MINNESOTA FRINGE FESTIVAL : 11 days, 165 shows, 15 Twin Cities venues.

There will be a TON of fresh new theater to feast your eyes on in the coming month. Get Ready!! August 2 – August 12 will be jam packed with 165 shows and over 1000 artists presenting their theatrical work. All shows run NO MORE than 60 minutes, seating is general admission and you must purchase a $4 FRINGE BUTTON to attend the shows. More details about ticketing can be found at : http://www.fringefestival.org/2012/tickets/

A great deal of the work at the Minnesota Fringe Festival is original work by Minnesota artists. At Talent Poole, we are lucky enough to represent AT LEAST two of the very talented writers and performers in this year’s festival. There are many more participating in the festival… check it out online for the full schedule.

Let me introduce you to Mike Fotis and Max Wojtanowicz

Mike Fotis, Creator of Billy Beechwood and The Mountain Of Terror!

Mike Fotis is one of the Twin Cities’ premiere comic performers. In improv circles, he’s known as an educator and member of Ferrari McSpeedy and Fingergun. Fotis also co-created such popular stage comedies as “Punk Rock Omaha” and “Speech!” and has written several storytelling shows for the Minnesota Fringe called “An Intimate Evening With Fotis” and “Billy Beechwood and the Mountain of Terror!”. Mike is also a mainstage cast member at the Brave New Workshop and serves as the co-director of the Student Union, which is the BNW’s School of Improvisation.

 

Billy Beechwood and The Mountain Of Terror!

Presented by: Ferrari McSpeedy

Mt. Terror has claimed the lives of everyone that has tried to scale it. Will Billy Beechwood reach the peak or will he be buried forever in an icy tomb? A comedy-adventure for the kid in all of us.

This show is funny. Mike, along with his buddies Joe Bozic and Aric McKweon (another Talent Poole Talent) play tons of characters in this fast paced trip through awesome town.

 Thursday, 8/2 7:00 pm
Saturday, 8/4 10:00 pm
Monday, 8/6  8:30 pm
Tuesday, 8/7 10:00 pm
Saturday, 8/11 7:00 pm

LOCATION: U of M Rarig Center Thrust 
330 21st Av S, Main Floor

Tickets and other info here: http://www.fringefestival.org/2012/show/?id=2257

 

Max Wojtanowicz creator of Fruit Fly: The Musical

Max Wojtanowicz makes faces for a living, including at the Children’s Theatre Company (Dr Seuss’ The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Romeo & Juliet, Mr McGee and the Biting Flea and the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz), The Strange Capers (Feste in Twelfth Night), Workhouse Theatre Company (Arnold inTorch Song Trilogy), Urban Samurai (Musical: The Musical! at the 2008 MN Fringe and Hunter in the regional premiere of [title of show]) and Frank Theatre (Cliff in Cabaret). Next up: Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at CTC! He could not be more thrilled to share the stage with Sheena and collaborate with all these wonderful chumps. Thanks to fruits and fruit flies everywhere!

PS: if you need more Max in your life, make sure to head over to Theatre in the Round where he is playing Benvolio in The Peanut Butter Factory’s world premiere of Joe Dowling’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet on the Moon, featuring Kate Mulgrew as Lady Capulet!

 

Fruit Fly: The Musical

 By The Jansonowicz Players

Created by Sheena Janson, Max Wojtanowicz, Michael Gruber and Nikki Swoboda

Can a gay man and a straight woman – a fruit and a fruit fly – “quit each other” to find true love? Find out in this brand new musical, developed and performed by local actors Sheena Janson and Max Wojtanowicz, who met as kids in community theater in the St. Cloud area.

Sheena and Max’s weird, wonderful friendship is told with music by Broadway veteran and recent Minneapolis transfer Michael Gruber. The piece will be directed by long-time collaborator and friend Nikki Swoboda, with musical direction by Jason Hansen, and performed at the Rarig Arena on the U of M campus!

In an election year, when same-sex marriage and GLBT rights are hot button issues, FRUIT FLY: THE MUSICAL reminds us that right now, as always, all any of us really wants is to feel safe, welcomed, loved… and fabulous!

