Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Advice from a Casting Director to aspiring Actors/Entertainers and Writers

 This as you can see is David Cassidy a collegue and a long time friend, David's father  the late Jack Cassidy was also a great friend of mine and my families too! David is a consummate professional and always fun to work with, although he really does like his "privacy"!

As you can see this is Michael Douglas and Kathleen  Turner in a still taken when we filmed Romancing the Stone! They are long time acquaintances of mine, and although a very nice man, Michael can be quite demanding! Kathleen Turner is a real gem of a person and has a great deal of compassion for everyone, really cares about life and all people!

 The Partridge Family, Shirley Jone's was actually David Cassidy's real life Stepmother! 

 This is Jeff Chamberlain a good friend and former neighbor, great actor and model too!

David Cassidy, We took this shot at the Talk of The Town  Restaurant in London England,back in the 70's.

 This is David Cassidy riding at the Sunset Ranch in the Hollywood Hills about 1 mile west of the famous  'Hollywood" sign in the Hollywood Hills. This was taken in May of 1977


Hi everyone,I'm Anderson Lomarca a Professional Motion Picture and Television Commercial Casting Director.
I am writing this Blog in hopes of saving aspiring Actors/Entertainers/ Models and Writers from many different kinds of unscrupulous people that are found everywhere in all capacities of our beloved Entertainment Industry.

First a quick note about myself.I grew up on the back lots of several different Movie Studios in and around Hollywood back in it's glory days as my Grandfather and some of my Uncles were either Directors,Producers, Film Editors or Franchised Agents of the Screen Actors Guild.

I always loved being around Film making and Live Entertainment so naturally I followed my families lead and got into the business too!
I specialize in the Casting of Television Commercials and Print Modeling Advertisements but have worked on many Major Films and Television Series over the past 30+ years that I have been in the business!

I recently relocated to Las Vegas where I work for an Independent Production Company and I created a new Television Series that we have been producing over the past 6 months about Missing Persons. There are so many missing people in every state in the country and many families need all of our help in locating these missing people! 

I intend to make this show as interactive for the viewers as possible and at this point in time I and my crew fly all over the country searching for missing people and I also do the interviews!
I write under the Pseudonym Anderson Lomarca thus allowing me to keep some privacy in my life and I also Cast under several different Pseudonyms as well.

I wrote this Blog especially for those of you who are just starting out in the film and television industries who want to Act or Model or perhaps Write!

Because there is so much BS in Hollywood and the Film Industry everywhere, I would like to try to streamline the getting work process for all of you who are seriously interested in working in the Film & Television Industries.
The first thing you need to do after honing your craft be it Acting , Modeling, Performing, or Writing is to join AFTRA, that's an acronym for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

This is a theatrical Union that has an open door policy which allows anyone interested in show business to join. After filling out some basic initiation forms and paying their $1,600 dollar membership fee you're in!
There are also dues that have to be paid annually to AFTRA they can be paid in a lump Sum or be paid in quarterly installments.

Now the reason you want to join AFTRA as soon as possible is once you acquire their Union card you can seek out legal representation from a Franchised Agent of the Screen Actors Guild. This is a must have.Without this or any other theatrical Union affiliation you can only apply for work in non union film and television productions and there aren't a whole lot of them around these days!

Also it is illegal for a Franchised Agent of the Screen Actors Guild to represent anyone without a Union Card
and it is also illegal for Casting Directors to interview non Union actors for union film and television roles.

There are 3 Entertainment Unions in the film Industry.
1.The Screen Actors Guild commonly known as (SAG) this is the most powerful actors union in the industry.

2.The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (AFTRA)

3. Actors Equity

All of these Unions are AFL-CIO Affiliates.

Also I wrote this Blog to make people aware of all the Scammers especially the 2 most prevalent and so common it's almost unbelievable!

Never pay anyone money that claims to be an Agent or a Personal Manager to get you work in the film or television industries.Or to get you an interview with a Casting Director who can grant you work in Films, Commercials,Videos,Theatrical Productions etc..

Franchised Agents from the Screen Actors Guild work on a percentage basis only, that means if they get you a job in a film or anything they will get a percentage of your earnings, usually 10 to 25% , every gig is different.

There is no such thing as a "retainer fee" with any real Agents.

However Scammers will often have really nice offices with pictures of famous people they have met at parties or wherever and display them so that prospective clients think, wow, he/she is a friend with "whoever"!

One of the biggest and most common scams in Hollywood and the film Industry anywhere is those that are perpetrated by people claiming to be Personal Managers, They run ads claiming they can help you get work in the Industry and will be your personal manager, many people fall for this and they charge a lot of money, up front of course! Most of these Personal Management Companies are legitimate businesses.

