New to Los Angeles Part Two

August 26, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Mail Bag

I want to do something different for my next two posts.  In the past two weeks, I’ve sat down with several “transplants” new to LA.   I noticed they all had similar questions so I want to point out some things you should know if you are thinking of making the move to Los Angeles to pursue the film business.

Have business cards

Please take this business seriously.  If you owned your own accounting business, it wouldn’t even be a question that you would have business cards.  Show biz is the same way (maybe even more so).  We are networking crazies. I, personally, love it!  I love meeting new people but I tell you what, if they don’t have a business card, part of me thinks a little less of them just because I don’t think they are taking it seriously.  If you are an actor, please have your picture on your card.  It’s the easiest tool for you to use to get jobs out here.

Expect to work for free

The people that work in this business and have been doing it awhile more likely than not, have a group of people they trust, they’ve worked with before and they know can get the job done. If you expect to get into that inner circle, you’re going to have to prove yourself and not many people are willing to take a chance on someone they don’t know unless that person is willing to bust their ass for free to prove they are reliable and worthy of the person’s time.  It’s just a reality of the business out here.  I’m not saying it will be forever, but there is truth to the saying “it’s all who you know”.  You have to be able to do the job when you get it, but getting it is in who you know. So, if you don’t know anyone then you need to mentally and economically prepare to work for free so that they can get to know you.

Don’t put a time limit on it

Honestly, the statistic I’ve heard is that it takes 7 to 10 years to make it as an “over-night” success in Hollywood (so imagine what it takes to just be a “success”.  So, if you’re one of those people who thinks they’re going to come out here for a year and try to make it big and if you don’t then you’ll go home, then I say, please don’t bother.  The highways are crowded enough and it’s an insult to those of us who have busted our asses for years out here.

Don’t give up!

It’s a tough business and you have to be able to find joy in the little parts of it like auditioning, networking, taking classes, reading, studying, all of that.  If you don’t, this town can surely eat you alive.  Most importantly, find a group of people with similar aspirations and support each other.  I often hear people say that LA is “fake” and “dog eat dog”, and it certainly can be.  But, for me, I have never been in a more supportive, understanding and loving environment.  Make sure you surround yourself with good, positive people and enjoy the ride because it can be quite a ride.


New to Los Angeles Part One

August 25, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Mail Bag

I want to do something different for my next two posts.  In the past two weeks, I’ve sat down with several “transplants” new to LA.   I noticed they all had similar questions so I want to point out some things you should know if you are thinking of making the move to Los Angeles to pursue the film business.

Get experience

I know this sounds like a “duh” but if you can get ANY experience where you are at, do it.  The more you’ve been on sets, in the casting room, in the production office, the better off you’ll be coming out here.

Brush up on your networking skills

You have to understand that Los Angeles is one big networking pool every day, all the time, so if you don’t know how to strike up a conversation with someone in line at the coffee shop or at a party, you could be missing out on some pretty big opportunities.  The great thing about LA is that there are groups set up specifically for networking.  So, when you go to one of their parties or events, there is no awkwardness because everyone knows you’re there to network.  So, research those groups and start attending their events.

Save your pennies

Los Angeles can be a really expensive place to live.  Please do your research before you come out here, have a plan in regards to where you’re going to live, what kind of work you will be doing while you are pursuing your show biz career and have some money in the bank.  The majority of people here work freelance so if you have never done that or don’t know what it’s like to live from job to job, ask people who have, read articles on the subject so that you’re not stressed when you are thrust into that way of living.  Also know that apartments and jobs come up at the last minute.  Meaning, when I moved here from the Midwest, I planned to find a place 3 months ahead of time.  Well, there were no places that had that length of notice.  Typically people here give 30 day notice so you have to be prepared to jump into a place kind of at the last minute.  It’s much less notice for jobs so just be aware of that when you are planning so you don’t get frustrated.

Have a plan

No matter what you want to do in the entertainment business, remember that it’s a business.  Therefore, you are running your own company so make a business plan for yourself.  Every successful business has one and 9 times out of 10, those who fail out here set themselves up for that failure by not having a plan.  If you want to be an actor, research the shows you would be good for, find out who the casting directors are. Do those casting directors do workshops?  How can you get yourself in front of them?  If you want to be a director, can you intern with a director you admire out here?  Do you even know the name of their production company?  It’s a great time in the entertainment industry because information is right at your finger tips so make sure you do the research and create a plan.  You’ll impress those you are talking to that have been here awhile and you’ll feel less stressed out when you get here and everything is going a thousand miles a minute.

Episode Fifty-Four: The Business of Acting Part 2

October 6, 2010 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

Being an actor in Hollywood requires strategic planning as far as marketing and branding yourself and Rachel Lien and Bryan McClure have been busy doing just that. They both moved to Los Angeles from Omaha, Nebraska a little more than a year ago after co-staring in the independent film April Showers and have already landed some notable auditions and the attention of various casting directors and agents. We also welcome back Jenna Edwards fresh off the road from her midwest journey to hear about what’s going on at Mattoid Entertainment.