LOCATION: U of M Rarig Arena
330 21st Av S, Second Floor

Sunday, 8/5   7:00 pm
Monday, 8/6   10:00 pm
Thursday, 8/9  5:30 pm
Friday, 8/10      7:00 pm
Saturday, 8/11 4:00 pm

Tickets and other info here: http://www.fringefestival.org/2012/show/?id=2262

And please donate what you can to our Kickstarter campaign — every little bit helps, and check out those great incentives! :)
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/458391060/fruit-fly-the-musical-the-2012-mn-fringe-festival
We know there are tons more (163 to be exact) show to get excited about… we wanted to brag a bit about two of our extremely talented artists who are working hard on these great projects!

Please go out and support local artists this August at the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

 

 

More and more we are getting requests for talent to have improv experience. They may not specifically say it – but read between the lines in the audition specs. Did the client ask for “something unique”, “facial reactions”, “fun personalities”, “good timing”, or a “comedy background”? They are really asking for someone to be comfortable with IMPROV!

In commercials, most of the content is said by the VO talent, that means the majority of ON-CAMERA talent is acting through facial expressions and reactions. The more comfortable you are with your body, face and movements… the more comfortable you will look on camera.

Some of the key principles of improv are:

Be Prepared, Warm Up: Even in commercial work, it is important to take a minute to prepare for your audition. Make sure you have read all the information well in advance, have memorized your lines if need be, have your headshot and resume printed in advance, and have your wardrobe ready to go. Once in the audition space – take a few deep breaths – shed the stress of the drive in traffic and don’t think about the rest of the crowded room. Only think about what is needed for YOU.

Listen: Listen when the director/casting director gives you a suggestion. Take a minute, process it, and react. Listen when your partner is speaking – actually speak back to them, don’t just recite lines to them.

Action Beats Inaction: Don’t just stand there and say/do nothing!! Act and react. Make specific choices for your character.

Be Honest: Don’t censor your initial thoughts. If you have a gut reaction, it is likely the most natural reaction for you… try it!

Trust: Trust your impulses and your choices. Also – trust those of your scene partner. Build off them, weave them together… make up a great story!

YES AND… The most commonly known principle in improv is “yes, and…”. You never say no. Accept what is happening and make it part of your reality and create around it.

Improv doesn’t mean you are a stand up comedian or the guy with the best one-liners. The talent who are great with improv can see comedic timing in a script and they can feel the places where a reaction can be placed.

If you are interested in learning more about improv – we are lucky to have some AMAZING improv theater groups in town that offer classes. Take a peek at:

Brave New Workshop Student Unionhttp://studentunion.bravenewworkshop.com/

Huge Improvhttp://www.hugetheater.com/classes/

Stevie Ray’s Improvhttp://www.stevierays.org/improv_comedy_classes.html

Comedy Sportzhttp://www.comedysportztc.com/classes.php

 

 

 

Happy 4th of July week everyone!

I thought I would take this holiday week to post a little something personal and let ya’ll get to know me and how I got here! Hope you enjoy it (and if you don’t – come back next week… we’ll try another topic then!).

So – My name is Suzanne Roberts. I am 1/2 of the team at Talent Poole and I am so thankful that I get to come to work everyday with Geanette and all of our talent. I couldn’t be happier!

As many in this business, I started out in theater – no, let’s rephrase that. I started out wanting to be Bernadette Peters. I went to the University of MN, Duluth to study Musical Theater and to become a STAR. Well, I learned very quickly that I worked very hard, but I wasn’t as competitive or as naturally talented at Bernadette – or even most of my class mates. So I switched my focus to stage management – now that’s where I became the STAR! I really excelled at organizing and scheduling and finding how all the pieces of the show fit together.

After I graduated from UMD, I spent a summer as a production coordinator intern at the Ordway. I worked on productions like Rent, Les Mis and Anything Goes. I also spent my time doing informational meetings with people in the biz around town and that is where I discovered tv/film production. I met with  a producer in the Yellow Tag Productions division at Best Buy and I wanted to know if my stage management skills could transfer into production. I asked her what she did on a typical day – and she said “why don’t you come work for me and you’ll see.” I spent the next few months as her assistant in the office and then I got a taste of being on set and I loved it. I  loved that everyday was different, that I would be doing wardrobe  prep one day and then planning a schedule the next and then on set or location the following. I became a freelance coordinator at the age of 21 and worked non-stop until I decided to move to NYC in the spring of 2005.

