“Has been and continues to be instrumental in the development of my roster”

“Jeb Beach has been and continues to be instrumental in the development of my roster. My clients always leave his workshops having grown as both performers and professionals in the business. There is an unequivocal connection between his work with them and their success. Jeb’s enthusiasm, keen eye and diligent work ethic, along with his generosity in sharing his wisdom make him an excellent mentor.”

David Whitmey
Talent Agent/Owner — Moving Pictures Talent

His passion and positive energy are infectious

“I love doing workshops with Jeb Beach.  Jeb understands the importance of “the audition”. His passion and positive energy are infectious. Jeb’s knowledge and instincts are important tools he utilizes when he teaches.  I believe positive reinforcement gets faster results and creates a safe environment where actors can play and learn to trust their instincts. Jeb creates such an environment where he encourages actors to strive to be the best they can be.”

 

Jackie Lind, Casting Director (Hell on Wheels, Copper, The Haunting Hour, many many MOW’s, and more)

Familiarity Building: Selfless Self Marketing for the Actor

 

If you’re like most actors out there fighting for a career, someone has told you to get a website, get on Facebook  get on YouTube, and start Tweeting.  If you’re like most actors you pretty much stop before you start because you can’t navigate the negative spiral that come up: What is the point of my blog?  What am I supposed to tweet about?  What’s the difference between Facebook and Twitter and when do I use what and how?  I haven’t booked anything, casting doesn’t even know who I am – how am I supposed to share my work when I’m only trying to get work?  It’s all so frustrating, bag it.  I need a new agent who can get me in the room……

STOP!

If that’s your frame of mind, you’re thinking about the result – where you want to get to, and not about where you are right now.  You’re not thinking about how what you do right now, with your (possibly) seemingly tiny ‘network’ of professionals that consists of people in your acting class and your mom, can lead to your oscar acceptance speech.  Rather, you’re focussing on the fact that you are NOT Jennifer Lawrence, and since you’re past 23 it’s all over now anyway.  We gotta change that, get you thinking relationally – also known as ‘the way stuff actually works’.

This industry runs on relationships.  The more positive relationships you have, the stronger your career momentum will be. Relationships require time to develop history, familiarity and VALUE EXCHANGE.  Each person on each end of that VALUE EXCHANGE needs to feel they are getting the better end of the deal.  That’s totally attainable by the way – for example – an employer expects to get more value from your work than the money he/she invests in paying you, and the money you get back means more to you than the time you invest.

When you are in the habit of creating value for all those with whom you interact, you gain their attention, you build rapport, history, and familiarity, and once you have familiarity as long as you maintain momentum, it snowballs.  Familiarity is your goal. The whole point of social media and blogging from an actor’s marketing standpoint is to create familiarity with anyone who can influence your career.  Ultimately, depending on where you’re at in your career growth this could be anyone from someone who can refer you to an agent, a prospective agent, casting, producers, directors, network, or ultimately – if you’re Ashton Kutcher or Ellen: the masses.

If you’re an actor reading my blog,  I’m betting you’re more likely to fall in the “need to be better known to casting” side of things, but no-matter where you are on the scale, the same fundamental rules apply.

Good.  Stop comparing yourself to big stars or even your friends who have had a few TV Series.  Then stop comparing yourself.  How you stack up to someone else simply does not matter in your Familiarity Building.  What you want is for everyone in the industry who is at the next level of influence up from where you are right now in the hierarchical chain to be familiar with you. As that happens, you increase your likelihood of coming to mind when the opportunity that you are suited for comes up.

You want casting (or directors or producers or whoever is next up the chain for you) to think of you when they are creating a character breakdown.  This takes time.  Especially if all you are relying on is the hard work of your agent.  Remember your agent takes 15%, so you are responsible for 85% of the work! Historically it took face time or media time.  For an actor starting out, that meant two or three auditions at 2 or three minutes each per year.  Tough to make an impression quickly doing that.