Bear in mind that Personal Managers are for well established professionals who are so busy they need a manager to help them with countless things in their professional as well as in their personal lives!

With that being stated it should be clear that if your just starting out you don't need a personal manager, only those who are well established in the film,television, or music industries will ever need a personal manager.

Another expensive scam Personal Managers do is to refer actors/models to photographers for Head shots or a complete Portfolio. The personal manager and the photographer split the photographers fee, usually on a 60/40 percentage basis with the photographer getting the 60%.

 Professional photographers are quite expensive. There are countless Freelance photographers that take beautiful photographs who can shoot all the Head shots you'll ever need or a composite for your resume or a complete portfolio at a reasonable price,like anything else you have to shop around, seek and you shall find!

Be advised that it is illegal for a Franchised Agent of the Screen Actors Guild or Casting Director to refer you to photographers!

Now another trip that has always been around the Casting Offices and will always be, is the Casting Couch.
Many of you will be offered work in Film or Television or a Play or whatever in exchange for Sex, all I can say on this matter is that you are an adult and have to make your own decisions, and will have to live with whatever the consequences might be!

Hollywood's Film and Music Industry and the Entertainment Industry in general everywhere are very social businesses with countless parties daily, and often times partying with the right people can open a lot of the right doors, But one must be aware of who they are partying with,because there are a lot of Scammers out there claiming to be a lot of people that they are not!

Also be yourself when you go to an interview, but do your best to get into the character of the role you're reading for. Be nice and respectful, but don't be a kiss ass!

Always remember to not be afraid to be original, invent and create yourself into a persona bigger than life.
This kind of person makes it more often than not because they are not sitting around waiting fro someone to grant them permission to try to be whoever they want to be, they just become it! They act the part, they dress the part, they talk and walk the part of the persona they created for themselves!

You see they had the guts and the talent to be different and really stand out, take a chance,reinvent yourself!

No matter what never ever let anyone stomp on your dream of becoming a working actor, just think of the role your going to read for as you would any other job, someone has to fill that position, why not let it be you!
Keep in mind the old cliche, nothing ventured , nothing gained!

Also be leery of Agents who call you often on a social basis and want you to help them clean their offices. homes, pick up their brats from school, do their yard work because they're to busy partying big time,seriously this happens all the time, don't let yourself fall into that category, it will get you nowhere fast!

Now just a short quip for those of you ingenious people who will be writers and create wonderful things for us to read and to view , once what you have written gets produced into a viewing format!

Be aware of the Writers Guild Of America, this is a major Union for Professional Writers, in order to be eligible for membership you must have written something that was bought and published by a Union affiliated Publisher or Studio that made you a professional writer.

The Writer's Guild of America is also for the freelance Writer in the sense that if you write Scripts , Treatments, Novels or any kind of Text that you need to protect, you can go get it registered at the Writers Guild of America West in Los Angeles or East in New York. There is a fee of about $18 dollars to register a script or any thing else basically for non members.

Be advised that anything you take to be registered at the Writers Guild, no one at the Writers Guild is going to read anything you wrote, they will take what you submit to them and put it into a proper sized envelope and stamp it with their electronic time stamp and then seal the envelope and stamp it with an adhesive seal that says "Writers Guild of America' on it.

 That seal will be placed over the flap of the envelope and then your script or whatever you registered will be filed away, you will also be given a computer printed receipt from them.

I n the event that you ever enter into any kind of litigation and have to prove when you authored whatever, you go back to the Writers Guild and get your registered copy to take to court with you, and remember only the Judge in a court of Law can break that seal from the Writers guild, never open it yourself!

Having your written materials registered with the Writers Guild is a great way of protecting yourself from being ripped off by Studios and Publishers alike!

Also I would now like to bring to your attention another theatrical Union, this one is known as (SEG) which is an acronym for the Screen Extras Guild, this is a Union solely for Atmospheric Background people better known as movie "Extras", members of this Union never have any dialog in films or any other productions that they appear in,

Professional Extras can earn a very decent living and getting into this Union is more difficult than getting into some of the others as they have a membership quota, thus enabling there members to have steady year round employment!

Well,thanks for reading my Blog, if I enlightened just one person and saved them from getting scammed, it was worth writing!

You may email me at andersonlomarca@gmail.com

Kind Regards to All.
Anderson Lomarca

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking the time to make this blog for those trying to get started in the industry. I do have a question about needing to join AFTRA even before anyone will look at your material or give you an audition? I knew that needed to join either AFTRA or SAG, or most times both before you could actually sell a project or get casted, but I didn't you you couldn't even get seen or considered by anyone before joining. Looking forward to seeing the project your working on.

