Acting, Acting Programs, Auditions, Theatre
I wrote this list of best acting tips primarily to help actors who are looking to get into the best acting schools in the world. However, I truly feel these acting tips are applicable to any actor at any stage of their career. Whether you want to go go to one of the best acting schools, or have no desire to attend one… whether you want become an actor and are simply starting out, or if you have already graduated from one of the best acting schools… I hope this article will be a good source of helpful reminders and guidelines for you. Enjoy reading!

The Best Acting Schools

At the American Conservatory Theater, one of the best acting schools in the world, I had made a breakthrough! You can read about it in my last article: The Callback for American Conservatory Theater. I had made it to an end of day callback. I had yet to know what was to come (countless other auditions in NYC, traveling to Chicago, URTA auditions, getting more callbacks, etc.). This one small success was a sign: something I was doing was working. And all I had to do was build on it. I took my newfound confidence with me for every school I auditioned for after The American Conservatory Theater. And here are the acting tips that I learned:

Rejection from Acting Schools

1. Use Rejection to Fuel You. Sometimes, the rejection from school auditions, or any professional audition, can seem overwhelming. By staying focused, persistent and aware, an actor can learn what tends to work for them, and what doesn’t. Build on what works, but remember to also strengthen your weaknesses. By doing so, you can shorten the amount of time it will take to improve your acting craft. Attributing one’s focus to their weakest links will ultimately strengthen performance as they progress. Realize that if you put in the work, believe in yourself, and trust your good instincts, you can turn your dreams into reality.

Talent vs Work Ethic

2. Talent Takes Time. Everyday, I like to remind myself what Bradley Cooper says in A Star is Born, “Look, talent comes everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it to have people listen to it, that’s a whole other bag. And unless you get out and you try to do it, you’ll never know. That’s just the truth.” And Jackson Maine is right. Talent is nothing without craft; without skill. And skill, and therefore, talent, must be developed. Every failure you will ever experience will be an opportunity to learn. It is your choice to take that opportunity. So if you walk away from an audition and have learned nothing, then that is on you.

Auditioning for Acting Schools

3. Perspective in Rejection. You may get into grad school on your first try. You may not. The truth is: it doesn’t matter. Just the endeavor of auditioning is the success. No matter how established or famous an actor may be, they will all tell you the same thing: “You will be rejected way more than you are accepted.” And while that may seem like a bad thing, it is not. It takes time to grow as an actor. It takes time to become proficient in anything. And it takes time to find the right school for you, and for a school to find who is right for them. That last part is important, so I am going to repeat it. It takes time for a school to find who is right for them. The same goes for the best acting schools. The same goes for the professional entertainment industry. 4. It is not your job to get the job. Casting directors, directors, producers, agents, managers, and yes, even the best acting schools, are all looking for someone who will solve their problem; someone who “fits” their creative, artistic vision. Sometimes, those people are spot on. Sometimes, they fail and misjudge. Whether you succeed or fail, it is not your problem to wonder why. It is only your job to do the best you can, to learn from what doesn’t work for you, to experiment and, when you do fail, it is your responsibility to get up and do it again. Now, having looked back on my time auditioning for dozens and dozens of MFA programs, and several of the top 25, I can tell you that: 5. Nobody knows what they are looking for, they only think they know. This includes you and the audition judge.

Trust the Work

6. Trust Yourself. If you receive a callback, it means that the person on the other side of the table saw something they think they may want. Allow any doubts to pass from your         mind and trust the work you are doing. It is what got you the callback in the first place. They didn’t call you back by mistake. They may not have any clue what they want. So                   show them what they want. You are in control. Allow your choices to be full and free.

7. Take Direction: Many times when an actor is called back, whether it is for one of the best acting schools in the world, or if its for a production of some kind, that actor may unknowingly impressed the person behind the table so much that they have virtually secured the part. The actor has proven that they have enough mastery of the craft and acting skill to do the role. However, the creative team or school judges want to see if the actor can take direction. In other words, they want to see if an actor is collaborative and good to work with. This doesn’t just happen in a callback audition. It happens in every audition.