But, today – as in right now – the opportunity exists to become known to (familiar with) your tribe.  This industry is SMALL. You are part of it.   On average, there are less than 2 degrees of separation between you and anyone in the industry you need to know.  Admittedly, that’s a guess on my part, but I’m very comfortable saying that most of the time you “know someone who knows the someone”. Just look at how quickly #SaveBCFilm came together if you want proof.

People talk. People share.  If you build your familiarity with all of the folks within your own network (start with inviting all the industry peeps in your 500 Facebook friends to like your Actor Page ) proactively sharing and ADDING VALUE to their lives, you will stick in their mind.  You will come up in conversation, and your network will expand.  As that happens you will build momentum for opportunities, and as you do that, you will push your career forward.

 

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SO.. how does one add value?

Right, that’s the question, isn’t it.  This is very much a theme to my acting and teaching career philosophy.  If you’ve read my post The Thing About Booking Commercials you’ll see that’s basically the whole point – book more by adding value to everyone involved in the process.  It works. Every time I go out to an audition it seems someone comments on my blog, or asks my opinion about the industry, auditioning, how to get an agent – whatever.  That’s because they are familiar with the fact that I’m in the practice of helping.   I only really launched this blog two months ago, and I’m floored with how often someone mentions it to me.

Actors get caught up with who they want people to see them as, or what that branding guru said they should pitch themselves as or whatever they think they are supposed to be.  Fuck that.  Yes, I used the F word.  Seriously, fffffforget that.  Forget about ‘being something’ to those people out there and think about DOING SOMETHING FOR THEM.  We (your audience) have had enough of people shoving identities down our throats.  We’re full.  We’re busy, we don’t have time to pay attention, we don’t care. Harsh, I know, but true.  The world cares not who you are, the world cares about what you can do for them. Here’s a great blog on that topic (Thanks Bradley Kothlow for sharing it with me).

What can you do for your tribe?

How can you make their lives easier, better, more interesting or more entertaining?  Can you give them a laugh? Can you get them to challenge their understanding of something? Can you help them grow?  What you can DO for people is really what your brand is.  How you affect their lives is why they are inclined to pay attention (PAY attention – it costs – respect that – give value for that attention).  The alternative to PAYING attention will be to SAVE their attention for something or someone more valuable, and that’s not helpful to your cause.

What you can do for your tribe is to share your point of view in a productive fashion.  Your point of view is unique and important.  Share it in the spirit of making something better for someone, or specific groups of someones.  HOW you make things better is entirely up to you, and should be born of your beautiful, personal, unique and valuable perspective on things.

Just be in it for them.  That’s it.  Fully and selflessly. Stop thinking about achieving something for yourself, start thinking about making things better for your immediate peers and your immediate industry.  Do something to add value.  People will choose to pay attention, because it will be to their benefit to do so.  They will become more familiar with you, and when they come across something  that you should be involved with, you will (at least be more likely to) hear about it.

Once you’ve figured what it is you want to share, and how you can add value, the methods will start to come to light.  When to blog, when/how to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc will become more and more apparent. I’m very interested in your questions on the practical side of this, and I’m thrilled to offer some support – please comment below and I’ll be happy to share thoughts – our public discussion will be good for your tribe.  Hint hint.

On that note, and to that end,  here’s something:  I get asked so many questions from actors on a daily basis, I propose that we go public with the info sharing.  TWEET me any time with the hashtag #AskJebActing  with any acting questions – artistic, career, audition, industry related – and I’ll share my thoughts back, I’ll happily offer support to you, and our sharing might just help others too.  If you don’t understand these instructions, I’m sorry to inform you (not really) that it’s time to do some Twitter learning.  You are missing out on some golden opportunities to build your career.

OK, enough.  Go add value to someones life.  They’ll add value to yours just by getting to know you.  You both EXCHANGE VALUE, you both gain. Stop thinking about results, and start doing.  Today.

As always, thanks for your attention.  I truly value it.