    Larry

    onefinalshot@blogspot.com

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  2. Hi Larry,

    You don't have to join AFTRA if all you want to do is write and submit your scripts,however as a writer the benefit to joining AFTRA is you can secure a "Literary Agent" much easier than you could without the Union affiliation.

    There are countless very successful Freelance Writers who don't belong to any Unions whatsoever! Now for Actors,Models, Performers etc., membership in a union is truly a necessity. AFTRA is the only Union with an open door policy, to join SAG you have to have some kind of Film or Television experience, where you had a least "one word" of dialog on camera!

    Just remember to "register" anything you're going to submit with the Writers Guild of America prior to submitting it!

    SAG can be difficult to join, you more often than not have to have a "Letter" from a SAG "Signatory Producer/Director" to the Screen Actors Guild stating that they are going to use you in an upcoming project in the near future!

    Don't go joining AFTRA if all you want to do is Write!
    Hope this little bit of info. helped you out a bit more.
    If you have any other questions you think I might be able to answer, just ask!

    Regards,
    Anderson Lomarca

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  3. Thanks Anderson I appreciate the comments. I was an actor for many years....well, performer is more of what it was. I'm afraid now that my acting days are behind me as there are so many others my age now that have far more experience than I do (that's not to say I could still do as good if not better job than they could). But it seems that now my only avenue is to write and that's the part I'm having trouble with. Not the writing, it's getting anyone to read at least the treatment I've provided. It seems that the industry is now a big club and only those invited have a chance. Take for example Quintin Tarantino, who for at least 10 years tried to get someone interested in True Romance, and if you've ever read the script have to admit that the writing was far above the norm. 10 years. Any suggestions on how I could get agents and producers to at least read the treatment. If they don't like the premise, or my writing, that's fine, but I at least want a chance.

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  4. Hello again Larry,
    You are so right about Tarantino's Script for "True Romance" and the decade it took to generate interest in it!

    You are also very correct when you stated that the "Industry" is like a club and only those invited have a chance, but it's not exactly that way, but almost!

    That's why attaining a "Literary Agent" is so important, First off Literary Agent's are Franchised From the Writers Guild or Screen Actor's Guild and when they submit a Script to a "Reader" at a Production Company, that Production company's Reader or other representative that is going to read a particular Script has to fill out a Critique Form on the Submitted Script proving that it has at least been read!
    Also,Literary Agents are all very well connected to the Studios and to the Producers and Directors that you're trying to reach but can't because they are unaccessible!

    In my next Blog I will address this issue and how people need to start socializing in some of the same "watering holes" that these Studio Execs. frequent.

    Remember in this Blog I mentioned what Social Businesses the Film & Music Industries are and you'd be surprised at how open and reasonable most of these people are in a public environment.
    And most love being recognized by their public, you feed their Ego a bit and they listen to you, and you just might get your Script read much sooner by someone in the know that you couldn't have gotten to otherwise!

    It's just live "Social Networking" face to face, that really works, Self promotion is extremely important to anyone who wants to be successful in this Industry because no one will promote you as well as you will promote yourself!

    Agents are a necessary "Evil" because they have that Franchise License from The Screen Actor's Guild that "obligates" Producers, Directors & Casting Directors to at least look at the Pictures and Resumes that Agents have submitted to them for their consideration for possible use in an upcoming Feature Film or whatever!

    There are other Social Type Networks that you can join with a reasonable fee, that will but you side by side with some of the Industries most influential people.

    I will tell you my favorite one in my next Blog, it's a great Organization to be affiliated with and everyone in it is "truly kind"!

    Regards,
    Anderson Lomarca

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  5. Anderson, thanks again for such pertinent and valuable information. And again, thanks for the help, I know that with your busy schedule, doing something like this blog is something that comes from kindness on your part and I for one am very appreciative of the time you've given us. As to "Social Networking", I understand how important it is to "get out there" and mingle. Unfortunately my situation is rather different than most writers. To make a living these days I'm a long haul truck driver; I used to train new big rig driver's but my life flashed before my eye's so many times I felt like I had a strobe light in the truck. So these day's I'm driving solo. That doesn't put me in a good situation for social networking, unless there are some industry people who like to hang out at truck stops, which I doubt. The only avenue I've found is the one I'm socializing on now; the net. So you see that limits who I can meet and what I can do through this medium, but I'm nothing if not tenacious. I had a dinner theater for about twenty-five years, but about fifteen years ago I had the Motel that was connected to my restaurant go into foreclosure, and thus went the dinner theater....lol, such is life. Anyway, if I whine any more I'll need some cheese. Looking forward to your next post.

