Actors Happy Hour is Back!

The Alliance of Professional Performers NW’s Actors Happy Hour is back! We’re a group of people who “get” you and the challenges you face as a professional performer in the Northwest market!

Every third Tuesday of the month we’ll be hosting our Actors Happy Hour to meet up with fellow actors, producers, directors, writers and crew members of our film industry, and to talk about interesting topics related to our profession.

Tuesday, January 19th sets in motion this year’s events at Mad Sons on 1109 SE Madison St. 6-9 pm.

Join us for a drink, delicious food, and an exciting conversation!

It is your turn to run for the APP-NW Board of Directors.

As you know, APP-NW holds Board elections in February of each year – and we’d love to see YOUR name on the ballot!

The Alliance of Professional Performers – NW is committed to improving and increasing the level of professionalism within our industry and to protecting performers through the establishment of workplace standards.  The majority of this work is taken on by the organization’s Board of Directors and the committees overseen by the Board. Board members are responsible for guiding the organization’s activities, keeping it fiscally solvent, and making sure the organization adheres to its mission.

The deadline to receive your nominations is December 31st, 2015.

If you or someone you know wants to work together to create a community that stands, and supports each other, send an email to info@app-nw.org no later than December 31st with “Elections 2016” in the subject line.

Happy Holidays!

The APP-NW Board of Directors 

October Actors Happy Hour!

Down time? Tune Up!  What to do in the off season to keep your skills sharp.

Our shows have wrapped; holiday commercials have all been shot; theater seasons are cast. Don’t wrap yourself in a blanket and weep.  Come share with us how you keep your skills sharp and your body and mind at peak condition.
Join the APP-NW revolution at our new venue, Mad Sons of America 
(1109 SE Madison St. Portland, OR 97214) this Tuesday October 20, 6-9 pmAs usual, we’ll have an awesome and lively conversation, delicious food, great company, and our traditional raffle.
Remember, all members of our film and theater community are invited! 

AHH! Wrap up.

September’s Actors Happy Hour! was a great start to the fall season with a lively discussion of Red Flags – what should alert you to problems on set and how you should react. APP-NW member and actor, Elizabeth Zimmerman, regaled us with some scary, some amusing “audition” ads from Craigslist and other sources, and some good sense tips about recognizing when an audition or offer might be too good to be true, or even dangerous. We’ve attached the tips sheets that were the result of Elizabeth’s great research on the subject.

Here are some great tips put forward by our members:
Everyone on a production may be a newbie, but the AD is never new.
Auditions held in hotel rooms are to be avoided. If you must go, take someone with you.
Always let someone know where you are going, and when you expect to be back, especially if the audition or gig doesn’t go through an agent.
Read the whole script before you accept the job so there are no surprises about what you’ll be expected to do.
Raise concerns if the location is changed at the last minute.
Raise concerns if asked to do something that wasn’t in the script you were furnished.
Never be afraid to bring a concern to the AD and work with the production team to solve the issue. If a situation can’t be corrected on set; you can always refuse to participate.
Read your contract before you sign it, no matter how close to shooting it comes to you. If it doesn’t reflect your understanding, don’t sign until you get clarification.
Trust your gut – if you’re prepared, and know your rights and responsibilities, you can trust your instincts.
If the script calls for a scene with sexual content, you are entitled to a blocking rehearsal of the scene so you will know just what to expect when you get in front of the camera. Ask for it.

One of our members, an experienced actor, related a very recent experience on the set of a series where 2 colleagues reported to her that they’d been kissed by another actor in a crowd scene during a scripted black-out. She had to convince these young women that they should report the behavior to the AD. Her story led to a lively discussion about the tendency of younger actors, accustomed to the greater lack of privacy inherent in our lives today via FB, Instagram, etc., to be unaware of what constitutes inappropriate or abusive behavior that is not to be tolerated. That, coupled with a lack of knowledge about what to do in such a situation, timidity and a reluctance to “rock the boat,” points up the importance of knowing your rights and responsibilities before you get on set.