 

 

“Coaching Approach is Astute and Supportive”

“It’s always a pleasure doing Jeb’s classes.  His students are highly motivated, talented and eager for a challenge, and Jeb’s coaching approach is astute and supportive.”

Tiffany Mak, Casting Director (Mortal Kombat: Legacy, The Movie Out Here, The Marine: Homefront, Stanhelsing)

continues to challenge me as an actor by pushing me to take risks

“From the first moments in class with Jeb, I could feel his passion fill the room and stir something inside me. He is truly engulfed by his acting process that it encourages you to reach for the surreal “high” that he preaches. Jeb has this ability to stare down into the deepest parts of who you are to see what makes you tick. He takes you through a rollercoaster of emotions and helps break through personal barriers all within a safe and nurturing environment. There was never a time I felt judged or insecure about who I am or my process. Jeb is so in tune with himself as an artist and he brings unique experiences and perspective to actors so they can relate and learn from him. Jeb is not only a passionate and honest person, but also a teacher that appreciates the technical side of acting and helps his students understand it. Jeb continues to challenge me as an actor by pushing me to take risks and free fall not only in the audition room, but also in life, and for that I am truly grateful!”

 

– Sarah Corrigan

The Fatal Four Audition Missteps - Jeb Beach, Actor's Foundry Co-Founder

The Fatal Four: The Missteps That Sabotage Your Auditions

The Fatal Four Audition Missteps - Jeb Beach, Actor's Foundry Co-Founder

 

Over the past couple years I’ve spent a lot of time working with Casting Directors running auditions.  A few years ago, I came up with a Casting Director workshop format that we called “In The Room” in which we brought in top Casting Directors from Vancouver, Toronto, and LA.

On a selfish note, one amazing personal benefit for me was that I got to connect personally with each CD and deeply discuss the ins and outs of how each one sees auditioning, the industry,  and career success. I was able to reverse engineer each CD’s unique perspective, and I now am lucky to be one of the very few people in town who really gets all of them. (I’ve run over 1,000 auditions with Corinne Clark & Jennifer Page, JJ Ogilvy, Stuart Aikins, Candice Elzinga & Martina Smyth, Jackie Lind, Tiffany Mak, Judy Lee, Jason Knight, John Buchan, Sharon Forrest to name just the Canadian side of things).

They all have big similarities: they seek and recognize outstanding work when they see it. Of course delivering outstanding work is your prime focus, but there are also little differences that are born of how they see acting and the industry, and trust me they all have a unique perspective. My ‘thing’ as a teacher is that I’m exceptionally good at seeing/knowing ‘who you are’ and helping you to fully bring ‘you’ into your work.  To allow you to allow your work to happen. I’m good at that because it’s what fascinates me most – who we are and why we do what we do.  I have that lens on at all times, especially when I’m talking with casting.  I have developed a very keen understanding of how to adjust the approach to your work and to your audition for each CD.

I’ve also learned that aside from the personal adjustment there are  FOUR FATAL ERRORS that get in the way of success in the audition room, all of which I have made myself umpteen times, and I continually work to stay ahead of.  Ready?  Here they are:

1.  Playing into emotion rather than fighting against it.  We work so hard to make sure that the emotional truth is there that we forget to approach it like we would in real life.  I watch actors time and time again come in emotionally charged, making sure they are vulnerable and ready to spew tears or rage or whatever the emotional requirement is.  That’s a great step, but on ‘Action’ if the audience knows exactly where you are going, you have LOST THEIR ATTENTION, and that is a blown audition.  It takes big discipline to get the potentiality for emotion to be present and then FIGHT it, but that’s how we exist in real life, so that’s how you must exist in your audition.  YOU must be surprised – if you’re not, then neither am I.

2. Rushing through the audition.  We’re nervous, and the animal inside us wants us to GET AWAY FROM THIS PLACE.  We listen to it, walk in, race through, and leave the people in the room with something forgettable because effectively what we are doing is asking to be forgotten.  Auditions are uncomfortable.  Embrace the discomfort, love it, operate within it and it will translate as a character fighting to overcome personal obstacles to achieve something.  Oh yeah, that’s why I’m watching anything I ever watch in the first place.  Cool.