I had always dreamed on living in New York. I thought it was the best place in the whole wide world! I moved there without a job – but I interviewed non-stop for the first month at every production company, agency and casting office I could get to answer my call. Finally, I got a frantic call from a casting agency asking me to come in for an interview. They had just fired the last person they hired and their main agent was going on a 3 week vacation the next day… they needed help. NOW. I landed the job, mostly because they were desperate, but they asked me to stay because I was awesome! I became the background casting agent for 6 films and 1 major network show over the next 6 months – we worked on projects with Richard Gere, Jason Priestley,Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, Judy Greer, Tom Cavanagh, Hayden Christensen, and Ivan Reitman. We didn’t do any of our work electronically yet – so we just had piles of headshots all over the place. There was a stack of blond 20 year old women in the left hand corner of the room, the 40 year old men with grey hair were in the right corner. They were stacked to my knees… and we would spend our days flipping through pics and making calls. It was exhausting! After 6 months, I was worn out and I missed MN and my family. I was ready to come home.

After coming home from NY, I needed a break from production. I found a job that used all my organizational skills, but was still fun and creative. I became an event planner. I worked for several different companies over the next few years helping plan all types of events and meetings. But – I always found I missed production. I am so happy being back in the mix here at Talent Poole – I love working with actors and producers daily… this is my comfort zone!

As for me personally:  I like to laugh. A lot. I sing random songs throughout the day. I dance when I am happy or when we book a job. I can do a totally believable southern accent, mildly believable British accent and a terrible Russian accent – I love getting in the VO booth and being a goof ball! I am kinda girly, love the color pink, all things that sparkle and dark chocolate. I am terrible at telling jokes, but I love puns. I hate killing spiders (afraid of the karma or mass spider retribution), air conditioning (would rather it just be 70 and breezy), doing dishes and dust bunnies. I don’t believe that “everything happens for a reason” or there is some master plan written…. We have more control than we give ourselves credit for.  I have a passport that has never been stamped, but I am dying to go to Paris, Fiji, Italy and Australia.

So – there is a bit of history on your agent, Suzanne. Can’t wait to learn more about all of you! :)

 

Hello All,

Time for my first blog post. It’s funny, ‘cause I waltz around the office day after day and say, “Boy, I wish everyone knew…”, “Or, I hope people remember to….”. Hmmmm. This is probably a great way to get the information out to you.

I had some thoughts on, well, making your agent’s life easier. Right. I know, I know. You are all officially invited to send comments about what would make a TALENT’S life easier, and we will listen! I think it would make a great post. Seriously, send in your thoughts, and we’ll do that one next.

For now, just a few little things that’ll help us out in the TP office, and the reasons they would help:

  1. When you receive an email about an audition, read the WHOLE thing before you respond. Everything you need to know is going to be in that email (unless I forget to attach whatever attachment I said I would attach, and someone usually let’s me know about that fairly quickly). We’ve had some cases lately where people have signed up for an audition, and then, FROM the audition, have called or emailed and said, “Oh, I can’t make this shoot date.” Um. That doesn’t make anybody happy. Your time has been wasted, someone else could’ve had your audition spot, and although the casting directors in town know we’re not dummies here at TP, we look kinda dumb. Our lovely casting directors do an excellent job of giving us all the information they want you to have in order to do a fantastic audition. So don’t make yourself and us look silly by not reading all the information provided.
  2. If you miss a phone call from us, please listen to the call before calling back. We’ve most likely left all the information you need in the phone call, and it’s just nice not to have to repeat it again when you call back and say, “Oh, I just missed your call…what’s up?” I know it’s a little thing, but when we’re juggling lists and names and auditions and bookings, it’s great to have someone prepared and ready to go on the phone.
  3. I know people probably get disappointed when we send out an audition notice to more people than we have time slots for, and miss getting in on the audition. The way to beat that wrap is to respond right away! Even if you don’t think you need to respond quickly because, oh, say the audition is 3 days away, and it looks like we have plenty of time to get that taken care of, you should respond quickly! As soon as we get that audition booked full of people, two neat things can happen: we can move onto preparing other auditions, and, on occasion, if we show the casting directors that we’re Johnny-on-the-Spot and get things taken care of very quickly, they may give us additional times, so we can send more of our terrific talent.

I may be repeating things that you’ve already heard, but they are important. When you do a fabulous job at an audition, that reflects well not only on you, but on Talent Poole, and on your Talent Poole co-representees (just made that up); and that’s good all the way around.

