Category Archives: TV

Day 430 Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen – Phase 2 & Your Headshots

Happy New Year!

If you didn’t see my last video, I was able to achieve the primary goal of booking a job on TV at the end of the year! In case you missed it, here it is:

The show is a new show that has an NDA the length of my arm so I can’t say a bloody thing about it, but I promise I won’t shut up about it once I can. So now that I can unironically call myself “Television’s Curtis Andersen” again it’s time to move on to Phase 2 – getting on a genre show! What’s a genre show? Watch the new video to find out.

Also, to add a little actual advice to this blog after a long stretch of just me talking about myself and auditions, I talk a little bit about the importance of getting a good headshot – because I’ve seen a lot of BAD headshots lately.

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Filed under actor 101, career, education, headshots, how-to, new shows, new year, Operation: Television's Curtis Andersen, teaching, TV, update, video, YouTube

Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen Day 403

I actually booked on Day 400 (which was kinda’ neat in a numbers way) but I’m superstitious so I didn’t want to say anything until the shoot was complete. The primary objective has been achieved before the end of the year! Now begins Phase 2 – Operation: Genre Show!

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Fun Video Friday – Bye Felicia: The Music Video

Rene and Curtis Bye Felicia Costume Shot

 

Early in the year Rene and I were invited to participate in a secret music video shoot.

It was for a new television show whose first season was just ending.

The video was for the special features on the DVD.

We were sworn to secrecy…

UNTIL NOW!

Above – an image of our costumes for the shoot.

Below- the video itself.

Side note: This is the only thing in history where I purposely have facial hair and might be the only thing that ever does.

Also, my wife’s dance moves are pretty slick.

And yes, that’s her in bed with Matt McGorry.

And I was in the room… watching.

Special shout out to director Charlie Visnic for including us!

Here’s the video:

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Filed under acting, actor stuff, fun video friday, news, performing, television, TV, video, videos, YouTube

Am I a Startup? Part 2: The “Don’ts”

Startup Post Art

In part 1 we covered what a startup is and the four best practices to help get that startup moving, with definitions tweaked to work for the entertainment industry (although those tweaks may work for other industries as well). Having an idea of what to do is important and positive and helps get all the work off on the right foot. That being said, it is nice to also know what pitfalls to avoid so you can do your best not to fail on accident. Just like articles on what to do to help your startup succeed there are as many, if not more, articles about what makes a startup fail.

Thinking about it, that makes sense since, by definition, a startup has no guarantee of success so many of them (most of them even) fail. Entertainment careers are no different. In this life you hear “no” a lot more than “yes.” You can have a series go to pilot and then not get picked up. You can be edited out of a commercial after you’ve already shot it. For resilience we all say that it’s, “just part of the biz” but, part of the biz or not, that much rejection can be draining. So the following are four mistakes that can kill your startup inspired by and paraphrased from this article: The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups. Why are there not 18? Because not all of the mistakes really apply to my topic. Sure, I could shoehorn in a few descriptions and get all symbolic with the language, but that isn’t the goal. The goal is to have strong points that are easy to identify and avoid to keep things moving in a positive career direction. But if you want to read all 18, and I suggest you do, go to the link.

Before we get started with the actual four mistakes, I’d like to point out a overarching general mistake that the author Paul Graham points out that also makes very good sense in an entertainment career:

“In a sense there’s just one mistake that kills startups: not making something users want. If you make something users want, you’ll probably be fine, whatever else you do or don’t do. And if you don’t make something users want, then you’re dead, whatever else you do or don’t do. So really this is a list of (sic) things that cause startups not to make something users want. Nearly all failure funnels through that.”

In his explanation let’s trade out the word “user” for “audience.” Entertainment exists to be experienced by people, there isn’t any way around that. As a general rule of thumb: make and do the things you believe in and have passion for. Those are the things that have the best chance of taking off and if they don’t you can at least feel good about the attempt.

Now on to the mistakes:

