• Category Archives On-Camera Actors
  • The actor’s choice

    October 15, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    Yesterday I wrote about making the right choice when facing a tough decision about an opportunity that could move you farther along in the pursuit of your dream. If you didn’t read yesterday’s post it was about working on an ultra-low budget SAG film project being shot on the Pine Ridge. Being an ultra-low budget project meant that the cast and crew were limited on the monies they could earn working on the project – earning one hundred dollars per day on what could be essentially 12-hour days. Keeping my focus on this idea I thought it would make sense today to go more in-depth for those aspiring to be a screen actor.

    While on location I had the chance to get to know the lead actor ’Chris’ who has been with the Screen Actors Guild for fourteen years and this was his first opportunity to play the lead on a SAG film. ‘Chris’ is from Los Angeles and is spending the better part of at least two weeks on the reservation, sleeping in an older, small motor home, all while working on an ultra-low budget project. There are no craft services, a large crew, make-up and wardrobe – in some ways it can almost seem like a student film project. Now while this description probably doesn’t do great justice to what ‘Chris’ is encountering while working on the project it does give you a rough idea of what he has chosen to do in pursuit of his dream as a screen actor. Please remember, he has chosen to do this for the minimal wage of one hundred dollars per day.

    Standing back and considering what you have just read – what would you chose to do given this type of opportunity? Would you leave your family and friends to travel far from home to some semi-inhospitable location, earning very low wages for an opportunity to further your dream pursuit? Or would you hesitate, wondering if this is the best step for you? For ‘Chris’ it’s his first chance to play lead on a SAG film. It made perfect sense for him. How about you?

    Let me know your answer at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please remember to share this post. Thank you.

  • Making the right choice

    October 14, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    As we go through the steps of pursuing dreams and goals there will always be times when I need to talk about the hard choice opportunities. What I mean is that there are times that we find ourselves with an opportunity that fits almost every aspects of achieving our dreams, or fitting our plans in pursuit of our dreams and either extending the depth of some skills or knowledge we have or introducing us to a whole new experience – but – and there’s almost always a but the pay makes you hesitate.

    That’s happens and it means you need to evaluate and weigh the value and benefits of the experience and chance against the low pay and long hours. So, it is a hard choice opportunity. For some of us the philosophy is no matter what the pay, the experience and opportunity is definitely worth saying ‘yes’. However, if you’re either the sole provider for your family or part of a team that doesn’t have much room to take a low paying gig this can be a tough choice. I ran across that situation last week. An opportunity came along to work location audio on an ultra low-budget SAG movie. This type of production pays very low wages for everyone on the cast and crew, but the experience can be valuable and the credits for this type of production benefit your resume or CV. It means working for a wage that can almost be considered a loss – so what should I do?

    I stepped up and worked the short gig – and I’m glad I did. I connected with a dynamic writer-producer-director, a few incredible actors (one of whom was playing his first lead role in a SAG production) and having the chance to build my own personal value. I’m grateful I took this opportunity and I sincerely hope that when each of you come across an opportunity to make the tough choice – choose wisely. Ask yourself if this type of opportunity may ever happen again? What if you say no – is that the best way to grow your value?

    If you have questions please contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please remember to share this post. Thank you.

  • Supporting ourselves while acting or producing

    October 10, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    While Friday is a great day to be happy (it is the last traditional work day of the week) it can also be a day that brings introspection to our lives. For those of us in the creative fields that introspection comes from the fact that we work in jobs that are not related to our creative dreams but in fact are jobs that support us while we continue to delve into our creative dreams. It’s not fun to have to work these jobs but it’s great that we have the chance to support our dreams with some type of income.

