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Whether you are new to the entertainment biz or have been around for a while, you have got to read Brian's tips!

Pay to take a course in Background Acting? Seriously!
Total posts: 1
Joined: 9 year(s) ago
Posted 10:17 PM 6/26/2014

There are only two thing syou need to know about being a background actor, (1) bring a book, (2) follow instructions.

Call me if you have any questions. Don't pay anyone to learn how to be BG.

Seriously, don't feed the bottom feeders.

Total posts: 1
Joined: 8 year(s) ago
Posted 7:22 PM 6/29/2014
Anyone who does this is wasting time and money. Completely pointless.
Moderator
Total posts: 245
Joined: 10 year(s) ago
Posted 2:17 PM 7/17/2014

You did not mention who gave the Class you were so disappointed in or where it was given so I can't attest to your personal experience but I can tell you it is not the norm

Since I personally took Gale Nemec's Background acting class and I am familiar with how her class came to be developed I can talk about that as well.

Gale's Class was developed back in 2002 to 2003 after Gale had Multiple conversations with Casting Directors, Producers, Directors, AD's, Pa's as well as Wardrobe/Props, make-up and hair artist about background actors and asked them all "What they wanted background actors know".

Gale then took that Information and developed a Class designed to "Educate" those background actors and hopefully create a smoother running and therefore a more productive set. (Gale continues this practice and thus updates the class each time its taught.)

I started my acting career in August 1999 on the set of "The Replacements" and by the time I took Gales class in 2004, I had already worked Background on well over 100 different Sets and I personally was amazed at how much I did not know and how much I learned from the class.

I did know most of the terms she used and what they meant but I left her class with a much better understanding of how they worked together on set.

As far as "On Set Procedures" -- I had seen other background actors do them on many sets but had not realized how they worked on the set or what they actually did. I also did not know or think about what the set would be like if 100% of the background actors did the correct procedures 100% of the time.

We will always have "Uninformed" background actors as long as working on a film is a "Dream Job" for so many but this goes far beyond the newer people looking to brag about being "On Set"

It is not a Union/Non-Union thing either - Both benefit from Gales class - and do when they take it. Gale teaches her Background Acting class through the Union conservatory for the benefit of the Union Actors

One other thing of Importance - In posting Gale's classes to my Yahoo Groups and then DragonukConnects.com -- I have not had a single person that took her class write and tell me the class was not worth the money.

Again, While I have no idea what class you took to form that opinion -- I would suggest you try taking Gales Class--you will be amazed at what you learn
[User Deleted]
Posted 4:23 PM 7/18/2014
I completely agree with Brian. Gale's class is well worth it, and there is more to background than bringing a book and following directions. Having at least somewhat of a clue/edge is half the battle. I've seen so many no-nos, even from people I've seen on sets before and who claim to have been in the business for years. Yes, as Brian said, there will always be the "uninformed" background actors, but which do you want to be? The one that does everything from only wearing red and not bringing options to putting their coffee on the camera cart, or the one the crew considers "pleasant to work with"?
Total posts: 5
Joined: 7 year(s) ago
Posted 12:45 AM 8/1/2014

I have had the honor of meeting Gale a short time ago. Gale is a dedicated professional and a wealth of knowledge. You will learn much more then just being a background actor. You'll find in time - It’s about being a part of something greater than just yourself, it is your heart as an actor, the colors of your soul, the way you wake each and every morning and question the universe, your very being as an actor and a person, and this thing we all do and want to be successful at.

Total posts: 1
Joined: 9 year(s) ago
Posted 3:27 PM 8/2/2014

As a former Casting Associate with Pat Moran for over a year and a half and as a member of the team to win an Emmy for GAME CHANGE, also working on Season 1 of VEEP with long hours of background casting as well as other gigs, I can personally confirm that there is a wide range of experience and knowledge out there when it comes to background work. Most actors are real professionals, but there are others that could benefit from a better knowledge of the overall process and experience.

Some may think it's as easy as just showing up, but there are so many elements that will make the overall job so much better for Casting, Production (and the actor) if the actor truly understand the process.

My personal opinion (and this is NOT endorsed in any way, shape or form by Pat Moran & Associates) is that Gale's class goes into exceptional detail that helps an actor to not only to get the jobs, but how to be a total professional on set and how to avoid conflicts and problems (that happen more than you would think!) There is much trial and error with each opportunity for many actors, and people would be amazed at some of the questions or "challenges" that come up. I've been a guest professional with Gale in her class and have seen what she presents. She can help cut through the muck and provide insights that really make a difference for all involved. Not only that, but much of her technigue and information offers skills and knowledge that is generally helpful for a wider range of work beyond background acting. Best, RNM

Total posts: 1
Joined: 6 year(s) ago
Posted 4:34 PM 8/2/2014

Hey Everyone!! I have been a BG actor for over two years now; I have 'dabbled' in other things too in our area i.e. acting lessons, headshots, improv, etc. I've traveled to NY to get more training too. I have learned a lot. One thing I have learned is that if you want to be a serious actor and go farther than a BG actor, you need extensive training. So I think it all depends upon how far you want to take this thing - BG, or farther. Extensive training takes a lot of $$. There are many, many, many people out there more than happy to take your $$ and lead you into believing their course is going to be THE answer to you making it. And then another one, and another one, and another one...etc. etc. etc. It very important to take the time to be able to tell the difference between a teacher who is teaching a class to make money off of those who are desperate to make it, or a teacher who is truly teaching to help students make it. Here in our area we don't have a lot of choices for classes like in NY and there are those who are making money off of us because of that and leading us to believe that their class is one of the best. But the truth is, if you really want a good class that really gets you there, you have to travel to New York. And even there, you are being led along unless you take the time to do a lot of research.

Many of the classes being taught in our area are by Union actors. Our area is a mostly Non-Union hiring area, so this is a way for the Unionites to make a living, off of us non-unioners with the dream.

Just sayin'.

Moderator
Total posts: 245
Joined: 10 year(s) ago
Posted 9:53 PM 8/15/2014

NYU is constantly and consistently rated as 1 of the BEST ACTING SCHOOLS in the country with an impressive list of top name actors as Graduates. Just how many of those NYC Acting Coaches have taught there like our SAG-AFTRA member Brenna McDonough?? As a matter of fact, our SAG-AFTRA Acting teachers have teaching credentials at Stevenson University, Towson University, University of Maryland, Anne Arundel Community College, American University, George Mason University, and several others.

Several out of state Casting Directors that came here attached to major Hollywood Productions have been very impressed with how well trained our SAG-AFTRA Actors are, and 3 NYC based Casting Directors have told me personally that the Baltimore/Washington SAG-AFTRA members are better trained than most in NYC.

Go to NYC if you like but I think spending all that extra money and time going to NYC for Training (Unless you are looking for NYC Based resume entries for getting jobs there/moving there) is as big a waste as going there for Headshots, to buy Bagels or order a Pizza