How I Did 30 Auditions In 30 Days!

On April 4th, 2019, my teacher, Richard Lawson, gave my entire scene study class an assignment to do 30 self-tape auditions in 30 days. He gave us this assignment to keep our auditioning skills sharp. Richard says that actors should practice auditioning every week and not wait until you get an audition to practice. In addition to shooting 30 self-tape auditions in 30 days, he also wanted us to submit the auditions to him every day. He had a fellow student keep track of the audition submissions on a Google spreadsheet to see who was complying with the assignment and who was not.

Once he gave us the assignment, I immediately knew how I wanted to tackle it and set myself up for success. I approached the assignment as if I were a producer setting the production schedule for a film. I looked over the next 30 days and saw them as shoot dates.

Starting with day one, I already had my sides chosen. And on that same day, I logged onto Showfax to start finding sides that I could then distribute over the course of the next 29 days. While looking for sides, I knew that I wanted to focus on my first circle of casting (those characters I can play right now) because if I put my energy into those characters, then that’s what I’ll pull in from the industry.

As I accumulated my sides, I arranged them in terms of which date I wanted to tackle them. I knew that I wanted to have a combination of prepared auditions and cold read auditions (leaning more towards prepared auditions then cold reads) So, I scheduled the prepared auditions further down the week and then decided which date I would start working on them prior to shooting them.

I also cast the people who would be readers in my auditions. I knew that I wanted so and so on this day and so and so on that day. And in turn, I helped some of them with their auditions as well. I also had readers on standby if my first choice had to reschedule for whatever reason.

I also thought ahead in terms of wardrobe for each character I was auditioning for.

So, with this system set in place, I could see the entire 30 days. It became less daunting and more doable. I was at cause. I was in the driver’s seat. I planned ahead and saw everything from beginning to end. I was able to successfully shoot a self-tape audition every single day. I never fell behind. I never flinched from doing them. It was one successful audition after another. And by successful, I mean getting them done, executing them on time, making choices, being off book (unless it was a cold read), etc.

Tackling these auditions like a producer helped me to maintain my sanity.

I even posted a still image from each audition every day on Instagram and Twitter to document the journey. About two weeks into the journey, I also started posting still images on Facebook–starting with the still from the first audition.

When I emailed Richard the link to my 30th audition on May 4th (May the fucking fourth be with you!), I threw my fists in the air and cheered! I felt so good! I felt so accomplished! I felt like an artistic warrior (I am an artistic warrior!) And the most important lesson for me about this assignment was that IT WAS FOR ME. I wasn’t doing these auditions for Richard (that was not the point of the assignment) I was doing it for ME. To stay ready and sharp when it comes to auditioning.

I really don’t think that many people get the enormity of this achievement. This assignment was an event. This assignment was unique and it stood out. This assignment was challenging. To execute 30 self-tape auditions in 30 days was no small feat. It takes a lot of courage, tenacity, energy and excitement to tackle and finish an assignment like this–in addition to all of the other things going on in my life both professionally and personally. I remember being on set for the national commercial I booked right in the middle of this assignment and I was working on my audition sides at 2:30am on set!

Thank you to the following people for being my awesome readers over the last 30 days:

Chris Beber, Maia Modeste, Sayaka Miyatani, Jayne Marin, Angie Padilla, Emily James, Jessica Sade Ward. xoxo

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How I Booked A National Commercial By Crying

Hello artists! Let’s get right into my new blog entry!

I booked and shot a SAG national commercial on April 17th! This was the second commercial I booked in 2019 and I look forward to booking more this year. I had a blast being on set. I had a blast postulating and envisioning that the awesome crew on set would be the same crew on the set of my TV series that I’ll be executive producing through a major streaming platform like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple, etc. I had a blast with my co-star and the takes we did together.

(I won’t say the name of the product until it airs!)

I can’t wait to be on set again! This is where I belong!

Now, in terms of how I booked this role, I truly believe it’s because of the choice I made in the initial audition. When I arrived at the audition, I read over the copy before signing in. I wanted to get a sense of what was going on in this particular commercial spot. I then signed in and sat down.

