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Into The Wild photo

photo credit: Marty Keener Cherrix 2006


Meet Floyd:

Over the years, I’ve worked with a lot of Directors and in many of the casting meetings they will say to me: “just get me a REAL man/woman–not necessarily an actor.”  What do I mean by this?  Here’s a typical real life example that happened to me on INTO THE WILD (Director: Sean Penn).

The scene was a tractor trailer driver who gets out of his cab and walks inside a local business to use their pay phone.

Our Director wanted an older man, who actually had driving experience inside a big rig. Why? Because he would know how to quickly and effectively climb down out of the cab and his body language would look real and more natural on camera— he (Floyd) was a real big rig driver with a lifetime of experience driving trucks.

I cast Floyd  who lived in Nevada.  We also loved his face!

Tip: make sure you include any real life experiences (like driving a tractor trailer) on your resume–whether or not you are applying to be an Extra or have an agent.




What makes a great headshot?

I’m often asked to consult with actors, who are either getting headshots for the first time, or others who are updating headshots.  It’s simple: your headshot should tell a story.  It should draw the viewer into you.

When looking at headshots, Casting Directors are simply glancing thru  hundreds of submissions.  Before you decide on your headshot, you have to decide on who you are as an artist and what roles you believe you can play.  Ex: if your headshot shows you in a beard and longer hair, at first glance you would be a quick pick for the role of a hippy…not a corporate tycoon. Decide what overall characterization you’re going for before final decision with your headshot.

You may think you can play anything, but your headshot at a quick glance, might be telling another story. Also, if you have a headshot that shows you bearded with longer hair, and you’ve changed your appearance recently–make sure your agent is aware and can post a note with the submission that your appearance has changed.


Hi all,

It has been way too long since starting my website and fully utilizing it to benefit actors.  This post is the beginning of my weekly commitment to share casting tips and information to move your acting career forward.


Technology has changed the film/TV business dramatically. For actors, it has become a necessity to self tape an audition and use services such as Breakdown Services to submit that audition to casting directors.  Your audition becomes the deciding factor in the final casting decision for the role.  One of the primary notes I give is “I need to see you thinking on camera.” Those are the quiet moments, while I see you processing what you just heard (as if it was not scripted in your sides). The challenge comes in timing, based on the sides, and what looks real and natural on camera.  My suggestion is to utilize 1 or 2 people that you don’t know that well (close friends have a way of telling you what you want to hear)  and have them watch your audition scene, in the room as well as on camera.  Do it over and over, 10 times. Then have your reader improv new dialog that you do not know is coming. Do all the “new” stuff 10 times–and watch your performance transform into more real moments, when you are not anticipating. Why 10 times? Because repetition is practice and practice, no matter what you’re doing, makes you better.

Til next week,



Cherrix Casting summer classes 2013

Cherrix Casting summer classes now open for registration!

One-on-One Scene Study/Auditioning techniques for adults and kids. Limited number of spaces available!

Click here to register!



Working as a paid extra on a film, television show, or commercial can be a great proving ground for a beginning actor. But all too often, those new to the craft shy away from this invaluable opportunity because they think it will hurt their chances of being cast in a speaking role. These people naively believe that working as an extra hurts their credibility–that they won’t be taken seriously. If you’re in this camp I would encourage you to reconsider. After all, it’s not what you do. It’s how you do it. So here are a few tips on how to make working as an extra, work for you as a new actor.

Embrace a spirit of adventure and welcome the chance to network. You’ll be surprised what you can learn about opportunities in your own back yard. With a long workday ahead (12-18 house in some cases) there’s plenty of hurry up and wait that leaves ample time for chatting with fellow background actors. Ask questions of people who have done it before: who are the best acting coaches in the area? What future projects are on the horizon? Which local independent filmmakers are gearing up for a new project?

Be flexible. Creativity means chaos so many film set decisions are often made on the fly. You never know when you could be called upon to do something out of the ordinary. It could be as simple as a bike ride or as cool as standing shoulder to shoulder with the lead actress or actor. In twenty plus years of doing this job, I’ve seen more than one extra upgraded to a speaking role; people who never even considered acting, never had an acting class, and don’t have an agent. Sometimes it’s dumb luck, but usually, it’s about attitude. Whether or not these chances come your way or get offered to someone else has much to do with how you present yourself. Embrace the experience. Expect the unexpected. It’s Hollywood, right? Anything could happen…

So now you’re wondering: How do I better my chances at one of those special opportunities? It’s easy: Be a good employee. Do a good job. It really is that simple because from the moment you sign in to work as an extra, you are being evaluated by numerous people—most specifically crew members. Today’s beleaguered Production Assistant could be tomorrow’s hot young Producer. These people are charged with the impossible job of keeping things running smoothly off camera. Hardworking and underpaid, PA’s have tremendous power to help you. And, as luck would have it, you have tremendous power to help them, too. Be friendly, cordial, and above all else BE PREDICTABLE. Don’t disappear between camera set-ups. Show-up on time. If you’re early you are on time, and if you’re on time you are late. Let this be your mantra. Monitor traffic and weather. Give yourself time to find your parking spot and check-in location. Treat it like you would any job. Your attention to these things makes all the difference to the Set P.A. who is responsible for keeping track of you. Respect them and the Casting Director who hired you by being reliable and maybe they will return the favor if a juicy opportunity presents itself. Volunteer to help if someone asks. Anticipate. Stay out of the way. In short, exhibit a great attitude. At the end of the day, the film crew is exhausted, having battled impossible odds to accomplish the day’s work. If you made their job even the least bit easier, you won’t be soon forgotten.

I welcome your questions and comments below.

Yours in Art,