The Timothy Dalton Chat Group
Presents Our Be Inspired Page


 

Introduction - About our Be Inspired Page

I have subscribed to quite a few newsletters from places like the Actorsite and Future Casting 2000 Newsletter too, and always when they arrive there is something of interest in what they have written to inspire other actors with.

I thought since I know a few people who are in the beginning stages of an acting career, which I think is truly wonderful, that you may find something here that could help you also, and keep you going when things are not happening as you want them or planned them too, as the advice given is invaluable I think. Plus this page is for anyone else who needs to be inspired. I, myself, had no experience at all with the Entertainment Industry until I started running this group, but over the years with the help of the Future Casting 2000 Website and the Actorsite plus the many books I have purchased and read I have learnt such a lot and have enjoyed every minute of it, which is why I found the Website's and Newsletter's of both Future Casting 2000 and the Actorsite to be so interesting and informative and why I wanted to share these Newsletter's with everyone who has been inspired to seek a career in the Entertainment Industry.

Every month I will put up a different article from the Future Casting 2000 Newsletter and the Actorsite so here are the articles for January 2003.


This is written by Future Casting

Can You Prepare for Uncertain Economic Times?

The entertainment industry is one of the most unstable industries. This is largely due to the fact that profits are made and jobs are created when consumers spend their excess income on entertainment products (e.g. DVDs) and services (e.g. movie tickets). When hard economic times fall on consumers, usually entertainment products and services are the first luxury item to be cut from their budget. This in turn has a negative rippling effect throughout the entire entertainment industry (e.g. fewer movies are made so less actor/crew jobs are available). This is especially true now since the entire economy in this country is experiencing a downturn. Is there anything that you can do to continue to pursue your career in show business, yet get ready for what some believe are unavoidable difficult economic times? The answer is 'YES'!

The US economy is in a bit of a slowdown, but the fact is that you already know that. This is information that you can use to help keep yourself (and maybe even the economy) on track. If you are in good financial shape (e.g. you have a steady income, money saved, etc), you can continue to buy products and services, which in turn stimulates the economy. Since you know that there is a good chance that things will be a little slow financially for some, you can enact a plan to safeguard your financial situation. Hopefully, you already have a financial plan, but if you don't, there is no time like the present to put one into action; which may be simpler than you might think.

Show business is a business where you can make several thousand dollars in a day on one job, but then not have any work for the next few months. For this reason, you need to really understand and plan where your money goes. Since you won't typically get a paycheck every 2 weeks for the same amount (like in a regular 9 to 5 job), it may be a little more difficult to budget. Knowing this in advance affords you the opportunity to set a budget that will keep you comfortable and help you prepare for any unexpected slow downs in work. The easiest way to do that is to stop looking at simply making enough money to pay the bills each month. Sit down and figure out exactly how much it costs you to live at the level that you would like to. Add up all of the financial obligations that you have (include money for food, dry cleaning, leisure, hobbies, gifts etc). Once you have determined how much you need each month, put yourself on a salary. If you need $2,000 per month to survive, that should be your salary. Pay yourself $1,000 twice per month (e.g. every 2 weeks) and not a penny more. There is a certain amount of discipline required here, but it will pay off in ways you would never imagine. You might even consider setting up two checking accounts at your bank or at the very least a checking account that is linked to a savings account. Each pay period, transfer your salary out of the general account or payroll account into your checking account and that is all the money you are allowed to spend until the next pay period. This method of budgeting allows you to focus on what you are allowed to spend each pay period and nothing more. Since the balance of your funds are in a separate "payroll" account, there is less temptation to engage in impulsive spending since you are limited to using only the main checking account.