3. Starting the audition outside the room.  We get ‘in the zone’ outside the room, get called in and never connect with the room itself or more importantly with the reader.  When this happens, the best case result is a forced or planned audition that’s a little disconnected.  The worst case scenario is a totally disconnected read plus an off-putting personal experience.  “That actor is so self involved.  He never listens.  He’s rude.”  We have GOT to check in with the environment of the room, and ground ourselves in what’s happening in there, and what’s going on with the reader.

4. Holding on to control – not entirely dissimilar to number three, but this is when we have decided to say a line a certain way, or create a particular moment, or have come up with an ‘interesting choice’, and we end up ‘delivering’ something rather than experiencing something.  There’s this moment that has to occur before you start, it’s the embracing of the chaos of it all – it’s the ‘I have no idea what’s going to happen next’ moment.  When actors are prepared enough that they can let go, the magic happens.

 

These “Fatal Four” are what I have seen over and over and over and over again in various combinations and iterations. They are a window in to what is leading you away from success, and they provide me the opportunity to begin to help you overcome and achieve.  Please pay attention to the four missteps, and work at being so incredibly prepared that you can step into the room, breathe, relax, connect, let go and enjoy a ride that you don’t control.

Your auditions will thank you for it.

 

Thanks for tuning in :)

#GetBusyLiving

 

” as I keep working with him, I find myself continuously growing”

Jeb is not only a passionate teacher, a great actor, but most notably a sincere and kind-hearted soul. The first time you hear him speak, you’ll find that his passion does not just lie in teaching the craft of acting but also in his real desire to learn about his students and peers. When I stepped into my first class I had no idea what I was in for, but just listening to him speak about acting made me want to push and learn as much as I could. I will always be thankful for what he’s taught me and as I keep working with him, I find myself continuously growing as an actor and more importantly as a genuine person.

Manny Jacinto

Jeb Beach - Actor's Foundry Co-Founder - Planting Season

Planting Season: Four Steps Setting Up Your Career Year

Jeb Beach - Actor's Foundry Co-Founder - Planting SeasonCLICK HERE FOR THE ‘FATAL FOUR’ POST

 

In a recent post, The Three Seasons for The Vancouver Actor.  I outlined what I see as the true ebb and flow of our TV Industry, and gave a general outline of how to navigate them as the actor.  Going forward, as the calendar evolves, I’m going to get more specific and offer some ideas about how to keep on keeping on month to month and day to day.

To carry the farming analogy (Plant, Grow, Harvest) forward, let’s look where we are today, right at the beginning of PLANTING SEASON – which will last till early March.  Exciting times!  Planting doesn’t start with just shoving seeds in the ground; you need to assess the conditions, choose your crops, prepare the soil, and plan how you will manage it all.  That’s what I want to address with this post – how to set yourself up for a successful planting season in four steps.

I’m a Vancouver actor so my references are local, but wherever your local market may be, you’ll find similar resources to the ones I share.

Now, without further ado, let’s get busy on the four steps:

 

Step 1:  REJUVENATE

We actors so often get obsessively focussed on our careers (it’s scary and requires extreme orchestration and attention) that we often lose perspective of what our true priorities are.  This is a problem,  It leads to BURNOUT – we all know it – we are overwhelmed, in a state of active stagnation, frustrated and we end up resenting the things that really matter.  An actor can’t possibly be connected, present, open, vulnerable and GENEROUS in his or her work if he/she is obsessing on all of life’s frustrations.

We end up chasing an idea rather than experiencing our lives.  Disconnected from our lives = disconnected from ourselves = disconnected from our work = negative exponential spiral.

The good news is that there’s a simple and quite pleasant cure for this state:  RELAX!!  Hopefully you’ve enjoyed some holiday down time, kicked back, and connected with what really matters in this life – the people you share it with.