Learn from Mistakes

For instance, The Yale School of Drama has its applicants stand behind a Yellow Line. I auditioned for Yale at 19 years old, and was illegitimately auditioning, without knowing it. (I had not yet received my bachelors degree and was too young to qualify to audition. Somehow, I slipped through the application process and got an audition) I was naive and green, having little experience in audition etiquette, and lacked awareness for what the purpose of an audition truly was. Ron Van Lieu, the Head of Acting at the time, and Walton Wilson, the Professor in the Practice of Acting and Chair, instructed applicants prior to our initial auditions. The instructions were to breathe and…

“Do not step over the yellow line…”

Well. I stepped over the yellow line. Needless to say I did not get admitted to The Yale School of Drama after that audition. And my failure to take direction certainly didn’t help me.

So, one year later when I auditioned for The American Conservatory Theater, I had still not learned my lesson. I allowed myself to be blinded by this momentary success that I lost focused. When Domenique Lozano conducted a series of theater games with us, and gave us instructions, my excitement overcame my composure.

During one particular game, I recall Domenique saying to focus on listening to our partners during. I realized I was doing a poor job and had not been truly listening for the previous several minutes. By the time I reminded myself that she was evaluating us as a group to see who could take direction, it may have been too late. I had not been focused. It may have cost me the audition. I may never truly know, but Domenique could have evaluated me as being someone not worth calling back again. After all, if I couldn’t take a theater game seriously, how on Earth would I be able to perform in a show or in class at A.C.T?

I performed my pieces well. And everyone laughed a lot. But I was not asked to The American Conservatory Theater’s Callback Weekend. If I had been more focused, maybe the outcome would have been different. However, I quickly moved on, learned from it and, to the best of my ability, was never unfocused for an audition again. As a result, I was called back to many of the best acting schools in the world.

Acting is a Process

Which brings me to my last three tips: 8. Let it Go So you didn’t get the part? You “deserved” it? The truth is, it was never yours. What is meant to be yours, will be yours. All you can do is keep working hard, and keep working smart. And work begets work. 9. Auditioning Never Ends. Everything is an audition. You work hard, you work smart and do the research, you prepare… and still don’t get the part? That is okay. If you truly did everything you could, then those people behind the table will remember it. The next time you get in front of them, you will already have their confidence on your side. Everything is an audition from the moment you get off the subway or out of the car, to the moment you leave not only the audition room, but the building.

Create Your Path

10. Do What You Want to Do. As Philip Rosenthal says, “Do The Show You Want To DO.” After all, that is what he, the creator of the hit show Everybody Loves Raymond did. Because “at the end of the day, they’re gonna cancel you anyway.” Take the risk and do what you believe is what you have the most fun doing. Find the pieces that fulfill your artistic soul, stimulate your imagination, are concerning topics you care about, and do pieces that stretch the range of your instrument. The body, voice and imagination make up the actor’s instrument. Develop yours and choose pieces that showcase your versatility best. And if you do all of this, eventually, you will succeed.
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Acting
Due to Covid-19, meetings with talent agents, auditions and acting classes are all happening online.

Advice to Actors

Acting tips. Recently I published an article for Google News about acting tips that all actors can consider when auditioning. The industry is completely virtual, therefore, actors need to do their best to adjust to the challenge at hand. So now that our industry is changing due to complications of Covid-19, I found myself asking the same question…

How can actors audition right now?

Auditions. It turns out, actors can audition as most casting calls are happening via websites like Backstage.com or ActorsAccess.com. In addition to acting classes, the best thing actors can do right now is to adapt to the current layout of the industry. Everything is online. Therefore, the best investment an actor can make right now is to purchase proper lighting equipment for self-tapes as well as a quality microphone to record voiceover auditions. But another question remains: “How can actors show their work to agents, managers and casting directors in order to audition in the first place?”

Meet Agents, Casting Directors and Managers

Acting Classes. Actors are looking for ways to get in front of the industry right now. Usually, I post content to help actors navigate the ever-changing landscape of our industry. Last week, I had posted a blog for Google News, Audition Tips: How to audition (for Actors). It caught the attention of ActingMasterClassesNYC’s founder, actor and audition coach, Anthony Aibel.

After seeing my blog posts, his team contacted me through social media. Aibel informed me of the work his company, ActingMasterclassesNYC, is doing. He says he wants to help actors stay connected with industry representatives, despite social distancing. After speaking over the phone, Aibel quickly revealed he has been coaching for years, successfully introducing actors to talent agents, managers and casting directors in the process. He coaches actors who regularly book work for various TV networks, including CBS, NBC, Amazon, Netflix, Fox, and many others.

