Commercially Killian McCough will call in actors who he likes and take his workshop. He's worked with tons of commercial CDs in LA and is currently with Alyson Horn.
I agree that workshops are by and large a waste of money, and, like Michael said, most working actors don't do them. But I think the explanation for that is fairly simple: if you're a working actor, you don't need to be doing workshops--you clearly already have an agent that can get you in the door or a reputation that will get you called in, and so yeah, obviously no need to do workshops. But I do think that workshops are a great way to pull yourself up to that level (IN ADDITION to everything Paladin mentioned...acting, plays, small films, etc).
I have no reputable credits and am at a starter agency, so sometimes a workshop is a great way for me to get my foot in the door. I workshopped with G. Charles Wright during the summer, and last week I got called in (called in, not submitted by my agent) for THE MIDDLE, and when I went in, I noticed one of my postcards up on their corkboard. Because of that workshop, G. Charles has become familiar with my work, knows me better than if I'd just been submitted by my agent, and is now looking to get me a job. Probably something that would have taken a lot longer were it not for that workshop. (Also important to note that if I hadn't been doing the things that Paladin pointed out, I would have shown G. Charles subpar work and run the risk of him knowing me but having a negative opinion...don't start workshopping before you're ready).
On the flipside, I've definitely wasted money on workshops I should have never gone to: Rachel Rose Oginsky and Andrew Mackin (who are assistants and can't call people in), or Joanna Davis (who's also an assistant without call-in power, but also, and even worse, works on shows that don't cast their co-stars out of LA).
Like absolutely everything acting-related in Los Angeles, workshops can be a good investment if you do your research and invest wisely, but if you're not careful they're an excellent vacuum for your money.
The big tips I've learned from workshopping consistently for the past year:
1. RESEARCH WHO YOU'RE WORKING WITH: Get a subscription to castingabout.com and find out the job title the person you're looking to workshop with CURRENTLY holds. Try to only workshop with full-fledged CDs, take a chance every once in a while with an Associate (I've been brought in to Jeff Greenberg's office from workshopping with his associate, Allen Hooper), and steer clear of Assistants (unless you're workshopping with your eyes on your career 2 or 3 years from now, at which point the assistant might have been promoted but, more likely, have either left casting or lost your headshot).
2. RESEARCH WHERE THEIR SHOW SHOOTS: if you're looking to get a co-star credit (which I'm assuming is why you're workshopping), make sure you don't pay to workshop with anyone whose show shoots outside of LA. For the most part the co-stars on these shows will be cast on-location and will be local hires.
3. RESEARCH THE TYPES THEIR SHOW CASTS: if you're really character-y, stay away from CW stuff. If you're not funny, stay away from comedy. Common sense stuff.
As far as the original question on this thread (which CDs call in workshop folks), procedural shows are co-star heavy and draw a lot from workshops (Scott David says he doesn't release breakdowns for his co-stars and casts them almost exclusively through workshop folk), so try to hit the people that work on CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, etc.
True. Don't take his class expecting to be called in. I've done two classes and some refreshers and NOTHING. I get praise in class and everyone laughs but I guess he doesn't care that everyone likes me but him. Oh well, someone else will make me famous.
just another actor..
I was in the same boat as you, so I decided to take a private session with him. All I will share about the private is that not only will the two of you get the chance to know each other better, but that he will really question you on your entire process/approach - career, auditioning, agent relationship, cd relationships, networking, etc. After listening to your process/approach he will then coach you on how to be more effective. And as with all good coaches who are in a position of power, before they open doors for you, they want to know that you can DELIVER CONSISTENTLY.
I know the privates aren't cheap, however it is some serious food for thought.
WOW. It's starting to sound like that Killian has quite a good thing going. "Coaches in a position of power"..."before they will open doors for you" Grease my palm.
So you paid extra for the private coaching and now you are working regularly in commercials?
I'm sure he's a very good teacher, but he can't possibly call in the the hundreds and hundreds of students that go through his school or even take his private coaching. He's making a lot of money off the idea though.
And I'm sure he does scout some people who are perfect for commercials (he probably benefits from that too), but the odds are against you buying your way in through a workshop.
I work at Your Studio Productions (formerly the network studio) in Studio City. We are a workshop studio. I will try and offer some insight based on what I learned working here.
ALL CDs will call people in. Whether you book or not is up to you, the CD and the producers.
The biggest mistake I see actors make is they dont target CD's from shows that are right for them. If you don't look like a soap star, don't go in for Days of Our Lives. If you don't have comedic training, don't go in for Parks and Rec. Watch shows. What do you see yourself on? Too often actors think they can "be on anything, play any part." Sure - but be more strategic. Where would you be a great fit?
