Monday, 20 October 2014

7 Acting Skills Hacked! Schools Don't Know or Teach

7 Acting Skills Hacked! Schools Don't Know or Teach

Many of you have gone to good acting schools, got a fancy piece of certificate which says “ Certified Great Performing Actor” and come out elated thinking that now all top directors will approach and you will become a Bollywood star, soon!
In school, you played lots of lead roles, and took lots of acting, voice, and movement classes, studied Meisner, Stanislavsky etc... etc.. Wow!
Fancy certificate in hand, you move in Mumbai week after week with inappropriate headshots, a mediocre small type role in an unknown short film or in a TV serial and wonder “Where are all these high paying acting jobs I’m supposed to be getting? I was a top student in my acting school and now what’s happening?” As the time passes and you continue to fail in auditions, slowly the truth starts dawning upon you… there are certain parts of my acting craft like how to fight tension and nervousness you have not learnt and secondly, there are some aspects apart from the craft of acting you do not know.
The clock is ticking and you may or may not realize there is this whole “business” side of acting nobody had told you about. Wake up! You need to change your approach, be nice, and come up with a game plan.

Number 7

Things they may not know or forget to train in an acting school:

1. You aren’t a star. 

You may have gotten a standing ovation for playing a particular “character” or an improvisation along with co-students in an acting school class, but once you have completed the course and out into this ruthless competitive world of “looking for a break”, REMEMBER- you are not yet a star. You will be in the audition room with people who don’t have any training, who have never taken an acting class, and yet have bagged roles. Some of them already have tons of big TV serials and film credits. And guess what? They are up for the same character you are auditioning for. Accept this bitter truth! Everyone is in the same boat now, trained or not!

2. Remember-the acting is a business, also. 

It’s one thing to be a good actor; it’s another thing to be a “smart” actor. An acting school is all about the “art.” They try to make you a good product. In the real world, it’s about the “business” in a highly competitive market. This market is a “buyers” market and here the buyers are influential agents and coordinators, casting directors, directors and producers. This is not a “sellers” market until you become a marketable “Star”, which at present means “you” and thousands of others like you!
Nobody is going to come knocking on your door begging you to act for them. They don’t have to. There are hundreds of aspiring actors knocking their doors who are ready to work for free, just to get a break. Firstly, you have to do the work to get noticed by these “buyers”. You have to promote yourself through your casting coordinators, agents, online and offline social networking, Email marketing, mailing, developing personal contacts, meeting production houses, casting directors and other people in the industry.
You have to combine artistry with the rules of-“How to be successful in a business”, if you want to make money doing this and support yourself. That means to begin with killer headshots, a good 2-3 minute demo reel (show reel), great audition monologues (that aren’t overused), and then add to this what I have mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Did your acting school train you on how to run this “business” of acting?
Therefore, you have to be a damn good CEO (chief executive officer) of your own “Business” apart from a being a good actor.

3. You can't live and expect based on “Your Past” right away. 

Initially you may  go for small roles, may be one liner roles, like saluting a guest and saying “Good evening sir” or if you are a female, just standing behind a doctor as a nurse. Depressing!
Yes, you were the lead in all your shows in school. Everyone told you how great you are. Now you have to go back to the bottom. The truth is, you won’t be seen in a TV serial or in films on regular roles without concrete television or film credits under your belt. The reality is that most actors, will have to start with co-star and guest star roles, and slowly build up their profile decorated with work clips before they are even considered for auditions for major serials for regular roles on television or in a film from a major production house. This might take years, and having a survival job (or three). Patience is the key.

4. You are a particular “type.” 

Not talking about dating with your girl or a boyfriend here. In an acting school, you play all types—you stretch, you play characters twice your age, play different emotions and attitudes and even switch genders! Now you are in an open cut throat market of Bollywood Mumbai or in a TV serial or commercials as a model. Remember, you now have a five-year age range (not 40), a height, a type of voice, an ethnicity, and a character “type” that defines you e.g. Villainous, chocolate boy, sexy and hot girl, village type, innocent etc..etc. There are thousands of other actors who have the same type. Accept and own it, embrace it, be the best actor in your type.
(See my previous post on Do you know your actor "type"?

