Tag Archives: Canadian Talent

6 Tips To Ace A Cold Read Audition


Ahhh the dreaded cold read. It’s something that a lot of actors fear. That’s because usually there is no opportunity for preparation. A script is thrown in front of you moments before you’re to appear on camera, and panic can set in. You worry that you’re going to deliver the lines completely flat, you aren’t […]

Ahhh the dreaded cold read. It’s something that a lot of actors fear. That’s because usually there is no opportunity for preparation. A script is thrown in front of you moments before you’re to appear on camera, and panic can set in. You worry that you’re going to deliver the lines completely flat, you aren’t going to figure out what’s going on in the scene fast enough to deliver a satisfactory performance, and it’s just going to be painful and you’re going to be terrible. Yes it might not be the most comfortable thing you’ll have to do, but it’s a big part of the audition process and something that you’re going to have to get a handle on if you want to book acting jobs.

At AMP Talent Group, we want our clients and talent to excel in every opportunity so we recommend you keep these tips in mind to help you improve your cold reading skills for audition purposes, we’ve highlighted 6 important keys to cold read success:

Arrive early for your audition: Sometimes if you arrive early you will have the opportunity to read over the sides and begin your preparation early. This way you can at least be familiar with what you’re going to be saying and doing. If you are able to get the material beforehand, spend less time on the actual lines that you are going to be delivering, instead focus on the story and situation, as well as try and get a feel for the character that you’re going to be reading. This way you can at least ground yourself in the world of the scene and you won’t require quite as much attention on the actual words, so you can feel yourself as the character in that environment.

Research the project you’re auditioning for: Even if you know you’re going in to do a cold read audition, you can still go online and find out some details about the audition. You can also ask your agent to provide you with some more information if possible as well. You should find out the type of project that you’re going out for (commercial, feature film, TV show), as well as the time period of the piece, and what the story is. While you might not be able to find a ton of information on the project, you will definitely be able to get some background information that will at least put you ahead of most of the actors who will be walking into the audition blind.

Be Flexible: When you’re going through your cold read, it might not be blatantly clear from the outset if you’re reading a comedy or a drama. I mean, hopefully it is, but there is a possibility that you won’t get the tone of the script right away. This is why you need to enter into your reading with complete flexibility. Go in with the mindset that they might ask you to read the script in a certain way that you weren’t expecting, or maybe you’ll even discover things in the middle of the reading that take it to a whole different place than you expected. Considering that this will be one of the first times you’ve read through this passage of the script in its entirety, you definitely can’t be opposed to figuring out certain things from the inside. So be loose, flexible, and ready to go in any direction.

Take risks and do more than just read: Even though it’s a cold read, you don’t want to sit there like a pile of concrete and just read the lines in a voice that will put the people holding the audition to sleep. You still want to be lively, take action with your body, and use your voice as an instrument to get yourself into character and convey emotion. Even though it’s just a cold read, that doesn’t mean you can’t make strong choices and go with them. In fact, you will standout more at your audition if you make a decision and try something out. Even if it’s wacky, there are no wrong artistic choices during a cold read. You want to show them that you were able to read over the script, and in just a couple of quick minutes, be able to make a strong artistic decision and do something with the character that nobody else has done. They want to see how you interpret the script, just as much as they want to gage your actual performance.

Look up at the reader: Unless this is the first time you’ve ever acted or been to an audition before, you will know that you must always look up at the reader when you deliver the lines. You should never read directly from the page, but be following along with your finger and make sure that you use the person reading with you as a reference to get yourself into the moment and be authentic. Try and look up and connect with the reader as often as possible. Just be sure that you keep your thumb on the page and follow along so you don’t lose your place during the read. The people running the audition understand that the material is completely new to you; therefore they don’t expect the audition to be perfect. Also, taking your few minutes before the audition starts to get a good grasp of the scene, story, and your character is going to be hugely instrumental in allowing you to go with the scene and connect with the reader, instead of having your eyes married to the page the whole time.

