Category Archives: Acting Classes & Services

VIDEO: Bob Fraser on Auditions

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Today on Turbo Tuesday, we’d like to bring you a video from the archives of the late, great Bob Fraser.

For those who may not have known Bob, here is a quick biog of his varied and brilliant career:

Bob began as a New York theatre actor, originating many roles on stage, including “Snoopy” in the original Off-Broadway hit, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, “Michael” in the New York premiere of Lady Chatterly’s Lover, “Big Jack” in The March March and was one of the founders of The Fourth Wall.  Bob would eventually own (with his wife, Bev) four theatres and run several successful theatre companies.  He and Bev then moved to LA in 1976, where Bob became Showrunner on the perennially popular sitcom Benson, which he also directed, wrote and played the character of “Sen. Leonard Tyler”.

He would go on to create and star in the series Marblehead Manor for NBC, as well as write and produce for The Love Boat, Full House, Harry and the Hendersons, Condo, Phyl & Mikhy and Hard Knocks, among others.

Bob then went onto teach actors about the business of acting and was the first successful coach in this area in the world.  His initial free newsletter, Show Biz How-To, expanded into several programs for Actors, including An Actor Works, You Must Act!, Nail It!Headshots Secrets Revealed and much, much more.

Bob was the first Acting Business coach to take traditional and online business and marketing techniques and apply and translate them for the acting world in a way that actors could grab hold of easily and implement immediately.  He ended up coaching thousands of actors in person and via the Internet – worldwide – to great success, including many Oscar, Emmy and Tony winning performers.

Sadly, Bob passed away on July 12, 2011 after battling melanoma (cancer).   He was upbeat until the end – still finding time for his many students until the disease forced him to close the doors on his business for the last time.

I was one of Bob’s early Australian students and have felt his loss keenly.  While Bob offered paid programs (all of which I signed up for, because the information was so good and just not available anywhere else), he also had an enormous reservoir of time and energy for everyone he worked with.  I could email him at the oddest hours to let him know how I was doing, ask him a question about something, suggest a new program – and within a few hours I would hear back from him with a personal note of encouragement, an answer to my question or an enthusiastic acceptance of my idea and how it could be implemented further.  I have no idea where he found the time – or when he slept!  But I am so grateful that he practiced what he preached and made every one of us who worked with him feel that we were special, important and valuable to the acting business – but also to him.

Sadly, by the time he and I had begun talking about a new program I was planning to implement for actors here in Australia with his support – the ideas for which we’d been discussing informally back and forth for a few months, he had developed the cancer and was having to step back from work.  My last email from him explained what was happening and that he would be taking time off to complete treatment and looked forward to hearing more from me about my work and plans – and that, no matter what, I was to remember that he was right in my corner and so pleased with all I was achieving.  That email alone summed up Bob and his attitude and philosophy – he was a man of enormous spirit, drive and generosity.

Bob gave a LOT to all those who worked with him either in person or by remote – sharing his values of commitment, a strong work ethic, optimism and kindness – and I am so grateful to have been able to share my earlier career highs and lows with him and know him.  He is very, very much missed.

To get an idea of how Bob taught, and what he had to share – which is still relevant today and I find myself still using in my career – have a listen to this video below where Bob talks from a Producer’s perspective about what really goes on in an audition and what an audition is really all about.

If you have heard this before (many others have followed in Bob’s footsteps and use his information as inspiration for their teachings), it’s worth a watch to remind yourself how auditions work.  If this information is new to you – then it will rock your world.

Enjoy.

Sally McLean
Founder, ActorSpeak.com

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TURBO TUESDAY: Featuring The Self Tape Audition Studio

It’s the second Tuesday of the month, which means our new feature of “Turbo Tuesday” is here!

This is where we highlight and talk about a service, webinar, class, studio – anything that we feel will help boost your acting career and take it (and you) to the next level.

None of these posts are sponsored or paid for (this is not a pay to review category), but all articles will focus on a service, teacher or studio that we have had personal experience with and recommend.

Essentially, it’s a showcase of actor business tools, focusing on the positive, good stuff to help your career.

So, without further ado … let’s have a look at our first recommended acting resource for 2015, nominated (and written) by ActorSpeak.com founder, Sally McLean:

THE SELF TAPE AUDITION STUDIO

There are more and more self tape services appearing worldwide as the film and television casting process embraces the internet and the global talent discovery possibilities it now provides.

Gone are the days of having to move to a perceived acting hub (Hollywood, Sydney, London, etc) to be seen by Casting Directors. While it can still help, it is most certainly NOT mandatory any more to uproot and move cities to audition for available roles in the national and international TV and movie business.

However, the rise of self taped auditions also brings with it a whole new learning curve for the actor.  Do you have to buy a camera?  Who can you get as a Reader?  Where should you shoot it?  What about sound … lighting … editing … uploading … eeek!!

I first encountered Ben Steel (Director of the Self Tape Audition Studio) via my work with another acting studio in 2012 (more on that in a later “Turbo Tuesday” post).  With a background in acting that includes lead and support roles in Australian TV shows such as Home & Away, Winners & Losers and Water Rats, along with movie roles in international films such as Solomon Kane, Red Tails and Four Of A Kind, and production crew experience in a plethora of big budget Hollywood films from The Matrix to Moulin Rouge to I, Frankinstein to Predestination, Ben has a wealth of experience both in front of and behind the camera.  Add to that his extensive work studying and teaching acting in Europe, the UK and Australia, as well as producing and directing several of his own TV projects, both in Oz and overseas,  and you have not just an experienced actor/director, but, due to Ben also being an all-round great guy, also a supportive and experienced collaborator.

I rate Ben so highly as a talent and a colleague, that a few short months after meeting him (well, okay, a year), I invited him to become my co-producer and business partner at Finish Line Films Pty Ltd.   Little did he know what he was getting into by saying “yes” to that invitation (ha!), so let’s look at this Turbo Tuesday post as a way of me saying “thanks” to him for all his support, skills and savvy over the past 12 months …

But enough about me, back to the self tape thing …

Of course you can shoot, edit and upload your own self tape.  Plenty of actors do.  But if you want to take the guesswork and potential stress out of putting your audition down on tape yourself, then I recommend booking and using a service such as the one Ben provides.

In short, the Self Tape Audition Studio delivers support, advice and an industry recognized professional self tape audition service to actors in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  Ben and his team work out of a compact, but fully kitted out studio set up, which includes green screen and sound equipment, with HD cameras and full editing and uploading facilities.

They’ll even provide you with a professional reader if required – which it is, trust me!  I have read for Ben’s clients in the self tape environment and they have always been stress-free and highly professional sessions.  (Sometimes, they’ve even been fun.  I know – incredible, right!?)

So, my Turbo Tuesday Recommendation for January 13, 2015 is – the Self Tape Audition Studio.  If you’re interested in what the Self Tape Audition Studio has to offer, and would like to know more, drop by their official Facebook page here.

Oh, and they are currently running a competition via StarNow – offering 5 free Self Tape sessions to 2 Star Now members (1 male, 1 female).  Competition closes January 30th, so get over there and get in the mix!

‘Till next Turbo Tuesday …

Sally McLean
ActorSpeak.com