 

Step 2: ASSESS THE CONDITIONS – Where are you planting?

Quick!  What shows are shooting in town right now?  When do they wrap?  What is each show’s style?  What network does each one air on? Who is the target audience of each show? Who is casting them?  What is your relationship with each of those casting directors?  Which shows are getting cancelled?  Which are getting renewed?

You need to know the answer to all of the above.   Wait!  Don’t get freaked out – please refer to Step 1 and RELAX!  It’s all good – if you don’t know the answers, that’s cool, you are going to learn a ton this week.  Get busy assessing the present conditions and find the answers to these questions.

PLEASE don’t barrage your agent or casting for the answers.  Learn to find them on your own they are our there!

Go to BC Film Commission’s Website, and to Union of BC Performers for a snap shot.  Then Google the shows, find video on YouTube, find fan forum pages for it. Did you know most shows have their own Wiki where you can find pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about the show and more?  Here’s an example of one for CW Network’s Supernatural.

You must be an expert on all the shows that are shooting right now.  The key part of that sentence is RIGHT NOW.  They constantly change.  If you make keeping up to speed with your industry part of your daily/weekly time investment, you will be in a constant sate of career conditioning, which is to say you will be constantly re-conditioning yourself to be current, and you will be aware of the specific opportunities that exist for you.  This will help you manage that urgent/anxious feeling we all carry, and increase the ease and comfort in your auditions.  Opportunities are perennial and constant.  You just need to know where and when to expect them so you invest the appropriate time and attention in them (in other words ‘you do not obsess over’ them!)

As you dig in to what’s shooting and what’s coming up, and you are a little more relaxed because your expectations from the present moment of the industry are accurate, you can move on to the next step….

 

Step 3: ASSESS YOUR SEEDS – What are you planting?

Now that you are up to speed on the industry conditions that exist right now, you can begin to determine what opportunities are likely to be there for you right now.  That’s for YOU SPECIFICALLY – not ‘an actor like you’ or ‘an actor of your type’ for YOU. Period. Anything less is too general to be useful, and is therefore a distraction. You, and everyone on your career team (your actor friends, your coach, your Twitter and Facebook followers, your Blog readers, your agent, casting….) needs to be aware of who you you are, and how you should be cast.  This can only happen if YOU are aware of it.

Jeb Beach - Actor's Foundry Co-Founder - Planting Season

Wait, let’s be realistic about this – are all 800 of your Facebook friends thinking about you and your career and is casting urgently trying to get you the perfect role? No, definitely not.  BUT, if you are engaging them as YOU – the real you, not an image or presentation of you, then you are planting seeds in their mind about who you are.  When the time comes that the thing that you are perfect for pops up, you are more likely to be top of mind with them, and more likely to be brought in for something you are specifically appropriate for, and more likely to book and grow.

So, your job is to figure what seeds/stock you have to plant right now, in today’s conditions.  Here’s the three steps:

1. Look at the style of shows that are shooting right now.  Which two or three of them are right up your alley STYLISTICALLY?    Honestly ask and answer for yourself the question, “What styles/shows make my artist engine rev to the redline?  Which ones excite the actor in me?”   This is where your passion lies, and it’s where you are going to be the most successful.  Focus on these shows! For example, I myself am highly passionate about realism and humanity in my work, so a Children’s MOW for example wouldn’t be my prime target (can I play those Characters?  Most definitely, but are they my focus right now? Definitely not.) Shows like Motive, Red Widow (both of which I booked in the end of Harvest Season 2012 – not co-incidentally) are great fits for me.  Right now.  Things may change, and if I’m constantly (re)assessing it all, I’ll be plugged in to that change.