Practice your cold reads: If you want to take it one step further and work on your cold reading skills, then you should practice reading passages and memorizing as many of the words, as quickly as you can. At least learn to memorize important points, or key phrases that you can use and rely on so that you don’t have to be looking down at the page every two seconds during your audition. By practicing this technique, you will slowly start to improve your ability to retain words and dialogue very quickly so that you can be that little bit more off book when it comes time for your audition. By working on your cold reading skills on your own time, you will be miles ahead of the competition when it comes to stepping up and delivering a great cold read performance.

Cold reading only has to be a painful experience if you make it one. You can decide to ignore it and just do your best on the day of the audition, or you can take matters into your own hands and prepare yourself so that when a cold read audition comes your way, you’re ready to attack it and destroy it. Casting directors are testing you when they give you a cold read; they want to see how you handle it and what you do with it. So make sure you do everything in your power to show them that cold reads don’t faze you, in fact you look forward to them.

Remember, audition for your career, not for the job and you will feel more confident about your performance!

 

 

5 Must-See Canadian Movies During TIFF


One of the great parts about the Toronto International Film Festival it’s that it’s not only another opportunity for Hollywood to flaunt their endless talent and pockets, but it’s also a great stage to feature great films and world-class talent from all corners of the globe. Particularly our home soil talent here in Canada. So […]

Canadian Made Film Movies at TIFFOne of the great parts about the Toronto International Film Festival it’s that it’s not only another opportunity for Hollywood to flaunt their endless talent and pockets, but it’s also a great stage to feature great films and world-class talent from all corners of the globe. Particularly our home soil talent here in Canada. So while there are so many great American films at this year’s festival, I encourage you to check out some of this year’s highly anticipated films that came from your own country.

There are so many great Canadian films at this year’s festival, but we had to decide on 5 of the most buzz worthy:

Mommy-by-xavier-dolan-cannes-poster1. Mommy

Directed by 25-year-old Quebecquois filmmaker, Xavier Dolan (who is also at the festival as an actor for Elephant Song), Mommy is right at the top of the Canadian film must-see list. Dolan already took home the Jury Prize for the film at this year’s Cannes Festival, so it definitely has some fire behind it heading into TIFF. The story follows a widow who struggles to raise her sometimes-violent teenager.

 

 

Bang Bang Baby movie2. Bang Bang Baby

Definitely geared to be one of the most bizarre films at this year’s festival, Bang Bang Baby adopts its own fused genre of musical meets 1950’s sci-fi. Probably not what you were expecting, right? Well this is the first feature film from short-film veteran, Jeffrey St. Jules, and it’s definitely being anticipated with much curiosity. The story follows a young teenager, Stepphy (Jane Levy) in a small fictional town in Canada who has lofty aspirations of making it in the music business as a singer. She’s then accepted to a singing competition in the states, but her father refuses to let her go. Then things get interesting when the local plant appears to have a strange leak, which brings the sleepy town into a frenzy, just when Stepphy’s crush and hero, singer Bobby Shore (Justin Chatwin) arrives in town with his broke down car. Regardless of the film’s reception or outcome, that description alone must be enough to completely throw you with curiosity.

Monsoon movie 2014 sturla gunnarsson3. Monsoon

Sturla Gunnarsson’s Monsoon is supposed to be a complete spectacle and exploration of the annual monsoons that soak India. The film is intended to highlight and capture both the beneficial and disastrous effects the monsoons have on India’s agriculture, society, economy, and personal lives of its inhabitants. The film was shot during an actual monsoon during the rainy season in India and has been described as “part road movie, part spectacle, and part drama.”