    Larry

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  6. Larry, I truly understand your situation and sincerely appreciate your following my Blog. I only hope that I post information that is truly beneficial to you and the other readers of my posts!
    Being that you had a Dinner Theater you should check with IATSE, I'm sure you are probably qualified for some position that their Union represents and I assure you that their benefits are second to none!
    Have A nice day.

    Regards,
    Anderson Lomarca

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  7. Anderson, Thanks again for the information and for being so gracious by helping others. My Dinner Theater wasn't Union so no go on the IATSE for myself, but thanks. I'll keep plugging away and if you can think of any avenue I can pursue to get things rolling I'd be much appreciative of the information. In a more general vein, I think most of the people trying to break into the industry would really like to know how you, when your working as a casting director like prospective actors to present themselves to you, either through their resume', photo, first real time meeting...etc. And for the new writers I think a good question would be, do query letters help? And if they do what are agents, producers, studios, looking for in those letters. And what kind of demo reel should aspiring actors make and what should it include. Thanks again for your time.

    Larry

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  8. Hi Larry,

    First let me say that "you're welcome", I'm glad you're getting some useful information out of my posts.

    Now in regards to your question about prospective actors presenting themselves to Casting Directors and other Casting Personnel, there is a standard protocol that is comprised of Actors/Models etc. Pictures and Resumes being submitted to us by SAG franchised agents to our Casting offices.

    In first time meetings we appreciate actors and others maintaining a conservative and professional business attitude more often than not,however things in Casting Offices do get truly wild from time to time especially from Comedians and Musicians!

    Truly, the quickest and easiest way to submit something to a Producer once you have attained their business address is to have it registered with the WGA prior to submitting it.

    If you live too far away from a WGA office then my advice to you is to send a copy of your Script to yourself via Registered Mail through the U.S.Postal Service. Once you receive this in the mail you'll have to sign for it,then simply file the unopened envelope away in case you ever need it in a Court of Law.

    Query letters get read and are more often than not immediately trashed thereafter, unless it contains a picture and resume of a person who fits the bill of who they happen to be looking for at that particular point in time.

    Now in regards to Writers,Query letters can and do help, if you're submitting a Script or Synopsis with a Registration # from the Writers Guild of America, otherwise most get thrown out almost as quickly as they come in, as we are not suppose to read unsolicited/unregistered material.
    Hope this quip helped in some small way.

    Sincerely,
    Anderson Lomarca

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  9. It did, once again thanks, I've done all three concerning my script, WGA registered, copy written, and sent a copy to myself. I guess I'll just send out query letters with a log line and quick synopsis and hope someone will take a chance and represent me to the industry. At least that, I can do while running up and down the highways of this beautiful country of ours. Hope things are going well for you on your new project. For the actors; What would you advise then as far as getting the most out of their talent. Minor productions in which they might be seen, acting schools, etc. And here's something I've been wondering about, how did you get started in the business and what are the pro's and con's of making it your life's work.

    Larry

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  10. Hi Larry,
    I grew up in a show business family and learned the business from the inside out! I have worked as a Sub Agent for major Agencies, a Script Supervisor, A Continuity Director,a Set Director,a Prop Master and have also worked in Public Relations and Marketing for Studios.

    For Actors I recommend getting exposure in whatever medium they have available to them,whether it's as an extra or a bit part in a film or tv production or a role in a play.

    It's all good!

    As far as Pros & Cons, I really can't answer that as my life has always been quite wonderful and also what some people would view as "pro" others might view it as "con".

    The true down side that I have had in my life is I sacrificed getting married to stay partying with the so called in crowd of the film and television industries on both coasts, the UK and all over Europe!

    So at an age where most of my friends are "married with children" I'm still single & partying like a S.O.B.!

    And I often times wonder what my life would have been like if I had gotten married,I've been very successful and have no heirs or family that I am all that close too!

    My life has actually been like a male version of a character out of "Valley of the Dolls".

    But on the bright side I have a really tight circle of friends that are my surrogate family!

    I wish you good luck with your Script!

