**FYI - WE ARE NOT CURRENTLY CASTING ANY ROLES IN INDIA**

Sunday, December 4, 2011

STEVIE TV!

I'm very excited to announce that I'm currently casting VH1's new sketch comedy series Stevie TV. It's centered around YouTube sensation Stevie Ryan, a comedian and celebrity impersonator. The first season begins airing early next year. In the mean time, enjoy some of Stevie's Youtube classics (fair warning - some of these include raunchy language and themes):



 


Check out Stevie's Twitter here. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

THE BEAUTY OF HORROR

In honor of Halloween, I share the following thoughts:

Possessed by the devil, speaking in tongues, writhing in pain, dying a gruesome, unimaginable death. They say it’s impolite to slow down in traffic to rubberneck and watch the gory aftermath of a horrific accident, yet I often feel it is my job to do just that all day, every day, while casting a horror film. It is a less bloody experience, but the pain and suffering I witness in my office, can be troubling, at the least, and rather emotionally disturbing. I find myself encouraging actors, my fellow vulnerable humans, to cry more deeply, scream louder, experience gut–wrenching pain, writhe with more gusto, just so they will have better odds of winning a role.

Horror film casting brings special challenges, for sure. Your character is battling a 12 foot tall , 6- headed , fire-breathing slimy monster. Try to make that interaction real! Or you're hit with an axe between the eyes – not exactly a sense memory experience you can recall. So you try to remember that splitting migraine you had once - okay – a million times worse! Now… action! You're being dis-embowled, or buried alive, a thirsty vampire is sucking your blood – no problem. Zombies are ripping you limb from limb, a hundred piranha's are feasting their fangs on your tender flesh – now go!

Not a normal day at the office for most people. Yet actors dive into this process all the time. And casting directors, producers and directors witness the writhing, screaming, seizures, and tears. I know at those times my brain is divided into several parts. One part detached, evaluating, assessing the actors suitability for the role, and the other part wincing at the pain I am witnessing. It is not real, yet real, all at the same time. Perhaps the actor is calling up a prior horrific life experience. Perhaps they are simply creating a mood on the spot. But the more authentic the actors performance, the more rattling the experience of watching. I feel like a voyeur, but with a purpose. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I feel a chill run down my spine. Then I know the audition is going well.

So, okay, a challenging, crazy audition process, but here's some of the upside: 1) great opportunities for young and unknown casts, 2) very intense and dramatic scenes you can add to your reels, 3) a chance to really show commitment in your auditions. And still the question arises – how the hell do I mime this? What is being described in the scene is rather unthinkable and seemingly un-doable in an audition situation. Props? Will they help? Costumes? The right hairstyle?

The key is to be bold and fearless. Horror film casting is not for the faint of heart. Not for the squeamish. It is for the daring. It requires an extreme commitment to the audition process. No flinching. No self-consciousness. Bland or shy actors need not apply. It's like Fear Factor for the world of auditions. It's not pretty or delicate. It's gross, it's raw, it's messy. But what a great way to strutt your stuff and proudly show off your depth. Yes, depth, in the midst of a seemingly absurd and unreal situations, you can bring depth. Not easy.

One trick – use your nerves. If you ever shook at an audition with nervousness, or fear or trembling overtook you, use it now. Dive into that fear and let it be an asset in a horror audition. Even experienced actors have, at times, bouts of nervousness before they are cast. Before that validation that comes with being hired, even experienced actors can show signs of nerves. But if there were ever a chance to use those nerves, this is the time. It's perfect.

Now keep in mind, once you have the job, the ruse will continue. On the set, that giant, 12 foot tall monster is really just a guy in a suit. The ax in the middle of your forehead is rubber, not steel. The blood is fake. The bruises are painted on. Once you are on set, the demands are the same, to make the real the unreal. The incredible, credible. The green screen is really an interplanetary space station with a giant CG reptile about to swallow you whole. An 8 foot anaconda is coiled and about to strike. You're being burned at the stake. (Hopefully there will be a well-trained stunt person for that part!)

