#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Get a Life!

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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 we’re going to talk about having a life BEYOND your creative endeavor, which I think is probably the number one most important thing you can do for both your career and your own mental health. I have been to events where the only thing people talk about is what they’re working on and let me tell you: I find this EXHAUSTING. It’s not how you make connections.

Be a person first, an artist second. It makes you a better creator — actor or writer or whatever else — to surround yourself with life experience. Without a world beyond the industry or the art, you have fewer things to draw on, which means you have less to add to your portrayal of that character or your understanding of a character. Experience enriches the work, whether that be volunteering or falling in love; you learn to access different pieces of yourself, which goes into the art.

total life changers

And that’s to say nothing of just being a better person. You know the type — someone who can’t talk about ANYTHING but the job is exhausting to be around and, very likely, brings nothing to contribute to the relationship or conversation. How many times do you need, or want, to hear about what class someone is in? Unless you specifically ask for recommendations, probably never. What IS interesting is what book someone is reading or what hike she went on, just as an example. You want to bring inspiration to a conversation; talking about yourself and what you’re doing is not inspiring. Sharing experiences… is!

There’s a myth that surrounds the artist: you have to live, breathe, and die this art. You don’t. You can’t. That’s not what art is and you shouldn’t be in a state of constant struggle; finding ways to experience peace and bliss beyond our little corner of the world make you a better person. They make you a whole person. Embrace them!

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – All About Headshots!

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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 for our actors — all about headshots.

I’m going to be totally honest here. I hate headshots. I hate taking them. I hate preparing to take them. I hate looking at them. I hate them. BUT. Almost uniformly casting directors say that’s their first stop: they look at your headshot first, resume or reel second, and everything else maybe someday if they have time*.

*they never have time.

If you go back and look at my “what casting sees” video, it’s pretty obvious why the headshot is so important. Look at that. It’s all they have.

Behold: a headshot

So here’s the easy stuff:

  • don’t ask your buddy to take them if your buddy is not a headshot photographer
  • expect to pay between 150 and 400 bucks
  • everything’s digital
  • shots should be in portrait mode; landscape is too small on the screen

Okay! You’re done! Go take headshots!

…no. No, there’s so much more. A lot of the advice out there is, frankly, bullshit. “Stand out!” what? How the fuck? That’s not helpful. So here are practical things I do before every headshot session:

  1. Research the shiiiiit out of my photographer. Because I’m a redhead, I make sure he or she has done redheads before. There’s something uniquely tricky about our coloring so it’s important my photographer gets it. Does your photographer shoot in a studio or outdoors with natural lighting?
  2. Research what’s ‘in’ right now — and who is in. Headshots go through cycles of hotness — a big easy example is the move from black and white to color. Color is here to stay, but you want to make sure you know what’s trending. Plain backgrounds? Natural light vs studio? Your manager or agent can really help here. If you already have recent shots of one, try the other.
  3. Meet with my photographer. Or chat on the phone. SOMETHING. I need to make sure I have some kind of rapport, especially because I find taking photos like this so weird.
  4. SCOUR photos to find shots that I like — of people who play my type, of fellow redheads, of people I think I could play… the works.
  5. Carefully decide what ‘type‘ I’m going to shoot for in this session. Talk to your representation and make sure you’re getting what THEY need too.
    Oh – speaking of type – make sure you check out my blog post on how to type yourself!
  6. Commercial or theatrical? You can get both in one session, but it’s a good idea to have a focus.
  7. How many looks do I want? Most photographers have a set rate for ~3 looks and you can add on from there. I tend to aim for 5 just because I figure if I’m spending all this money, I may as well get some bang out of it.
  8. Clothes. I am not stylish at ALL so this kills me and I usually have to tag in someone who knows what she’s doing but — go out and buy clothing you think fits your look and your aim for this headshot session. Make sure it FITS you, make sure you’re COMFORTABLE, and make sure it is FLATTERING ON CAMERA. How?
  9. Test your shots. Do a quick test shoot with a buddy to see what your clothing looks like on camera. What looks good in a mirror doesn’t always work on screen and I cannot tell you how many outfits I’ve tossed on thinking this will suck wind up being great. Cameras are weird.
  10. Get enough sleep, do all your skin care nonsense, cut your hair AT LEAST six weeks before your session, blah blah.
  11. Bring your selected outfits and A FEW BACK UPS. Communicate what you want with the photographer.
  12. Ladies slash me personally, always get hair & makeup.

A lot of these steps are really personal. If you’re a bombshell, you’re going to need totally different outfits and styles than I need, but you still need to be brutally honest with yourself about what you play, what your team needs you in, and how to sell yourself.

…After going through all this, I’m sort of in the mood to take new headshots.

October 2019 Update!

Posted Posted in Patron Welcome Aboard Tier
These updates are normally locked to Patrons only — however! For October, to share some fun things and to give a little preview of what Patrons get and see, I’m opening it up to the public. If you like what you see, please consider supporting me at katehackett.com/patronage or patreon.com/katehackett. This one is also a […]

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Table Read Night, Just Surviving

Posted Posted in Female Filmmaker Friday, Patron Beta Tester Tier, Patron Producer Tier, Patron Writer Tier, Unicorn
This post is locked to Patrons only; if you would like to check out the table read for Just Surviving, please visit www.katehackett.com/patronage and join any tier at or above $15! Can’t wait to see you. Share this: Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Click to share on Twitter (Opens […]
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New Line Perk for Patrons

Posted Posted in Patron Welcome Aboard Tier
Hi everyone! Quick announcement for Patrons –> I felt really bad about a small, two line audition a few weeks ago (those are NOTORIOUSLY insanely hard). I figured something I could change is to run those, small as they are, with someone. I have the Run Lines perk at a pretty high tier though & […]

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – What’s Your TYPE?

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Female Filmmaker Friday

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.

And sometimes I like to play AGAINST type!

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.

bit more on brand.

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!

#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Productivity Tips for Artists

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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).
  5. 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?

Taped Reading

Posted Posted in Acting, Patron Behind the Scenes Tier
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#FemaleFilmmakerFriday – Audition Tips

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Female Filmmaker Friday

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.

Auditioning!

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!

September 2019 Update!

Posted Posted in Patron Behind the Scenes Tier, Patron Beta Tester Tier, Patron Producer Tier, Patron Welcome Aboard Tier, Patron Writer Tier, Unicorn
This post is locked to Patrons of any level! If you are curious about what I was up to this month OR what’s coming in September… join now and get access to E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! Not sure? Join the discord community and just get to know us a little. Hello, friends! Let’s do the ol career run […]