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The best place to find advice, analysis, and information on demo reel services Los Angeles, whether for actors, singers, dancers, journalists, or anyone else with an interest in promoting themselves.

Dance-tress Acting Up: Tips from a Casting Director

Hey kids!

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You guys, I am so excited to share this weeks blog with you. I want to talk about a seminar I went to the other day, "Self- Management for Actors", hosted by multi-hyphenated writer/casting director/producer Bonnie Gillespie. First of all, it was FREE! Um, what? Nothing is free, but here was Bonnie taking 2 hours out of her day to share boat loads of information with everyone. Why, because she genuinely wants to help, and I believe her. I can't even find a free few minutes to make AND eat a sandwich.

...is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs.

It was also exciting to see the person whose blogs I've been following for a while now. A real person exists! Did I mention, she's hilarious. So, not only was I able soak up a ton of free information, I got in a few good laughs as well.

While standing on the side of an over packed theater, I had this interesting "deja future" (er?) sort of moment. I felt like I was watching my future self chatting it up on stage to an eager audience full of actors. Is that creepy? I don't know, but I felt as though I caught a glimpse of what my life will be like in another 15 years or so. She started out as an actress, then ventured into writing and eventually into casting. Well, that sounds semi familiar already. She has also written a few books and you guys know about me and my bucket list, that's #51. 

Because yours truly is also here to help, I want to share with you some of the things that caught my attention. The very first thing I have written down on my handy dandy notepad is "LA starts with a 'YES' ". What does that mean exactly? It means that everyone who wants to pursue a career in entertainment can pursue it. Everyone is welcome. It's up to you to put all of the puzzle pieces together. Are you willing to make a few sacrifices? Are you persistent? If you believe you can, you can. Hallelujah! 

Our main focus was on the 4 steps every actor should follow.

1) Branding- Who are you? What is your type? How do other people see you? For example, if you are normally percieved as "snotty and upper class", then own it. Rock your type and be damn good at it. Don't try and stretch to something that you're not. Be you. She said that if you're, "always type cast as the b*tch...cash that check".  If not, I'll cash it for you :)

2) Targeting- There are approximately 600 casting directors JUST in Los Angeles. Not everyone will specialize in your type. So, make a target list.

3) Creating your own content- Oh snap, I'm already there. Did you get a chance to check out my latest music video?  

I know, I know. Another shameless self promotion, but hey, I'm SO close to reaching my goal of 1k views. Then, one million :) Ain't no thang.

4) Pitching- Yeah, this one can be tough. How do you sell yourself? This is not the time to be modest. This is your chance to brag and share your talents with the world. Obviously don't be over the top with it, but if you don't talk about it, nobody knows. Maybe one day I'll have those mind reading powers, but for now, speak up!
 

Hopefully this will help give you a good map to follow. For more details, you can always follow her on her website. Carry on my friends, until next time!

Dance-tress Acting Up: #LikeaGirl

In honor, of this past weekend's Super Bowl, I am going to write this awesome blog, #LikeaGirl. During the highly anticipated commercial breaks, Always (don't freak out- tampon/pad brand) featured a commercial of what the stereotype of being a female is like, and how it became a "bad thing" to be a girl. By the end of the commercial, there was a young girl who shared her untarnished idea of how to run like a girl.  Her answer was "as fast as you can" as opposed to the frilly wimpy response that came from the teenagers and adults. She represented strength, power, and fearlessness and that's what being a female is all about. Males too. We just have to get the rest of the world on board. Women are often overlooked, not taken seriously, and underpaid. It's 2015, how does this still happen?

Fortunately for me, I was raised by a feminist. Now, lets talk about that. Since when did the word "feminist" become a negative term that is associated with man hating? Last time I checked, it stood for equality. My mother never told me that I shouldn't do something because "I was a girl". In fact, she encouraged me in sports and never once told me or my sister to stop climbing the trees because "only boys do that". We're all kids at one time, why do things change as we get older?
 
I was never taught to "play my role" and be a trophy wife. If that's what you want, then that's cool, but it's not for me. I don't need to look perfect every time I step out of the house. I don't need flashy name brand clothes to seek approval from my peers. Actually, I rarely ever match. Perhaps, I take this one a little bit too far sometimes. I don't need to hide when I want to stuff my face with a bag of cookies because it's not "lady like". Guys don't, and we all know cookies are delicious. When I need to be professional and get something done, I do it. And I do it well, just like every other successful person.
 

I never realized my gender struggled so much with opportunities until I moved to Los Angeles and began my career in entertainment. Turn on the TV, watch a commercial, look at the billboards, I guarantee you will see far more males dominating the TV than females. Open up a magazine, and I can assure you there are probably some awful pictures and gossip about an actress with a headline that reads something similar to this, "Fat, wrinkles, no make-up, oh my". Think of an actor, now try and think of a time when you saw his private areas on the screen. Now swap it, how many times have you seen a naked, semi nude, in lingerie or fully topless female on your TV? Eh? Got you thinking now, don't I? Trust me, there is nothing wrong with the human body, I love my body and being sexy, but there are a lot of other AMAZING qualities that we females possess. I know I would personally love to see more of it on TV.