5. You need to “be king or queen of the audition room.” 

When it comes to an actual performance on a television and film set, you can be an amazing actor, but terrible at auditioning, or a terrible actor, but wonderful, confident, and charming in auditions. You have to be “good in the room” as they say. You have to learn the fine art of as that is the gateway to your getting the job, and getting casting directors to “trust” you. Take an audition class may be with a private acting coach, see yourself on camera, and learn how to “Great” on screen. You have to understand tone, the rhythm of television, what works on camera, how to take down your performance for a medium shot, how to embrace your personality, make strong choices, and be authentic.

6. You are nervous and tense. 

It’s written all over your face. You are not comfortable and are tense in front of people, in front of  the camera, in your approach, attitude, posture, you forget your lines, and you are breathing heavily and sweating, oh my god what have done to yourself? A high degree of tenseness and nervousness is the biggest enemy of an actor and a sin. Though you might have learnt relaxation exercises under Stanislavsky techniques, but in my opinion, they are inadequate in today’s rapid paced filming environment and especially in the case of Indian actors who relatively are oversensitive. What they need is a well-planned individual exercises combing Indian and western techniques under yoga+ self-hypnosis+auto-suggestion. After a few sessions and continuing the practice, a student learns to relax his body and mind in less than 2 minutes even while sitting or even standing. Amazing, isn’t it?

7. “Be simple” 

If you don’t learn the art of acting for the camera, you will simply look ”out of everything” technically and craft wise or your acting will be deemed “theater-y.” This is the most important, and takes a pretty good time to learn, which unfortunately schools don’t have because of the number of students and need to train individually.  Most casting directors for television and film will tell you “just keep it natural,“ or “don’t act, just say the lines.”
And you start thinking and arguing in your mind “But I went to best acting school where it was taught “to be in a character” and imagine “If I’m so and so”

It doesn’t matter in practicality. You are no longer playing to your teacher in an acting class. Keep in mind you are playing to an HD camera three feet away, which magnifies everything you do, and even the smallest gestures can seem too big, and trying desperately to be in a “character” is dangerous. Be economical with your gestures, subtle with your emotions, and use your eyes. Just think and feel, instead of showing.

Training from an acting school can open doors for you. It can be amazing, and can give you the tools and technique to have a long, successful career. But being a professional actor is a different ball game and requires an additional set of skills, which involves all the above I have mentioned mainly knowing the market and how you fit into it, so you can put what you have learned in a school to good use. Training from a school is an invaluable part of the equation, but it’s just that: part of the equation.

(Admin: The author of this post and this blog apart from being an International Acting Coach, An Actor and a Filmmaker is an Ex-Vice President, Marketing in Multinational Companies for more than 30 years and an authority on marketing and training.) 

photo of Kiran Pande
BestActor Academy
C12, New Natraj Apartments, Pestom Sagar, Road #6, Chembur
Mumbai , Maharastra , 400089 India
Acting coach , Actor , Short Film Maker , Film Story Writer , Blogger

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Saturday, 18 October 2014

16 Good and Relatively Cheap Acting Schools India

Acting Schools in India-Good & Economical

Take care in selecting a school!

To choose a good acting school is hard. To know how to choose well is harder. And to choose correctly in this Maya Nagri called Mumbai  where you have all the shades of people-good, bad and ugly is harder still, perhaps too hard.

We understand the human instinct well because it invariably follows a name and a fame whether it's a product, a person or being an aspiring actor-an acting school. Sometimes our dream, our passion and consequent  impatience for a quick success makes us blind. We forget an age old saying that "Everything Which Glitters is not Gold!". However, later we find out that our decision was wrong and through the experiences of others,  we realize that perhaps a little known product or a person or an establishment would have been a better choice.