Elephant Song/Melenny4. Elephant Song

Elephant Song is the big-screen adaptation of Nicolas Billon’s play about a psychiatrist who is drawn into a complex mind game when he questions a disturbed patient (Xavier Dolan) about the disappearance of a colleague. The film sees veteran Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood going toe-to-toe with the young industry prodigy Dolan (who’s also at the festival with his film Mommy), in a very suspenseful and manipulative film that will leave your palms in a pool of sweat. Also appearing in Elephant Song is veteran American actress, Catherine Keener.

Preggoland movie james caan5. Preggoland

No the title is not trying to mislead you at all; Preggoland describes this movie in a nutshell. It’s clearly a comedy and the story is about a 35 year-old woman named Ruth (Sonja Bennett) who fakes being pregnant so she can fit in with her friends who are all baby-obsessed. The film is intended to poke fun of society’s baby-craze and show the lengths that some women will go to feel apart of the club. Based off a very hilarious script written by the star of the film, Sonja Bennett, as well as starring James Caan as her dad, Preggoland is bound to be a good laugh. I mean…if the title alone didn’t hook you, then I don’t know what will.

Every year the Canadian talent gets even stronger, which is great for our film industry and all the young Canadian up-and-comers. Lets also not forget two other big films that have Canadian directors at the helm — Wild with Reese Witherspoon and David Cronenberg’s Map To The Stars.

Get your tickets on the TIFF website and check out these great films!

How Actors Can Build A Brand Online


It is no secret that we’re in a digital revolution.  Everybody is engaging online so frequently, that it’s becoming one of the most dominating forms of communication.  For this reason it’s absolutely essential that actors are building and maintaining their brand online.  Just simply going to your auditions is not enough anymore. You have to […]

It is no secret that we’re in a digital revolution.  Everybody is engaging online so frequently, that it’s becoming one of the most dominating forms of communication.  For this reason it’s absolutely essential that actors are building and maintaining their brand online.  Just simply going to your auditions is not enough anymore. You have to be online, engaging in some way of self-promotion and making sure that you’re pushing your work as much as you can.  Talent Agents, Managers, and Casting Directors are now going online to find that new secret talent that will take their business to the next level.  Just look at how many new musicians and pop stars are being discovered on YouTube. The same goes for actors and models. You could be the next big thing that is waiting to be discovered. But this can only happen if you have a platform that showcases all your work and talents.

So why exactly should every actor be creating an online brand? Is it really that important?

That’s definitely a fair question, as a lot of people will feel it’s too much work for not enough reward, or that it’s going to feel awkward, narcissistic, and a little self-indulgent to create an online presence that is ALL ABOUT them. But you have to think of it that you are the product, you’re the vehicle that is going to make or break your career. When you’re an actor, it’s you as a person that is going to be the moneymaker, so you need to make sure you push that product as much as you can. Do not be afraid to stand out.  Because only those who are willing to be vulnerable and put themselves out there have the opportunity to achieve big success.

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Creating your online brand is another important tool available to you.  Trying to make it as an actor is hard enough, so you need to give yourself whatever edge you can. By focusing on building and creating your online brand, you’re going to begin to separate yourself from other actors who can’t be bothered with the time and energy needed to build their platform. You have to become an entrepreneur of the craft, and your own hard-driving sales person. It’s essential for success.

Times are different now; producers want to know how much publicity you can get them for a TV series or movie. If you have a large following online, a producer will see you as a very valuable asset to them. It might help you in separating yourself from other competing actors in the casting process.  Also, a lot of the top US and Canadian talent agencies such as CAA, ICM, AMP and WME have at least one staff member constantly scrolling the Internet, scouting for the next big star their agency can sign. Gaining an online presence has become huge for comedians in getting discovered as well, by posting gag videos, parodies, and creations that help get them potential viral exposure. You could even potentially book roles from your online brand. If you have enough videos, pictures, and quality work online, you might discover you have some important industry people sending you messages and emails saying they want to meet you, or even cast you in their next project.