 

Did you just get a call for a BIG audition? Great! Dance around your living room, do a couple fist pumps and then take a deep breath. You’ve gotten in the door – that is half the battle. Now, let’s wow them with your amazing professionalism and great audition.

Here are some really simple things to do that make you look like a ROCK STAR!! I know they sound like common sense…. but you will be surprised how often they are forgotten!!

BEFORE AGREEING TO THE AUDITION:

  1. Read the entire audition notice.
  2. Make sure you are available for the audition, the callback and the shoot date.
  3. Confirm your selected audition times with your agent.
  4. Open, read and understand all audition material – scripts, storyboards, videos, pictures. Do this AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THE AUDITION NOTICE. Don’t leave it til 11PM the night before the audition. There may be some things that need preparation time!

BEFORE YOU WALK IN THE AUDITION ROOM:

  1. Arrive ON TIME. Not super early. Not late. ON TIME. You were given a time to be there for a reason. When you arrive much earlier, the person you are meeting with may not be ready for you, they may not have a waiting area, they are in the middle of 15 other things… Being way too early is NOT helpful. Being late is not only rude, but also disrespectful of everyone involved. If you know you are going to be late – CALL YOUR AGENT. Let them know and they can let your audition know.
  2. Have your agent’s phone number in your phone for such emergencies.
  3. Have the directions, phone numbers, and all audition info with you. Don’t leave it to chance or your memory!
  4. When you arrive at a large audition – be polite and nice to the receptionist and helpers. They remember you and they are the future casting agents and producers!
  5. Do not bring your children with you to auditions - waiting rooms and receptionists are not babysitters.
  6. Fill out your paperwork COMPLETELY. Fill out every question asked to the fullest amount.
  7. Casting Agents want true height/weight/sizes on the audition form. (the wardrobe stylist works off this sheet)
  8. Casting Agents need detailed AVAILABILITY (they plan the shoot dates and times around this). If you can be flexible and make it work. Put that you are available… but be prepared to make it really work. If you need an out time for rehearsals or a show put that so the production can be prepared.
  9. Once you have filled out your audition paperwork, sit down and be quiet. This is not a time to visit with everyone else in the room. It’s not happy hour. Everyone there is or should be concentrating on the work they are about to do.
  10. Always bring a copy of your HEADSHOT and RESUME. Even if it wasn’t specifically asked for… you never know when it is needed. Keep these things current.
  11. Fill out your Casting Frontier Profile and keep it current. More and more casting agents are asking this of talent… make this a part of your marketing scheme!

IN THE AUDITION ROOM:

  1. Walk into the audition room with a smile. Be CONFIDENT!
  2. PRACTICE your SLATE before the audition! Your name and your agency should be a statement… not a question! Be comfortable in your own skin… this is the time for you to show the camera, casting agent, and client who YOU are. SMILE!
  3. ALWAYS be prepared with the material the agents send you, we give you all this information to HELP YOU, please take the time to work with it. Memorize the script. Learn the storyboards. Check out the reference videos/pictures. BUT – be prepared to improvise if needed.
  4. Wear the appropriate wardrobe – you should be able to tell what is appropriate from the scripts, storyboards, or job description.
  5. THANK them for seeing you. Do not shake hands (unless the clients get up to do so first). SMILE!

Remember to take notes afterwards of what happened at the audition – keep track of client, product, producer, agency, role, etc.
Your agent will notify you if you are selected for a callback or for the role. We do not know that info for days usually, since the selects need to be approved by several people. If you are wondering, you can always send us an email… we may not have any info though!

Don’t forget to have a fun in your audition and show them how awesome you are – we obviously thought you were great enough to get the call. :)

We want you to succeed and the best part of our job is calling to tell you that YOU ARE BOOKED!!!

 

We get tons of questions about headshots… there is never an easy answer and every person is different. We can only tell you what WE LIKE and what we see working. You, as the talent, have to be comfortable with your shot and be confident when passing out your photo.

Here are some tips that I have gathered from my experience, from research and from chatting with other professionals.