Remember, your career success does not rest on one job. Be prepared; be aware; be sure of your rights and responsibilities.

When Is It OK to Turn Down a Role?

Legitimate reasons to choose not to do a role you’re offered:
Changes to the role: nudity, adding a physical activity that is dangerous, eating or drinking something you are allergic to, the role is now much smaller or different than the one originally auditioned for or has been made an “extra,” etc.
Personal/ business reasons: the director’s behavior was abusive, scheduling or location conflicts, salary changes, and/or the production feels unprofessional, etc.
If your instincts tell you that the job or the project is something to stay away from, listen to your gut and move on.
It is not okay to accept work when you are already booked to do something else, no matter how trivial. Your word is your bond.
Be the actor who takes every opportunity seriously, considers its value, and makes an informed decision, following your heart and mind. But go for most jobs with the commitment and enthusiasm needed. It is always okay to say no/ turn down a job. We are artists and should never feel beholden to others to take a job just to take a job. That said, just because you can turn down a job doesn’t mean you should. I have personally turned down projects with themes that don’t jive with what I believe. I have turned down projects that have bordered on the wrong side of the ethical fence with what I believe. Those situations are very few and far between, but they exist. I have turned down quite a few projects because I didn’t like the script or the story.
As actors, you should feel strong and safe enough to make the same choices. Yes, you have representation to answer to and you will have to have those difficult conversations with them. However, at the end of the day, it’s your name, your face, and your brand, and you have to be comfortable with the project/product. There are times when you should just suck it up and do it even though the project doesn’t check off every box. There are also times when it’s better to choose your soul and beliefs or even artistry over a paycheck or desperation. Be brave.
http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/backstage-experts-answer-when-it-ok-turn-down-role/

How to spot the real castings from the fakes

Beware of anyone looking for “new faces”. Everyone has a new face! You can walk out your door and find dozens in a minute! The word “new faces” is a red flag for scam.

Beware of general needs such as “any ethnicity, ages 15 to 75″ thats almost EVERYONE! Real castings have specific needs (with the exception of extras).

Beware of “no experience necessary” acting, dance and modeling takes experience and training. Really, who is hiring actors who can’t act or fashion models that can’t walk? The only exception may be neighborhood fashion shows and student films.

Beware of ads with large pay. Ads that read like “models and actors needed for ‘put in any large brand here’ pay is $1200 daily and job is 4 to 5 days….” Yeah right, budgets that large get pros from agents, Not Mary and Jane off the street. Keep in mind that the SAG daily rate is around $750 and that is to experienced pro actors in a union that pay dues.

Speaking of union rates… Beware of ads that quote union rates such as $752 a day without mention of union. They are just pulling union jobs knowing you have ZERO way of getting the gig or worse, making them up and quoting union rates.

Beware of anything that asks for lingerie, topless, etc. and request pics from you to be considered. Use your imagination on what someone will do with those. Real casting directors will want head shots, full body shot(clothed) and measurements and ask you to try on their clothing at the audition, once one is scheduled.

Beware of webcam auditions, Skype auditions and the like from people you do not know. There are legit ones done that way with experienced actors and scammers are playing on that. There have been many scams where ladies did those and were talked out of their clothing by people saying “I need to see what you really look like” and other lines. Those videos then get sold in other countries and end up all over the internet for other’s enjoyment.

Beware of Extras casting calls. Generally, large productions go through a casting company. Anyone posting things like “Extras needed to make scene look ‘real’, ’Insert big movie name here’ pays $300 daily” is a scam. Large productions in small cities will post notices, but in large cities, they already have all the extras needed, unless there is some specific needs the extras agency can’t fill.
Small productions will post calls but an extra does not make close to $300. Think more along the line of min wage or less. $50 to $100 may be more realistic. Do not sign up for any background or age verification site. Those are 100% scam, even though it seems free for you to do it, the scammer is selling your info to an unsuspecting company and you will never hear back about the audition.

