“Actors are just like rubber bands—they should strive to stretch,” says Ellen Jacoby, CSA, President of Ellen Jacoby Casting International and member of CSA and ATAS. “The more versatile an actor is, the more opportunities he will have.”
Starting the Stretch
Though a big proponent for stretching one’s skills, Jacoby advises actors first study and find their acting comfort zone. Once this is determined, actors should begin “moving to the left and the right of this comfort zone” to continue growing their skill bases. Actors who take this approach find more opportunities that they either weren’t qualified or mentally prepared for.
These points ring true with actors across the globe. Actress Angela Bryan, whose upbeat personality and kind appearance made it a cinch for her to get into commercials, says she didn’t want to get pigeonholed into advertisements. To avoid being seen as a one-trick pony, she has worked tirelessly to stretch her skills. And it’s paying off (click here to read an earlier blog post about how Angela stays sharp and hones her craft).
She recently finished filming a miniseries, Another Man’s Wife for the Caribbean. Playing Robin Meeks, a housekeeper-healer, Bryan made use of her Caribbean accent, was stretched in new ways, and enjoyed every minute of it. Currently, Bryan is shooting The Magic City, a feature film in which she plays Jackelyn Castle, a horrible mother who drops her daughter off at her sister’s house to rid herself of her parenting responsibilities for the summer.
“As an actor, I really want to act and enjoy my craft, and it’s easier to do that if I’m versatile,” says Bryan. “Variety is the spice of life, and that holds true in acting.”
Of course, many have felt being typecast is no big issue for big names. But even the biggest names in Hollywood hate being seen in only one light. Hence why Jim Carrey starred in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Arnold Schwarzenegger was in Kindergarten Cop. (Okay, this was one versatility experiment gone wrong.) However, without a hunger and determination to continue to grow as an actor, it may never happen.
“Actors have to remember that there are many more actors than roles available,” Jacoby says. Therefore, “actors have to constantly prove and improve themselves. If an actor truly has the ability to perform outside of the typecast ‘zone,’ the casting director will want to audition him.”
Sounds simple enough, right? Not exactly. After providing voiceovers and working on television, film, commercials, print advertising, and infomercials, Bryan still wanted more. Instead of waiting to land a role to boost her resume, she is making her own opportunities by writing a film script and jumpstarting her own food show.
“I’m always looking for ways to become more versatile—but that doesn’t mean I’m not selective,” Bryan says. “If a project isn’t right for me, doesn’t stretch new muscles and make me a better overall actor, I keep looking for other opportunities.” [Read how Angela went from having a dream to living it!]
Need an actress who is fantastic in front of whatever camera you have on hand? Contact Angela Bryan at (954) 661-8202, visit her at www.angelabryan.net or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
Looking for a casting office that auditioned and chose casts for Edward Scissorhands, The Waterboy, and other fantastic films? Go no further than Ellen Jacoby Casting International. Check them out online at www.ellenjacobycasting.com or call (305) 531-5300.
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