Thursday, February 14, 2013

Technology: friend and foe

From time to time, VO and on-camera talents have to update their marketing materials, such as headshots, resumes, demo reels, and VO demos.  Our look might have changed, we hope to have more credits, and always want to put our best foot forward.  These days, printed pictures and resumes are requested less and less.  So everything needs to be uploaded online.

I miss the “old days,” only a few years ago, when auditioners would glance at your headshot, flip it over, and comment about something they saw on your resume stapled to the back.  Maybe you worked with some of the same people.  Maybe a special skill would catch their eye, and they’d ask you to do that in addition to your audition.  To me, this personalized the experience.  And you knew that the auditioners knew a little something about you.  Sometimes they'll ask a question or two, or perhaps ask you to share a fact about yourself not related to acting.  But other times, there's no chance or time to make even a small connection.

These days, more decisions are made via online profiles at major casting sites such as Casting Networks and actors access.  There’s no way to know if the casting director or your agent saw more than the thumbnail of your headshot and your stats, or if they viewed your reel or any video samples.  But processing auditions is greatly simplified, and talent buyers can search many different ways to find the talent they want to see for their current project.

Last year, I got new headshots and redid my business cards.  This year, I’m updating both my VO demo and my on-camera reel.  The VO required new content, music and effects, which I’m working on with the help of a couple of demo professionals.  For on-camera, I just wanted to remove a couple of clips, add a couple of new ones and perhaps change the order.  I’m a PC, so I don’t have iMovie.  I didn’t want to pay for expensive software, so I tried Windows Live Movie Maker.  Computer-y stuff isn’t my strong suit.  I forged ahead and felt a sense of achievement when I eventually figured out how to cut, add and tighten clips and rearrange them.  Even after several hours, I couldn’t figure out how to get the right quality or file size, despite searching help forums and trying every option I could think of.  Still working on that.... 

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