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Dear Ms. Bubbette: August 2003
by Ms. Bubbette
I have a 4 1/2 year old boy (be 5 in April) who seems to be interested in acting. I want to know what is the best way to get him a taste of the business without putting a lot of money into it. We don't want to put a lot into it unless he is truly going to enjoy it or be good at it. I want to encourage him but not push him. Do you have any advice.
Dear Cs Mom,
By now your boy will be 5 sorry for the delay! Suggestions for exposing your son to the world of acting - in Austin there are five main venues for childrens acting many of them will expect your child to be able to read first though so make lots of inquiries. * Austin Musical Theatre (512) 292-9696
* Britelites Studios (512) 459-1100
* Dede Clark (512) 452-5989
* State Theatre School of Acting (512) 472-3160 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org * Zachary Scott Theatre Center (512) 476-6378 e-mail: email@example.com Some of them cover film and commercials as well as theatre.
Thank you for not being a pushy "stage mom" the horror of many a casting director! Any of these classes will show if your son has an aptitude for acting. Good luck!
Where and who can I get the best headshots from for the least amount of money?
Hello Tim Zhu,
As I tell everyone serious about this business buy the BIZ DIRECTORY which lists actors resources for all over Texas - and some other States. Inquire at (512) 323-2090. Everything youll ever want to know about this business of acting whether it be theatre or film, is covered in this actors bible.
I dont know which city you are in but in Austin my two favorites, from personal experience are: Jeff Cannon (512)479-6563 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org And Fabrizio whom I believe, has returned from Italy. Check the phone book on that one. Both have very reasonable prices, fabulous quality and give you all the time you need.
In Dallas, my new students are going to Julian Noel a digital photographer who charges $65 for the initial shoot and proof sheet. Extra for the 8"x10" copies. (214) 855-5121 e-mail: Julian@dfwactors.com Website: www.dfwactors.com/studio Best of luck Tim,
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
I'm a high school actress, and I will be applying to colleges soon. Acting is what I want to do with my life, and I am looking for a school that will help me improve, grow, and expand as an actress in the best way possible. It is important to me that I be challenged - pushed to my limits - by the program there, so that I will be ready for the "real world" and the growing acting business. I am thinking about possibly going to some sort of 2 year dramatic arts academy or conservatory, but frankly I'm lost as to which ones will offer me the challenging program I am seeking. Going to schools' web sites doesn't seem to help much since they only mention the very best parts of their programs (As a result each school sounds the same). Do you have any suggestions of suitable schools for me? Any information you can share will be incredibly helpful. Thanks!
A High School Actress
Dear High School Actress,
My advice here for an excellent two year college in Texas, is Lon Morris in Jacksonville. (Just out of Tyler). Heavily into the arts, former students include Sandy Duncan, Steve McQueen and Tommy Tune. The school is private, small in number 400 students when my daughter went there to major in theatre and turns out excellent actors. A well rounded curriculum has students working on every facet of theatre my daughter particularly enjoyed costume designing. From there one can continue on at UT in Austin, or if very talented, maybe even Julliard in New York?!
Let us know where you end up so that other actors with the same question may be helped. May nothing happen to curb your obvious enthusiasm
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
I wanted to know how you would do a video taped audition to send to a company. Is it always best to have it taped professionally or can I do it myself at home with my home video recorder?
Also, what do I do on the tape? Is it exactly the same as if I would go to the people directly? For example, would I just have someone off camera read the lines before mine and I would do the acting for the role I am auditioning for? Would I have to slate my name, also?
I've signed up for an audition class, but I have an audition before I got to the audition class and I was wondering if you could shed some light on the process and what you recommend. I possibly have an appointment to have the audition taped this weekend. I have to have the tape sent to the company by March 28th.
By now you will have already done something!! Sorry about that. Unfortunately my mailbox is swamped and I do not personally e-mail or call people. But for future reference and for all those other readers out there here is my recommendation on how an audition tape should be put together.
Serious actors would go to a professional videographer not try to do this themselves at home. That would yell "amateur" to the company viewing it. You should have the sides (movie) or copy ( commercial) sent to you from the company. Make sure you are very familiar with them before rolling tape preferably memorized. Take another actor with you to read the other lines off-camera and direct your lines to them after you have slated your name into the camera lens. Remember to smile and look friendly when you slate. You might even give a side profile of your whole body. If you dont have an agent, put your name, phone #, e-mail & address on the tape itself. Dont expect to get your tape back unless you send a stamped, addressed container with it.