Aibel wanted to share the message of ActorsMasterClassesNYC, and what his company can do for actors right now. Here is what he had to say:

Acting Classes

During the upcoming weeks, Anthony Aibel is offering on-camera and agent prep classes at discounted prices. However, you can also audit the class on Zoom at 1PM EST tomorrow, Tuesday April 28th. To audit or participate, contact Myla Marino at (646) 246-9735. Tomorrow, April 28th: Commercial Master Class with DDO Artists Head of On-Camera Department and commercial agent of the year, Gina Manfredi. Thursday, April 30th: Masterclass with legit agent Diana Doussant of Leading Artists Agency! Next month- May 13th: Kid/Teen master class with Bonnie Shumofsky with Stewart Talent!

On May 11th: Masterclass with Jackie Gubow with Professional Artists

May 22nd: Masterclass with Mikey Nagy with The Krasny Office

  To contact Anthony Aibel, visit his website AnthonyAibel.com or call his office: Myla Marino (646) 246-9735. Currently they are offering discounts and willing to accommodate actors who are in need.
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Acting

How to stay active

Your body is your instrument. Although I usually write content geared toward actors (audition tips, acting tips, MFA auditions, info on MFA programs, etc.) this information can be applied to anyone looking for ideas to remain physically active while in quarantine. On this day last year, thousands of aspiring actors were working out their bodies all across the United States. Whether it be in a gym, outdoors or in movement classes, actors had a reliable fitness routine. Now that Covid-19 has caused a worldwide Pandemic, the landscape for our industry has changed until further notice.

The Pandemic of Covid-19 has restricted access to gyms. Now actors have to workout from home. Exercise or movement classes necessary to develop their instruments are now online. I have experienced this firsthand, having to finish my MFA degree online. My movement teacher is doing amazing work, and honestly, the transition has been as great as I could have imagined. However, I have to admit that self-quarantining takes a toll on my motivation. Staying physically active when I do not have movement class is becoming increasingly difficult.

So, I did some research. What are some ways we can all stay physically active during this Covid-19 pandemic? I made a list of some ideas that I have gathered over the past few weeks in isolation. They have worked for me. I hope that they can only help anyone who needs it to get through this difficult time.

Stay Motivated

Accountability. No matter what, you must remain accountable. The actor who does will be most prepared when the Covid-19 Pandemic is all over. A few suggestions to increase self-accountability and to remain motivated for your physical fitness are:
  1. Get an accountability partner. Find a trusted friend. Someone who is also looking to maintain their physical fitness. Plan and share your weekly goals with this person. Check in with each other daily.
  2. Keep a fitness journal. This goes hand-in-hand with having an accountability partner, but its also worthwhile to keep a journal for yourself! Why? Sometimes motivation can only get us so far. 2 or 3 days go by and we lose sight of our goals and call it quits. A journal makes it so that you don’t lose sight of your goals. Why? Because you wrote out your plan
  3. Set realistic, personal goals. Set goals that you can achieve. Goals that you can feasibly complete. All that matters is that you are getting active and doing something to maintain a healthy routine while in quarantine.  Running up the stairs 10 times and doing 25 push-ups is great! Put a checkmark in your journal. Shower. Rinse. Repeat. Stay focused. Feel awesome.
  4. Challenge yourself. Every time you achieve a goal, set another one to rival it. So, if you successfully completed 25 push-ups and sit-ups on a Monday, on Tuesday, try exercising while saying a monologue! A few minutes of focus and dedication adds up. Your work will show in a few months when Covid-19 is over and you are auditioning again.

Home Workout Ideas

Home Workouts. Here are some resources I found that can help give you ideas for any workouts you can do at home! Both were especially made to help anyone that is looking to stay physically active while self-quarantining during Covid-19.
  • Jeff Cavalier
I love Jeff Cavalier’s workout routines.  Jeff Cavalier also teaches you how to get the most out of your body while at home! It requires zero equipment and applicable to people of any fitness level! Awesome.
  • Katrina Kaif  (Bharat) shares her at home workout! Want an actor’s approach to staying physically fit? Who better than a headliner of Bollywood’s biggest films!
  • Henry Cavill And if you do have weights at home, checkout this workout video!
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