Monday, 30 March 2015

5 Easily-Fixable But Way Too Common Audition Mistakes

I know this statement won't blow anybody's minds, but auditioning is a nerve wracking process. I know because I've been on a lot of auditions myself. But that was another lifetime. Nowadays I am not the one auditioning, rather I'm the person casting, and what I didn't realize before was how often actors make the same simple mistakes in their auditions and how EASY it can be to avoid them. 

Here are a few simple mistakes that I've experienced. I can't claim that every casting director will 100% agree with these rules, but if you ever audition with Swagger, you'll want to pay attention. 

1. Don't show up too early.

Unless you know that there will be a place for you to wait, or that there may be the possibility of going early, don't show up more than 15 minutes before your audition. You may be the first one scheduled and the location isn't set up or there may only be room for 1 or 2 in the holding area and showing up too early puts a wrench in the socket. Being early is good (and too early is always better than late), but you're not going to earn any double bonus points for being super early and you risk inconveniencing the casting process.

2. Don't compliment my clothes/hair/jewelry/shoes/etc.

I know I'm a fashionable lady and you may not mean anything by it, but when an actor walks in and the first or second thing they do is compliment my clothing, then I can't help but feel like they're kissing up a bit. And then I feel kind of sad for them because it's a bit of a desperate tactic... And then I feel insulted, because did you really think that would work? 

Don't get me wrong, complimenting anyone is hardly the world's worst crime, but you're safer not risking giving that impression. Stick to the audition; we're here to be impressed by YOU.

3. Don't forget your headshot and resume.

Maybe you sent one in when you submitted, so you think we have it. Bring it anyway. Sometimes the casting director wants to be able to look at that information while you are giving your audition and you shouldn't make them have to print all that out themselves to do so. Or maybe the person you sent it into isn't the person you're seeing and they never swapped info. Better to be safe than sorry.

We may be living in the digital age but convenience and courtesy have yet to go out of style.

4. Don't make excuses!

The most successful actors are the ones who are comfortable in their own skin (or who can fake it). If you need to wear your glasses to read the sides, don't ramble on nervously apologizing for it, simply put them on and offer to do a couple lines without them if they'd like to see your look without them. If you broke rule #3 and forgot your headshot and resume, just let me know you forgot it but are happy to send one in as soon as possible. 

But these are just details. Most importantly, NEVER apologize for your audition. If you stumbled on words, take a deep breath and try again. If you skipped a line, just keep moving. It's probably not important and better to continue your flow. If you gave a weird read and you want to try it differently, ask if you can have the time to give a variation. I don't need to hear that this is your first audition, but never apologize for your performance. It makes the casting director uncomfortable, it draws more attention to the mistake, and it derails the ability to determine who you are and what you're truly capable of.

The thing is - and this is 100% true - the casting director wants you to do well. No one is rooting for you more, in fact. Mistakes are inevitable and the people we hire fumble all the time. What a director wants to see is how well you deal with it.  

5. If you're going to miss your audition appointment, call and cancel. 

It's rude to waste anyone's time and there are plenty of other people out there who want your spot. Things come up all the time, that's understandable. Even if you can't cancel ahead of time due to an unforeseen emergency, you can send a note afterward apologizing for missing the appointment. Who knows, you may be able to send in a taped audition and all is well. But I can tell you that if you make an audition appointment with Swagger, don't show up and don't call, you will not be getting another audition with us in the future. 

I hope these few tips help you feel a bit more comfortable with your next audition experience. For any actors who are interested in working with Swagger, email with your headshot, resume and contact info to get on the list to hear about our auditions first!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Our Work: The Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers

Client Overview:
The Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers, or TAFEC, is a statewide association representing freestanding emergency centers who works to ensure that all Texans have timely access to high-quality emergency medical care.

Project Challenge: 
TAFEC wanted a video that would educated Texans about the differences between medical care facilities and the benefits of choosing a freestanding ER. They wanted the message to be clear and accompanied by clean cut, visually-appealing animation.

Action Taken:
We created a 2:30 minute video that includes all of the necessary information the client requested. The animation is clean cut and smooth, making it easy for the viewer to take in the information presented to them and not feel overwhelmed. Furthermore, the video is accompanied by a mellow music track to keep the animations motivated and the viewer interested.


Monday, 23 March 2015

Why Your Small Business Needs Video Marketing

Gone are the days when a video for your business cost more than your car and the only way to send it to customers was through expensive DVD mailers.  While you can still invest in high-end video, animation, or production, the options available to small businesses are vast and can be tailored to best fit your budget.  There are no longer any excuses why you can’t promote your company with a video and not doing so could be costing you more potential customers that you realize.  Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best uses of video to market your business.

1. Boost Your SEO

What you already know: Posting your video to YouTube not only places it on the most searched video database on the Internet, but also allows you to embed it on your website, share it with clients and promote it through paid search.  It’s also free!!!

What you may not know: Taking advantage of the description and tag functions allows you to pair relevant keywords and searchable phrases with your video (i.e. “1 Minute Guacamole Recipe” or “Hair Style Tips From A Pro”), increasing its relevance in search engines.  Over time, this increased relevance allows your video to climb higher in the search rankings and be seen over your competitors.