One suggestion is to ask someone at the local cable studio to help. The studios are usually free to the public. But I would offer to pay for the operator. If you are in Austin I suggest you get hold of my friend Kirk Hunter who has been a producer/teacher at the former ACTV studios. If hes tied up he will suggest someone who can help you. (512) 328-2611 e-mail: email@example.com
My final suggestion before you shoot anything, go to an acting coach to work on the piece with you. Its worth paying a little for a polished performance.
P.S. Would you happen to be a New Zealander? Going by your e-mail address!
Dear Ms. Bubbette:
Why are most of the agents in Dallas franchised with SAG and most of the agents in Austin are not. Is it a good idea to sign a contract with an agent in Dallas who is licensed by the state of Texas, but not SAG franchised? Sincerely,
Texas is a Right to Work State and as such one can work in Union jobs without joining a union e.g. SAG/AFTRA. It would behoove a busy actor to join the union once eligible. But for those who are not so lucky in landing regular SAG work, the large fees could be overwhelming.
All Talent Agents must be licensed by the State of Texas. The rules they have to follow parallel SAG/AFTRA franchise rules in many areas. They must have a $10,000 surety bond. They may not charge advance fees. And so on
To answer your question Franchised or Not Franchised has no bearing on whether an agency is good or not. It does not change their performance or credibility with Casting Directors. Every licensed agent is dealt with equally. More established agencies Franchised or not may have more experienced actors and therefore will get more time slots at an audition. But every one of them is recognized for what they are worth. None of my agents have ever been Franchised.
Good question. Thank you!
Hello Ms. Bubbette,
I am trying to find a list of vocal coaches in the Austin, Texas area that specialize in voice-over acting. Do you know of any such coaches in Austin and if so, who is considered to be the best in that area of teaching. Thank you so much for your time.
Again the BIZ would have answered your query! I would suggest Lainie Frasier at The Production Block in Austin (512) 472-8975 - She specializes in V/O acting, animation and radio commercials, TV voice-overs. She has tons of copy for your use and they put together an excellent V/O audio tape with appropriate sound effects. The V/O tape they did for me has certainly paid off in jobs.
Debora Duckett of db Talent Agency specializes in Voice/Over auditions. She might have more suggestions for you. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
hello i am trying to get info on a film that i did i thought that the name was called ontario and i dont remember the name of the director, i am also looking for the directors name that shot the film called Ingrid, do you have this info
Dear no name,
This is a very good example of what every actor must remember to do when they are shooting a movie whether it be a big name company or an independent one. ALWAYS write down the name of the movie in your daily diary, the name of the director and the name of the production company. You need this info for your resumé. You may think youll remember but later it slides away
Im afraid I cant answer your questions but maybe someone reading this can send in an answer? Anyone?? The movies Ontario and "Ingrid" directors names please. Have you tried talking to the Austin Film Commission? e-mail: Gbond@austintexas.org or the Texas Film Commission e-mail: email@example.com They keep great records on what is being shot in Texas.
Good luck with this.
~ Ms.Bubbette ~
Can you give me a few suggestions on some agents here in Austin? Thanx
To be fair to everyone (and they are all listed in the Biz Directory) and to save space in my column I suggest you e-mail the Texas Film Commission see letter above and ask for an updated list of Austin Talent Agents. Usually it will come with a list of movies/commercials for which each agent has supplied talent .
Dear Mrs. Bub
that website Austinactors . net it does'nt show REAL movies ya know the ones you see when you go to the movies? Can you please give me a list (or website , if that is what you prefer) of REAL movies that i can try out for or at least be a extra. THAT are going to be in AUSTIN . I need ages for girls ages 11 parts.
Dear age 11!
Sometimes it does list real movies. When they are happening in Austin. Under Film News. But your best bet is to go to the Production Hotline: (512) 463-4114 which is a 24 hour recorded hotline on movies big screen ones and others happening or about to happen in Austin and surrounding towns/cities. This is put out by the Texas Film Commission. Have a pencil and paper ready to jot information down. Keep an eye on the newspaper too.
Third Coast Extras Casting is another way you can find out what is happening for extra work. They would need a recent photo of you and a form filled out.
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
I've been looking at your site a lot lately because I am no longer interested in what I can expect from acting in Los Angeles. The emphasis here is more on the opening weekend than on the art of the film, story, the heart -- all of the stuff that people need to have within them to make a project worthwhile. I understand Austin is a beautiful city with a population that I would seem more aligned with than the celebrity chasers and image obsessed here in SoCal. What I'm wondering, however, is if I am trying to make Austin magically the answer to all my problems'. How often do acting opportunities arrive there? I'm more interested in working on quality projects for free all year long than struggling to work for fifteen seconds in another forgettable commercial. I suppose it doesn't hurt that most of the directors I admire the most seem to be coming from the Austin area (not to mention the drop in living expenses!).