Social media signs

Basically, why wouldn’t you start investing in your online Social Media brand?  Social media is available to us everywhere and anytime. It also allows people to figure out who you are and what potential roles you would be good at playing, so you can choose to brand yourself in whatever way you want to get known for.  Talk to your agent or manger and figure out your strengths and maximize on them by creating a presence online that will help give you that extra boost needed to stand out from the crowd.

Now that you’re aware and understand the importance of your online brand, what are some online tools available to actors and ones they should be engaging with on a regular basis? Listed below are some of the most important:

 

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Build A Website:  This is one of the most common and standard tools that most actors have now.  Build a Basic Website that has your headshots, resume, and a show reel (when you have one). This is definitely the most important first ingredient when it comes to creating an online portfolio that will promote you as an artist.  Standard actor’s websites will have a catalog style showing of their headshots that allow potential casting directors to see exactly what they look like.  Provide reviews from directors or producers you have worked for on your page. Also keeping an updated resume is essential, as well as a demo showreel of your most recent work. A website concentrates all your information in one place, so it makes it very easy for someone to look you up and see exactly what you’re talents are.

YouTube Videos:  A prime example of somebody who has promoted their wide-array of talents through viral YouTube videos is Taryn Southern. A very talented comedian, writer, actor, host, and singer, she’s managed to become quite the webutante, which has helped her to book many mainstream acting roles. She’s appeared on various TV shows such as New Girl and Rules of Engagement. While you don’t need to become the next viral sensation to be successful as an actor, she’s just an example of somebody who created a personal brand online and her career flourished because of it. If you’re more of an established actor, you can use YouTube to post trailers to new movies you’re appearing in, or links to notable scenes that you have done. You can have a link from your website to your YouTube videos, and vice versa.

Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram: It’s important that everyone who’s trying to build a career is using social media to some extent. If you’re a more established actor, then a Facebook fan page is a great way to build an audience and keep your fans up to date with new projects you’re working on, as well as push through all your professional marketing and press materials. Tons of comedy writers are being discovered through Twitter, which is essential for actors as well.  Even if you don’t think you’re funny, or don’t like confessing all your personal feelings to the world, Twitter is a great way to get in touch with other performers, talent agents, casting directors, and managers. You can also follow accounts that are related to the film and entertainment industry, which can keep you informed with everything that’s happening. Tweeting is something that most people are doing and it’s another avenue for you to help get your words, face, and name out there. Creating an Instagram account is another great way to build followers and create an online presence. Tons of models and actors are creating accounts and posting behind the scenes pictures from various photo shoots and film sets they’re working on.  Just make sure you have permission from someone on set before you snap photos.  You can also go one step further and post inspiring quotes and information related to the industry. This is a great way to build a voice, a brand, and become known in the industry, which may also help to boost your career. Keep in mind that it is important not to tweet or talk about jobs that you are doing unless you have permission from the producer or your agent. You can say you have a audition or callback, but do not mention the client or job name.

Show Reel / Demo Reel:  This is another one of the standard tools for actors. As soon as you have enough experience under your belt, you should be creating a reel that highlights some of your best work. This is a quick 2-3 minute video that your Talent Agent sends to a casting director or producer so they can see your work.  While it’s not completely commonplace, some actors have been chosen for roles based entirely off their reel. This is why it’s essential that you have one (once you have enough experience) on your website, and upload to YouTube as well, which will actually show people that you have talent and should be taken seriously as an actor. Besides, having a demo reel helps to market you and your seen as a professional.

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IMDB:  It’s a very important branding tool that every talent should have.  Casting directors, talent agents, and managers, may look you up on IMDB and see what your working on or your credits are like before they cast you. If you have a good chunk of credits, you will come across as established and professional.  If you can’t be found online, most people will assume that you’re green and not established as a performer.  Make sure that you create an IMDB account and work towards stacking those credits up!

Creating a strong online brand is a no-brainer.  You can start off small (a Twitter account, LinkedIn, build a free website and or get help to edit together a solid showreel) and work towards creating more significant platforms once you’re more established. By investing in the online marketing presence early in your career, you will start to tell your peers and important people in the industry that you’re serious about your acting career.