What does this budget accomplish? When you are fortunate enough to land those jobs that pay several thousand dollars in one day, it goes into the general/payroll account. If you are like most people, when you have very lucrative jobs, you spend more money. You might not think so, but after taking a closer look at your spending habits, you may change your mind about your habits. For example: If you have 3 jobs over a 3 month period that pay $2000 per job, that is enough for 3 months of living expenses; however, chances are that you will have other jobs in between. Under old habits you would probably say, "Wow, I can buy that home theater system that I wanted!" Well you can, but if work slows down, you could quickly be out of money. If you are saving all of the extra money you make over your $2,000 per month salary in the general/payroll account, in a couple of months you could have 6 months of living expenses tucked away. When you have a 6 month cushion, then you can spring for the home theater system. Don't get fooled by the sales circulars or ads and think that you have to buy it now while the price is so good. That good price will do you NO GOOD if you can't pay your electric bill so that you can use the home theater system.

Run your household like a business. Account for where each dollar goes and take a look to see where there is waste. Do you have any redundant bills? Are you having the paper delivered to your home and not reading it, but picking up a paper at the local newsstand? Are you buying food and throwing lots of it away because it spoils before you can eat it? Are you dry cleaning clothing that could be washed? Do you go out for drinks every week or a couple of times per week? How much is it costing you? If you have 5 beers a week at your local restaurant or bar and that beer is $3-$5 per beer, you are spending between $60 and $100 per month on beer alone; not to mention if you ever treat friends to a drink or two. There are little habits like this that take a few dollars here and a few dollars there, but add up to major bills by the end of the month. Begin to account for all expenditures and over time budgeting will become second nature, which will give you much more control of your finances. When a financial storm hits (e.g. slow economy, unemployment, etc), you may have a year or 18 months or more of living expenses saved in your payroll account allowing you to ride out a financial storm without skipping a beat and that would be music to anyone's ears. If you are working or plan on working in the entertainment industry, you can see how financial planning and budgeting is extremely important to be able to survive during the lean times until you get that big break.

Next Month February 2003 - Some Jobs Can Have Long Term Affects On a Career.

Please visit the Future Casting website at Future Casting 2000


This is written by Jack at the Actorsite.

Thinking Leading

THINKING LEADING (those of you who are character actors can read and learn and use these tips to hone your "character" attitude, too.)

To be a LEADING Man or Lady, you have to convey the READY FOR ANYTHING SPIRIT...how do you SHOW that? Remember, film and TV are VISUAL mediums. At the same time physical beauty doesn't always translate into talent or charisma.

1. Lead With Your Heart

The leading character is the one who FEELS for the audience. The leading character is the one we CARE about. The leading character is the one who LEARNS AND GROWS throughout the arc of the script or scene. Let us know right away what you are thinking and why we should care about you. And allow us to SEE into your heart so that we may emphasize with you.

2. Make Strong Choices

A writer writes, and it is the actor's vision that makes the words come alive. If you sit back and don't care enough to allow an interesting character through your facade, then WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT YOU? GO FOR IT AND BE INTERESTING! Find the interesting YOU no matter what the circumstance.

3. Become a Visual Character.

LEADING characters do not carry extra bodyfat. And since ACTORS do the ACTION, they are fit and READY FOR ACTION. (The exceptions PROVE this rule).

4. Thinking Leading.

4. You are with friends who want to stop by a McDonald's for lunch...as a person who is always THINKING LEADING, you:

a. Order a big mac and fries with a vanilla shake.
b. Order what your friends order to fit in.
c. Order a salad with no dressing (or italian) and a glass of milk or iced tea.

If you are THINKING LEADING, you'd pick (c.)!

5.Thinking Leading

a. Lying in the shade at the park.
b. Sitting in your car at the park.
c. Taking a walk around the park.

If you are THINKING LEADING, you take a walk around the park and get your exercise, while you commune with nature.

6. Thinking Leading

a. At improv class you sit back and react to what is happening.
b. At improv class you take control and make something happen.
c. At improv class, when you give focus, you watch and enjoy and react, and when you TAKE FOCUS, you take over and MAKE something happen, and you are ALWAYS aware of the give and take.