One can never called horror film casting "boring." You picked this wild business of acting for a reason. Might as well enjoy those opportunities to really go wild. And although getting the job is ideal, the audition itself will always plant seeds for the future. A bold and memorable audition is never wasted. I greatly appreciate the actors who have crossed into this extreme territory and gone out on brave limbs in these completely bizarre situations. You are courageous. You are awesome.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NEW NOVEMBER WORKSHOP DATES!

Nancy will be holding an Audition Mojo workshop on Wednesday, November 2nd in Los Angeles, so sign up now by emailing info@nnbcasting.com or calling 323-857-0151 to reserve a spot.

Monday, October 10, 2011

21 AND OVER IN SEATTLE

Just came back from the visiting the set of my latest project, 21 AND OVER, in Seattle. The comedy, written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott A. Moore, the writers of the original HANGOVER, was being shot on the campus of the University of Washington. It is so much fun to see the actors in costume, in character, on set. I've heard the scenes so many times during the auditioning process, but to finally see the awesome directors yelling "Action!" and "Cut!", to see the scenes come to life, is so cool. The actors have great chemistry. Miles Teller (Footloose), Skylar Astin, (Hamlet 2) Sarah Wright (House Bunny) and Justin Chon (Twilight) star.


Francois Chau, Dustin Ybarra, Jonathan Keltz and Sarah Futerman co-star. I've done my share of horror film auditions, during which actors must be possessed by the devil, speak in tongues, have epileptic seizures (EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE), be eaten by piranhas, (yes, PIRANHA 3DD) and more… those auditions are never boring, but comedy is a special pleasure. Also, visiting Seattle in the Fall is one of my favorite trips.


The ferry rides are awesome. Ferry by day, set visit at night.  Looking forward to seeing 21 AND OVER once it is cut together…

Saturday, July 9, 2011

KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM

This was one of my favorite projects I had the pleasure to cast in 2010. I visited the set in Spokane, Washington and Joe Lynch is such an awesome director. The producers, Mark Burton and Matt Wall were captains of the ship and it was one of the most harmonious sets I have ever witnessed. And now it's getting a lot of attention and rocked it at COMICON. Check out the article below:

From the article:

Move over Spider-Man — this movie is guaranteed to make fandom explode. Behold The Knights of Badassdom starring Summer Glau, Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten, and Danny Pudi. This is going to be amazing.
Read the whole thing here! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM - COOL ARTICLE!

http://io9.com/5818352/have-summer-glau-and-peter-dinklage-made-the-greatest-movie-ever

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

PRIVATE COACHING

Sharpen your audition skills and find your audition mojo through private coaching with Nancy Nayor. For film, television and commercial auditions, drama school admissions, and more.  The perfect way to increase your odds of knocking each audition out of the park!

To book a session, e-mail info@nnbcasting.com. Times are flexible, based on Nancy's schedule and availability.

Nnc Audition Mojo 2011 PDF 6.14.11-1

Sunday, May 1, 2011

STUMBLING IS GOOD

The other day in a film casting session, an actor walked in and one of the writer/directors explained to him that although this actor would be auditioning in front of the writers of the material, the actor should feel free to  “go off the page” and improvise. I could see the look of skepticism on the actor’s face. Was this a joke? A test?  Go “off the page” in front of the writers who had personally and carefully, with great skill and talent, crafted each page?? Crazy talk.

From the look on this actors face in that moment, I was sure he’d been told in many audition classes to NEVER vary from the written dialogue, because that would be a sign of disrespect to the sacred text, especially if the writers are in the room.  As rumor has it, you mess with the dialogue or change even a comma or stage direction or phrase one iota, and you’re screwed. Kiss your callback or your contract or your potential Oscar acceptance speech good-bye. This time the writers were also the directors and they were saying the exact opposite.

On this particular day, this writer/director assured the actor that he and his co-writer had heard their own dialogue so many times, they were truly open to embellishments, improvs, dialogue changes. They wanted the actors to “make the character their own.” And then my director said a phrase I loved hearing. He said; “Even stumbling is good.”