For our guest bios and links please see Episode Fifty-Four: The Business of Acting Part 1

Episode Fifty-Four: The Business of Acting Part 1

September 29, 2010 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

Being an actor in Hollywood requires strategic planning as far as marketing and branding yourself and Rachel Lien and Bryan McClure have been busy doing just that. They both moved to Los Angeles from Omaha, Nebraska a little more than a year ago after co-staring in the independent film April Showers and have already landed some notable auditions and the attention of various casting directors and agents. We also welcome back Jenna Edwards fresh off the road from her midwest journey to hear about what’s going on at Mattoid Entertainment.

Jenna Edwards- Producer

Jenna Edwards began her film career in Minnesota where she was signed on as talent with Easter Hailey. Quickly after being signed Edwards was hired by the agency as a full time employee giving her a head-start on her Hollywood education. After two years of rising through the Minnesota film community Edwards made the move to Los Angeles.

Soon after Edwards moved to Los Angeles she was hired by Agent Jamie Ferrar. It was while Edwards was working for Ferrar that she developed an interest in the casting process, before long she had moved from talent agencies to working in casting with such industry leaders as Sally Steiner (Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Boy Meets World), Barbie Block (Jonas, Pepper Dennis) and Allison Jones (Super Bad, The Office). During this time Edwards was also able to gain valuable production experience working on shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Malcolm in the Middle, and working with studios like Disney, MTV, FOX and CBS.

After several years of successfully navigating her career through the Hollywood studio system Edwards made the leap to independent film with her first feature April Showers. After her success with April Showers Edwards formed Mattoid Entertainment with partners Jeremy McGovern and Andrew Robinson where they made, In the Darkness,  the first narrative feature to ever premiere on Hulu.com.  Most recently Edwards made her way back to Nebraska, where she shot April Showers, to team up with some new filmmakers on a comedy film called Trunk’d.

Mattoid Entertainment’s Website
Mattoid on Facebook

Rachel Lien- Actor

Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska – Rachel’s desire to perform became apparent before the age of eight.  She soon began acting, singing and dancing on the same stage where such legends as Marlon Brando and Henry Fonda began their careers – the nationally renowned Omaha Community Playhouse. By the age of 12, Lien was garnering praise from theater critics and audiences alike. Roles in The Miracle Worker, Gypsy, and Annie Get Your Gun would earn her the Theater Arts Guild Award for Best Youth Actress, and the prestigious Mary Peckham Award for her stunning portrayal of Helen Keller.

Although aptly described as “a bubbly ingénue who can sing and dance up a storm”, Lien’s dramatic talents began to emerge on screen as well.  Appearing alongside other rapidly rising young actors such as Kelly Blatz and Daryl Sabara in the film “April Showers” (also starring Tom Arnold and Illeana Douglas), Lien’s depiction of Jessica earned high praise from director Andrew Robinson who described her as “One of the best raw talents I’ve come across in a long time.”  Her role in “Ticket Out”, starring Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Charlie St. Cloud) and Billy Burke (Twilight, New Moon), will further reveal her range of talent as the rifle-toting, orthodontia-challenged drugstore employee, Ellen.

With a year to go at the University of Nebraska – the urge to head to Hollywood was too great.  Armed with a trunk-load of talent, along with a sparkling, fresh and determined spirit, Rachel Lien recently arrived in Hollywood. She is presently working on Young and The Restless in a recurring spot, and is decidedly on track to become one of our next great American actresses.

Rachel Lien’s Reel
Rachel’s Twitter Page

Bryan McClure- Actor

Ever since he was young, Bryan has been interested in the arts.  He has studied many different art-forms over the years from studio art and graphic design, to acting. Bryan received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Creighton University in Graphic Design and now has his web business called Momentum Creative Studios.  His acting studies began at The Omaha Community Playhouse, where Marlon Brando began his studies. Bryan was heavily involved in the The Nebraska Film Group and film community in Omaha, Nebraska prior to relocating to Hollywood. In addition to working with Tom Arnold in Andrew Robinson’s film, April Showers, Bryan’s other notable credits include Lucky starring Colin Hanks, Easy to Assemble with Illeana Douglas, and The Scientist with Adam LeFevre and Bill Sage.

Recently, Bryan was nominated as Best Supporting Actor at the 168 Hour Film Festival for his performance as Marko in the movie Bountiful. Additionally, he worked his way to the final audition (a Network test) for Nickelodeon’s new Power Rangers. He is currently studying the Meisner acting technique at the William Alderson Acting Studio in Hollywood.

Bryan McClure on IMDB
Momentum Creative Studios- web design
Bryan’s Personal Website
Bryan’s Twitter Page

Episode Fifty-Two Part 2: Actor and Filmmaker Promotion

September 15, 2010 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

One of the most important skills to learn as an actor or filmmaker is self-promotion. This is part 2 of the interview with film marketer Sheri Candler and actor/filmmaker Jenn Page. There’s so much information that we had to split it into two parts! Actors and filmmakers, you won’t want to miss this show!

