Show Biz Commodities
Nothing reinforces the fact that show business is a business and actors are sellable commodities like a New York student showcase. For it is there that our graduating students finally realize that their talent and training play second fiddle to their commercial prospects—at least in the eyes of an agent. This is unfair, of course, and maybe even reprehensible, but it is also a fact of show business life. The senior showcase mathematically demonstrates this cold reality because what the agents think collectively and individually is measurable. The measure is the number of interviews offered to each of our students from the agents and managers in attendance. And the correlation between who gets the most invitation and who is most talented—or for that matter, who nailed it at the showcase—is sketchy at best. Identifiable and sellable types trump all other considerations. If agents think they can sell you as product, they want you in their catalogue. Can you make them money? It’s that simple.
Several years ago as part of the preparation for the senior showcase, we began asking our students to define their type, and plan their material around that conceit. Our students resisted but eventually complied. They were grateful and more successful than our students had been previously. More recently, a faculty member who is still a part-time casting agent took over as director of the showcase. With the eyes of a New York agent, he has refined the typing we do. The students resist even more than before. And then thank him even more when the showcase results prove him right…
Keep reading this post on Bruce Miller’s blog!
The Actor as Storyteller is intended for serious beginning actors. It opens with an overview, explaining the differences between theater and its hybrid mediums, the part an actor plays in each of those mediums. It moves on to the acting craft itself, with a special emphasis on analysis and choice-making, introducing the concept of the actor as storyteller, then presents the specific tools an actor works with. Next, it details the process an actor can use to prepare for scene work and rehearsals, complete with a working plan for using the tools discussed. The book concludes with a discussion of mental preparation, suggestions for auditioning, a process for rehearsing a play, and an overview of the realities of show business.