Beware of anything that says call some number, casting agents are waiting. Casting directors look at headshots and resumes than call back who they like. They do not sit by a phone waiting for everyone and their mom to call without even knowing if they fit. Basically, they call you if they like you.

Beware of ANYONE that approaches you at a shopping mall to sign you up to audition for Disney Channel or whatever. Those are 100% fake. Disney does not work that way nor does any casting director. Those are sales people who are trying to get you in the door so they can then sell you stuff. There is no audition!!!!! You will be wasting your time going and many meetings later they will ask for payment for some inferior service. It takes many meeting because they attempt to gain your trust and have you invest your time. They try to make it look like they are doing auditions, then callbacks, etc. Not for a real role. It is for the opportunity to work with them and they make people feel special for being selected to come back so much. Fact is, they do that with everyone and the only thing they are evaluating is your ability to pay up.

And lastly, beware of anyone selling anything. Remember, you applied for a JOB! Means, they pay YOU!

How to protect yourself:
Get an email, an anonymous one for casting calls that you respond to. That way if it gets spammed, you can change it easily.
NEVER, follow a link to another site asking you for any info that you got in a response.
Do your homework – Google company names. If you want to see any bad press you can Google ‘company name scam’ or things along that line. Check consumer report sites. Many try to hide the bad press and small operations change names often. If you can’t find anything about them, that’s a red flag.
You can check how long their website has been around by doing a ‘who is’ search. I just ran into a agency that looked fishy the other day. They claimed tons of credits and offered promises of fame.
I checked them out. Their company website was created a few days back, hosted in the Ukraine and registered anonymously. Unless the Ukraine is the new Hollywood, I’m thinking, this may be a scam.
Remember, if it sounds like a dream, it most likely is just some low life trying to pay his bills off yours. Real jobs take commitment, training and diligence. You begin at the bottom with low paying jobs and castings in small productions, then work your way up as it is in any industry. Once you get some training, a resume and experience, then you get an agent to go after the larger jobs.

http://www.auditionsfree.com/about/how-to-spot-a-modeling-acting-scam/#

“Self-Inflicted Auditions: How to self-produce your auditions and get them where they need to go.”

APP-NW and Portland SAG-AFTRA present
“Self-Inflicted Auditions: How to self-produce your auditions and get them where they need to go.”

October 10, 2015, 1:00 – 4:00 PM, Oregon AFL/CIO main hall, 3645 SE 32nd Ave, Portland, OR 97202
$5 suggested donation

Your agent tells you that it’s a great opportunity but you have to produce your own audition and put it on the internet for the client. How do you do that?!?! What equipment will you need? What software do you use? How do you edit the piece? How do you upload it to the right place?

Bring your laptop (optional) and join APP-NW, SAG-AFTRA and a bevy of industry professionals (see list below) brought together just for you, for a soup-to-nuts primer on what you’ll need and how you’ll use it to get a quality, self-produced audition that will showcase you best to book the job.

Because it wouldn’t be an APP-NW event without a raffle, when you check in at the workshop, you’ll be given an opportunity to enter a raffle to be selected as the actor who will get to participate in the live demo.

Register for the workshop by emailing info@app-nw.org. Put “Workshop” in the subject line and give us your name and contact information or just fill out the form below. All members of our extended community are welcome to participate.

Presenters:
Eryn Goodman, Cast Iron Studios
Taylor Harris, Ryan Artists,
Dennis Troutman, Option Model & Media,
Damon Jones, Actors In Action
Martin Vavra, Galaxy Sailor Productions
Duane Hanson, Portland SAG-AFTRA Local President
SAG-AFTRA
APP-NW

June’s Actors Happy Hour recap, we can call it a success!

 We want to thank Elizabeth A. Zimmerman for taking the time to write a recap of our last Actors Happy Hour.

