Hello! Welcome back to another Female Filmmaker Friday where we talk about The Industry. My name is Kate Hackett and I’m an actor/writer/producer here in LA. If you are new, please subscribe & consider becoming a patron!
Today’s chat is going to be very actor focused — we’re going to discuss how the heck to figure out your ‘type’.
“What’s type?” It just means what would be very easy to see you play — a character that you embody naturally. For example, my type tends to be smart girl-next-door. That lends itself to certain roles (see: Classic Alice) and archetypes.
Type is something that comes up a lot for younger actors and it’s helpful to know how to define yourself. But in order to do that, you really have to know yourself, so start there:
Who are you? Think of things like, what’s your archetype? What’s your Hogwarts house? What do you enjoy, what would your best friend say about you? What about strangers? When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? Are you balding? Thin? Tall? What kind of actors do you resemble in physical appearance? How about in energy? What do THEY play?
It’s a little nerve wracking, but an exercise a lot of new actors do when they come out here is ask people on the street: hey, what could you see me playing? And there’s some value in that – just based on your looks, what do you embody? But it’s also really important to know more than just your face.
If all else fails, look at what you audition for: do you constantly get called in for biker guy? Then… you’re probably badass dude. You get the idea.
Now let’s talk about the dreaded AGE RANGE.
Age range is tricky; we all want to think we play young, young, young, but at some point you’re not 18 anymore and … well. You aren’t playing 16 year olds. It’s okay. It’s good. Age yourself up a little. Be HONEST with your age and the range you play. This is one it’s helpful to hear from other people because your internal barometer is likely wrong.
To that end, also do not be afraid of typecasting. What gets you the job GETS YOU THE JOB. And once you book it, you can invest in yourself and play something else — make your own show where you play what YOU think you are. Or style a photoshoot that does the same (for less money!). Or work indie/digital that pushes your range. Just get the work first. Worry about the rest later. You can’t get typecast if you aren’t getting cast.
So do me a favor and leave what YOUR TYPE is in the comments below! And let me know if you aren’t sure – maybe I can help you figure it out!
Hello! Welcome back to another Female Filmmaker Friday where we talk about The Industry. My name is Kate Hackett and I’m an actor/writer/producer here in LA. If you are new, please consider becoming a Patron! Today’s topic is actually a question FROM a patron, so thank you George, for asking how I get work done — even when I’m not motivated!
We’re going to chat about FIVE top productivity tips for artists. These are things I personally do pretty much every day. I’ve found that a LOT of “be productive!” videos on YouTube are functionally useless for someone who has to have complete flexibility at the drop of a hat.
- Bullet Journal / Weekly Plan –> but as an actor, don’t lock yourself in. You are at the whim of more than just you! If you have an audition, you need to make sure your whole week isn’t thrown off.
- Figure out YOUR prime creative time and work with it. If you aren’t a 5am gal, don’t force yourself to get up to be “productive” at 5am. If you like working on weekends, work on weekends. Figure out what is best for you and plan around that as much as you can. If you are productive at night, try not to work as a server or bartender for your day job — that kind of thing.
- Set time frames -> if there’s a passage that’s just crushing you or a script you’re struggling with, put a timer on for 20 minutes and just work on it for those 20. If you’re still not in a zone at the end, pick up something else. If you’re finding your groove, stick with it!
- Get it out of the way/ Hard stuff first -> If your goal is go to the gym three times a week, sometimes it’s a damn good idea to go Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday because you don’t know if Thursday is going to suddenly have an audition that wrecks your day. So get it done when you KNOW you’re free because you might not be able to later! This goes for any task that needs doing: for writing, I don’t have the luxury of procrastinating until a deadline so I make sure it’s finished BEFORE it’s due. (old hangover from NERD SCHOOL TIME).
- And my final tip… Stockpile. Take a day and use it for things like planning out your social media posts for a month, shoot ALL your YouTube videos for a few weeks, write ALL your thank you cards in a lump and fill them in as you need. That way, it’s so, so much easier when stuff rolls around and life hits you: you don’t have to worry about minutae, it’s already prepared.
What about you? how do you stay productive?
Hello! Welcome back to another Female Filmmaker Friday where we talk about The Industry. My name is Kate Hackett and I’m an actor/writer/producer here in LA. If you are new, please click to subscribe and consider becoming a Patron!
Today I want to chat about auditioning. I’ve already gone over how to prepare for a scene so this is going to focus a little more on how to wrangle nerves and feel confident — as well as behavior at the read.
FIRST UP: no one knows what they’re looking for — kind of. They have an idea, maybe, but most of the time there’s room to surprise the team with your work so don’t worry about it. Don’t try to give them what they want. Who knows what they want. You’re shooting at a moving target so just … don’t.
But what you CAN control is how prepared you are so — be prepared. Do the homework. I don’t care if you think it’s a role you could do in your sleep; someone else has worked harder than you on this, so bring your A game here.