Most of the aspiring actors join an acting school because of its publicity, name, the man behind the school or the number of students joining a school.
In my earlier post (This one) I have mentioned top acting schools of India. There is no doubt that they have a good reputation and some are really good and can join them if you can arrange sufficient money.

The question is by charging few lacs as a fee for their courses, whether they are cost effective or not and secondly, whether or not they have upgraded their training techniques with the changing times? And what happens after you have completed a course and have come out? Do they keep their doors open to help you or the doors are closed? What is the experience of others?
All these questions point to one single fact-


Investigate, Research and Research before you make your choice!

  • Because, remember when you make a choice, you change the future! 
  • Great Heroes or Heroins in films are made by the paths they choose, not only by the talent or powers they have.

Many of blog readers have asked me to give a list of more schools which are likely to be good, and may not be as expensive as the famous ones.

Here is the list with availaibIe details. 


You are strongly advised to visit these schools, investigate and then decide:

1. Monttage Film And Television Academy 
Contact Information:
25a/ 303, 3rd Floor, Suyog Chs, Bimbisar Nagar, Near Mahananda Diary, Western Express Highway, Goregaon East, Mumbai - 400065

2. Attraction Acting Institute
Contact Information:
G H Malkani Hall, Opposite Juhu Gymkhana Club, Near Juhu Church Bus Depot, Juhu, Mumbai - 400049

3. Figa (Frost Free Institute for Grooming Actors)
Contact Information:
1003, Crescent Royale, Opposite Infiniti Mall, Behind Maurya House, Link Road, Andheri West, Mumbai - 400053

4. Puppets Acting Academy 
Contact Information:
Evershine Nagar, Near Movie Time And Peoples Gym, Malad West, Mumbai - 400064

5. Rang Rasia Acting School
Contact Information:
RUDRAKSH BUNGALOW, Near Janki Devi School, Four Bunglow, Mhada, opp.janki devi school bus stop, Andheri West, Mumbai - 400053

6. Shweta Tiwari Creative School Of Acting
Contact Information:
Office No 15, 2nd Floor, Hira Panna Mall, Oshiwara, Behind Shreejees Restaurant, Andheri West, Mumbai - 400053

7. RDG Management (Acting and modeling)
Contact Information:
Office No 537/538, 5th Floor, Ijmima Complex, Near New Infinity Mall, Off New Link Road, Malad West, Mumbai - 400064

8. S R M Film School (In central Suburbs)
Contact Information:
Mini Film City , Bamandev Compound, Near Swastik Hometown, Kasarvadavli, Ghodbunder Road, Thane West, Thane - 400601

9. Make Me Filmy
Contact Information:
Plot No 42/42, Opposite Janki Devi School, Near Telephone Exchange, Mhada, Svp Nagar, Four Bunglows-Andheri West, Mumbai - 400053

10. Actor Studio India
Contact Information:
602, C Wing, La Chappele Building, Before Ryan International School, Malad West, Mumbai - 400064

11. Expression Acting School
Contact Information:
Society No 81, D-6, Near Jankidevi School, Four Bunglows, Mhada, Andheri West, Mumbai - 400053

12. Little Actors Club (In South Mumbai)
Contact Information:
+(91)-22-22842845, 22842846, 22842847, 22842848
Hormuz Mansion, Near Cymroza Art Gallery, 72,Bhulabhai Desai Road, Breach Candy, Mumbai - 400026

13. The Ita School Of Performing Arts
Contact Information:
+(91)-22-67731349+(91)-22-26347637, 61950301
Ground Floor Unit No 2, Techniplex 2, Near Goregaon MTNL, Opposite Hotel Grand Sarovar Premier, S V Road, Goregaon West, Mumbai - 400062

14. Jehangir School Of Speech & Drama (Good for theater, speech and acting-South Mumbai)
Contact Information:
+(91)-22-23515270, 23513788, 23515604
4,Darbhanga Mansion, Near Usha Kiran, Carmichael Road, Cumballa Hill, Mumbai - 400026