When it comes down to it, I will probably end up there anyway, and I'm sure I'm not the only LA actor transplanting myself there in search of the art', but you seem to give some straight answers and if you've got the time, I'd like to hear what you have to say!
Yes, Austin has it all and isnt called the "Third Coast " for nothing. Its fine enough for actors like Sandra Bullock to relocate here. Its not only a busy movie town but has the famous Sixth Street full of fine musicians too. Home of the "Austin City Limits" series. The 9 day South by Southwest Film Festival showcasing International independent films. And the famed directors prefer to live here: Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Desperado) Richard Linklater (Dazed & Confused, Slacker) Mike Judge (Office Space, cartoon features). It also seems that some Independent movie is being made daily many end up at Sundance Festival. The very capable film crews here are up to their eyeballs in work; the old airport hangers have been made into fine Sound stages; diverse locations from lakes to piney woods, from hills to the Gulf Coast all within a few hours drive. And the people are friendly and care about you, something I found lacking in LA. (please read the letter below from "An Avid Reader") For a talented actor, theres more chance of work in Austin than on the West Coast.
Have I sold you on it yet? ! Actually it sounds like youve already decided to live the real life. If you do come over, get in with the Austinactors.net gatherings theyre fun, free and very informative. Youll find yourself hobnobbing with a director, an actor, a casting director all just being friendly. To briefly mention some of the movies made in this area in the last few years: Ms. Congeniality. Spy Kids 1, 2 & 3; The Faculty; Varsity Blues; Hope Floats; Office Space; Pearl Harbor ; Picnic (remake); Where the Heart is; The Soul Collector; Whats eating Gilbert Grape; Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1 & 2; Perfect World; Blank Check; Dazed & Confused; The Big Green; Ballad of the Sad Café; Adam; Courage Under Fire; The Hot Spot; Lonesome Dove Series; Michael; Mortal Kombat; Dr. T & the Women; Waking Life; Jimmy Neutron; The New Guy; Cast Away; Alamo.. And more .
Austin will welcome you!
P.S. The only rock n roll we have is in the Clubs not under the street!!
I have one simple question for you. I want to direct really bad. I would like to start out on Music Videos then work my up into movies. I would like to get a job on a movie set and work my way up. I don't have the money to go to school for film making, plus I have read numerous stories where directors have never gone to school. What is the best thing for me to do? Where can I get a job with no experience and work on a movie set. I know its been done, but how? Thanks for your time!!!!
If you read the letter before this youll realize that something is always happening in Austin especially in Independent Movies. They dont always pay their crew up front but what an invaluable free way to discover how to direct. Austin, also being a music mecca does Music Videos from time to time. Now for your simple question which isnt so simple! You can hang out and ask questions when you see a movie being set up; you can get in touch with the Texas Film Commission for a list of Film and Video producers/Directors or production companies.(512) 463-9200. You will have to do a lot of leg work yourself but it will be worth the effort if this is your hearts desire. One small step at a time.
Good luck with this.
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
The ultimate question of the year, possibly the millennium. How do I get involved in stuntwork??? In Austin preferably, for now. DIE-ing to know. thanks much, shawn
I give you the best man I know for stuntwork. Call Bobby Sargent at (512) 346-1102 . He is a stunt coordinator and second unit director. And one of the nicest people youll ever meet. Ive seen him in action and he is awesome!
Break a leg oops!
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
I am a 14 year old girl in need of a book of FUNNY 1, 2, or 3 minute monologues. What books do you suggest? Thank you for your time!
The ones I use in my teen classes (12-15) are: "Great Scenes and Monologues for children 7-14" by Craig Slaight & Jack Sharrar: and "Childsplay" scenes and monologues by Kerry Muir. Others I take from plays like Charlie Brown, The Me Nobody Knows movies like Alice in Wonderland, My Girl, Secret Garden , Peter Pan. And if you can write, try writing your own on a funny experience you once had or witnessed. Make sure you memorize it - like a regular monologue dont try to wing it or it will sound like you are just making it up!
Borders & other large bookstores have a sizeable section on monologues. Take a break and go and check some out.
Hope this helps you.
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
Thank you for the reference! An endorsement from you is an honor.
Thank you! How nice it is to get a thanks. I know you and your dedication to working with child actors so you deserve every endorsement that comes your way. Keep up the great work. Austin is lucky to have you!
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
I'm so glad you are here to ask questions. I'm not shy but it is hard to ask my questions face to face with my agent, who like a Dr is always in a hurry. Besides I really don't want her to think I'm STUPID or WEIRD.