2. What’s your casting on these shows?  Some call it ‘brand’ some call it ‘type’ some call it ‘hit’.  These are just all fancy intimidating marketing speak for ‘who are you’, and more importantly ‘who are you in the context of this show?’.  Me?  I’m a passionate loving insecure dad who’s stepping up to the plate and learning that carrying the world on your shoulders isn’t actually carrying the world on your shoulders – it’s work, but it’s fun and easier than I used to worry about.  Compassionate, Frustrated, Insecure, and Determined.  I’m not a cover model, but I’m not quite ‘character’ in looks.  I play a doctor on Red Widow, giving compassionate but firm news to a concerned series lead, and I play a man in a confessional trying to own up to doing the right thing on Motive.  Obviously.

3. REALISTICALLY, what level are you going to read and book for right now?  It’s a resume/reputation question.  If you have never booked an actor role, you are not going to book a series lead.  That may sound harsh, and it’s not 100% percent true, but it’s close.  Don’t expect to be the ‘exception that makes the rule’, but be delighted if you are.   We’re often either overly humble about it (afraid to rise to the level that we are actually at) or we are in defensive denial about where we must be. Don’t give into all that silliness.  Have a look at your resume, and be productively honest with yourself.  You will read (and should be excited to do so) for roles that are one step up and one step down from what your most common level shows.  Be grateful for that.

Now, put those all together, the two or three shows that artistically excite you, who you are quality wise on that show, and what level you should be reading for regularly.  BOOM.  If you’ve identified 3 roles for 3 shows, you now have NINE SPECIFIC ROLES to pay attention to this season.  This is the core of your focus this month.

I’m not for a second suggesting that you become closed off to all other work outside of these targets; there is lots more work and you will read for, and should be open to. But if you are focussed on these specifics, and they inform your communications, your marketing (Headshots, Twitter, Facebook, Website, etc) and all your interaction with the industry, you are PLANTING the right seeds in the minds of all who can influence your career.  I’m saying that whilst you focus on this core for your casting right now, you will relax and probably book more gigs in general, because you are providing a foundation for YOU to show up in the first place.  Less trying to be and more simply being and doing.

An important note here: if it feels like you’re ‘trying to be something’ or forcing it, then it’s not right.  Really, this all boils down to self-awareness – know who you are and tell people you know without wasting their time.

Step 4: START PLANTING – Targeting your seeds

 

Jeb Beach - Actor's Foundry Co-Founder - Blog

Now that it’s all planned out, it’s time to put it into action.  Talk to your agent, listen to their perspective on it all, collaborate with them.  Get specific, but don’t impose.  They are professionals who are backing your career for a reason.  Share what you think your opportunities are this season and why, be open to perspectives being different and listen to their advice.  Remember that their job is to know more about the opportunities out there than you, so work with them, while never squandering their valuable time or yours.

Update your headshots if they need to be made more in line with where you are aiming this season, start tweeting/blogging/facebooking on perspectives/ideas that reinforce how you’re positioning yourself.

The point here is to build familiarity with anyone and everyone who can and does influence your career in the smallest way while always, and I do mean ALWAYS being respectful to and grateful for their time and attention.  Find ways to share with them by adding value to their lives.  If you watch what I’m doing with my own Twitter, Facebook, and this blog it’s precisely what I’m advocating for you.  I’m an actor and a teacher, and I’m sharing what I hope is valuable information with anyone who might want to work with me  while at the same time making you aware of who you’ll get – as an actor or as a teacher – same guy.

So, there it is, an overview of how to make the most of Planting Season in Four Steps.  Hope you’ve found some useful ideas here,  please share feedback, questions, or debates with me – we’re all in this together, let’s keep helping ourselves by helping each other!

In the coming weeks, I’m going to continue to write on the finer points of this season, and I look forward to using your feedback as fodder (that’s not a dirty word, I checked).

Thanks for tuning in, and #GetBusyLiving :)

 

 

“…helped me to get in the room and book”

Jeb Beach is undeniably one of the best acting coaches/teachers in Vancouver. He was the first acting teacher I had the pleasure to study with, and he set me up with a solid truthful foundation early in my career that has helped me to get in the room and book. Actors old or new to the industry will benefit from his tutelage.

Shawna Welsh