    Kind Regards,
    Anderson Lomarca

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  11. Anderson, Looks like we have that in lifestyle, although probably subdued on my part. I was having so much fun doing the environmental dinner theater format that I always saw greener grass, so I've never married either. And being that I consider myself intelligent in most respects, and having watched many friends "crash and burn" in the area of marriage I really can't say whether my decision to stay single was a mistake or not. Although I dream now of having a wife and family I also realize that that is the dream for many that turns into a nightmare.....so I guess it's a wash. Family here is gone also but I guess life is life and we play the cards we're either dealt or slip out of our sleeves. I have only one friend really to speak of, many acquaintances but only one real friend, and we've been best friends for over -oh god-, 40 years. I'll keep trying with the script as, being a movie buff and having watched thousands over the years, I think it has merit, a cross between younger "Space Cowboys" and "Dogs of War". Here's a site you might take a look at, I know your working on Missing People currently, but I don't think anyone has looked at this. Check out the site The Innocence Project, it's about people who have been cleared using DNA testing and it's got 259 exoneration stories right there, the whole story. I think that's about 10 seasons worth. Let me know what you think.

    Larry

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  12. Hi Larry,

    You're very wise about life. Life is life and we all have to deal with the cards that we're dealt and do the best we can to create whatever kind of life for ourselves that we want to live!

    Thankfully I have very few regrets.

    Your script sounds interesting, I wish you the best of luck with that project.

    I am quite familiar with The Innocence Project and know some of the Attorneys that are affiliated with it.

    Also your really right on about 259 stories being about 10 seasons worth of shows,I hope someone buys the rights to it and produces The Innocence Projects Cases.

    Thanks again for following my posts!

    Anderson Lomarca

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  13. Anderson, I'll be reading your posts with interest. And if you know of any agent that is accepting new clients, please send them my way. larrydalemckee@aol.com
    Mucho luck in your present project.

    Sincerely,

    Larry

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  14. Good evening Larry,

    Sorry I can't help you by referring you to an Agent, it's Illegal for Casting Personnel to refer Actors/Models/Musicians etc. to Agents just like it's illegal for us to refer them to Photographers,Printers etc..

    I appreciate your support of my posts!

    Thanks again,
    Anderson Lomarca

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  15. Good Afternoon Anderson,

    I understand, it seems to be the way with Hollywood and legalities. You can't tell me about them or them about me, but they won't see me unless I am referred or won't contact me unless they know who I am, lol. Reminds me of WWII when a member of a bomber flight crew wanted to get off the plane but he could only get off the plane if he was nuts and he had to ask to get off the plane by telling them he's nuts, but if he tells them he's nuts they know he's not so he has to stay on the plane. Seems like a lot of that is going around our society these days. But I had to ask anyway.

    Looking forward to your next post.

    Sincerely,

    Larry

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  16. Hi Larry,

    You are so right, this is a real Catch 22 type of situation. I understand your frustration, I see and hear about this "Policy" almost daily! However I didn't know about the stuff they did in the Air Force,but that does sound so Military,lol.

    Be well my friend!

    Anderson Lomarca




    Anderson Lomarca

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  17. Anderson,

    Just thought I'd touch base. Hope your series is going smoothly. I'm working on a new script, this time it's horror.....muuhahahaha. Figured with a lower budget and more sales quality might help get the ball rolling.....who knows...

    Larry

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  18. Hi Larry,
    Nice to hear from you. I wish you good luck with your new script, the Horror Genre is really in right now as you know, so give it your best shot, in this fickle industry anything can happen!

    Thanks for staying in touch,
    Anderson Lomarca

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  19. Anderson, yea, I got a nibble from a production company and they said to shoot them info on the horror script as soon as I finish it. I said I would as soon as I finish and protect it. Not going back with it actually, got the storyline in my brain worked out and have the scene list slated right now at 27, which should give me around 125 or so pages. I'm finding these formula movies....(yea, like what movie isn't) pretty easy to get through once I get a story that I find intriguing, and once I scene it out, it's kinda like follow the numbers.....and the characters usually provide their own dialogue so i just write down what they say and the story moves along....(although I wish I had more of the Tarantino touch than I do as far as dialogue goes) But, it being that I've seen 1000's of movies and I could list on one page single space the movies that I really find exceptional, these two projects are of B quality but then I write fast when I start.....maybe when I get something bankable I can consider something more "artsy", but, the new one does have a few twists and turns, and it's something that hasn't been done in quite the fashion I'm doing it, and it is "scream filled" and gory enough to appease, and with a naked bod thrown in here and there......I think the target audience will get their money's worth...and this is pretty low budget so might get a stronger nibble than the first.....and did you say the Industry is fickle? I never wudda thunk it. Hope the project is moving nicely for ya.

    Just remember in Vegas, the house always wins if you play to long.....

    Larry

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  20. Damn those typos.....I meant "Not going back with it until the first of the year". Sometimes my brain says things that I thought I typed but didn't....lol

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