To begin with a positive note, screen tests are not something that is impossible to crack although it might seem tough and nerve wrecking for many. But remember you don’t get these opportunities too often so you have to make the best use of it to demonstrate your talent to the talent agents, casting directors and directors. You should not be let down by the outcome of the screen test and always look ahead, you should always take it in a right sense after all the failures are stepping-stones to success. Keep in mind only one fact that you have to work hard towards your goal and having a positive attitude can do that. Apart from the attitude, one should be passionate and ambitious to achieve goals. Also enjoying the work you do makes the quest easier.
Do not forget to take your resume and a headshot most preferably 8”X10” with you to the audition. Some talent agents also need social security number, so take it with you. Sometimes the aspiring actors are called in the number of hundreds, be prepared to stand in line for hours. But most of the times you are called for screen test through an invitation. It is very common that you will get few pages of the script that you may be asked to read during the screen test. Read the script thoroughly and get into the character and ask yourself questions about the character. After getting into the skin of the character you should learn your lines properly using the best way you can.
Some people say to dress according to the type of the character and some say dress lightly so that you feel comfortable during the screening, go with whatever you think is more comfortable for you but you can also combine light dressing with the dressing of the character by complimenting your dressing for instance with a hat for a cowboy role. It’s a good idea to do some exercising and rehearsing before the audition and give ample time to relax in between. Also avoid blabbering when you stand in the line after signing up this will ensure that you are focused on the screen test.
Usually the casting directors will take the first call and talk to you and instruct you to begin. It’s the time to show what you in you. Be confident and focused on the character and show your talent to the casting director. Important thing to remember is that everyone sitting in the screen test is not your enemy, but they are probably there to get the right person for the role, so remove that fear and perform the scene that you have been given. Also, it is a good idea to re-enact that scene in your own way to show the creative side of yours. Keep in mind to keep safe distance from the casting director; do not try to get too friendly either. Don’t be so over enthusiastic that you destroy the settings.
Things should move on life and prepared to take criticism and hear ‘no’. You got to take life as it comes and move on and should look forward to what is coming up next. If the screen test goes well you will definitely get a call again for another screen test with select few actors and if you get through this one who knows you might land up getting the role.
Writing for Television
People think that writing for television and film is the same but on the contrary both the industries are different. The main elements of the television industry are networks, studios and production companies. Writers are basically hired by a studio to write for a particular network or channel. They even have the rights to sell the material elsewhere. This material is then used by the production companies to bring the script into action.
The writers face two kinds of deals, a development deal and overall deal. Development deal requires the writer to write for only a single project. Only a single story is being developed for which the writer gets paid from $30,000 – $50,000. Overall deal requires the writer to write on a long term basis and the income is more than development deal.
After the initial filtering, about 4-10 writers are selected and they are placed in hierarchy. Showrunner is at the top and is the program creator. art of business They are the ones which have maximum experience in writing and receive an Executive Producer status and earn up to a million. Later in the hierarchy of writing team are co-executive producers, supervising producer, producer, co-producer, and executive story editor and at the end is the staff writer, also known as baby writers as they are the starters.
Aspirant writers should start by joining classes which are taught by experienced TV writers. The classes help to get the basics right and the same time helps increase the friend circle, which will be of help at some point of time. Beginners can get a break by hiring an agent which has contacts as most of the shows don’t hire baby writers and it would take about three years to get the break. But at this level originality of work is what matters. Original material relating to screenplays or even a sketch material will be of good help. One can also work on spec. Specs are trailers which give the outline of the story. This shows the grasping power of the writer. Plays should be carefully chosen when writing a Spec. Do not choose a series just because it is hot or is based on fiction. While choosing a play the writer should keep in mind what he finds interesting and what he wants to work on in future. After preparing the spec, send it to the showrunner of the same show, because the showrunner will be under the assumption that no one knows his show better than himself. It is advised to send the spec to showrunner of a similar show. Specs reflect the writing ability, the grasping ability, the scene structure sense, story narration style of the writer.
With these entire qualities one can land up as a writer’s assistant and if a showrunner hires the starter, it would be a good boost to him. An assistant can also witness the actual proceedings of the show and the basics get brushed up .One must never quit writing. Even if a writer doesn’t get anywhere for a short period of time at least he will improve his writing skills which will be of great use in the long run. The writer should meet the deadlines when on job. Sometimes the deadlines can be short too. So constant writing can train in that aspect too.
The writers have the greatest power. He can play with the mind of the viewer. He is responsible for the shaping of dreams of millions of viewers and all this can be achieved by constant practice.