When the casting director came out, they brought us all in to do a group explanation. I got further clarity of what they were looking for (“They” meaning the clients of the spot and the casting director) The casting director said something really important: “Every person we brought in has been making the same choice and expression. When you come in, please find another creative way to express excitement towards the product.”

Immediately, my training kicked in. I always hear my teacher, Richard Lawson, say “to go the other way.” Know what the scene is about and then go the other way. I knew what the scene was about and I wanted to go the other way in terms of my reaction to the product. Also, I utilized the acting checklist that we use at the Richard Lawson Studios. There is a checklist item called “Evaluation”, which means, “to what degree?” So for me, go the other way and to what degree? Also, we at the studio are aware of a very powerful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says your first impression is genius. To follow that gleam of light that flashes across from within. That you are a genius until proven otherwise.

We all went back into the waiting room. As I waited to be called in, I went over my choice and committed to not changing my mind. I committed to not flinching from my choice. Again, my first instinct is genius. Soon, I was called in. I slated for camera and then delivered my audition. When I saw the product, I became so overwhelmed by excitement that I broke into tears. And then I started blowing kisses to the product. And then a grateful smile broke through the tears at the end.

So, I went the other way. I was so excited over the product that I expressed it through tears…and then the kisses emerged…and then the grateful smile emerged at the very end.

I could hear the excited reaction behind the camera. I knew I had delivered a different and refreshing choice.

Nine days later, I attended the callback and delivered the same audition for the casting director and the clients of the product. Again, I didn’t flinch from my choices. And again, I sensed that they enjoyed my performance. I left my callback and drove home. That same night, my agent called me at 9:30pm to say that I was on avail. I was happy and grateful to be on avail. I was grateful that my choice impinged the room not once, but twice. Two days later, my agent called me to say that I booked the commercial!

Now, will I cry at every audition? No, of course not. However, I will always listen to my instincts as it relates to the character and the scene at hand. What is going on in the scene? And do my choices support the story that needs to be told? Because at the end of the day, the story is everything.

Until next time! Happy Easter!

Table Read Adventures!

Hey everyone! Let’s get right to it!

On March 23rd, I had the pleasure of acting in a table read for a new TV series in development. The writer wanted the first three episodes of the series read out loud. I was cast last minute because the other actor had a scheduling conflict. I jumped at the opportunity and got to work on this leading character.

The writer emailed me the first two episodes that my character was in. I enjoyed the writing and I also enjoyed the chemistry between my character and one of the other leading characters. I made my choices. I carved out my subtext. I knew that when I attended the table read, I wanted to impinge, I wanted to be moment to moment, I wanted to let the scenes occur.

I arrived early. EARLY AS I ALWAYS DO (LOL)  There were a lot of actors cast for the table read, the writer was there, their business partner was there, and the casting directors were also there.

I took my seat and the reading began. I did great! I delivered what I had worked on and I also delivered on what I wanted to have happen in the room.

The reading came to an end and I started saying my goodbyes. I thought I was done. I was in the first two episodes, I delivered and now it was time for me to say goodbye before they read the third episode.

As I’m saying bye to the writer, he said to me, “Oh wait. You’re in the third episode as well.” I said to myself, “I did not know I was in the third episode. I never received that script.” But like the true professional that I am, I said to the writer, “Great! Let’s do this.” I sat back down and grabbed a copy of the third episode script. This was literally a COLD READ.

However, because of my training, and because I had already done work on my character, I was able to act on a high level during the third episode. Again, the third episode was literally a COLD READ for me. I had not seen any of those lines before and I did not have an opportunity to read through the script at the table read. I just sat back down, grabbed a copy of the script and we jumped right in.

Again, because of my training, I knew to be present, to be moment to moment, to listen, to impinge, to be impinged, to trust my impulses and instincts, to not judge anything that came to me. I knew that I was continuing the life of my character in the third episode. Overall, I did great for a cold read!

When we finished the third episode, I said my goodbyes again and was able to leave without any additional surprises.