  1. Bad Location. The internet and prosumer equipment have really allowed people to make high quality content just about anywhere, but if you want to work on the bigger shows and films (hell even the big online stuff) you need to be in one of the major entertainment hubs: Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta or New Orleans. Although theres also North Carolina, Chicago, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon and the occasional shoot in Hawaii. And Canada. Puerto Rico is offering some really nice tax incentives so some productions are moving over there… All kidding aside, even with this expansive list there are still very few cities that can actually handle and support a large amount of filming. If you are ok just shooting with your friends and putting it up online then more power to you. Hollywood is decentralizing and I predict that we’re going to see more migration away from Southern California over the next five to ten years, but there will still be industry hubs where the camera crews live and where you can find a guy who can record decent sound. You want those people so you should be where they are.
  2. Derivative Ideas. Don’t just copy. I know Hollywood does it all the time, but those are the things people make fun of Hollywood for doing. I’m not saying that you can’t have your own spin on an existing idea, but don’t just straight up copy. Here’s an example: Zombies have been the dominate movie monster for over a decade now. There has been zombie everything, but the ones I remember: The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, and Shaun of the Dead all had unique takes on the genre. You don’t need to be the first person with an idea, but you do need to have a way to make it your own.
  3. Choosing the wrong platform. This literally came up in conversation today and it seems like something that I talk about with people all the time. There is both a literal and a figurative meaning to “platform.” The literal has to do with distribution of content that you and your team may be creating. When you decide how to get it out to the audience you either need to build to the distribution you have access to or hustle to get the distribution you feel the content requires. For example: I spoke to a buddy just today about their new project that, in my opinion (which happened to be an opinion he shared), needs to be a web release. It is built in tight little vignettes that are great for online audiences and the pieces all combine together into one big narrative that he could release as a stand-alone product and/or send to film festivals. But there is talk about converting it to feature length and trying to get the funding to do a movie version. In my head, at this time with the options available to them, online seems like the no brainer. Doing this project as a television show wouldn’t work, the premise wouldn’t last beyond a season. Doing it as a movie might work, but it would require a heavy rewrite and a massive investment. Right now they have a completed product ready to launch and it would be a shame not to release it. The figurative meaning of “platform” is for the actor. We can trade out “platform” for “type.” One of the biggest complaints that I hear from my casting director friends is that people submit for things that they have no chance of getting. As an responsible auditioning actor you need to be honest with yourself about your type. If you happen to be a strawberry blond skinny guy who does prat falls and makes faces you should not submit yourself for roles where they usually cast Ian Somerhalder. I promise you, Ian Somerhalder is going to get that part. Overall I think the lesson here is to play to your strengths. Swinging for the fences is great and all,  but you still need to be smart about it.
  4. Not wanting to get your hands dirty. This is probably the biggest crime in all of the entertainment business, especially for people new to it. As great as this job is, there is nothing easy about it. If it were easy everyone would do it because it’s awesome. A lot more people could do it, but most are not willing to put in the amount of work that it takes to do it right. Hell, even thirty years later I’m still finding ways that I’m deficient in my efforts. It’s an ever changing business that requires constant effort. If you’re not up for that find something else to do with your time.

Did I miss anything? Are there any best practices that I could have added to part 1? Let me know in the comments.

See you next time.

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Filed under acting, artist, business, commentary, evil plan, failure, getting started, Hollywood, how-to, insight, jobs, learning experience, making movies, productivity, TV, work

Op Ed: The Future of Entertainment

Image from MediaBistro.com

Image from MediaBistro.com

The entertainment industry is changing faster now than it ever has before. The last decade has seen an exponential change in how audiences consume content, where content is created, how content can be monetized, and what that means for the people who create all of this content. I see this from the perspective of the “working class” trenches: no development fund, need to maintain employment, still keeping up a hustle. For people like me (and there are a LOT of us) we have seen this change in a very real way for a long time and, as much as I hate to admit it, haven’t been as proactive as we probably should have been to be on the front of that wave.

Instead the younger set, those without the idea of “this is how things work” found their place. YouTubers are doing very well for themselves and Hollywood is taking notice, ready to monetize on their popularity. Fan films get national attention and have their own festival circuit. The biggest name in horror for the last seven years has been Paranormal Activity – a series that started with a movie made for about $11,000 in a dude’s house with After Effects.

For those with vision and a camera the future is open and ready…

…that being said, the old model is far from dead.

A lot of talk happened the Monday after the Golden Globes when Netflix and Amazon both walked away with coveted trophies about how the nature of television is changing and that the very business is already inexorably changed. And it is, but not completely. Not yet.

Here are two articles that, for me, were kind of the yin and yang of the future of the business, at least for the next few years especially in the context of wide public distribution, like television.

A Few Caveats About The New World Of Television from Monkey See from NPR

The Golden Globes Tell Us Everything About the Entertainment Industry in 2015 from IndieWire

I’m a “new model” guy who’s ready for the wild west, but it’s hard to pass up the money that can come with “old model” companies.

What do you think? Comment below.

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Filed under actor stuff, Andelon, business, career, commentary, filmmaking, independent film, insight, internet, making movies, money, news, NPR, pop culture, producing, technology, television, the future, TV, working for a living, YouTube

Gordie on Hulu and Amazon Prime!

Thanks to the glory of the internet you can now revisit the world of Sabrina: The Teenage Witch on Hulu and Amazon Prime!

See the birth of Gordie, from stereotypical geek to mildly hipper geek!

See performances from the Violent Femmes and Phantom Planet!

See a boy possessed by a warlock who is supposed to be trapped in the form of a cat!

The Hulu cast is available to all and if you are interested in checking out Amazon Prime follow the link below for a free 30-day trial!

Also, I’ll be posting links to the episodes and revealing fun facts about them on my fan page, so go like it if you haven’t already.