                                                                  Self Marketing

Damon Jones said,

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE BEST POSSIBLE HEADSHOT YOU CAN GET.

This is the Number One tool you have to market yourself. Besides needing it to submit for roles, it goes on your website, your IMDB page, your business cards, your emails. This is where you do not scrimp on quality or price! And it must look like you!

Create a professional Facebook page for your fans. Get lots of Friends.

Be sure you have a business email. Link it to your personal email if need be, but make sure it sounds professional. No one ever booked a role from sexygirl23@hotmail.com !

Purchase a domain name. https://www.godaddy.com will walk you through this. It is inexpensive and easy. If the name you want is unavailable, it will suggest alternatives. Then create a website. A good website lets the industry know you are serious about your career. Here you can control your own content with on- set photos, clippings, reviews, etc.

Have a YouTube channel. Post some submission or audition videos if the script is not DND.

Have a Twitter account. So much inside information is sent from the set this way!

Consider having Periscope and LinkedIn accounts as well.

 

Keep in touch with the various casting houses in town by emailing them periodically with updates. Do not use bulk email or ‘email all’. It will go into their SPAM. No emails more often than every other month. Do not send snail mail. Do not phone. Don’t be a nag. Do not pitch yourself. No hype. Keep it simple. Let them know of any training you are doing, a part you nailed in a TV show[tell them when it airs and what time you’re on]. If you are doing a workshop or play, let them know there are free tickets at the box-office for them if they RSVP you. Do NOT ask them to come see your show. Send a SHORT message and attach your headshot in the body of the email.

How to: I opened my headshot jpg, made a copy of it, put it in a Word doc, then copied that and emailed it to myself with both Outlook and Gmail to test the size. It ended up about 2”.Say anything in the email. Hi, it was nice to talk to you at the ____event last night. Keep it short. They will not remember the message, but they will remember your photo when they need a specific look.

There are only four casting agents in town. How many production companies are there? Use the Source Oregon directory. Find them. Tell them you loved their last commercial, short film. Still reluctant? Take a marketing class at a community college.

Harold Phillips said that this is not about the next job. It is about the next year-decade-lifetime. You are creating a body of work. Not sure of your brand? Take smaller roles until you know. Do you consistently play the same kind of character(Geek, Mom, Bad Guy)? Work in the same genre (Sci-Fi, Horror, Comedy)? You are creating a brand. Make your materials consistent. Brand needs to be who you are. Do not try to be someone you are not. And consider the actor who got caught in a back-alley scandal. We the audience are stunned and disappointed. We thought we knew who that actor was. We knew his brand. Your brand will come in handy when your films are released. Distributors need a recognizable product.

Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. Film festivals. Industry events. Meetups. It makes schmoozing much more comfortable, plus you have all that “Hi, I met you at the last event” material.

Lyla Foggia spoke at length about PR, as that is her job. See www.foggiapr.com It may be premature for some of us, but nonetheless useful information. She said to be sure you have a terrific bio on your webpage. Don’t just list the parts you’ve played or the films you were in. She said she has had people simply list the films they were in. Not even the part. Useless! People want to know about you. Where did you grow up? How did you get your training? Who are your idols? Try to have someone else write it, for objectivity. Have a long version and a short version. Think about it being in People Magazine. When you go forward in your career, it will be!

Make sure the photos on your site are magazine quality-no smaller than 5 mg. These can then be pulled and blown up by newspapers or magazines. You may see one on the cover someday! Be sure the photo link is your site. Extra traffic that way.

Make friends with the Still Photographer on the set. He’s just standing around waiting for a good photo opportunity. He will be delighted to send you shots that you can then post. Find out who the Unit Publicist is. You have created a media pack, right? It has your headshot and bio. She would be delighted to have it! You’ve just done her job for her! Is the show set in Montana? She would be glad to find out you’re from Montana. It would be a great hook. And you get publicity.

