6 Ways to Find the Best Agent for You

Questions-ask-choose-translation-agencyAlmost every actor who wants to be in commercials wants an agent. Landing legitimate representation for commercials can be easy sometimes, but it can also be challenging. Here are some suggestions that might help in the process.

1. Do your research. Start by getting a list of franchised agents from SAG/AFTRA or check out Backstage’s online directory of agents and managers. There are some agents who are not SAG-franchised. That does not mean they are not reputable. SAG members are just easier to check out and are accountable to a supervising entity.

2. Buy resources. Then, buy updated books, such as Backstage’s Call Sheet, that list and describe agents and managers. (In Los Angeles, these books are sold at Samuel French, and in New York, they are sold at the Drama Book Shop or they can be ordered online.) Study how many agents are in the agency, where the agency is located, how long the agency has been in business, etc.

3. Ask people you know. If you know industry professionals, acting classmates, teachers, or relatives who are involved in the business, ask them the

How to host a show

2357226_f260Here are some thoughts about hosting shows, based on a workshop I gave many times, and written up in 2006 for an article published in Kaskade Magazine (issue 86, spring 2007). It mostly focuses on variete shows (gala shows, open stages, open mics/Renegade shows) at juggling conventions, so uses juggling shows as examples, but the same can apply to hosting comedy shows, panel or games shows, etc.

If you can’t be bothered to read it all, in 2006 I recorded an audio version of this as an episode of the Juggling Podcast. You can find that here (right click and save a 36mb, 70 minute mp3 file).

(The image above was going to be a photo of me hosting a show, but I couldn’t find one due to me not being able to take one of me on stage. Instead I’ve included a photo I took of the audience while hosting a show, in this case the Opening Show of the EJC 2010 in Finland.)

Ever seen a show where all the acts were really good but in the end you didn’t enjoy the show as a whole? It was probably down to the host

Five tips for journalists who want to work in TV news

megynkellyjpg-496c1b72072f6dccPrint journalists are often hired as TV pundits. TV anchors live-tweet news events. YouTube is a major broadcaster. As the lines blur in traditional roles, many journalists are more interested in pursuing TV news careers than ever.

IJNet got these tips from Doha-based Mhamed Krichen, who has been an anchor on Aljazeera since the networked launched in 1996. Here are his basic tips for getting started in TV news.

1. Know that many, many journalists want to become TV anchors. Fame and high salaries are just a few reasons why. Many will try, but few will succeed. Not succeeding doesn’t mean you are a bad journalist. “We can’t work without our news writers!” Krichen says.

2. Get educated. TV Anchors must be knowledgeable about history and politics. No one expects anchors to be political analysts, but they must be informed about key issues. Aljazeera has a research center that prepares in-depth papers for the team, since most of anchors don’t have time to do it themselves.

3. Be patient. Becoming a TV anchor, either for news or talk shows, requires lots of training and hard work. Being a

How to differentiate good acting from bad acting

“How do you differentiate good acting from bad acting?” appeared as a question on Quora. Below we are printing one of the top answers.

If anyone tells you there are objective standards, they’re full of s–t. This is a matter of personal taste. There are trends. There are many people who loved Philip Seymour Hoffman’s acting. But if you don’t, you’re not wrong. At worst, you’re eccentric.

(An interesting question — and one you didn’t ask so I won’t answer it, here — is why are there trends? Even if Hoffman isn’t objectively a great actor, why do so many people love him? For that matter, why do so many people love the Beatles, Shakespeare, and Leonardo Da Vinci? Maybe someone will ask a question about why there are general trends in taste …)

I’m a director who has been working with actors for almost 30 years, and I’m the son of a film historian. I’ll give you my definition of good acting. But I really want to stress (for the last time, then I’ll quit) is that if I say Pacino is great and you disagree, my experience does not make me right and you wrong. It just means we have different

Tips to be host a show

This is a guest post by David Newland, Editor in Chief of Roots Music Canada, the online hub for the folk and roots scene in Canada. David is also an accomplished musician and an experienced host, not only hosting Roots Music Canada’s own Woodshed Sessions, but also many other events and festivals in Canada. Hosting shows is something many artists must do throughout their careers, whether it’s an open mic night that they’ve organized, or simply hosting their own show and introducing the opening bands. In this post, David offers some valuable tips for how to be an effective host. Enjoy!

How to host a show

Hosting, in my experience, takes as much preparation and skill as any other form of public performance. The host is responsible for maintaining the energy of the house, and weaving the thread that links all performers, sponsors, presenters and audience together.

Like all the acts that may take to the stage, the host has to be “on”; unlike them, the host has to be “on” throughout the entire performance, and ready to jump in at a moment’s notice to cover gaps or smooth things over.

It’s a tough job, and one I keep learning about. My role models

How environmental journalists can tell more effective stories

The Associated Press recently changed its style guidelines when mentioning people who reject global warming as fact, citing that reporters must use “climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science” rather than “skeptics or deniers.”

This stance on the truth is one in which environmental and science reporters must hold strong, said Elissa Yancey, a longtime environmental journalist and currently a media and communications director at the University of Cincinnati.

“It’s up to us as journalists to tow that line about legitimacy,” Yancey said at a recent workshop at the Online News Association conference in Los Angeles. “Sometimes the truth is just the truth. If all we are are parrots as journalists, then we’re not doing our job. It’s up to us to take in that big realm of information, translate it, curate it, and present the best and only the best to our readers.”

Yancey listed many other tips for journalists covering a scientific beat. Here are a few key takeaways:

Think beyond the science

When covering environmental journalism, reporters can’t just think about the science.

Religion, politics and other disciplines play a huge role in how a reader will interpret a story and the

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