15. Anahita Dastoor
Contact Information:
+(91)-22-26616339, 26614478
Ground Floor, Mazda Chaman, 13 Dattatray Road, Santacruz West, Mumbai - 400054

16. DON Bosco (Central Suburub Mumbai)
Acting and music classes
Contact Information:
DON Bosco Comms, Opp Khalsa Colony, Matunga East, Mumbai - 400019

We can provide more names on request
photo of Kiran Pande
BestActor Academy
C12, New Natraj Apartments, Pestom Sagar, Road #6, Chembur
Mumbai , Maharastra , 400089 India
Acting coach , Actor , Short Film Maker , Film Story Writer , Blogger

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Monday, 13 October 2014

Dreaming to be a Bollywood Actor? Wake Up or Get Lost!

Dream and Reality

Amitabh Bachchan Past and Present- A 50 Years Struggle
Amitabh Bachchan Past and Present- A Long Struggle Story

The Dream and Reality

I meet people all the time who say that to be an actor in Bollywood and in TV serials is their life’s dream and the No. 1 priority. They just jump into sea without knowing how to swim or whether the waters are ice cool or boiling or shallow or deep! They are so much deep into their fantasy of becoming an actor that they believe and fall prey to sharks and cheats of this industry who promises them an entry into films or serials.

Many of the aspiring actors who want to join my coaching ask, "Will you get me a role in TV serials or films after training?" And the reason they ask is due to a total ignorance of a selection process in which nobody can guarantee you a role except a casting director or a director depending upon how you perform in the front of a camera in audition and that you are the best to portray the character of the story you are auditioning for.

They just don't get the importance of getting professionally trained either by a good school or by a coach. Or selecting good coordinators or a need to promote themselves through networking and developing industry contacts.

After struggling for some time the interesting thing is that even though these folks have either postponed or completely stopped working toward their dreams, they still say that acting is their No. 1 priority—their dream. But it’s not what a person says, it’s what they do that demonstrates the truth.

  • I think there are a few different reasons for this difference between A. Wanting something and B. Doing what it takes to get it. I believe most reasons are related to fear: If you never really try to succeed you can’t really fail. We all have some level of fear and if we are not aware of it we can never overcome it.
  • First, you should courageously ask yourself: Do I really want to be an actor? The soul-searching honest answer may be that you are attached to the fantasy more than the reality. Because if the answer to this question is yes, the next question must be, What do I need to do to be a successful actor? The answer to this is a real reality check. 

  1. Do you know each and every step to become an actor in cine and TV world, especially in India and Bollywood where there is a cut throat competition among thousands of aspiring actors?
  2. Are you willing to prioritize the work that is required to become an excellent actor?
  3. Are you ready to then work in every possible way to support that process; make the personal sacrifices necessary; and remove all obstacles with a fully committed spirit? Because if you are not, you might be attached only to your dream—not the reality.

I am amazed at Amitabh Bachchan He has worked for almost 50 years in Bollywood and still approaches every scene in a film or (now) on TV shows with fresh creativity and enthusiasm. And if you back to his beginning, he was rejected numerous time for bad looks and voice and immature acting. However, once he understood the game and how to win that that game, he was "committed" and worked relentlessly not only for a day or a month but for till he is alive! And the result is that his dream became a reality. He is an extraordinary actor who applies this level of commitment to everything in his life from his acting in his being a wonderful human soul.

Reading the life of Amitabh Bachchan, now do you realize what is required to be a successful actor?

Not everyone can achieve Amitabh Bachchan's level of success, but everyone can be in the process of pursuing their dreams. And if we do that—if we are doing what we love—then we are truly successful.

So, my dear aspiring actors: Is it only your dream to be an actor or are you making it your reality?