Do you have a favorite version of Gordie 90’s hair? I’m partial to Trial By Fury and Salem the Boy, but what do you think?

See you next time!

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Filed under acting, blatant plug, Gordie, sabrina, shameless self promotion, television, TV, videos

I’ve Touched the Sun… and it was Friday Night Lights.

There are a lot of things that I’m late to the party on: Jeff Buckley, Breaking Bad, not dropping the thundaduh, but the thing that I’m trying to catch up on right now is Friday Night Lights. Those familiar with the show are, I’m sure, yelling and laughing at me right now through the computer screen saying, “I told you so” and collecting money from imaginary bets that no one actually made but somehow still make sense in the reality of this analogy. It’s a great show.

Seriously, a great show.

One of the greatest things I’ve ever watched that was created for television.

Where Breaking Bad takes the idea of the criminal underworld, deconstructs it and then rebuilds it into something that resembles the “failing upward” comedies of the eighties combined with a hard-boiled drama, Friday Night Lights is all heart. ALL heart. Like so many people who didn’t catch onto this show originally, I didn’t give it a chance because I don’t care about football. Never have. I have teams (Geaux Saints!) but that’s mostly on pain of death from my in-laws. I also grew up with the Bears and Packers, not knowing that there was a huge rivalry between the two. My favorite football moment in history was The Superbowl Shuffle.

I think I’ve made my point.

As I was saying, my football bias got in the way of me giving this show a chance. People told me over and over again, “It’s good you should watch it!” Yet I did not. I heard programs like NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour rave about it. I still didn’t try it.

Finally I gave in. I was bored one day and scrolling through Netflix (how do I get a sponsorship through them?) and the show came up under popular TV shows.

I gave it a shot.

I touched the sun.

That phrase, I touched the sun, comes from my high school days. My friend, author Jeff Garvin, and I used to hang out with a guy named Ryan Moore. Ryan was (and I assume still is) a clever dude. He helped to introduce me to the magic of The Beatles, showed me how to use Video Toaster and was a good writer from what I remember. He also had a knack for delivering a turn of phrase when the moment called for it. One day he was explaining something and said, “I touched the sun, Jeff. You know how people can tell you that the sun is hot, but you don’t really know how hot until you actually touch it? I touched the sun.” Well, it was something really close to that. I don’t remember it verbatim. But the point should be clear. There are things that we go through all the time that you just can’t fully understand unless you actually experience them. Little things like a hot fudge sunday or what it feels like to pet a porcupine, all the way up to big things like falling in love or racism.

That was a harsh way to leave that sentence, but I stand by it. Friday Night Lights may not be the same as falling in love, but it’s a damn good show and if you want to know how good I truly advise you to touch the sun.

See you next time!

Also, in case you want to own the series you can purchase it here at Amazon.com

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Philip DeFranco Agrees About House of Cards

And he did a whole video about it.

Now I don’t know Mr. DeFranco, other than introducing myself to him at Sundace a few years ago, and I am not affiliated with his shows or channels in any way, but I do like his stuff which is how I found this in the first place.

Seriously, House of Cards. Watch it. We’ll discuss as soon as I finish the series.

See you next time.

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Wine Blog – This Might Be A Horrible Idea

Is this blog about wine?

NO!

Is it fueled by wine?

YES!

Particularly a Lanzarac 2004 Chardonnay that has been in the fridge a smidge too long and smells like old gym socks but still tastes surprisingly good – like a stinky cheese.

Cheese sounds really good right now. And crackers.

The wife and I are feeling conflicted right now about our enjoyment of “Jersey Shore” since it is the kind of TV candy that rots brains faster than a tooth in a glass of Coke/Pepsi. But we enjoy it so much!  The premiere was on tonight and I think that they are starting to show some strain. The relationships just felt a little more forced than previous seasons, but after hearing that a few of them left early during the filming of the next season I guess that isn’t such a stretch.

I’m gonna’ eat a Hershey bar.

See you tomorrow!

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Filed under general, rambling, TV, wine

Project 365 5-23-2010 LOST

As you’ve probably noticed these blogs are REALLY late.  I’m going to pretend that I’m writing on Sunday.

Tonight was the series finale of LOST and Rene and I watched it with our friend and LOST enthusiast Dean.  To help celebrate the night Dean made a dinner of salmon and roasted potatoes and Rene and I brought salad.  The food was really good!  I really enjoy the making of and enjoying good, homemade food.  The conversation in the kitchen, the combination of flavors and then the actual eating of everything is one of life’s simple pleasures and we don’t do it nearly often enough.

We watched the show and, in order to keep the arguments to a minimum, I’ll simply say that I enjoyed it and I’m thinking that we’ll see a LOST TV movie or mini-series sometime in the next three years, but don’t quote me on that.

After the show we left, it was a school night, and as we were pulling out I caught this picture:

I thought it looked cool.

See you tomorrow!

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