Entertainment plays a big role in our society. I feel pretty confident that if there were stronger female roles portrayed all over our media, things would begin to start changing. It would take time, but people are inspired by what they see and hear. If you are constantly being told you can't do something, then you're probably going to start to believe it. If you only see women in roles as mistress', secretaries, one night stands, the "party girl" then what would inspire young girls to think they can one day be as successful as their male counterparts who are portrayed as lawyers, presidents and CEO's?

Check out these movie posters. Lots of opportunities there. Are you sensing my sarcasm? These are just a few examples, and I'm not saying that female opportunities don't exists, but we can still aim to do better and achieve more, for everybody.

CONGRATS to Always and Procter and Gamble for paying, probably millions, to have this #LikeaGirl campaign play during one of the biggest male dominated sports days in America. That's some smart, clever marketing right there. They KNOW people are sitting around waiting to watch these commercials. Good work, we have your attention now.

Hello, World!

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5 Unconventional Ways to Find Videography Gigs

Video Editing Services

Finding new clients is one of the hardest parts of launching a videography business. I know from experience — for the first few years I lived in LA, I had a hard time making a living as a freelancer. I tried the usual routes — a website, college alumni groups, networking events. Nothing seemed to work. I’d send out my resume to ads on craigslist and …. never …. hear …. back.

It was a competitive market, and I just didn’t have the experience, skills, or equipment to stand out from the crowd. But then I came across some unconventional ways to find clients — and since then I’ve had a steady stream of videography and editing gigs.

This is in spite of the fact that I don’t have a “reel”. I don’t have a dedicated video production page on my website. I don’t spend too much time marketing my videography skills, or post many of my videos online. In fact, I’m trying to transition out of the field altogether!

Since moving to Portland, I’ve landed a handful of gigs, none of which I came across through the “conventional” job search process.

Here are a few of my favorite tricks:

1. TaskRabbit

If you’re not leveraging the “sharing” or “gig” economy to find work, you’re missing out on a bunch of clients. While your competitors are spending their time on craigslist, you can be tapping into a whole new marketplace. It’s true that TaskRabbit gigs may not pay as well as other outlets, but you can rest easy knowing that you will get paid: the site handles payments directly, so you don’t have to worry about following up on invoices.

I found dozens of production and editing gigs on TaskRabbit when I lived in LA, some of which turned into long-term clients who still send me work here in Portland. Plus, keeping a profile on TaskRabbit means that clients can find you directly. I was offered a gig out of the blue just last week, based solely on my TaskRabbit profile and reviews from previous customers.

2. Twitter

I’m an active Twitter user, and in many cases it’s been the perfect tool for reaching out to local businesses. Some businesses will Tweet job leads to their followers before placing a traditional ad, or may give preference to applications who reach out on social media.

After finding an ad for a small business that needed a videographer, I sent in my resume, and then quickly followed up on Twitter. It dramatically sped up the interview process, and within a few of days I was meeting up with the owners at a coffeeshop. I had the chance to shoot a few demo scenes and get to know the business owners before they started meeting other applications.

Camera Lens

3. Meetup.com Groups

If you’ve made any attempt to promote your business in person, then chances are you’ve already been to several Meetup events. But which events? If you’re only going to “freelancing” or “networking” meetups, then most likely you’re going to meet people just like you — unemployed, out-of-work, and potentially competing for the same clients.

Instead, go to events that interest you for other reasons. Maybe a food or drink related meetup, or a hiking group. You’ll get to meet people who aren’t entrenched in the same line of work as you, and without the added pressure that networking events can involve. Here in Portland, I signed on to shoot some videos for a relationship-based Meetup group looking to recruit new members. If you’re feeling ambitious, start your own event for a non-work-related hobby or activity.

4. Blogging and e-mail lists

I already mentioned that I don’t actively promote my videography work on my website. But I discuss my projects in e-books and blog posts — like this one. That lets people know that video production is one of my skills, even if it’s not my primary focus. And when people who read my blog for other reasons — say, they like my posts about Burning Man — need a video made, we already have shared interests and a prior connection.

Videography

I recently went to an event where a writer/blogger was looking for an intro video to her site. I told her that I did that kind of work, and gave her my business card. “Wait a minute,” she said. “I know you!” It turned out that she’d already come across my site and was familiar with some of my posts and e-books. Instead of being a random videographer she’d just met, she already had an idea of my business style and personality. If you can build up a reputation in some other field — via a blog or an e-mail list — you’ll make it that much easier for clients to find and connect with you.

5. A handwritten letter

Don’t forget snail mail! While it’s great to reach out to businesses via the latest platforms, it can be just as effective to connect the old-fashioned way. When I heard that Airbnb had opened a new office in Portland, I Googled their address and sent them a letter, letting them know that I’d been active user of their site and would love to work with them. A few days later, I got an e-mail inviting me an employee picnic to interview some of the local crew and cut together a short video. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get to meet the CEO!

If you’re looking for work — in any field! — don’t pass up your chance to get in touch or follow up in unconventional ways . If you sit and wait, you might get overlooked. But if you stay engaged on Twitter or other social media platforms, your chances of an interview will increase. Make it clear that if they don’t hire you soon, someone else will!

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How about you? Have you ever reached out to clients in an unconventional way? Let us know if these ideas work for you! For more tips, check out Saul’s e-book The Lateral Freelancer, available for $2.99 on Amazon. Or follow him at @saulofhearts.