I loved hearing that, for many reasons, and these are why.

Actors are often uptight during auditions. Can’t imagine why. You’re whole career might depend on it. But anyway, that tension can create a stiffness, awkward stuckness, and the fear of “screwing up” the text can add more tension. Freedom from the text loosens actors from those shackles. Relieves them of the pressure to follow the script word for word, comma for comma… there is so much more creative freedom in knowing the dialogue and then allowing for the possibility of unique and personal discovery a bit “off the page.”

Also, the expectation of perfection on any level is a trap. You are most likely portraying a human character.  I realize you may occasionally be portraying an alien from another galaxy, but let’s forget those exceptions for now. You are portraying a human character, and humans are flawed in many ways. One way is the way they speak. I don’t know about you, but I spend very little time in my day practicing for the King’s Speech. I just stumble my way through my day verbally and rather un-self-consciously.  Words just tumble out. I sometimes switch ideas mid-sentence. I mumble, unrehearsed. I sometimes ramble or repeat myself.  And yet I function quite well and people seem to understand my meaning but the phrasing, the elocution, the presentation is rarely “perfect.”

So during auditions I have seen actors “stumble” over a word or sentence, and I can see in that moment they view that incident as “screwing up.” But from the other side, to those watching, that stumble might be a very human moment that brings a wonderful vulnerability or real quality to the character. It is not rehearsed, but neither is life. That character, if they are in the moment, might stumble, stutter, forget their train of thought and find it again – those are real, natural, human moments that I wish all actors would allow themselves without judgment. Those moments actors judge as a “screw up” can either be at the least, irrelevant in a great audition, or at best, magical.

Now at times, sticking to the written dialogue is important. Comedy is an area where the timing of written jokes and the set up lines are very specifically crafted, and messing with them can ruin the comedic effect of the joke. Be aware when to take liberties and when to stick to the words as written. I’ve seen actors blow an audition because they somehow have decided they are much better writers than the actual writers of the material and they basically re-write every single line during the audition – and that is not what I am suggesting. I am suggesting letting yourself stumble at times without self-condemnation. i'm suggesting you remember that In fact, as my director said the other day, “Even stumbling is good.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

SCREAM 4

April 15th was opening day for SCREAM 4. another really fun film to cast. working with Master of Horror Wes Craven was quite an honor and a pleasure, as was working with the amazing team at the Weinstein Company.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gotta Lotta Nerve

If there is one thing that can drain the life out of an audition and hinder its potential for success, it is nervousness. Palms sweat, voices quiver, faces shake – now that may sound extreme, but it happens, a lot.  To varying degrees, but it does happen frequently. Even seasoned actors, who are just out of practice with the auditioning process, can show great signs of nervousness.

It seems the fewer auditions actors have, the more nervous they get.  It’s like dating. If you have several dates lined up in a row, each one has less stress, less importance. So one way to combat those nerves (and I’ll be writing more suggestions in future articles) is to go on as many auditions as possible. Especially if you are newer to the world of auditioning – audition for practice. Audition for everything: short films, plays, industrials, commercials, indies, studio films…. everything you can find to audition for.  Okay, maybe not porn - but audition a lot. Sure, your ultimate goal may be to work with Scorcese or Spielberg, but along the way to reaching that goal, stay open and keep putting yourself out on that limb to grow your courage and calm your nerves. It is a cumulative process.  And you never know what will happen with certain smaller projects. I once cast a short film that wound up being nominated for an Academy Award. It was quite a surprise! So at the beginning, don’t judge projects too harshly or as less than how you ultimately envision your career. Just practice.

