• Ray Watters

So, you prepared for the audition and your hard work helped get you the booking. Congratulations! Now the work begins. Maybe you have a small part with few lines making memorization an easy task. Or, you may have a major part with several scenes and a lot of lines. How do you prepare?

Know your lines.

Yes. The key for me is to be prepared. Memorizing lines is a bit difficult for me. I don’t know if it’s age-related, but whatever the reason, I have to work harder than many. When I book a role and get a script, I read it in its entirety. I then take the pages with my scenes and highlight my lines in yellow. I read my lines…out loud…over and over again. I then take one page at a time and learn the lines on that page. I go to the second one and learn those lines…and so on. I put them all together.

When I feel I have the lines somewhat to memory, I record the other character's lines on the Voice Memos app on my iPhone. I leave blank spaces where my lines would be. I then play the recording and speak my lines in the blank spaces. I speak my lines without punctuation. No emotion. I do the same for an audition when I am given the sides to a script and it’s not a cold read.

When I think I have my lines down, I continue playing the recording…over and over…until I know them forward and backward.

Yes…with all the foregoing, I have still dropped a line on occasion. It happens. I’ve watched it happen to famous actors as well.

Knowing my lines forward and backward is a great benefit since it allows me to be creative and work off the other’s dialogue rather than be concerned about mine.

One note on auditions (preparing for an audition is the subject of another blog)...when you leave that audition room, leave the audition behind. It does no good to lament about why you didn't do something different. I like to practice what other professionals actors do...that is, simply do not get anxious over the outcome of the audition since it is out of my control. I have seen so many actors excited about the outcome of an audition, only to be disappointed. Professional actors understand rejection is part of the business.

Not getting stressed about an audition also allows me to have fun.

So...have fun!

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Having an IMDb page is a good tool for actors. So much information about an actor is contained on one site…their bio, agent/manager, credits, demo reel, and photos, to name a few. Further, actors can research others in the business. However, it is not as essential as having an Actors Access account.

There is another item on one’s IMDb page I didn’t mention, and yet something some actors consider at the top of the list in importance…the IMDb Starmeter. I’ll admit that how it actually works is still a mystery to me. It’s based on some complex algorithm…whatever the hell that is (I was never a math whiz in school). All I know is that the number represents the level of awareness people have with the actor, projects listed, and others involved. The theory is, the lower the number on your starmeter, the more popular you are. It is a popularity contest…no doubt…and, like other popularity contests based on numbers, is subject to manipulation. And therein, to paraphrase the Bard, lies the rub.

Should an actor wish to lower their starmeter number and make themselves look more “popular”, there are a few methods. There are services one can find on the internet that will help improve your starmeter for a price of around $50 to $100 or more monthly. You can also sign on to a Facebook page such as “Imdb and Likes” where, on a quid pro quo basis, actors will open each other’s IMDb page. Of course, one can always get their friends and family to click on their IMDb link every week, en masse.

So…how important is this effort?

Well, my fellow actors…if you pay to boost your starmeter ranking, you are wasting your money and if you join the Facebook pages to click on each other’s pages, you are wasting your time! Why? Read on.

The IMDb starmeter is irrelevant. No one cares, except for the amateur actor. Casting directors don’t care. Producers don’t care.

Boosting your starmeter can work against you. You may have an impressive starmeter ranking, yet your credits do not come close to matching your supposed popularity. This is what one acting coach refers to as "Lunch Bag Letdown". They were looking for a fancy meal based on the starmeter and instead got half a bologna sandwich and a stale twinkie. This does not make an actor look credible.

Bottom line, stop obsessing over that starmeter. Remember, there are absolutely no shortcuts in this business. Let me repeat…THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS IN THIS BUSINESS. You should continue training to keep the instrument tuned.

Below are links from two professionals in the business about this very subject. There are more on YouTube.

Tips On Acting | How Casting Directors Use The IMDB Starmeter Rating to Cast Actors - YouTube


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In my many years in the business, I have met and mingled with many talented, professional actors and other actors who will do anything to convince people they are talented, professional actors. In this blog, I will address the latter.

About 40 years ago, I was in management in the Employee Relations department of a major company. In my position, I was instrumental in the hiring and firing of employees. Many resumés came across my desk from applicants listing their past employment and accomplishments and on occasion, I would come across an applicant listing a past job that was untrue. Most knew I could verify if the person was actually employed by that company, or if they were, I could verify if they were a Vice President, like they listed, instead of the Mailroom Clerk they really were. Most information was easily verifiable, and most applicants knew better than to lie. Therefore, I am amazed by some actors who blatantly lie about their credits and training and think they will get away with it, which is amazing in these times of instant access to information on the web.

I certainly am not a Hollywood A-lister by any means…not even close…however, I have seen some people embellish their resumés to a point that anyone with an average knowledge of our craft can easily spot as fake.

It is strongly suggested that an actor do not list background work on their resumé. However, I have seen actors list their background work as “co-star” which is easily verifiable. Listing a commercial background as “principal” is another faux pas. I have seen a couple of actors list credits as “series regular extras.” Of course, no such title exists and putting that on a resumé clearly screams Amateur.

The Special Skills section of a resumé is another area where being dishonest can backfire. If you list a foreign language, you had best speak that language…fluently. If you list accents, be sure you can speak in that accent. Do you only know how to play chopsticks on the piano? If so, do not list playing the piano as a skill. I played piano professionally about 60 years ago but gave it up very early in life. I can read music and know what keys to hit, but I couldn’t play now if my life depended on it. So, I do not list piano as a skill.

I have known a few actors who will pad their resumé with training they did not attend. This can sink their career if, for example, they list the Travis Technique Master Class, yet when asked by a Casting Director about the Interrogation Process, they have no clue. They might list Meisner training, yet when asked about the Repetition Exercises, they fall flat on their face.

One more thing (and I wrote a blog about it on this site), manipulating your IMDb Starmeter is a dead giveaway. Some actors still believe that boosting their Starmeter ranking will make them look more professional. In fact, if your credits don't match your ranking, it will be clear that you manipulated the number by any number of means, to include paying a website to change it. Of course, true professionals in the industry are aware that the Starmeter is irrelevant (See my blog about the Starmeter with links to professionals who also discuss it).

I will repeat what I have written on other pages...THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS IN THIS BUSINESS!

Casting Directors and other professionals have been “around the block” a few times and know how to spot a fake.

Please don’t be a fake.

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