So, I wanted to share that with you all!

How To Break Up With Your Agent

Hello artists!

I wanted to write about this because a colleague of mine recently asked me how to break up with an agent. There was another person present in the room and they jumped in and offered a viewpoint. Their viewpoint was negative (“Fuck them.” “Fuck the agent.” “They drop clients all the time without letting them know, so why should you let them know you’re dropping them?” etc.)

After this person shared their viewpoint, I offered mine. For me personally, I don’t like to burn bridges. I don’t want to establish a reputation in this town for being unprofessional and for having a bad, negative attitude. This is a small town and word travels quickly.

If I want to end my business relationship with an agent or manager, I write an email that has a sense of ethics and principles behind it. I don’t blame. It’s not filled with anger. I don’t point the finger at whatever upsets I have with them. It’s a respectful letter to end the business relationship, and at the end of the day, I sleep better at night because I ended it cleanly.

The problem is that most actors complain about their agents, but what are YOU doing to strengthen the relationship? Are you providing them with clear casting? New headshots that reflect that clear casting? Are you providing them with new demo reel material? Are you in training in acting classes? Are you utilizing social media and your relationship map to build relationships with people in the industry? Many actors don’t do shit, but then want to blame their agent for not getting them out. So before you break up with your agent cause “they’re not working for me” or “my agent doesn’t get me out”, take a good look at your part in this relationship because it takes two to tango…unless you’re into threesomes and orgies.

Many actors are ENTITLED and/or DILETTANTE. They don’t want to do any of the work, but still expect to receive all of the benefits, accolades, job bookings, etc. Fuck that. It doesn’t work like that.

So with that being said, here is an example of a letter I sent to an agent a few years ago. I left this agency because the agent was hostile. However, I still kept my letter clean.

Dear so and so,

Hope you and your colleagues are having a great week. It’s been a little over a year since we started our journey together. I want to thank you for all the work you and your colleagues have done for me from submissions to making my acting profiles more specific.

I’m writing because I’ve been assessing my statistics and journey as an artist, and after much thought and consideration, I am officially giving my official resignation to your agency. As of today, I would like to officially step down from your client roster. It’s a decision I feel is best for me at this time.

Again, thank you for everything and I wish you, your colleagues and your clients much success and artistic fulfillment. I will do my part and remove your agency from all my acting profiles as soon as possible.

Please let me know you received this.

Take care and thank you again.

Best,

Jorge Ortiz

Part 2: Are You A Pain In The Ass?

Hello my fabulous artists! My last blog entry, “Are You A Pain In The Ass?”, was quick and to the point. Here is the link to that entry: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fq

And a few people reached out to me to expand on what I meant by being a pain in the ass. So, here is a short list that reflects sentiments collected from casting directors, producers, teachers, stage managers and assistant directors. This list is not exhaustive. I’m sure there are more.

Below are things that will make people not want to work with you:

**You have a bad attitude (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You know everything already (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You are non-compliant with assignments or with direction that is given to you (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You have a bad attitude (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You arrive late to a meeting, to an audition, to class, etc. and don’t communicate about it

**You talk down to people because of their gender, their ethnicity, their “lack” of credits, their “lack” of experience

**You complain and complain and complain, yet come up with no solution to be at cause

**You have a bad attitude (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You make other people’s job exponentially harder

**You are entitled and feel that everything should be handed to you

Get the picture?

I share this because I want artists to WIN. Artists are powerful. We have the ability to create change faster than any other profession. We have a responsibility to our calling as artists. Don’t treat this responsibility lightly.

So please: DON’T BE A PAIN IN THE ASS! It will cost you in the industry!

Is This Thing On??????

And we’re back!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here’s to a great 2019!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

I was at a commercial audition recently and we were all put together into groups of four. And as you may or may not know, first impressions are everything when you walk into an audition room. Hell, first impressions are everything when you walk into ANY room (the bank, the grocery store, etc.) How you walk into a room is everything.

