Ed Helms on ‘The Hangover’ and ‘The Office’ Ending: “You realize if you stayed on the rollercoaster you’d probably get hurt or sick or something”
May has been a month of endings for Ed Helms. First came the series finale of The Office, a show he has been starring in since 2007. Then came The Hangover Part III, which is billed as the final movie in the box office hit comedy franchise. He spoke to Moviefone about the end of two eras in his life and why now is the right time for both to conclude.
Helms wasn’t looking for any grand sendoff for his character, Stu, when he signed on for The Hangover Part III. He explains, “If anything, and for Stu in particular, I just wanted a sense of closure for the whole Hangover/Wolf Pack world. And then if I got a few good jokes in along the way, I’d be happy.” Read more
Written by Jamison Haase
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” – Thomas Edison
Oftentimes, there is a disconnect between what we do as actors and how we were raised. No one wants to put themselves out there in a vulnerable way; we were often taught as children that to stand out is wrong, either by our parents, our peers, or society as a whole. From an early age, many of us were told to behave a certain way, to be like every one else, to be a “nice boy or girl” — ultimately to fit in and play it safe. Add to that our own fears and anxieties about separating ourselves from the pack, either by making a bold stand, voicing our individual opinion, or doing something we consider daring? Suddenly we have every reason seemingly to stay with the herd, to do everything in our power to try to stay safe. Read more
Sometimes it’s hard to separate an actor from his or her characters. For example, many are still surprised when they hear Hugh Laurie speak in his natural English accent because they heard him speak with an American accent for eight seasons on House. That’s not so bad — at least they don’t expect him to answer medical questions, right? Even in that case hopefully all he would have to say is the old “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV.”
However, the situation could be much, much worse, like in the case of Colombian actor Mauricio Bastidas. Bastidas played a villainous character on the soap opera Tres Milagros (Three Miracles). Read more
Interview: American Idiot’s Trent Saunders Talks Life on the Road, St. Jimmy and Belting Out Green Day Songs
Trent Saunders, who is currently playing St. Jimmy in the touring production of Green Day’s American Idiot, has the life.
When I talked to him for this interview, it was the middle of the day in Baltimore, MD (my home state!) and he and his cast mates were set to play laser tag right after he got off the phone. He’s traveled to Europe – where he said he had a blast – is criss-crossing America and best of all, he gets to sing Green Day songs every night. Like I said, he’s livin’ the life.
I saw American Idiot when it was on Broadway and liked it a lot. The set and lighting design was amazing and if you’re a fan of Green Day, you’ll absolutely love it.
I talked to Trent about his life on the road, how he got the part and cell phones in the audiences. I haven’t heard how his laser tag expedition went, but if I do, I’ll let you know.
What Maisie Knew is a horrible title for a movie about families and what, ultimately, a family actually is.
Going into the film, I had no idea what the film was about but going from the title, I expected something about a murder and how a child witnessed it.
(Yes, I know this is a modern re-telling of a Henry James story. It’s still a horrible title).
Boy was I wrong but in a pleasantly surprised way. And that’s thanks to an incredible performance by Onata Aprile as Maisie.
Directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, Maisie (Aprile) is the child of two of the most self-centered people in the world. Played by Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore, they definitely win the prize for ‘Year’s Worst Parents.’ In a constant state or arguments, Moore’s aging rock star of a mom Susanna, finally decides enough is enough, and kicks him out. This sets off a custody battle where, eventually, Coogan’s Beale wins, taking with him Maisie and the family nanny, Margo (Joanna Vanderham).
Both parents quickly marry; Beale woos the nanny with travel and her love of Maisie and Susanna to a local bartender, Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard). Susanna’s reasoning for the quickie marriage? “I married him for you,” she tells Maisie. So he can watch her during the day. Which is a perfect reason to get married. Read more
The rabid fans of the once defunct Arrested Development can breathe a sigh of relief when new episodes of the cult classic start airing on Netflix on Sunday. With his other show Onion News Network airing on Amazon, Jeffrey Tambor is becoming a true fan of the Internet age.
