Jul 26th, 2014 by Alan Yu
So in a few days a reality show that I participated will be airing on TV. This will be an interesting experience for me as I know as a viewer you always have the thought of “Is this fake?” or “Are these people just actors?” If I was looking at it from the outside, I would most likely be cynical knowing that a person has an acting background. But realistically, I participated in it as it sounded like it would help someone where people are using their real life experiences as wisdom. In many ways, I see it no different than when I agree to be on the set of a news station to talk live about subjects as a guest expert.
If anything, the main thing my acting background contributed to the filming of the show was that I didn’t freak out if a camera was in-front of me and at the same time understanding the technical process to help the crew do their job easier. I talked about this topic before, but when it comes to reality TV I know many industry professionals are cynical about it. I think a big reason is because the only shows people think of usually are like say competition oriented ones where it’s all about strategy and backstabbing to create entertainment. Hence, they want conflict and in many cases people who are over the top. One example is this old article I read by Bonnie Gillespie at http://bonniegillespie.com/blog/reality-tv/
When I think about it though, isn’t a big part of casting someone for an acting role is their ability to be natural in-front of the camera and to ultimately have something to make people want to watch? I know there is a show that shoots in town for example where they look for actors with a real background in certain professions. So in that sense, isn’t participating in any kind of a show good life experience in general?
This line stating that appearing on a reality show will make you a “personality not an actor” got me thinking too. Aren’t these two complimentary nowadays? Example, Youtube “personalities” are even creating their own films nowadays where I was even told by some industry veterans that a web series can be taken very seriously in terms of experience as a performer.
Either way, if anything interesting happens to me after this airing I’ll be sure to share. At this point, my thought is that my work/appearances on TV shows for non-acting related roles shouldn’t be seen as a direct factor in terms of say getting seen by casting directors. Instead, it’s simply something I would have done for the sheer experience which ironically should help one grow as an actor because from my experience we need to pull out all of our life experiences to enable us to portray those characters on the script.
Jul 22nd, 2014 by Alan Yu
This was kind of an unexpected occurrence but I guess this year I will be entering the VAFF MAMM competition again. It’s kind of funny as I originally told an aspiring screenwriter about the event and how maybe he should try that as a way to test out his writing skill in a pressured environment. As you all know, I did attend this event a few years ago which turned into a real journey where I had to essentially wear so many hats to get the project done. The festival management was fantastic in supporting my team as well regardless of the hurdles.
I didn’t want to enter this event again unless I had the adequate team of equally committed people who were all passionate about their roles. Example, a person who actually wants to be a director, an editor who is really into make the footage look great, etc. Overall, I would say this is more of a festival for filmmakers and of course for myself my main specialty is the acting. But I guess in some ways even as actors we have to make our own stuff huh?
Long story short, I actually worked with this screenwriter in a completely different job before and he was really excited to want to enter. So, ultimately I agreed to work with him on this and we entered the completion today. It’s been so long since I did the last one that I don’t really know how much more challenging it will be this time. One thing we agreed for this project was that we really want to focus on having a strong script and acting performance as from what I learned before people tend to be over ambitious with the resource restraints. Thus far, I believe with the script and planning thus far we can do this.
This will be an interesting experience and I’ll document about the progress as much as I can.
May 31st, 2014 by Alan Yu
So I have been attending some classes and one new key point that I kind of learned was that each TV network has a distinct style of acting where you as the performer can use this information to determine how you should portray a character. For example, if you are auditioning for a role on something that is on the Fox Network then more than likely you should play the characters in a more intense/urgent way as opposed to say something on CBC where it will be more slow paced.
The reason kind of makes sense as each network is targeting a specific demographic and they want to capture the attention of people who are flipping through the channels. That is really good to know when it comes to auditioning I think as many times people struggle to figure out if they should read something very calm or frantic.
Feb 12th, 2014 by Alan Yu
Recently I had the opportunity to be a double on a TV series and it was definitely unexpected. In my mind I was wondering what are the odds that you are chosen out of hundreds of other candidates? At the same time, it wasn’t something that I was actively looking for. I then started to read online a little about it and I guess indeed it is a very rare job to get.
My experience on set was interesting as for the most part you were treated like the main talent in many ways. So if anything it was good on set experience I suppose. I did get to see the other actor that I was doubling and for the most part I guess the main common traits were our ethnicity and of course body size.
From what I learned on set this role is usually for the sake of cost reduction where you are essentially doing insert scenes such as filming a hand opening a door. Or in some cases from what I read it could be that the main actor doesn’t have the right body look for certain scenes like say one where the person is getting out of the shower or a part where the character needs to play like a piano where the main actor cannot. I was thinking in some ways I guess it is like a stunt double except this is more about looks than the danger of the scene.
While it wasn’t a dedicated actor role, it was an interesting experience. It was one of the easiest gigs I have ever done too. This is one of those times too where I will always remember the casting director’s name who casted me in my first gig in various categories.
Jan 15th, 2014 by Alan Yu
Okay, so apparently World of Warcraft will be filming here in Vancouver this month and boy does it seem like scammers are up in full force. Basically, I noticed that there have been quite a few casting notices where the poster alleges that they are looking to cast people for roles in the movie and to apply you simply need to send them a headshot with your age.
To me, this is an obvious scam to simply get people’s details and photos as there is no way a large production like that is going to randomly cast roles without the use of a casting director. It makes me wonder why various people are choosing this movie to target unsuspecting talent as there are other notable films shooting here at the moment as well.
Nov 25th, 2013 by Alan Yu
Today I saw this comment from a person who does not work in the industry at all and is simply a regular person that watches TV. As you can see here, he was wondering why when it came to things like commercials in the Canadian marketplace he always saw the same actors.
Of course people started to guess why with the main points being they were really good at what they do, there is an extreme lack of talent availability in the Canadian marketplace, there must be some kind of union that gives priority to these people or that they have really good agents.
I was then thinking what are the reasons I have learned thus far on why the same actors get used over and over again from an actors point of view? Now obviously there are factors such as having the right look which isn’t specifically about why the same people get used all the time so I won’t dive into points like that.
The reality of it from I have seen is the politics and pressure that casting directors have to bring in reliable talent. From what I gather, productions pay casting directors a lot of money to screen and find the right talent for various roles.
Because of this, they really do not want to introduce them to people who are potentially unprofessional. It’s no different in my view than say a recruiter for a traditional job where if they keep bringing in unqualified people they will most likely be fired or never hired again to do the job.
As a result of this pressure, a casting director will most likely first only bring in the people they have worked with before. If there doesn’t seem to be a fit that way they then ask an agency whom they feel have been providing reliable talent for more candidates. From those people they would normally only select those that have some kind of experience already. If it ever gets pass that phase where they still haven’t found the right talent they then would do an open call where anyone and everyone can try for it. That is extremely rare.
Now there are exceptions such as how sometimes casting directors will look at agencies they never worked with and give the talent there a try based on things like if they can see the talent has formal training. That’s no different than a traditional job where if a recruiter sees that someone has been through a university program odds are they are serious.
The main difference is this business we as the talent usually never get the opportunity to “apply” for the “job” directly because as you can see above the system was kind of designed to have to have a middle man. So therefore, it is extremely political in terms of you getting an opportunity. Ultimately, that is why from my experience you see the same people over and over again as due to the politics of the system the majority of the talent pool is simply never given the chance. Just like most things you have to find ways to make yourself stand out.