It is one situation to be getting up in front of your fellow actors in acting class, or to perform on a set in front of hundreds of crew members, director, producers and fellow actors. It is a completely different situation to be performing in the arena of the audition. One actor explained that once you are on the set, you have received the validation that you are “good enough”, you have been rewarded with the role, which automatically gives you a greater sense of confidence than you would have during an audition. Bu perhaps a worthy goal would be to have no difference exist.  Yes, we are all looking for approval. And in the gushing, immortal words of Sally Field, as she accepted her Academy Award for Norma Rae: “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”

Awards give us undeniable approval. So it follows, the icing on the cake of any audition is to be given that ultimate approval by being awarded the role, but do not let that result alone be what gives you confidence. When you walk in to any audition already confident, when you live and breath your character brilliantly, then the role will more likely be yours. But don’t consider winning the role as your permission to be creative. You are already creative, or you wouldn’t have chosen this challenging profession in the first place, so find the joy in sharing that creativity during the audition.  The thrill of diving into a character can be yours as much during the audition as it is on any set. Enjoy that moment without the stress and worry. Perhaps then, approval will not be the goal. Sharing your talent will be sheer pleasure, that can be your new focus, and perhaps then, the nervousness will vanish. That is when the mojo happens.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fine Tuning Your Instrument

Surfers wax their surfboards, sculptors sharpen their chisels, musicians tune up their instruments before every performance and actors, in your case, that instrument, is you. So how do you tune yourself up so you are in the best shape for all your up-coming auditions? Everyone knows the basic level of tuning - eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Sure, those are the commonly known basics. But there might be a deeper level of fine-tuning that miraculous instrument of yours. Here are a few suggestions:

1) TAKE AN IMPROV CLASS:  The nature of improvisation is creativity, fluidity, and the ability to handle all curve balls thrown your way with ease and inventiveness. Auditions are full of unexpected requests, line-changes and character adjustments. Freezing up or being freaked at all by these adjustments raises a red flag of warning to producers that you might be a high-maintenance diva on the set. And the set is the ultimate arena where “flowing” needs to be your middle name. The actors with improv background are the ones who most easily avoid getting stuck in their approach to any character. They are free to be spontaneous, in the moment, and real. Improv is often associated with comedy, but its principles have many benefits for dramatic actors as well.

2) GET YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP: Being tired for an audition only sabotages what could be a great reading, unless your character is sleep deprived. But that’s like suggesting you have a few drinks before auditioning to play an alcoholic. You’re being hired for your ability to act the role, not be the role. Producers will rarely hire an actual lunatic to play a lunatic. Not a great idea. So take the audition opportunity seriously enough to get sufficient rest the night before. And alcohol to build up your courage only makes you look bloated and puffy, and smoking certain substances makes your eyes red, so opt for sleep instead. No judgement on anyone's nighttime leisure activities but just be sure they don't have a negative affect your morning audition!

3) KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL UP:  For those times in the crowded waiting room when your blood sugar starts to dip, come prepared. Healthy foods don’t help you if they are in your car down the street when you’re starting to go into a low-blood-sugar coma right before they call your name.  Not only does that glycemic dive cause my body to weaken, but it usually makes me cranky as well. Not the best mood in which to enter the audition room! Pilot season is more hectic than usual, with the possibility of multiple auditions daily, so plan to keep food with you at all times like a protein bar, string cheese, carrots, tamari almonds, crackers, rice cakes… I’m personally a huge fan of Laughing Cow Light. Anything that fuels your energy and keeps you in a great mood for the audition ahead.

4) TIME MANAGEMENT: Have your agent call ahead if you’re going to be late so you don’t get any speeding tickets or hit any pedestrians on the way.  The goal is to be truly present in the scene, so arriving early or on time, giving you time to decompress from the insanity of Los Angeles traffic patterns, will only help you achieve that goal. i suppose if you were auditioning for one of my recent films, DRIVE ANGRY, then experiences of road rage just before an audition might've helped, but generally they are not so useful. So once you arrive on time, in a calm, centered state, then of course you may have to wait, so that’s where the snacks come in handy!