  1. Your headshot should LOOK LIKE YOU!!! I shouldn’t have any problem recognizing you from your headshot when you walk into my office.
  2. In the MN Market – we like color, smiling, natural headshots. Nothing too dramatic, model-y or avant-garde. We want commercial, comfortable, confident and friendly.
  3.  Make sure that you look like you do… Naturally. If you wear your hair curly more often than not – try doing your pictures with your hair like that. If you never curl your hair, don’t curl it for the pics because you think it looks better that way. LOOK LIKE THE BEST VERSION OF EVERYDAY YOU.
  4. Smile! We love smiling pictures, the thing is… it has to look natural, confident and not pushy.
  5. Makeup … keep your make up really natural. No pageant bright lipstick, no trendy different colored eye shadow. NATURAL. Even men should use powder to even out and everyone could use chapstick!
  6. The poses… make sure you are vocal enough in your session to get a bunch of different poses and shot widths (3/4, waist up, shoulders up, close up).  Don’t have a session of 100 shots all the same. Such a waste of $$$.
  7. If you are able to have a couple of shirt changes, that is great. Here are some wardrobe tips: No Bold Patterns, No Logos, No Spaghetti Straps, No Ruffles or puffy sleeves that add bulk. Wear black, bright jewel tones, or colored neutrals like blue, green or red. Avoid white. Wear something you are comfortable in. Keep jewelry to minimum – no large accessory pieces. They become the focus, not you. Make sure your clothes FIT properly. Especially men. We don’t want to see a big collared shirt bunched around your shoulders, we want to see YOU! Make sure your clothes are clean, tailored, wrinkle free and lint free.
  8. Outdoor lighting is great!
  9. If you have dark hair – DON’T have a dark background… you disappear.
  10. Guys – with facial hair – make sure it is neat and trimmed. If you are in-between stages… make a commitment. No scruff or skinny mustaches. It looks weird.

Yes – a good photographer is going to do a lot of the work getting you a great headshot. They are going to make sure you are lit properly, have a good background, and are framed properly. But YOU should be aware of these things as well. Do some research – find shots that you like and take them with you. Explore with your photographer why you like them – is it the lighting, the smile, the energy, the color?

Most importantly – HAVE FUN!! We want to see that you are having fun in your session, that your smiles are genuine and the sparkle in your eye is true. ;)

 

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of teaching one of the classes for Talent Poole – The Dos and Don’ts of the Biz. The talent and I went out into the courtyard to soak up the sun while we got down to business. The class was filled with talent that were brand new to Talent Poole to folks that had been with us since we opened our doors 16 years ago. We spent the afternoon talking about the quirks of the entertainment industry, here are some of the highlights!

  • The Hierarchy of the Advertising Industry: Do you know how many people have to approve the decision to hire you? A TON!
  • Resume and Headshot Pointers: What makes a headshot stand out? Comfort, friendliness AND I should recognize you the instant you walk in the door. Your headshot should look like the best version of the “everyday you.” Resumes – highlight the most important and interesting jobs – get rid of the clutter. Make an impression!
  • Treat this as your BUSINESS (even if you have 2 or 3 other jobs): Remember names, keep track of your progress, and always work at improving.
  • Be the easiest person in the world to work with: Be available, be prepared, read emails completely, answer promptly, be polite and gracious, be kind.
  • Keep us updated – send us reminders of what you are working on, what classes you are taking, when you are going to be out-of-town. Not only does it keep us informed, it keeps your name on the top of my mind!
  • Don’t do anything you have to apologize for – on set, in an audition, or at our office!

What I liked best about the class was that I got to spend the hour getting to know 10 talent, that I may not have known very well. The more I know about our talent, the better I can represent them. And… in this business you have to constantly work on the business and the craft. You are never done learning.

 

This spring has been a whirlwind of events, interviews, auditions and new talent. We have been fortunate enough to have attended the Twin Cities Actors Expo and the Twin Cities Unified Theatre Auditions in March. Both events were jammed packed with great new talent, fun conversations and wonderful information!

As a result of both events, the Talent Poole talent roster is now jammed packed with NEW FACES! Take a peek at some of the great new talent that we now represent. We are proud these actors have chosen Talent Poole as their agency.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars next year for both events!

Twin Cities Unified Theatre Auditions:  March 2013 - http://tcuta.climb.org

Twin Cities Actors Expo: March 30, 2013 - http://www.twincitiesactorexpo.com/

 

 

Hi Talent Poolers!

Welcome to our BLOG!

Geanette and Suzanne are starting this blog to chronicle our daily lives at Talent Poole and to give you an insight into the production world. We will be giving tips and tricks into the trade and sharing stories that can help you all get your bearings in this industry.

We love our business and want to share our experiences with you. We hope you enjoy our tales!

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