Know Your Rights and 4 Other Important Tips

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Need a little motivation? Our Backstage Experts are full of amazing advice to help move your career forward, and we wouldn’t want you to miss one drop of it. Here are five tips to keep in mind during the week ahead!

Memorize and prep your auditions with games.
“Take a hat or bowl and write 10 different emotions down as well as 10 different situations, professions, or environments on separate pieces of paper. In a sandstorm, walking on a tightrope, as a teacher, or as a 4-year-old child. Throw each one into a bowl or hat and each time you do the scene pick a different piece of paper. This is a great way to not only learn the scene, but also to discover something you may not have thought of.” —Sara Mornell

Be hair-raisingly good in the room.
“Thriller, horror, and supernatural narratives rely heavily on surprise and suspense, so avoid playing the end of the scene at the beginning, or telegraphing what’s going to happen next. Allow your character (and hence, the audience) to discover as they go along. Is your character the red herring? Don’t give it away by acting suspiciously. Does your character expect a knife-wielding maniac to attack her as she gets into her car? Unless it says so in the script, allow your character to be taken by surprise.” —Lana Veenker

Know your rights!
“If you’re exposed, there will always be a naked digital version of you floating around, but to what extent? If the agreement you make is casual and not in writing, you will have a hard time combating any discrepancies in the agreed shots taken of you. Also, is this project independent or attached to a studio? How long are you required to promote the film, if outlined? Make sure you know your rights before you shed the clothing.” —Garrett O. Thomas

Don’t rely on hypothetical money.
“Only count on money you actually make, not what you think might happen. For example, if you get cast in a pilot, don’t assume that it will be picked up or, if picked up, will stay on the air. The only money that is real is the actual money you got paid for the pilot.” —Joan Sittenfield

Stay confident in a cold read.
“The golden rule of the cold read is the same as any audition: Don’t guess what they are looking for. Assume you are what they’re looking for, and bring yourself to the piece with choices that pack a punch.” —Joseph Pearlman

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

Joseph Pearlman
Joseph Pearlman is a celebrity and on-set acting coach for Hollywood’s top actors, musicians, and comedians. He works with clients such as Zooey Deschanel, Skylar Grey, Michael Welch, and Julian Sands, and he also coaches presenters for all the major award ceremonies. Pearlman Acting Academy was voted the best acting studio in Los Angeles by the Backstage Readers’ Choice Awards.
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Sara Mornell
Sara Mornell is a working actor, coach, and Backstage Expert.
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Garrett O. Thomas
Garrett O. Thomas is a publicist and Backstage Expert.
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Lana Veenker
Casting director Lana Veenker began her career in London and, upon returning to her Northwest roots, founded one of the top location casting companies in the country, Cast Iron Studios. Veenker is also a member of the Casting Society of America and the International Casting Directors Network
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Joan Sittenfield
Joan Sittenfield is a talent manager, producer, and writer who heads Joan Sittenfield Management, and who began her career as an actress/dancer.
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