2. Convert Your Audience

What you already know: The average site visitor’s time is short and you want to capture their attention before they “bounce”.  Some visitors prefer to read about your company from just the home page, some will visit multiple pages, but, according to Forbes, 59% of Senior Executives (i.e. decision makers) would rather watch a video than read text.  Furthermore, 75% of executives watch a work-related video once per week and 65% visit that marketers website within that week.

What you may not know: Visitors to online retail stores are 64% more likely to make a purchase after watching a video about the product.  Even the App Store has an option for a teaser video. Do your product or service a favor by pairing it with a short, engaging video with a clear call to action that artfully describes what you’re selling, like this.

3. Tell Your Story 

What you already know: The best person to tell your story is you.  You don’t need the most expensive equipment on the market either (although you could go that route).  A video-enabled smart phone held firmly in place with little to no distracting noises in the background can set the stage for you to tell your customers why you are the best realtor/ yoga studio/online retailer in the industry.  Most phones and computers come with built in editing features that will allow you to include photos of your products and other footage of your business.

What you may not know: While you’re at it, find a happy customer and ask them for an on-camera testimonial.  This will not only boost your credibility, but could answer any questions that a potential customer out there has in ways you couldn’t see from the owners position. 

The bottom line is this: regardless of how much or how little you invest in a video promoting your business, the important thing is to ensure that it’s authentic, concise, and stays true to the spirit of your company.  If you have a fun, whimsical culture, celebrate it!  If you’ve got the resources to hire talent and a great production team, do your homework and check their referrals.  If you’re not sure how to proceed, reach out to a local association like the AICP to answer your questions.  Ultimately, your video will be an extension of your brand, so use it wisely and always remember that when in doubt, short and sweet works every time.

Does your business need a video? Do you have any questions about video marketing? Tell us in the comments below or tweet them to us @Swagger_Media!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Our Work Blog: Athré Facial Plastics "New You"

CLIENT: Athré Facial Plastics is a practice located in the Houston Galleria area and Clear Lake that offers plastic surgery for the face, neck, eyelids, ears, and nose as well as cosmetic and reconstructive facial procedures.

GOAL: We interviewed one of Dr. Athré's many happy customers about her experience and edited the piece together to capture her full satisfaction. Once edited, we designed and overlaid graphics, as well as an animated version of the company's logo. This spot was produced for broadcast television in order to help drive interest in Athré Facial Plastics at the start of the new year.

SPOT: Athré Confidence - Get Ready to Love Your New You

Monday, 16 March 2015

Do This and Never Have Your Work Stolen Again

So you finally finished that novel, screenplay, short film, etc. you’ve been pouring all of your creative juices into.

Great job!

But now, the panic starts to set in; “What if somebody steals my work and uses it without giving me due credit or paying me for my hard work?”

Fret not, my creative minds! Securing copyright is actually as simple as doing...well...nothing.

Kind of...

3 Ways Secure Copyright Protection For Your Work

1. Create The Work: As I mentioned in my last blog post, once a work is created and fixed in tangible means, it is automatically protected by international copyright law. So basically, you’ve already done what you needed to do to secure copyright for your work.

Not just yet...

So why isn’t this the end of my post? Well, at this point, if someone does copy your work and infringe your copyright, they could claim that they are not at fault by using the ol’ “innocent infringer” excuse. “Innocent infringer” means that the person who copied your work argues that they did not realize your work was actually protected by copyright. Why? Because your work did not contain a COPYRIGHT NOTICE.

2. Include a Copyright Notice: The U.S. Copyright office strongly advises that you include a copyright notice to every work you wish to protect. A copyright notice should look like this:

Copyright © 2015 by Rex T.

  • The word “Copyright” or the symbol © should be included, feel free to use both.
  • The year of publication should also be included.
  • And finally, include your name so people know who owns the copyright.

Yep, you got it Rex.

The notice should be placed on every copy of the work, in a spot where it can be visually perceived.

Doing this will effectively negate any “innocent infringer” claims from the sneaky snakes of the world.

3. Register That Thang!

Listen to Gus, he knows.

In the U.S., before you can sue someone for copying or stealing your work, you have to have registered the copyright for that work with the federal government.

Registering your copyright is fairly simple, all you have to do is:

  • Fill out the required forms (in paper or online).
  • Pay the required fees ($35 - $55 online, $85 in paper).
  • Send two complete copies of your work to the Copyright Office.

Under federal law, you have 90 days to register your work from the moment it is published. If you have not registered your work after 90 days and someone infringes on your copyright, you have the option of registering your copyright at that point in time and still be able to file a suit, however you will not be able to receive compensation for your attorney fees or win statutory damages. Basically, you will not be able to get money out of it.

Stay tuned for my next blog post where I will discuss how copyright works when it comes to freelance work.

For now, leave any questions or comments about what you would like to know in terms of copyright law below, or tweet us @Swagger_Media!