    Now I’ve never worked in the casinos in Deadwood and put up with the players who I am sure can be annoying, and I’ve never supported myself by producing wedding videos (although I have done other event videos) and I haven’t spent time as wait staff or hosted in a restaurant – but I do understand working jobs to support my dreams. For some of us, we face this introspection with the belief that we will only do this until we move to a larger market and can make a living in our chosen field. Doesn’t that sound good? What we may not take into consideration is that many of us will travel to larger markets like LA and Hollywood only to find ourselves working in non-related jobs so we can support the pursuit of our dreams – same situation but in a different location. It’s that ‘grass is always greener’ phenomenon.

    One good way to get beyond the ‘working other jobs to support our dreams’ is to build our knowledge base at the business of acting and producing. What I mean is gaining the knowledge and skills to actually support ourselves doing the work we love. It’s basic business education that has been targeted to surviving as an actor or producer. It’s the knowledge of how to target your income and energies into areas that support your work choices and not wasting monies and efforts in areas that don’t help your success.

    If this type of training makes sense to you then contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please remember to share this post. Thank you.

  • How much work are you doing being creative?

    October 9, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    I read an interesting observation today – it stated that 23% of creative professionals spend less than two hours per day doing creative work. That was a surprising figure to me and it got me thinking about the issue – after all most of us have heard the experts say that to become an expert at any activity we need to spend ten thousand hours doing that activity. Now I’m not a math major but if a person is spending only two hours per day doing creative work than it would take that person five thousand days to become an expert – that basically equals thirteen and three-quarters years. Almost the same amount of time it took me to graduate college – just kidding – really.

    With all this in mind I took a long look at my creative activities each day. On the average work day I will spend probably two hours on my camera, three hours editing and maybe another 90 minutes writing this blog. I also spend another five hours per week practicing or performing Improv. So I spend about 37.5 hours of creative work during my work week. Now a more in-depth observation would see that a pretty good portion of that shooting and editing work is almost more repetitive as opposed to creative – so maybe I would be more accurate saying that it’s closer to let’s say 25 hours of creative work. That makes me feel good. Now if I took that same look at when I am producing a commercial or long form video or film, or even teaching class to producers and actors I would find even less time of creative activity since a lot of effort goes in to the mundane paper work, tracking monies, meetings, finding the resources needed and guiding others in their roles in the process. And if you work in an ad agency or marketing firm then you would have to include the agency centered meetings and other day-to-day non-creative activities. I guess I can start to see how they arrive at these minimal hours actually being creative.

    So how much time are you spending being creative? Contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or by email at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Please remember to share this post. Thank you.

  • Learn to trust yourself and others

    October 8, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    Working with others as they are in the midst of planning their journey towards achieving their dreams or maybe while they’re already on the journey helps to give me a somewhat unique perspective into the process. And this perspective is seriously much more in-depth than when I am looking only at my own journey. It’s been while I’m in this position that I see how important ‘trust’ is when you’re taking this journey – and it’s not just having ‘trust’ in others that‘s important – you also need to have ‘trust’ in you.

    That’s where I want to begin today’s thoughts – ‘trusting’ you to make this journey – it kind of goes along with the thought that you shouldn’t even start the journey if you can’t guarantee the outcome. The thought of not even starting the process for lack of a guarantee is the number one ‘trust’ issue a person encounters. Let’s be honest, there is no guarantee that you will achieve your dreams but there IS a guarantee that you won’t if you don’t try. So before taking the first step, or at least starting now if you have already begun the journey, make the conscious effort to ‘trust’ you. ‘Trust’ that you are going to follow through on your plans. ‘Trust’ that you will give it your best effort. ‘Trust’ that you can do this. Bottom line – you have to ‘trust’ you.

    It is only after you learn to ‘trust’ you that you will be able to ‘trust’ those who you are working with to achieve your dream. Honestly, if you have no ‘trust’ in you there is no way you can ‘trust’ me to help you. After all the only way I can help you achieve your dreams is to work with you the person you might not ‘trust’. So whether you are choosing to work with me or any other number of great teachers, trainers and mentors, the only way that you can ‘trust’ them and they will ‘trust’ you is if you have already learned to ‘trust’ yourself.

