me all over the place.
Lauren, actress, Atlanta, GA
Developing A Character
Developing a character is one of the most interesting, but also one of the most challenging things to do as an actor. Acting techniques help you to build the character you are playing. Directors will also help you on the set of a film by giving you instruction, but you have to do some homework yourself. This is a broad subject, but remembering who my readers are, actors new to the game, I want to give just three examples of the kinds of things that must be taken into consideration when developing a character. Sometimes its just little things that can make your performance seem even more real in the eyes of those watching you.
Dont throw away the sandwiches!
Once during class, two of my classmates were interpreting a scene set in the 1930s. They were a couple at home having supper which consisted of sandwiches the husband had brought home from his job at a restaurant. They were obviously not very well off financially and had to scrape to make ends meet. At the end of the scene, the husband had made his exit (he went out of the house) and the wife was left to clean up the dinner dishes. There was the feeling in the room among those of us who were watching that the scene was finished and that the teacher would soon tell the actress to stop. She did not. Instead she let her continue the scene and I was sure I knew at least one of the reasons why. After just thirty seconds it was evident. At a certain point, I saw the actress about to do something that I knew would get her a serious reaming out. Inside myself I was saying, No! Dont do it! But she did! While still in the scene, the actress portraying the wife, threw the sandwiches in the trash while cleaning up the dinner dishes. Thats when the teacher stopped the scene. The actress Im sure will never forget that evening. In fact, I dont think any of us who were present will forget it. The teacher chewed her out big time and rightly so. Her reasoning? She said that someone who has been studying and developing a character they are portraying and who has done her homework and who really is in that character, in this case and given the financial situation and the times would never have thrown those sandwiches away, but rather would have wrapped them up and saved them for another meal.
The FBI Dress Code
Another small example of developing a character is when I was once cast in an extra role as an FBI agent. The casting director told me to show up dressed the part of an agent on duty in the office. I was also told to bring a casual, sports jacket to wear while out in the field. I immediately thought to myself, Thats easy. But then, when I looked at my dark suit and my tie, I began to ask myself if an FBI agent would dress in a suit like that. I looked at the different suits I had, which were not all the same style. Some had two buttons, some three and one even had four. My dress shirts had different types of collars on them. With regard to the sportier jacket, I asked myself what kind of jacket an FBI agent out in the field would wear. I wasnt sure and I didnt have much time to figure it out! I thought I had better stop taking for granted that all I needed was a suit and tie and do some homework, so I went to the FBI official website and looked up their dress code. Fortunately there were not only explanations, but also pictures showing what the official attire for agents was. With regard to developing a character, even in this case it was a very small one, this information helped tremendously. I found that I had the appropriate attire with regard to the jacket and tie, but that I was not prepared for the sportier jacket in the field. I went and bought one that I knew I would take back to the store the next day for a refund. I kept the tags on it. The next day when I arrived on set, there were about ten other agents. I was one of two who had the right attire. So what did that mean? The director looked at all of us and then his eyes came back to me. He looked me up and down and he said, You really look like an FBI agent. Come with me. He placed me as a featured extra, which meant that he wanted me near the star actors when they came into the room.
Another example of when I had to think about developing a character was when I was cast in an independent film as a police captain. In my scenes, my men and I had to case some buildings, entering them when we knew it was potentially dangerous. We went in brandishing our weapons. To really be authentic, it was necessary to train ourselves on how to wear our weapons properly, how to hold them when aiming at a target and how to enter into an abandoned building. It was necessary to know how to enter the building properly given the fact that there were six of us and how I, as the person in charge, should direct the group. And we could only do those two things if we knew why we were entering a particular building and knew exactly what it was we were looking for and the potential dangers it posed. We werecoached by an ex-marine who had us practice all those things several times under his direction until we got it right. I continuously thought if I was developing a character in the right way, so even when he told us that we were good enough, I still wanted to practice some more so that it would be almost second nature. My goal was that if a group of marines or policemen watched the film, they would say that those scenes looked real and believable.
Developing a character in the right way can make all the difference in the world to making your performance seem more real.
Taking the right acting classes will help you tremendously in developing a character.
We will abide by the law
and protect your privacy.
Your e-mail address
will not be abused or
given to anyone else.
I want to say you changed my life. I want to be an actress so bad, but i began losing motivation when I couldn't figure out what to do. And then I found you! Thanks to you, I'm taking my first acting classes next month! Yippee!
Sara, Pasadena, CA
Just wanted to thank you for bringing me in to [audition for the video], meet you and chat this Saturday. I was really excited to hear about your working on actingcareerstartup.com and even took a look at it today - it's awesome! You are very well-spoken, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and it shows through the work that you do! I hope our paths in the industry will cross again and really enjoyed meeting you. Thanks, again and best wishes with your very important work!
Gretchen, NY, NY