Third, win the room. You might not get this part — don’t worry about it. That part shouldn’t bother you as much as losing the room does. Come in, be pleasant, do the work, and make a fan of the casting team (or the producers!). There are ALWAYS more roles and if this one doesn’t blow your way, that’s okay. Something else will.
Our fourth thing is: Be kind. Be gracious. You should expect to be treated with respect in the room and you should also treat everyone involved — EVERY ONE INVOLVED — similarly. Especially assistants; their job is ten BILLION times harder than yours, be kind to them.
Be a human. Remember that you aren’t a robot; if you make a mistake, it’s okay. If your READER makes a mistake, it’s OKAY.
You can ask to start again (ONCE) or just roll with it — you should be trained enough to know how to play off errors — improvise the scene back on track or just carry on. Listen, respond. That’s the mark of a good actor, not how well you have the words memorized. Writers make mistakes too: sometimes we pen a phrase that is just IMPOSSIBLE to say. Give them (and yourself) that leniency and forgiveness. Some shows or offices will require WORD PERFECT reads, so keep your script handy and really work hard to get there, but at the end of the day: you did your best. Breathe.
Five! Have the confidence to know that you are helping a whole team of people find the best person for this role. Not necessarily the best actor. Just the best PERSON. You’re there to help casting. So help them!
…and then? Let it go. Don’t analyze it. Don’t nitpick it. If you really fell on your ass, figure out what to do to never ever do that again, but most of the time? It’s just not worth it. I like to give myself the walk back to my car to care. Once I’m buckled, I need to be over it.
One of the coolest things about this industry is that it brings together a ton of different ideas and voices to breathe life into some pieces of paper; you’re there to collaborate, to play. Maybe your ideas fit the mold they’re looking for… or maybe they don’t and they like yours better! It should be a fun thing, having an audition, and if it’s not, see what you can change to make it so!
How do YOU like to approach your auditions? Leave a comment!
Hello! Welcome back to another Female Filmmaker Friday where we talk about The Industry. My name is Kate Hackett and I’m an actor/writer/producer here in LA. If you are new, please subscribe & consider becoming a Patron! Big thanks to my patron Steph for this question…
Today we’re going to talk about something terribly practical – and very important. Health insurance.
Where do actors get health insurance. We’re really only going to focus on the US for this, so if you’re in another country… I don’t know, leave a comment laughing at us. Open enrollment on the US marketplace begins VERY SOON: November 1, 2019 to December 15, 2019.
It’s a little bit of a myth that the union provides insurance for all — and we have a couple of different unions so when I say The Union, I mean SAG. SAG does not just automatically give us insurance; we have to meet a monetary threshold that’s actually pretty high. As of 2019, to meet Plan II (the cheapest)’s earning threshold, you have to make 17340 covered earnings in a base earning period. That gives you just one year of insurance. Then you have to meet your qualification again. And again. And again. Plan I requires over 33,000. For both, you still have to pay a premium (but it’s pretty dang low).
That’s pretty hard, especially with commercials in the state they’re in, and it’s really really hard to make sure you’re consistent. Some actors supplement commercial income with extra work to make their earning threshold. It’s hard. You’re also always in danger of losing it. These insurance programs are funded by your producers and negotiated with their guild, so there’s not a lot of give on them. The WGA functions similarly.
Actor’s Equity, another union that focuses on theater, requires at least 11 weeks of Equity covered employment within a year to qualify for 6 months of coverage. 19 or more gets you 1 year.
Before the Affordable Care Act, that was it; that or a full time job or you just ride along without insurance like some kind of maniac.
Today, however, a lot of us navigate the state marketplace for our health insurance. For Californians, like me, that’s CoveredCalifornia.com. Your state may be different; you can visit here to figure out what your state offers. From there, you can see if you qualify for assistance and pick up insurance plans.
You can also go outside the marketplace and pick up insurance on your own, which might be your best bet if you don’t qualify for subsidies. You can buy via an insurance company directly, just visit their website and see what plans are available. You could also use a local broker; you do not pay any more for the broker. They’re paid by the insurance company. There are also several online insurance sellers that offer plans from different companies. I’d definitely recommend looking into all three options if you have to go it alone.
Insurance can be pricey – expect to pay 200 to 300 a month in premiums to have decent RX care. There are other plans that are cheaper, but take GOOD stock of how often you use your insurance. For example, a high deductible makes NO sense for me personally because I’ll very quickly spend more than what the insurance is worth. You should do the math and map out where your break even point is. If you aren’t sure how to do that, definitely chat with a broker.
There’s a little bit more leg work when you have to hunt for your own insurance, but it’s not impossible and there are definitely people out there who can help.
Need more help? Visit the ActorsFund.org for more individualized and guided assistance.
Ever wonder what kind of self care is BEST for artists? For actors and writers? Come hang out this #FemaleFilmmakerFriday and let me know in the comments what YOU love to do to recharge your creative well!
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