Day 9 of our 10 day countdown…Wouldn’t it be great if the Academy Awards finally included a category for casting directors? The best actors are only able to perform at their best with a stellar cast to work alongside, the best picture would rarely be the best if the whole cast wasn’t amazing, and they say a large portion of a directors job is selecting the right cast. So… for the ten days leading up to the Oscars, lets tip our hats and give kudos to every casting director whose project was nominated for an Oscar for acting, directing, or best picture… today let’s check out who it was last year… in 2014…
Day 1 of our 10 day countdown…
Wouldn’t it be great if the Academy Awards finally included a category for casting directors? The best actors are only able to perform at their best with a stellar cast to work alongside, the best picture would rarely be the best if the whole cast wasn’t amazing, and they say a large portion of a directors job is selecting the right cast.
So… for the ten days leading up to the Oscars, lets tip our hats and give kudos to every casting director whose project was nominated for an Oscar for acting, directing, or best picture. Starting… in 2006.
As the name implies, a studio film is partially or wholly financed and/or produced by a film studio. This means that in addition to producers being involved in the decision making processes, studio executives also have a say on things like casting, script changes, and allocation of funds.
By definition, a ‘film studio’ is simply a large production company that has its own hard equity (actual money), and is capable of distributing and advertising its own projects worldwide.
The major studios are Disney, Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, Dreamworks, Fox, and Sony. A ‘mini-major’ is a film studio that produces fewer projects, often works with smaller budgets, and functions on a smaller scale in most areas than the major studios. Mini-major studios include Summit, Revolution, Lakeshore, Lionsgate and the Weinstein Company.
A major studio won’t usually produce or finance films with budgets under $20 million. Most studios have smaller independent arms that make projects with budgets from $6 million to $20 million. The mini majors will also work in the $6 million to $20 million range. You won’t often find a film with a budget lower than $6 million being produced by a studio. A studio may come on board to distribute the film, but it would be rare for them to be involved in the financing or production of a project that small.
Not every film with a budget over $20 million is a studio film; there are some anomalies. For instance, Oliver Stone produced ‘Alexander’ for around $160 million dollars without the backing of a studio. This would therefore be considered an independent film regardless of the size of its budget.
If you can’t get to LA yet, there are many things you can be doing right now to prepare:
• SAVE AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE. Think of every fifty dollars you don’t spend as one more day you can survive in LA.
• STUDY YOUR CRAFT. Take the best acting classes you can find as often as you’re able.
• Learn a PERFECT standard American accent.
• GET ON STAGE. I can tell whether an actor has a substantial theatre background within moments of watching them perform. It will add tangible depth and layers to your work. Do community theatre, school plays, whatever you can get your hands on.
• Learn how to do as many accents as you can. This skill will aid you for the rest of your career.
• Girls should learn how to do hair and makeup to suit different roles.
• Fix your teeth. Make sure they’re straight and white, unless your type is ‘creepy homeless guy’. This is more important than you’d think for lead roles in LA.
• Fix your skin. Eat less sugar, drink more water, eat well, exercise, cleanse, tone, and moisturize your face twice a day … and if that doesn’t work, see a specialist. Clear skin is a must for American TV and film.
• EXERCISE! You need high energy and great stamina to stay alert on a film or TV set for twelve hours a day. If you want to play lead roles, get your body looking healthy and toned for your body type. Do not simply try to ‘get skinny’.
• Find two great two-person scenes from films. One comedic and one dramatic. Memorize and prepare. These will be your showcase scenes.
• Find two great monologues: one comedic and one dramatic. Memorize and prepare. You will use these in the rare instances a director asks you to audition with a “monologue of your choice”.
• Film yourself performing scenes as often as possible.
• Go to AS MANY AUDITIONS AS YOU CAN. Think of every audition as a free class on audition techniques.
• Do LOTS of short films and indie features to gain on-set experience.
• Read scripts of great films online at Scriptapolooza.com or InkTip.com to become familiar with what a good script looks like.
• Watch every single one of the ‘top 250 movies’ listed on IMDBpro and observe who cast and directed them.
• Select a top director and watch a selection of their films. Become familiar with the top directors in the industry.
• Watch every movie that has ever won best picture, actor or actress at the academy awards.
• Watch American hit TV shows and learn the CD and actor’s names.
• Join every casting website in your area.
• Improve your cold reading skills by reading dialogue into a mirror for fifteen minutes a day.
• Get some friends together and shoot a web series for FunnyOrDie.com or YouTube.com.
• Get your resume, headshot and demo up to a professional standard.
• Practice memorization. Memorize one page of a character’s dialogue from a two-person scene every day. Aim to be off-book in ten minutes.
• Go to every film festival close enough for you to get to.
• Try writing a film or scene. Writing helps you understand more about what goes into creating characters and stories.
• ‘Follow the top filmmakers and actors on Twitter and Facebook. Watch how they market themselves and interact with their fan base.
• Write a business plan for your acting career. Write one for the next 1 year, 2 years and 5 years.