My question for the day is I just made a national commercial and am wondering if I should write a Thank you to the casting Director? I know she had a lot to do with me getting an audition, maybe she even pulled for me, I dont really know how she feels except it was at her office. Should I write to her or is it too GAY?, well weird? Also my handwriting is terrible and I want to type it out but I know it isn't the greatest but I think typing is better than most people do? What is your opinion? Thank you Bubbette. SM
You are definitely on the right track. Casting Directors love Thank you notes and it could keep you in their thoughts for another project. Especially as you landed the job. And yes they are absolutely responsible for your being at that audition. They check out the agents Headshot books or ask them to submit actors who can fit the description of the characters. They select the ones that they think are right and then they let your agent know that you have an audition time slot with them and what to wear etc. Congratulations on getting that National commercial. These bookings are the icing on the cake for actors a short shoot followed by residuals as long as the commercial airs. Most Nationals bring in at least 5 figures that is if its a principal role, not as an extra.!
As to handwriting or typing my writing is not the best either when Im in a hurry. Such an important note however, should be short and sweet and carefully handwritten, in my opinion. Those little thank you cards are perfect and you could say something like; " I had such a great time on the Nike commercial and Id like to thank you so much for having faith in me. Please remember me for any future auditions. Thank you again, etc"
The perfect card to write on, of course, would be your Headshot postcard. Then they remember who it is for sure. After all, CDs see hundreds of actors on every project. If you dont have postcards yet, you might consider spending a little of your profits on those. They are invaluable for sending to Casting Directors at any time just a friendly hello with your latest achievement on it. They DO read them
May you land many more!
Dear Ms. Bubbette,
I am a 12 yo girl. I can look anywhere from 10-14 ish. I have known my entire life I wanted to be an actress, But not just an actress but a super star. Not because of the fame/money but because I would make so many good movies because I want to play all the roles a woman can play. I know acting is something I do well. I'm not conceited just some people excel in other things that I don't but I can act. I look like the girl next door. In real life I am very nice so I can be nice, but I really love playing the strong, sassy even the BAD girl. I love acting and it is my life and I will always act and use the skills and talent I have no matter how I make a living. I may go to law school. However I truly want and believe I am suppose to be a Financially successful actress. I have trained in acting since preschool. Other kids wanted ballet, or sports not me I wanted to act. Luckily my family, friends and acting teachers all say I have the gift. Now I need info and help.
I have an agent and have made a few commercials in Texas but there really is not enough work in Texas to keep me busy and make money. So I and my family are wanting to make a trip out to CA. When is the best time to go to meet with agents? When is the best time to go for Auditions? Can we arrange to do some of both at the same time? I just this week wrote to some CA agents but I don't think they take me serious because I live in Texas. Should I call and ask them if they got my headshot? Should I call? What should I say? We can travel. Don't these agents and CD realize there are automobiles, trains and planes? We aren't limited by location. Yes it costs, but if I can get work it is worth it. We can travel cheap. I want to have lots of meetings scheduled so we can have the most productive trip possible. I am homeschooled so scheduling is not a problem. My family is totally supportive and will do whatever it takes to help me b! e the best I can be.
Also do you think the talent agents or the receptionist open their mail? Do the agents see it? Do you think since they see I come from Texas they ignore me? Can you help me get an audition with a reputable agent in California? Do you know some I should stay away from? I will mail you my headshot/resume and comp. card if you want and tell me where to send it.
Thank you so much. I know this is long but I have so many Q. I hope you will answer all of my Q. I look forward to reading your answers.
Dear 12 year old,
I admire your tenacity to go get it! Sadly its not so easy no matter where you come from. Remember LA has thousands of would-be actors most of the kid actors have been brought up in the biz Mom or Dad is a star. But even that cannot always get them recognition. Talent is the #1 criteria and it sounds like you have that going for you from what you say. I can feel your burning passion to make it all the way. So that passion is the #2 criteria. Now you just have to get a foot in the door over there a virtually impossible thing to do for the average actor. But remember now - people like Tia & Tamara Mowry "Sister, Sister" They came to me from Killeen and I videotaped them at 10 years of age. There was nothing here for them so I suggested their Mom take them over to LA for the pilot season. She took me at my word and look where they are now!! And I have other students who have made a slot for themselves over there.
This is what I suggest, seeing expense is no problem and youre homeschooled. Lee Petersen Talent Management in Dallas could have the answers for you. I know Lee personally and shes a very aggressive manager and puts everything into getting her talent recognized. Phone (817) 469-7827. She knows the right people in LA having worked there for many years. But she will only take really talented people. Instead of just calling why dont you get yourself the best coach in town, make a great demoreel monologue, scene from something. If youre in Austin contact Mona Lee (512) 323-2090 - pay for the best. Shell also tell you when the pilot season is happening.
Id love to have a follow-up letter from you to inspire other young actors.
Good luck! Ms. Bubbette