In the case of audition rooms, the casting directors immediately get a sense of who you are as a PERSON when you walk in. Is this person’s attitude light and fun? Or is their attitude dark and hostile? Is this someone I want to hire and work with on set? Your life force coming into a room is vital because the people in the room either like you immediately or they don’t. I have been a reader for casting directors. I have cast my own projects. I know the power of life force. You know immediately if you like someone or not just by them walking into the room. It’s ENERGY.

So, I say all of this because whenever I walk into an audition room, I am coming in with life force and I maintain that life force throughout the entire audition. I walk in with certainty. I am interested in the people in the room. I am present. I am aware that there is a camera in the room and that it may already be on. That camera may already be live and streaming into the office next door or into the office in another city. They already may be watching you. Or, the camera may be off and then it comes on right before they ask you to slate.

So, my point is that we need to be aware of our life force in the room. We can’t turn it off or forget about it at any point in the audition room. If we let go of our life force and become dead in the room and that camera is already on and streaming, what impression are we giving to the people watching us? Similarly, if we let go of our life force and become dead in the room and the camera isn’t on, then do we ramp up our life force and get ready again when they ask us to slate? Come into the room with life force and maintain it. In this way, it’s always there. It’s always present. You don’t have to get ready to stay ready. You don’t have to keep ramping up your life force on and off. On and off. On and off. Am I making any freaking sense?

Maintaining your life force during the whole audition is an energy that is palpable and exciting.

So, my group goes into the audition room and my life force is on. I’m interested and engaged in a real way with the session runner in the room. My group stands in a line and I immediately noticed that the other three had no life force. They were not engaged or present. They were just standing there. And the camera is pointing right at us. Again, is it already on? Is this thing on???????????????????

The session runner asked us to slate one at a time to the camera. I went first and I delivered a great slate. I was already living in my life force and so my slate was a natural extension and continuation of it. I didn’t have to ramp up. I didn’t have to get ready to do my slate. I was already in my life force and my slate was the extension and continuation of it. Stay in it. Maintain your life force. I watched the other three actors slate and they all did the same thing: They came to life when they slated and then went lifeless after they slated. It was so interesting and fascinating to watch. They turned on like a lightbulb when they slated and then they turned off after they slated. Not one maintained their life force.

And now by this point, we all know the camera is DEFINITELY on and recording. Don’t assume that just because you’ve slated that you can now go back to your inactive state. Don’t assume that the camera has moved over completely to the next person. Don’t assume that the camera hasn’t pulled out into a wide shot after the slates to get a full shot of the group. Imagine that: The camera is in a wide shot recording all of us and you look out of it. Or you look lifeless. Or you look like you have an attitude. Or you look like you don’t want to be there. I’m looking over at them like: “This is supposed to be fun!!!!!!! This is not a funeral!!!!!!!”

Again, life force. And I don’t mean you do cartwheels in the room and run for mayor hoping to be liked. I’m not talking about phony presentation and over-the-top theatrics. Because that energy also reads negatively in the room. That is also off-putting. Life force is connected to your purpose. Your sense of self. Your certainty. When you walk in, does the room light up? Do you make the room better? When I teach the Professional Development Program class at the Richard Lawson Studios, I ask the students after they watch their auditions: “Would you hire you?”

Back to my audition. So after we all slated, the session runner asked us to share a story about who inspires us. Again, I went first and delivered my story. I was a person in a place sharing a story. When I was done, I maintained my life force and listened with interest to each actor who went after me. I was engaged and present. However, each actor did the same thing again: They came to life when they told their story and they went lifeless after their story. Not one actor listened to the other actors’ stories. They just stared off into space like, “Is this over yet?” Again, like they didn’t want to be there. Like this wasn’t fun and exciting. JESUS MOTHERFUCKER!

When you go to an audition, maintain your life force from start to finish because that camera may already be on, you don’t know who else is watching you from another room and you also don’t want to rev up, amp up, re-ignite, turn on and off your life force. It’s like turning a car on and off. On and off. On and off. Turn that sucka on and let that engine purr from start to finish.

Happy 2019!