“I am the Internet guy,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “But the reason the Onion News Empire was such an easy decision to make is I so trust that side of the fence now. It’s a little like being Off Broadway—that sort of excitement of not knowing what it is going to be. The fervency of it all.” Read more
In the end, Smash is, at best, an imperfect television series. It took an interesting industry — the behind-the-scenes creation of Broadway productions — and incredibly talented singers, like Megan Hilty, yet somehow failed to make it interesting to general audiences or even Broadway diehards. That is the main reason why Smash is wrapping up its run at the end of this season (only the show’s second). Hilty, who played the often mean Broadway hopeful Ivy Lynn, spoke to iDesign about the end of the series
Hilty expresses hope that fans of the show will be satisfied by the series finale — though it wasn’t entirely written that way. She says, “We have the greatest fans of the show and they’re very, very loyal, but I hope that the season finale is satisfying for people. I feel like it will be because they kind wrote it just in case it didn’t get renewed, that it would wrap everything up. I think people will be pleased with it. It won’t be like ‘what would have happened?’” Read more
After almost choking to death on a sandwich, Anne Heche’s Beth Harper claims she can talk to God in the new NBC comedy, Save Me. When she’s revived, Beth thinks she can see the Big Guy and starts to make amends to everyone she’s every shut out of her life… and it’s a lot of people.
Also starring Madison Davenport (Shameless) as her horrified daughter, Michael Landes as her skeptical husband and Alexandra Breckenridge (American Horror Story) as her husband’s ex-mistress, Beth eventually starts to win people over with her new optimistic views on life.
In this interview, Heche talks about her love of physical comedy, trying to quit acting when she was younger and how we all get “messages” from God.
Save Me airs on Thursdays at 8pm on NBC Read more
You want to learn how to become an actor? Join the club! Most everyone at one time or another has probably thought about becoming an actor.
They watch their favorite shows and movies and think, “I can do that!” They think it’s easy and glamorous.
But what most people don’t realize is that it’s a lot of hard work. It’s a huge amount of fun but yeah, it’s work!
It takes a special kind of person to want to become an actor. They have to be determined, unafraid of rejection and willing to work hard to consistently get better at their chosen craft.
This isn’t a site on how to become famous. This isn’t about becoming a star because odds are, you won’t. Hopefully you’re here because you want to learn how to be the best actor you can be. Whether you’re in Los Angeles or New York, Ohio or Colorado, you absolutely can make this happen.
One thing you should know from the start though is that being an actor is expensive. You’ll need money for headshots, headshot reproduction and acting classes. Eventually, you’ll need to market yourself with postcards and a website. You’ll also need to add your material to casting websites such as Actors Access. It’s definitely not cheap!
So, if you’re looking for steps on how to get into acting, you’ve come to the right place.
For links and more information on how to become an actor, check out our actor resources page. (coming soon)
One of the first things you’ll need is a headshot. This is not the place to skimp and be cheap because this is your calling card. If you submit an awful headshot, 99% of the time it’ll be filed away in the trashcan. Having a headshot that isn’t professional, it just automatically shows casting directors, directors and producers that you’re not serious about acting.
Your headshot needs to be shot by a professional and needs to look like you. Seriously, I can’t count how many times a casting director has told me that they’ve called in an actor for an audition and they either look 10 years older in person or their headshot was so photo-shopped that they had to do a double take. Your headshot must look like you, not what you want to look like. You should see my headshot… think I want to look like that?
What’s the cost? For New York and LA, paying $400 to $500 for a headshot session is the norm. Obviously, if you live outside of these cities, you should pay less.
If you need to find headshot photographers near you, click on the link.
The next thing you’ll need is an acting resume.
This isn’t like a resume you’d give to someone when you’re applying for a “normal” job. An acting resume is totally different. You can see examples here. (coming soon)
“I’m just starting out and have nothing to put on my resume!” I’ve heard that before and don’t worry. Everyone starts somewhere. You can easily fix that! Audition for small roles at your local Community, Dinner theater or join the cast of a Church or School production. If you’re in school then join the drama club. All of these things can be listed on your resume. You can even list any acting classes you’ve taken.
If there isn’t a role for you in the upcoming show, ask if you can help out. Theaters always need a good, responsible volunteer. This will get you in with the theater community and will make it tons easier when you actually do audition. They’ll already know you so it’ll be easier for them to take a chance on you!
Click here for more information on an acting resume. And if you need it, here’s an acting resume template. (both coming soon)
Learn Your Craft
Take a class! I’m sure there is some kind of acting class or acting program near you. I grew up in a small town and there were at least 5 acting classes within 20 minutes of where I lived.
If you’re still in school, try and find a summer acting camp. Usually, these are all day workshops that take place Monday-Friday. You’ll learn tons and walk away a much better actor. Plus, these are great places to meet people who are into the same things as you!
Go to college. There are a bunch of great schools you can choose for acting. You’ll be immersed in all things acting so how can you not improve? You’ll learn everything from movement, costumes, theater history, acting styles and techniques and best of all, you’ll be performing constantly.