5) MEDITATION AND MASSAGE: Okay, the knots in your stomach match the knots in your shoulders. You have to find ways to relax and de-stress.  Deep breathing and freeing your mind of that need to be approved of, accepted and embraced is essential. You strive for each role, of course, but the people auditioning you may range from supportive and nurturing to aloof and distracted. The atmosphere might be rushed and tension-filled. So it is up to you to nurture yourself more than ever. In between auditions it is vital to learn ways to relax and replenish your being. You may or may not get the role.  Odds are, in most careers, there are many rejections on the road to success. Meditation and massage help you to let go of any disappointment and stay energized and excited for the next opportunity.  They are truly gifts of revitalization.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reading Between the Lines

Simon and Garfunkel once wrote a very iconic song entitled, "The Sound of Silence." There is a concept in that title that really applies to the art of auditioning. Throughout my time in casting, I've repeatedly observed the tendency of actors to rush through auditions - a lot of fast talking, and not so much listening. As a result, actors miss the opportunity to bring texture and fullness to the precious spaces between the lines.

It is often due to nervousness. I know when I'm nervous my heart races, my pulse pounds, and I tend to speak rapidly. If I'm really nervous, I can chatter away at warp speed. I see this in auditions all the time, a rushing that affects performance.

Actors are often well-rehearsed and know their lines well, so they look forward to articulating each one as beautifully as they have prepared it. But what is often missed is a reaction, a look, the experience of emotional unfolding and transition which can happen while listening to the other characters, and being affected by them. Those poignant and powerful moments of pain,  joy, desperation, sorrow, anger or whatever emotion is called for, that can happen in a few seconds, can happen during the lines and between the lines, in the silence.

For me, that slowing down, that intent listening makes a character more real, more natural, as I am watching an audition. To allow the time it takes to have a reaction, to have truly heard  the other character, instead of rushing too quickly to your next line, is essential.

Each audition can potentially be your big break, the turning point of your career, a launching pad to that next level of success. Don't rush through it for the wrong reasons.  Okay, if your character is on PCP or has ADD or is fleeing a crime scene with a time bomb strapped to their back, sure, go ahead and speed it up, but generally, slow it down. You made it into the audition room, into a moment of great opportunity, so relax and enjoy that experience to it's fullest. It can be exhilarating, and you want to bring the right energy to it.

That energy is very alert, very active, not laid back. It is very present. But still relaxed and not rushed. Famed playwright and director, Harold Pinter, had great respect for the pause. Just remember to bring fullness to everything that happens in a scene, whether you are speaking or not. Be just as present in those beautiful moments between the lines. That is where the mojo happens!

- Nancy

Monday, January 10, 2011

Skype Coaching Available

Okay, you're in Minnesota, or Iowa, or New York or Dallas and you have an audition in the next few days and you'd like to fine tune that audition. Thankfully, there is Skype. Schedule permitting, I am able, through the magic of technology, to have you beamed into my world, and me beamed right back into yours.

Email info@auditionmojo.com to arrange a time slot of an hour or whatever is needed for coaching -  to receive feedback anywhere in the country you reside, and have an experienced casting eye help you bring out the full potential of your auditions.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quote of the Day: Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey was recently interviewed by James Lipton on BRAVO's INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO.  He was asked what it was like to work wearing so much make-up in THE MASK and he said it was "horrendous" and then he added the following:

"The thing I'd love to share with people is that it's much more than just acting. You gotta transcend whatever bullshit is going on around you at the time and actually make a performance happen. That's really the work of acting. I call it "distr-acting." I always feel like acting schools should do scene work, get them (the actors) to a certain level of excellence, and then bring the scene up while I throw tennis balls at your head and let's see how you do!" - Jim Carrey

Auditioning is great practice for being on the set. It will rarely be a perfect scenario or an ideally nurturing environment. The Casting Director or Director or Producers might be moody or distracted for whatever reason during your audition, or you might hear other actors in the waiting room outside - whatever the distraction, your job is still to give a great performance.

I had an actor share that once during an audition, the casting director was pumping breast milk while the actor was auditioning!! Okay, hopefully that will never happen to you but... consider the audition as practice for doing the job. Any set or location is a buzzing beehive of activity and distractions. If you encounter distractions during the auditioning process, just say to yourself:  "Bring it on. I can handle it!" and give a great performance anyway!