Is your film in a local film festival? Mount your own PR campaign. Take out ads. For Your Consideration. Congratulations to.. You will need to get the studio’s permission, but they rarely turn you down. You’re doing them a big favor! Everyone sees those ads! When you do get your big break ( a small role in a major picture), consider hiring a publicist. Remember the actors who were nominated for Emmys and Oscars for a ten minute performance? They had a publicist.

Brian Gotts of Serenity Studios http://www.serenitystudiosvideo.com/ spoke on self-submitting. He said if any of us need to have a taped audition, he can help. No mention of prices, though.

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Elizabeth A. Zimmerman.

APP-NW Reaches First Fundraising Goal at Actors Happy Hour!

APP-NW Reaches First Fundraising Goal at Actors Happy Hour!Mar12_FundraisingThermomete

Actors Happy Hour! on Tuesday, May 19, at Mother’s Bistro, was a rousing success on all fronts, given that APP-NW had an ambitious agenda for the evening. As you know, Actors Happy Hour! always features a conversation on a topic of interest to our members and this month the topic was OPIF/iOPIF, Oregon’s film incentive programs. Before that conversation started, however, APP-NW gave a report on its efforts to acquire true, 501(c)3, not-for-profit status.  More about that in paragraph six!
Nathaniel Applefield of OMPA gave a great report on the current status of legislation in Salem to improve and extend the Oregon Production Incentive Program and the Indiginious Production Incentive Program. Applefield gave us a comprehensive explanation of how the programs work and how they are designed to grow.  He pointed out that Oregon’s plan is to control the growth of the program to match the growth and training of Oregonians to fill the jobs on OPIF projects.  Nathaniel noted that other states with much larger incentive packages and/or no caps on the number of projects are finding that their infrastructure does not keep pace and usually have to import crew and other personnel.
Applefield emphasized the overarching goal of this year’s legislative push was to extend the sunset of the program to 2024 and to increase the overall pot of funds available for the tax credits.  He urged all in the community to contact their state legislators with their own personal stories of what our industry means to them and how their lives are affected by the availability of work right here at home.
Tim Williams, Executive Director of Oregon Film, was also on hand to give his perspective on the bright future of the Oregon film industry.  We were honored he was able to take the time to join us.
To round out the discussion of OPIF/iOPIF 2015, Lara Cuddy of Reverie Films shared her experiences with the programs from the producer’s prospective.  As one member pointed out, the more our performers know about the whole process of getting a project made the better able we will be to make a meaningful contribution to that project’s success.  It’s rare that we as performers have a window on what goes into putting a project together, so Lara’s remarks were eagerly received.
But the biggest surprise of the evening came as Nathaniel Applefield led an impromptu “paddle raiser” to collect cash and pledges to fund APP-NW’s filing fees to acquire 501(c)3 status.  His enthusiasm put us well over the top and we will be filing the paperwork – with the required fee – very soon!  At the top of the evening, APP-NW presented a progress report on its efforts to become a real, “grown up” organization.  Paperwork had already been completed to register as a non-profit corporation with Oregon and to get a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN).  The last step of the process was filing for 501(c)3 status, which required a substantial fee. We anticipated collecting the money at AHH! over the next few months.  We were surprised, delighted and humbled at the level of commitment and support shown us on Tuesday as we more than met our goal and our total filing fees for the entire process are more than covered.
Achieving 503(c)3 status does a number of things for APP-NW.  First, it makes the organization the responsible party, rather than an individual.  The generous soul who had been lending his Social Security Number to the organization has heaved a huge sigh of relief! But most important, APP-NW will be able to solicit tax deductible donations that will allow us to go forward with our plans to increase the number and complexity of the educational and training opportunities for our professional performer community.  After all, in addition to creating work-place standards, APP-NW exists to improve and increase the level of professionalism in our community.
Singer Cyndi Lauper said her father told her: “Da more ya loin, da more ya oin!”  (learn/earn – for those who don’t speak Queens, NY) That’s our philosophy here at APP-NW, too.  Come learn with us. The sky’s the limit.