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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

canadiantalentcasting

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.

This show Once Upon A Time must be really popular as I worked on it awhile ago and usually I don’t think too much of gigs that aren’t a principal role. For the most part I treat it as simply something to do where at the same time you get a good chance to potential see some interesting things in the film creation process.

However, even as of today I have been getting messages from people saying that they saw me on the show. I do remember that I was pretty much smack in-front of the camera, but usually you don’t know if it will make it onto the final edit. Out of curiosity I tried to find the episode. Sure enough, it is pretty apparent as you can see here:

It is kind of cute I thought as there was one person who was telling me how they kept rewinding the DVR at that point. Just reminds me on how freaked out people get with the simple notion of being on TV when to me it’s just part of the work.

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