    Let’s begin establishing your ‘trust’ today. Contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or by email at sitch.jack@gmail.com. The please remember to share this post. Thank you.

  • Never hesitate to take your first step

    October 7, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    I found today that sometimes the plan you have for yourself isn’t the problem – sometimes the problem is one’s own expectations. This knowledge was revealed to me in a conversation I had with a friend that I respect very much. In the conversation it became apparent to me that this friend had a wonderful set of goals and knew what he really wanted to achieve in his life but when I asked him if he had made some positive steps towards achieving his goals he simply gave me a sly smile and made reference to the fact that he didn’t want to move forward on something that he might not be able to accomplish.

    Smack – that two-by-four hit me right in the forehead – he was letting perfection get in the way of good or even good enough. This is unfortunately more common than expected. People have great goals and dreams for their lives but never take the first step in achieving those goals because they might not be able to accomplish them. It’s just like when I was a young man in high school and always shied away from asking that ‘really special’ girl out on a date because she might say ‘no’ – really? Reality was that by my not asking the answer was indeed ‘no’.

    So how about you and your expectations? Do you have a really good plan and hesitate on taking the first or at least the next step because you might not accomplish your goal? Don’t let perfection get in your way. I have more than once in my life found that I did not accomplish the goal as I planned and usually what I did accomplish was even better than I ever anticipated. I would never enjoy those accomplishments if I stopped the journey before it was finished or even started. My hopes and wishes for you are that you WILL bet on you and take a chance on your dreams. Because it is only then that you will find what you can really achieve.

    Don’t hesitate on your journey and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or by email at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Please remember to share this post. Thank you.

  • The next step is your plan

    October 6, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    Knowing who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and working consistently towards achieving success in your dreams are all areas that you have ultimate control of. So for argument’s sake let’s say you’ve done your homework and are ready to take the next step in achieving your dream – so what is that next step? That’s where your plan for success comes in – have you made one?

    This is a place where many of us fail in our dreams and derail our success. We forget to have an actual plan in place to follow so we can achieve success. If you’re like I was as a younger man – a younger dreamer – you’ve probably left this part of your work undone and instead trusted that you knew what to do each step of the way and didn’t worry about solidifying a plan. Okay …sometimes that works. I mean when you make plans to head to Denver you pretty much know the way there and if all else fails you have highway signs to fall back on. Unfortunately life causes some unforeseen detours as we make our way towards our success and if you don’t have a plan in place (your GPS) you might find yourself on some really crappy dirt road where the only directions available are from some backwoods intellectual who knows that everyone knows which big red barn he’s referring to. In other words you are now on the wrong path and aren’t really sure how to get back on track.

    That’s why making a well thought out and researched plan is so vital. Don’t wing it when it comes to achieving your dream(s) – your success really is completely up to you. And let’s be honest, living in the Black Hills does not make becoming a film producer or screen actor easy. You have to assess what skills, experience and training you need to help insure your success and then you have to find a way to gain those skills and experiences and find the training that you need. That’s where I come in – maybe I can help you get there from here.

    Contact me with questions at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please share this post. Thank you.

  • Consistent effort can improve your chances of success

    October 3, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    As the weekend approaches one thought that keeps moving to the forefront of my thought process and since I can’t get rid of it I am going to offer it to you. How hard are you willing to consistently work at improving your chances of success in your dream? Over the years I’ve watched some of my contemporaries work very hard at improving their abilities and knowledge, even spending great amounts of money on their education and training and sometimes traveling far from home to do so. While others, some of whom were much more talented to begin with, rested on their laurels and acted as if the world owed them when they weren’t willing to work hard on a consistent basis. I’m pretty sure you know which of these two categories became the most successful.