For information about our guests see the Episode Fifty-Two Part 1 episode page.

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Episode Fifty-Two Part 1: Actor & Filmmaker Promotion

September 4, 2010 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

One of the most important skills to learn as an actor or filmmaker is self-promotion. Join independent film marketer Sheri Candler and actor/filmmaker Jenn Page for this chock-full-of-good-info podcast. There’s so much information that we had to split it into two parts! Actors and filmmakers, you won’t want to miss this show!

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Sheri Candler- Independent Film Marketing and Publicity

Sheri Candler is an inbound marketing strategist who helps independent
filmmakers build identities for themselves and their films. Through the
use of online tools such as social networking, podcasts, blogs, online
media publications and radio, she assists filmmakers in building an
engaged and robust online community for their work that can be used to
monetize effectively.

Sheri Candler’s Website

Jenn Page- Actor/Director/Producer

After obtaining her degree in theatre performance form Southern Illinois University Edwardsville she earned her wings in New York City acting in independent films including the multi-award winning short Off. With the intention of furthering her acting career she moved to Los Angeles. Shortly after her arrival she decided that the best way to get work was to make her own. She began producing projects for herself and formed her first production company. Since then she has acted, produced, and/or directed feature films, short films, music videos, and stage shows. Directing has become the main focus for Jenn as she found that not only does directing allow her to utilize everything she has learned over the years, but it is her true passion.

Luminave Films
Reel Star Makers

Important Information & Links

Facebook Vanity URL
Bonnie Gillespie’s Facebook Page (casting director)

Boosting your Google rating

1. First, find out who you are now
- www.onlineidcalculator.com (log out of Gmail first before you run it for
more accurate results)
- www.addictomatic.com (makes a dashboard of your personal mentions)

2. To Boost Your Rating
-Get a LinkedIn account, even if you don’t plan to use it
-Get on IMDB
-Join actor and filmmaker networking sites, not just Facebook and Twitter
Examples for filmmakers: Production Hub, Massify, indieProducer.net
-Leave comments on prominent industry sites
-Check Technorati or Alexa for well trafficked sites, and leave comments of value, do not just say “great post”. Make sure you fill in your name, email and website, this is good for building inbound links on your site and for raising your profile.
-Another site to check out to post yourself on many social networking sites in one go, Knowem. I don’t like it much myself as my goal is to only be on sites I actually visit, but if you do want to spread yourself out or you are just getting started on social networking and would like to go to one site and sign up for many at one time, try Knowem.
- Use Websitegrader to evaluate how you are doing with your site and see what can be tweaked to raise your score.

Episode Twenty-Eight: Tight Shortz Film Festival

February 24, 2010 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

Episode28_photoTight Shortz: Short Film, Music and Art Festival is a platform for emerging filmmakers, performers, and artists, to showcase their talent and display their work while helping financially distressed small businesses in local areas gain exposure. Twice a year, starting this July, the festival will be held in a different unique urban location, in and around Los Angeles. Join us as we speak with the founder of the festival, Dream Kasestatad, to hear the story of the events that led to the creation of this unique festival.

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Dream Kasestatad

Dream Kasestatad grew up in Lubbock, Texas. As a young boy he was very influenced by his grandfather, Choochai Rittiluechai, who was a famous Thai Boxing Champion, and actor in Thailand. Dream spent most of his childhood training and competing in amateur boxing competitions, and carried his passion and discipline from boxing into his love for acting. At 21 years old he went to Tisch School Of The Arts, NYU to study theatre, with a focus on the Meisner Technique. After spending time training in NYC, he moved back to Texas to help with the family’s restaurant business, and in 2004 moved to LA. It wasn’t long before he started landing national commercials. Dream is the founder and director of a new film, music and art festival that is scheduled to kick off this summer called, Tight Shortz Film, Music, and Art Festival. Dream began Tight Shortz to empower artists to stop waiting for opportunities to happen, but rather take matters into their own hands, and create their own opportunities. Two weeks ago he took Lil C (So You Think You Can Dance), Miss Prissy (Rize), and Deuce (Step Up 3-D) to perform at Loyola Marymount University for the 40th anniversary gala for the African American Students at LMU, and Dance Marathon at UCLA for a pediatric AIDS fundraiser. Dream will be hosting events to promote the festival every month until the festival premiere in July 2010.

To find out more about Dream and the Tight Shortz festival, visit the Tight Shortz website. They can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Episode Nine: Casting in the Wild West

August 19, 2009 by cindy  
Filed under episodes

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This week on Film Method we talk about the world of casting from both the casting director’s and the actor’s perspectives. Lost‘s Eric Lange joins us as well as actor Lindsay Hollister (Boston Public, Get Smart) and casting director Bonnie Gillespie to give advice to new filmmakers about the importance of hiring a casting director. In these ever changing times of new technology you have to be prepared to roll with the punches, as an actor or a filmmaker. The panel also discusses dos and don’ts of actor self promotion.


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