Taking CD workshops will benefit your career. Like em or hate em, there's not many alternatives to get seen by these people. Take them at our studio or somewhere else.
Tips: Have a good head shot (duh). Dress well. Don't wear too much cologne or perfume. Don't act desperate. Act normal. They want to see that you can be a regular person if put on set and not disturb anyone. This may vary by show, but I've noticed CDs and agents prefer comedic scenes over intense drama.
Best of luck
I noticed you didn't quote what I put the most emphasis on - DELIVER CONSISTENTLY...
"Coaches in a position of power" and "open doors for you"... In other words, a commercial CD working in one of the top 3 commercial casting offices in Hollywood who has years of experience in commercial casting and commercial acting. Knowing that person and listening and learning from that person who helps to get you to a level of DELIVERING CONSISTENTLY is beneficial. That is the very definition, in my opinion, of an audition acting coach.
Never stated the above... However, getting to the point where I can instantly breakdown the copy and work on two different ways of DELIVERING (CONSISTENTLY) at an audition will put me above those who cannot. That equals callbacks which either equals to my getting the job or a down payment on a job later on. One of an actor's most important jobs is to DELIVER CONSISTENTLY at an audition. If you can't do that as an actor then you will have practically zero chances of booking a role. That's Auditioning 101.
I could go on, but ultimately my point is this:
IT IS CALLED SHOW BUSINESS. If I am the CEO of my business, then I need to INVEST with the BEST in order to SURVIVE and THRIVE. If I INVEST WISELY, I make my chances of getting opportunities that much greater.
This is just my educated (educated through schooling as well as life experiences) opinion and I am always open to listening to others.
The topic of the thread is CD's who call in people. There was some implication that if you don't get called in from taking a regular class, try taking a more expensive class.
Training is one thing paying more to hopefully get in the door is another. I'm not sure that's how it works.
When there are 100 fairly identical actors auditioning to say one or two words in a commercial and they will be on screen for a few seconds it is pretty much a crap shoot who gets picked. Maybe if the teacher refers you you'll get picked? I think the advertiser has the final say.
For commercials I question how much control an actor has over their fate--training or not. Not doing something stupid is important, but after that I don't know. A commercial agent from Lemon Lime on Twitter stated that even their top bookers get about 1/19 auditions they go on. It is sobering.
When AN EXPERT IN ADVERTISING is selling classes in the secret to success in the above environment I'm saying watch your pennies.
If you have the money and it gives you confidence go for it.
Yea I mostly agree with this.
I got a spot in Killian McHugh's last class and I can say for certain that it helps. He shows you a bunch of little shit that adds up BIG TIME in selling your personality to these Ad men in Chicago or where ever they are watching.
I've taken 4 week workshops from several commercial CD's and I left thinking "yea, I guess I learned a little bit about camera technique and whatnot." Killian is BY FAR the most thorough and cutting to what matters in selling yourself in these rooms. No contest.
So yea...I agree it's a bit of a crapshoot but you can up your odds tremendously with the right technique. He's by far the best in LA for that...
Since this is back from the dead, I'll say this:
Commercial as opposed to TV / Film auditions are such a different beast. I would say for a TV / Film audition you have a much better chance of walking in that door and blowing them away in an audition.
In a commercial, if you have the look they want, as long as you don't totally screw up the audition, then its your crapshoot.
Every once in a while, I have to jump back in and reiterate:
If you're paying to meet someone solely in the hopes that they'll bring you in for a job interview, you're supporting an illegal activity. Did you ever wonder why they call them "workshops" instead of what they are -- chances to meet casting directors? It's because they cannot, by law, call them what they are. And that ought to be a red flag.
Think about your dignity, and the kind of career you want to have in the long run.
Now, if you're learning something (I know G. Charles, and he's a real teacher. Actors who take his workshops gain actual audition techniques.), that's another story.
But really, friends, you can't buy a career.
There are lots of casting people I'd love to meet. I want them to know my work. But I don't want my introduction to be paying them to meet me. And what's more, I think more of myself than to present myself as a beggar.
Creator of the "Audition Psych. 101" workshop (www.auditionpsych101.com)
Author of "Letters from Backstage"
Oh, awhile ago on this same forum I thought I was given the advice that going to workshops was very important. I say amen and hallelujah too because I don't have a lot of money to give and I hope, there must be another way.
Signal moral superiority much?
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