The blog you are reading now is one of the most unique online free sites to tell you what you have to do to be a successful actor. Take it as your Bible, your Ramayana or your Quran for acting. It only requests you don't remain in your dream-

Wake Up and Work to Make it a Reality 

photo of Kiran Pande
BestActor Academy
C12, New Natraj Apartments, Pestom Sagar, Road #6, Chembur
Mumbai , Maharastra , 400089 India
Acting coach , Actor , Short Film Maker , Film Story Writer , Blogger

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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Guaranteed Entry! Follow These Golden Rules for Bollywood

Crowd for one of the auditions
Is it easy to get a Bollywood role?  Crowd for one of the auditions
Follow the golden rules

Your Instrument in top shape

1. Make yourself look HOT!
Build up your physique and leave the competition behind. This is in your hand and determination

  • Take care of your acting instrument and develop it by training regularly by-

A. How to use every part of your body e.g. Top of head, eyebrows, eyes, nose, mouth, voice, neck, shoulders, hands and fingers for gestures, chest, waist, legs and walk
B. Mental faculties- sensitivity, emotions, logic, reactions, how to relieve tension by relaxation etc.

Ace Your Performance

2. About the fear of forgetting lines- Don’t worry. A retake can always be taken. The director wants just one good take. Learn new scientific and yogic memorizing techniques.

3. Be simple.

4. Don’t force a character on yourself. Find the character in you. Remember, a casting director (director) wants innovative reality and not artificiality in portraying the story’s character to bring originality and freshness.

5. Don’t worry about the quality of your performance. Just respond and start on “Action”

6. In front of a camera while giving a take, speak with authority, even wrong.

7. While performing, avoid uncertainty at any cost. It is a deadly sin.

8. Analyze script or lines and character carefully. Then develop your character.

9. While preparing character and performing, Take time (few seconds) to cross the bridge from-

A. Listening to responding
B. One subject to another. E.g. A shock followed by better news, a child falling, but not hurt

Winning Secrets

10. Aspiring actors! - Don’t believe everything is good and your dream will be fulfilled tomorrow. Test water before you jump to swim. Don’t trust industry people before a research and proper references.

11. Female aspiring actors! - Keep a logical closeness or distance from industry people. For girls, it is a fire. If you go too close you may burn and if too far you may freeze.

12. Develop a “Thick Skin” for living as an actor and climbing up to the top. This is absolutely necessary to bear rejections, disappointments, the bad behavior of others towards you etc.

13. Be an extrovert, shun shyness and develop a certain degree of “barge in” (just walk in attitude). This will help you in building social networking and meeting industry people. Remember, being a good actor is like a good product. People should know and use this good product or else the “product” fails. Avoid being “a diamond in the dust”!

14. Plan and arrange reasonable amount of money to fight long periods of inactivity and consequent financial instability

Final Rule

Good networking, personal contacts, learning auditions, hard work, perseverance and all other points mentioned above are necessary, but are not a substitute to an excellent acting ability of an actor. Therefore, you MUST go on training sharpening your talent….till you die!

photo of Kiran Pande
BestActor Academy
C12, New Natraj Apartments, Pestom Sagar, Road #6, Chembur
Mumbai , Maharastra , 400089 India
Acting coach , Actor , Short Film Maker , Film Story Writer , Blogger

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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Do You Know Your Actor "Type"? 7 Ways to Avoid Rejections

Rejection in audition due to wrong type

Here is a challenge to conquer!

So often, as actors and performers, we have a hard time knowing how others see us. What is my type which the viewers would like to see and appreciate? We want to play the sweet innocent girl or a leading man when we would be better suited to play the hilarious comedy character or some other side kick. What we forget, is that trying desperately to get roles simply because we like to see ourselves in that “character” may be responsible for our rejections and failure as an actor, whereas accepting and celebrating the type for which we are best suited will allow us to stand out as a total rock star and hit success that might never be possible if we went against our type.
Just follow these steps and you’ll find a new sense of freedom knowing you have a more focused plan as an actor who knows his/her “actor type.”