I went to college in Baltimore, Maryland and loved my time there. I met some wonderful teachers and made some great friends that I still keep in touch with to this day.
For a list of acting schools and colleges, click here. (coming soon)
Audition for Community Theater. Like I said in the resume section, auditioning for Community Theater is a wonderful way to get started. I did a handful of musicals for my local Community Theater when I was in high school and I loved every minute of it. Plus, I learned a lot in the process.
Start off as an ensemble member of a large cast (every town does Oklahoma or another huge production at least once a year). Again, by getting involved, you’ll get to know the local theater companies and the people involved. The more they get to know you, they easier it’ll be to nail a part in one of the upcoming shows – especially if you’ve started off with no experience.
Audition as much as you can. Audition even if you don’t want the part. The more you audition, the better you’ll be at it. Learn to love auditioning because chances are, that’s all you be doing the first couple years once you have decided to become an actor.
Start Your Own Play Reading Group. Get a couple of friends together once every couple of weeks and read a play. Give yourself the lead role! The star of Beautiful Creatures, Alden Ehrenreich does exactly that. When I interviewed him, this is what he told me: “Just invite friends over to read a play. Like, me and my friends do that a lot and it just… it promotes that energy and that energy only builds, but you have to get the… you have to start the engine. You know?”
Don’t know what to start off with? Try something from Christopher Durang or Martin McDonaugh. Or, how about something that’s currently playing on Broadway?
Acting Agents and Managers. At this point, you might want to start looking for an agent. Do you have to have one? No, not at all. Especially if you’re not a member of any of the acting unions (SAG-AFTRA or Equity).
Don’t ever pay an agent or manager a fee for joining their agency or company. There are actor scams out there where you’ll be asked to pay an “agency fee” when you sign up. Don’t do it. Ever. The only time you should pay an agent or manager is after you’ve received payment for an acting job you’ve booked and already worked on.
Will you need a manager? Odds are you won’t. You’ll only need a manager when you have a career that actually needs to be managed. Typically, managers to 20% of what you’ve made on each job. That’s a lot of money to give to someone when you’re only working a couple times a year.
If you’re in Los Angeles or New York City, check out our actor mailing labels. We have sets of casting director mailing labels and agent mailing labels updated monthly.
Auditions and Casting Calls. How do you find auditions and casting calls? If you’re not in LA or NYC, check your local paper or their website. Google – auditions ‘my city’ – and I’m sure something will come up. Also, check out Actors Access or call your local SAG-AFTRA office. Most either have hotlines or audition information listed on their site. That’s how I found out about the audition that got me my SAG card.
Also, take a look at our post, Top 11 Reputable Casting Websites.
Acting is a Business
You have to treat acting as a business because that’s what it is, a business.
When you’re called in for an audition, be prepared. Know your scene, monologue or your song. Come with your headshot and resume (stapled together!). Be professional. You might only have one shot with that casting director. Make it the best and show them you have the goods!
Casting directors, directors and anyone who can hire you want to know that you are the answer to their casting “problem”. They need you and they want you to be great! They are rooting for you.
Keep up with what is happening in the entertainment industry.
Don’t go into this blind. Nothing irritates me more than meeting an actor who doesn’t watch TV or isn’t up to date on what is going on in film, TV or theater. This is your job!
My favorites are The Hollywood Reporter and Variety for film and TV news. Backstage is good as well. And of course, Daily Actor (shameless plug) – we feature interviews with actors, articles where actors talk about the craft of acting. We also we have a huge actors resource page. (coming soon)
This Won’t Happen Overnight
I did my first play in Elementary school, did the fall and summer productions in High School and then started to do shows at my local community theater. When I went to college, I moved onto Dinner Theater and found other theater companies to work with. While I was doing that, I auditioned for an industrial film, got the part and was lucky enough to get my SAG card. I’ve been acting for years and I’ve loved every minute of it.
Some people get lucky right off the bat. Some don’t… it could take them years. But, if you work hard, it’ll happen. If you’re prepared, it’ll happen.
Links and Resources – More Coming soon
Written by Dallas Travers, CEC
What do you do if your longtime actor friend gets her big break before you do? You’re happy for her, of course, but it might bring up major feelings of “compare and despair” for you at the same time.
Obviously, it’s not always easy being friends or roommates or lovers with another actor. There’s some ego involved. Sure. You’re only human. And this industry has an undercurrent of competition flowing through it.
So how can you turn those debilitating feelings into ones that help you progress both in your relationships and in your career? I’ve got 3 suggestions for you. Read more