Figure out what your brand is, create it online, and connect with like-minded people. The Internet and social media gives everyone an opportunity to build a voice and to connect.  Start by building your online brand today!

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What’s Being Filmed In Toronto This Summer


Lights, Camera, Summer! Summer 2014 is just around the corner and for most “normal folk” it means impromptu trips to cottage country, days of energy-drowning on patios with cold beverages, and basically trying to work as little as possible so you can enjoy the summer. But for those who call the film industry, “their industry”, […]

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Lights, Camera, Summer!

Summer 2014 is just around the corner and for most “normal folk” it means impromptu trips to cottage country, days of energy-drowning on patios with cold beverages, and basically trying to work as little as possible so you can enjoy the summer. But for those who call the film industry, “their industry”, it’s quite the opposite. Summer is a time when you strap on your working sandals and get ready to cram as much filming work as possible into your summer, until you’re working like a dog well into the dog days in August. Summer presents a great opportunity to finally film that passion project you’ve been yearning to do, or film that indie movie you’ve been trying to squeeze into your busy schedule. In short, there’s a lot being shot during the summer in Toronto.

So what’s being shot in our fair Canadian city this coming spring/summer? Obviously there’s a lot, but we’ve broken down a few of the highest profile projects to keep you in the loop.

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Pixels.

The movie will be bringing Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Michelle Monaghan into our town for the summer months. Brought to you by Arcaders Productions Ltd. and directed by Christopher Columbus. Pixels tells you the story of what happens when aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war against them. This begins a war against the human race, using the games as models for their various assaults. Filming will take place from May 28th – September 30th. So keep a look out this summer for the dynamic goof balls of Kevin James and Adam Sandler taking in a Jay’s game and maybe even throwing that all-important first pitch.

Regression.

Written and directed by Alejandro Amenabar, and starring Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson. Regression is about a man who is accused of abusing his daughter — a crime he doesn’t even remember committing. Sounds like it’s an intense thriller that should see Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson acting opposite one another in some very intense scenes. Filming is well underway, starting on April 15th and due to wrap on June 12th.

Crimson Peak.

Principal photography began back in February at Pinewood Studios, and filming began at the end of April in Hamilton, as well as in Kingston. The film is starring Mia Wasikawska, Charlie Hunnam, and Jessica Chastain, and is produced by Legendary Pictures. The film is supposed to take place in Cumbria, a crumbling mansion in a largely rural and mountainous region of Northern England in the 19th century. A young author (Wasikawska) discovers that her charming new husband is not who he appears to be. Photos from the Hamilton set this spring have already been released all over the Internet. Filming is due to run into the summer here in Toronto.

October Gale.

Written and directed by Ruba Nadda, and starring Tim Roth, Scott Speedman, and Patricia Clarkson. October Gale is a thriller about a doctor who takes in a wounded victim that washes ashore at her cottage. Quickly they realize that the killer is there to try and finish the job, just as a storm draws in. Sounds like something to be shot on Toronto Island, doesn’t it? Filming started on April 21st and wraps up on May 25th.

The summer months are also a very busy time for TV shows to shoot in order to get prepared for fall premieres. This summer keep a look out all over the city, as Suits will be filming Season 4 from April 7th – November 7th. Lost Girl will be filming their fifth season from April 7th – August 17th. Also filming their fifth seasons will be Covert Affairs from March 31st – September 19th and Rookie Blue finishes shooting on June 9th. Then the ever-so-popular Canadian sitcom, Degassi, will be filming their 14th season from April 22nd – October 1st.

So that means there will be opportunities for actors to audition for roles on one of these productions, or simply, just catch sight of a star or a film set in the middle of action.

It’s an exciting time. The entertainment industry is bursting with projects on the go and it’s a great time be working on set. Which is all in the lead up to TIFF in September!

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