Last week the Los Angeles Times published an article titled "Los Angeles Losing the Core of its TV Production to Other States." In it, reporter Richard Verrier cites that of the 23 new dramas that were just green lit for production by the 5 major broadcast networks only 2 (two!!) will be shot here in Los Angeles County. I'll say it again...only TWO!! So what's going on here? Why the great exodus out of California? Money, folks. It all comes down to budget. The fact is that other states such as Louisiana, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, New York (and of course we have to include the loss of production to Canada)...are all offering sizable tax incentives that shave a hefty chunk off the cost of production. Along with appealing locations and growing pools of local talent these states are offering a kind of packaging for production that's simply too good to pass up. And this has been developing for awhile. You'd think that by now California would wake up and hop on the tax cut bandwagon, but our state legislators just don't seem to get it...yet. Unfortunately, until they do, California will continue to lose production to other states and locales. To read the full article, click here.
So what does this mean for you? It comes down to this: you can now expect that a much larger portion of your auditions for scripted episodic television are going to be on-tape for producers who are not going to be in the room with you -- because they're off in another state or locale where production is being held. This means it has never been more crucial for you to have a solid on-camera technique under your belt that is specifically tailored to the audition format for when the producers are not in the room. It can be the difference between booking and not booking the job. I'll explain. When I worked in casting, we had several shows that were shot in Vancouver. So during production our producers were in Canada, not here in Los Angeles. So we would put the actors on tape here in L.A. and then send the tape to Vancouver for the producers to watch. Before sending off the tape, we would often review some of the performances that really popped to us in the room. And to our surprise, some of the performances that popped in the room were not popping on tape. Something was lost, something was missing. As a theatre-trained actor who understands staging, I began to tune in to the fact that these actors were upstaging themselves on camera. They were not maximizing camera space and the result was a performance that became compromised due to unconscious or careless physical choices on the part of the actor. So basically it didn't matter how well their performance popped in the room if it translated poorly on-camera. And since the deciding factor over who would book the job rests with the producers, and not casting...well, you get the picture. This was one of many eye-openers for me in casting, and part of why I developed my technique and started these classes nearly 10 years ago.
In the audition, it's the actor's responsibility to take us into the life and environment of the scene and to transport us into the story believably and effectively. But it's also the actor's responsibility to do their part to ensure that the producers have a great view of the scene no matter where they are, either in the room with you or elsewhere when they will be dependent upon viewing the scene through the eye of the camera. It's your responsibility not for the sake of the producers, but for the sake of protecting your performance. It's to benefit you and support your chances of booking the role. So this episodic season, don't underestimate the power and influence of the camera's lens...but be the smart & savvy actor who utilizes it, maximizes it, owns it, and makes it work for you in the room.
© 2012. Christinna Chauncey. All Rights Reserved.