1. Find Your Actor Type

These are the characteristics that others (casting director, directors and audience and general viewers) more easily connect to an actor upon first impression. Note this has less to do about who you are as an actual person and more about how you are perceived.  Actors like to fight this and say, but I’m so much more than what I look! I’m an actor and can portray any type!
Sure, you can explore the depth of your talents in a class or with a coach,… but it is important to make it easy for casting directors that you’ve yet to work with.
Good audition postings have breakdowns that explain the “type” they are looking for and it’s smart to know whether you fit or not, and then if you go, knowing "yes, I meet the type”, you have a brighter chance of grabbing the role.

2. Research

There are literally hundreds of “types.” They range from broad to specific. Some breakdowns will include specifics such as age, voice type and sex. Some will be a little more broad.

Think of all of the films and TV shows you’ve seen and start to notice how you would describe the characters in just a few words.

3. Know Yourself

This is often difficult. But, if you don’t know yourself, how can you expect casting directors to know anything about you. Especially when they only have your headshot/resume/audition to go off of. Start by answering these questions…

  • What age range I can play? (Not how old you actually are)
  • What is my physical type?
  • When people look at you who do they see? Hero (Ye to hero lagta hai, yaar!)  Young, Old, Thin, Heavyset, Curvy, Toned, Trendy, Rich upper class (Rahis  baap ki aulad lagta hai),  Sloppy etc.
  • What is my type? What personality/energy I give off? 

4. What type or attitude I show and how do I react to different situations in life?

Check and explore yourself

Aggressive (pushing type), Anxious, Arrogant, Shy, Confident, Curious, Determined, Disapproving, Jealous, Dejected, Happy, Horrified, Hurt (physically or mentally), Indifferent, Innocent, Interested, Lonely, Obstinate, Sheepish, Look Suspicious, Sympathetic, Indecisive, Ambitious, Irritating, Easy going, Imaginative, Humorous, Affectionate, Sleepy, Stiff neck, Bored etc.etc.

5. What is my vocal type? 

Do you have a base voice like Amrish Puri, Amitabh Bachhan or Arjun Rampal? Excellent! You are suited for leading man, police or army officer, a good affectionate brother or villain.. Or do you have a thin or shrill low volume or high pitched voice? Dharmendra or Akshay Kumar?
However, let me tell you-voice quality can improve significantly with practice and scientific vocal exercises

6. Ask Your Friends, Co Workers and Your Coach  

I know it is INSANELY difficult to try and separate yourself from your craft. Because you are what you are selling in this business. So, once you have gone through the grueling task of trying to answer the questions in #2… put your answers aside and ask your friends. Here’s the most important aspect of asking your friends, co-workers and teachers. After you ask them – LISTEN!!! Don’t disagree or argue. Listen and take some time to really think about what they say. It’s true that some people might
be way off, or some might give the answers that they think you want to hear – but you are sure to get a few really great answers if you take the time to actually ask a handful of people and really sit with their answers.
If you feel shy asking for advice, I suggest you to contact me. In my case, you are approaching a neutral person. Accept yourself as told and march ahead on your path of success and t up and do it anyway.

7. Conclusion: Compare

Personally, I consider it’s bad to compare yourself to others as it may lead to “copying” and “(mimicking”… but in this case (finding your type) you have to start somewhere. Find a successful actor who has a type similar to yours. Then go for the roles they have played and become familiar with them.

  •  If you are a kid/teenager start by looking for actors who are your current age, and then also do this for actors who are a bit older than you. In children’s films or theatre you’ll sometimes play parts that you aren’t right for yet… but that you will be right for eventually. 
photo of Kiran Pande
BestActor Academy
C12, New Natraj Apartments, Pestom Sagar, Road #6, Chembur
Mumbai , Maharastra , 400089 India
Acting coach , Actor , Short Film Maker , Film Story Writer , Blogger

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Trust Yourself and Succeed!

Trust Yourself and Succeed!
Tricks and Tips