If you are THINKING LEADING, you are ALWAYS aware of the give and take, and when it's your time, you TAKE it, then you let others have their time as the center of focus.

7. Thinking Leading Workout

1. Bicycle, Walking, or Stairs for 20 minutes.
2. Work out one muscle group on a machine or free weights.
3. Bicycle, walking or stairs for 2 minutes.
4. Work out one more muscle group on a machine or free weights.
5. Bicycle, walking or stairs for 2 minutes.
6. Repeat until you have worked out each muscle group with the bicycle, walking or stairs in between...use lighter weights for that LEADING LOOK...Not bulked but fit!
Do this three times per week....it should take about 1 hour or less. Also, the person who recommended this one, said she walks for 2 miles on the days she doesn't work out.

8. Thinking Leading.

When assigned a task, you always:

a. Let others do the most of the work, and do the minumum necessary.
b. Do my share.
c. LEAD BY EXAMPLE and kick in and DO MORE THAN MY SHARE so that the sum of the total is MORE than if I were to sit back and barely participate.

THINKING LEADING: Of course you would lead by example...this is a no-brainer, as are all the rest...

9. Thinking Leading

While waiting for that big break, I:

a. Sit back and whine and complain about my agent and manager and don't do anything to help myself...the world owes me.
b. I go to class diligently and do what the teacher asks.
c. I study, work and network EVERY DAY. I do my warm ups, I go to class on a weekly basis, and I network, whether in workshops, industry events, or social situations, and I treat those I network with with courtesy and respect for their time and I never come across needy, whiney and I don't complain about my career or those who I have no control over. I am pro-active and moving forward ALL THE TIME!.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS LEADING HERE?

10. Thinking Leading

You want to read a book:

a. You lay down to read the book.
b. You sit up to read the book.
c. You read the book while riding your exercycle.

I guess you could do the same while watching TV. EVERY SINGLE ACTION STAR will ride the exercycle between takes while filming an ACTION MOVIE, because they have to to keep CUT UP...I don't encourage everyone to go to that extreme, just those who might benefit..the true "leading" actors out there.


Jack's Improv Class

Format of Warm-Up's

Synonyms:

Ice breakers. Other names for the same warm-up

Introduction:

A simple sentence that explains the warm-up to the workshoppers or players.

Description:

A brief explanation of the how the warm-up works and how it can help players get ready to improvise.

Gimmicks:

What is this warm-up supposed to be doing.

Variations:

Simple changes to the warm-up wherein the warm-up remains the same. These may be geographical.

Credits:

Whoever lays claim to creating the warm-up. This should cause much fun.

Improv - Hello Warm-Up

Synonyms:

Greetings, lost friend

Introduction:

This warm up will help break the ice and get the blood moving. Everyone start to mill about the room.

Description:

The players mill about the room. At some point the workshop leader asks them all the greet each other by shaking hands. Greet one person and move on, greet another and so on. This continues for a while. Then endow each of the greetings with an element. For example, "greet each other like you are long lost friends". You can continue to endow the greetings with elements like: ex-lovers, someone you have a crush on, someone you are afraid of, someone you love, a smelly person, etc. The greetings can be embellished with emotions like: greet everyone angrily, greet everyone happily, greet everyone like you have a secret, greet everyone like you are a Scottish Chieftain, etc. Have fun with it, and keep the greetings short and superficial.

Gimmicks:

None

Variations:

Combine it with Cross Circle, form two lines and have the greeters meet on stage together.

Credits:

None

All the best,

Jack

PS: It's sometimes lonely pursuing the physical activities so GET ON THE PHONE and ASK another actor to be your WORKOUT BUDDY. It's good for both of you...just don't let them HOLD YOU BACK by NOT BEING AVAILABLE...move on and find a new workout buddy...You can start by networking with the other actors at the ACTORSITE Get together a group and go to the gym or the park together...

Next Month - February 2003 we will be covering - Learning Improv Exercises

Please visit the Actorsite website