    So which of these categories would you put yourself in – or at least identify with more? For me, I have to admit I’ve been in both categories at different times in my life. As I’ve matured I’ve fallen in the first category more often and really don’t land in the second category at all. So maybe it’s a young person’s disease that allows the second category to thrive, but I kind of doubt that. Rather I believe that often it happens as a result of either a person’s ego or fear. If you think you are that good that you don’t need to work at it your effort level will diminish. If you don’t believe in yourself, are afraid of success or afraid of admitting you need more help you’ll find your effort level diminishes as well.

    So how hard should a person consistently work at their success? I honestly believe that you have to spend at least an hour every day working at improving your skills or knowledge to have any chance at all. I know life can get in the way of your success at times but if you take charge and make sure that your effort levels stay at a consistently high level your chance of success is greater.

    It all rests on your efforts. Contact me with questions at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please share this post. Thank you.

  • Identifying your next step

    October 1, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    The other day I spoke about determining who ‘you’ believe you are. Not what your profession is, but who you are. I spoke about my being a storyteller and went through the different professions that I’ve worked over the years and identified how in each instance I was still a storyteller. I hope that you have taken the time to identify ‘who you are’.

    Once you’ve taken that step you can start to identify the types of strengths and skills you have regarding who you are and you can identify where you may need to learn more, build on your skills set and improve your weaknesses. Of course all of these decisions will rest on whether you’re choosing to combine who you are with what your dream is and what you need to be able to succeed in your aspirations. Why does all this matter? Well if you are not able to identify what areas you need to strengthen and what areas your need to keep strong the chances of your success diminish. You also need to keep in mind that who you are needs to be compatible with what you aspire to be.

    Let’s suppose you want to succeed as a screen actor. You’ve taken some training in theater, you’ve acted in school productions, and you’ve participated in Community Theater, maybe even done some professional acting on stage. Maybe you’ve even acted in student or amateur films. So you should be able to identify your acting strengths and weaknesses and look at what types of offerings are available to you for on-camera acting development. Then you can make a plan to develop your skills set in pursuit of your dream. You should also be able to find opportunities that will enhance your skills set in other ways like acting in local TV commercials, joining an Improv troupe or forming an amateur filmmakers group to produce short films and scenes for experience. In other words it is up to you to complete the work required to begin your journey of working towards your dream.

    When you’re ready I’m here to help you formulate a plan for your success. Contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please share this post. Thank you.

  • Who do you believe you are?

    September 30, 2014 | by Jack Sitch

    Who are you? That is a question that all of us really need to answer. Not what does someone else think you are – but who do you believe you are? Who are you? I am a storyteller. If you asked others they might say that I am a producer, an actor, a teacher, ‘the camera guy’ …there are a lot of answers. But who do I believe I am? I am a storyteller.

    Being a storyteller has been a part of me since I can remember. I saw the raw power of a storyteller years ago when I was just entering my teenage years. I was with a group of friends and we were sitting on the porch of one of our houses up in Maine during a thunderstorm. The overhang of the house protected us from the rain and to pass the time everyone started telling a story from one of their dreams they remembered. When it came to me I truly couldn’t remember any dreams so I began to make up a story. As I weaved the story I included each of the friends that were there on the porch and I saw much to my amazement that each member of the group seemed to be mesmerized by the story …my story. It was then that I discovered the raw power that a storyteller had – and I liked it. So from that day forward I knew that I wanted to be a storyteller.

    After that, no matter what profession I was in, I was a storyteller. Working as a radio personality – I was a storyteller. Beginning my career in television – I was a storyteller. Teaching – you guessed it – I was a storyteller. Commercial producer – yep – storyteller, show producer – again I am a storyteller, and now as an Improv player – I am still a storyteller. That’s who I am. Even sitting here at the keyboard writing a blog I am still a storyteller. So, who are you? Can you tell me who you believe you are, not who others think you are. It’s important to know.

    Let’s explore who you are or who want to be. Contact me at the Black Hills Institute of Broadcast & Cinematic Arts or email me at sitch.jack@gmail.com. Then please share this post. Thank you.