Young Actors Tips

Young Actors Tips

Recently I received a comment from a young seventeen year old boy, who was concerned
that he had a bit of acne on his face and if that would stop his career.
I wrote him back to please, just ignore the acne. It all goes away and remember; there is
makeup on the set. However, that said, I do remember once on a TV show, they actually
lit up a huge bump I had on my face. It first made me very embarrassed, but then I just
used it as a flaw in the character I was playing. The bump, laughed, it cried, it got angry.
I did not make it about myself, it was the character's problem, and it really helped me get
into a character and get rid of my ego.
Please remember there is no dignity to acting and that all you fears are seen. So, use
whatever you have going on in your life, whether it is a break-up with a loved one or
acne, or you feel fat, bloated, sick and not yourself…then use it as the characters' back-
life. Makes for good acting. We are not all perfect, so give yourself a break. Good acting
is looking, listening, reacting and responding.
( Toni Attell has acting classes in the Valley for teens and adults at 818-787-8685)

Ways to work with Agents, Managers and Contracts

Remember to view your contracts carefully. Sometimes on a set, everything happens at
once. If I can suggest some things that might help you, I will.
First of all arrive 3o minutes early to the set. Check in with the Production Assistant and
introduce yourself. They will kindly ask if you want something to drink, water, tea,
coffee and perhaps donuts. Be nice, but turn that stuff down and ask to be introduced to
the Makeup / Hair/Wardrobe department, where you will introduce yourself and ask what
time they would like to work on you. Please remember guest and co-stars are usually the
first to film, so you want to get ready fast.
Once in your trailer, it gets busy. First get into your costume, and then almost
immediately, there will be a knock on your door with someone handing you a contract.
Read the contract; if there is something you do not understand …CALL your agent or
manager.
That said, remember, Agents and Managers work very hard for a fraction of money, so be
generous to them, because 70% of something is better then 0%. So, be appreciative and
speak kindly, this is a small business world. I got 35 adults and children work. They all
grew up and used their money for college tuitions.
(Toni Attell has acting and improvisation classes in the Valley and can be reached at 818-
787-8685.)

THE HOLLYWOOD STYLE OF ACTING

Welcome to Hollywood! You will find many excellent coaches, agents and managers
here. However, please take baby steps as you start out in this business. Acting is a
business. Your face, body and talent are all embedded in "YOU". You are the
merchandise. The casting director has your picture, so it is what you and your spine,
bring to the words- that create character.

First let me suggest that before you do anything, know that Hollywood has a style unlike
most other states and countries, so like any business, you must learn the different styles
of acting and then find the acting techniques that works for you and feel free to mix the
ones that work for you. Do not get stuck in just one style of acting. Learn Meisner, Uta
Hagen, Bill Ball, Viola Spolin, Nina Foch, Alexander technique, Paul Sills or Method
styles and combine what works for you. You have to prepare before you get to the
audition or set, as there is no time for the director to work for a long period of time with
you. Make your choices before you go to the audition and then forget “trying “ to be the
character, just let the character make choices-at the moment. This is called the spine of
the character.
Please do not let yourself be seen by an agent, manager or casting director, until you
know your acting is ready to be seen. Big Mistake! Don't take pictures or spend any
money unless, it is to learn your craft, and then you can do the next steps.

Any agent or manager that asks for money is not a legal representative. Do not give your
photos to a photographer without your permission or to anyone else, or you might end up
as a cover for an Insurance packet or other promos, and you will never get a nickel from
it, as photos are not covered by SAG/AFTRA. This is a business, so remember to treat it
that way.

Knowing Your "CORE" of Acting

For many of my students I try to encourage them to learn what I call, the CORE of acting.
That does not mean, all the different techniques, taught by many really good acting
coaches in Los Angeles, but the CORE of what the character represents. Meaning, why
is the character doing what they do, (usually all characters have a reason for why they are
the way they are) and it is up to the actor to find the reasons, trying always to pick
positive reasons, even if the character is making negative choices…. like a bad guy or girl.
It is important to pick positive reasons so that the audience can understand and like the
character. Example might be: I am taking advantage of this person because they did
something very bad to someone in my family.
To play a bad, mean, dishonest person and to show that at the beginning of the character's
entrance or scene, is what I call, "playing the end." You do not want to give away the
ending of why the character is this way. Let the audience discover the reasons.
Sometimes playing a nasty person can be funny and yet still be scary. Humor is based off
of fear. False Evidence Appearing Real. If you study the history of Circus, you will find
out that even the horses in the merry-go-round have their eyes open in fear and the clown
faces are always exaggerated to the point were some children might even cry. The movie
director from Italy, Fellini goes into this with some of his films. We laugh when we
experience a "near death ride" at a theme park because we are relieved.
The CORE means: What does your character stand for? What are the boundaries that
should not be crossed? Why is the character acting this way? What are their dreams? –To
get married? Be successful in business? Etc,). Is this dream met? The CORE is what
causes conflict and conflict is important to character. We never just say how we really
feel even in real life, we are covering what is really going on in our minds and this is
called "covering in acting" and the covering adds many levels to the character, making it
very interesting to watch.
I always admire the actor who starts out unlikable and then we discover how much we
really are drawn to what their CORE is, like the TV show "DEXTER". Many people
seem drawn to the "why" of what the character is doing, even if it doesn't fit into our own
moral code of behavior.
The CORE is the Why and what happened to make you (the character) this way. This
also includes the back-life and choices made by the character that brings them to this
moment of their life.
(Toni Attell has Acting classes in the Valley for Teens and Adults. Call 818-7897-8685).