Woo! As I promised back when I closed off the year-end critiques last month, I am diving back into the inbox to select a few actor tools to review every now and then. Thank you, gorgeous people, for shooting your goods my way! The fact that you’re into having your materials showcased as teaching moments for the rest of the readers of The Actors Voice makes me very happy. Yay!

Let’s jump right in, shall we? We’ll start with Bill Ferris.

Bonnie –

First of all, I want to thank you for your year-end critiques. They provided a great conceptual framework as I developed my actor website over the holidays. The structural work is essentially complete and now I’m filling in sections with content (visual and written) and making revisions. I would appreciate any feedback that might help me avoid problems and reinforce positive aspects of my site.

One thing that I’ll acknowledge right off the bat is the absence of a reel. The REEL section is currently hidden, until I assemble, edit, and upload the video. I plan to include part/all of it on the homepage in conjunction with my headshot.

Another is that I will be adding add non-commercial spots to the VIDEOS section. The commercial ones were readily available and I just need to pull movie footage from DVDs and convert to web-friendly video files.

Other than that, I would appreciate any suggestions on the structure, format, content, tone, and aesthetics of my website.

Thanks again for your valued insight.

All righty! Here’s the link: https://billferris.net. And I’ve included some screen grabs, to illustrate my notes. Overall, the site is really great. It’s nice and clean and on-brand. I don’t mind how formal the bio is on the main page, since your type is sort of formal and anachronistic too. Of course, I love that there’s a resumé in PDF, as that’s super handy.

I’m thinking I would suggest that you combine the “connect” and “contact” pages. Also, it seems your Facebook button is actually linked to your IMDb page. Actually, now that I look at it, since you have the Facebook and Twitter icons in the top right corner throughout your site, I don’t know that you need ’em in both places. Yeah, that furthers my vote for combining “contact” and “connect” at the site. And while this is nit-picky, a way to reach you directly (even via web form) would be great.

Finally, I love the commercial vid clips but I kinda want you to include in the fine print of the page that there are no current commercial conflicts, because that’s the first thing I wondered, while watching these ads. If these ran out of market or are *done*, saying so will benefit you, in terms of risk assessment. Overall, really great! I’m into it and I think you’ve done a great job here.

Next up, Amy Sanders! 🙂


I hope you are wonderful. Just watched your new vid; it was great! Thanks for sharing your wonderful tools.

Here are three of my headshots that I use daily. Would love to hear what you think!

All the best,

Amy Sanders

All right, lady. Here’s what I think. On this first one, I’d crop it in a bit. Great vibe though. It works. This second shot is probably my favorite, but I sooo want you to be wearing a different color top. This one washes you out, and if it were a jewel tone (like emerald, amethyst, or even garnet), I think your face would just light up. Maybe a ninja with PhotoShop abilities could make an adjustment to see what that would do? Try it. It’s a great shot… just not a great color combination.

As for this third one, I *would have* called this my favorite, but the eyeliner is so dark and smudged under your eyes that I’m distracted and wishing for more of the fresh-faced version of you that I know exists. I would only use this for very specific castings. It’s just not doing you justice, due to the makeup. Could you retouch that? Sure, but then you lose some of your natural lines, and that becomes problematic.

Now let’s head over to Chandra Moore’s website.

Hey Bonnie!

Well since I didn’t get to sending in my materials during the Self-Management for Actors course at Get A-Listed, I thought I’d take advantage now. I’m actually just going to send you my website link. I would like to know if it gives you a complete picture of how to cast me in one place without distracting from my brand.

Since my headshot and resumé are on my site, as well as links to all my social media profiles, it’s all in one convenient link. 🙂 I do not have a reel — that is my goal for mid-2013. 🙂

Hope you and Cricket Feet Casting are well. Bummed I couldn’t do 6W2LA, but I look forward to doing more work with Cricket Feet in 2013. 🙂


All right Chandra, here’s what I got when I visited https://chandramoore.com.

At first, I was concerned with your choice for the background, as it’s heavy on the creepy (and being in black and white doesn’t help), and you are so much more than that (as evidenced in your logline, which is awesome), but then I opened up other pages and I got really excited about how the image works as a background, when text is laid over it. It *really* works. I might suggest that you remove mention of exact years back and forth to LA, because you can have the “LA cred” without getting that specific, but that’s a super nit-picky thought on your bio.

I got even further excited when I saw how you coded the social networking sites to load in WITHIN your site, using your font, your layout, your brand. That shit is totally ninja and I really fell in love with your code-fu, at this point. Really nicely done! The only glitch I found was that, for me, your resumé download hits two pages, using Safari, and the second page is blank. If it’s supposed to not be there, kill off that ghost of a blank second page next time you save the file as a PDF and reupload it. But, now that I see the way you labeled the link, I think maybe it’s supposed to be a full-sized headshot on that second page? Not sure. Something to debug, though.

Next up, Jolyn Janis. 🙂

Howdy Bonnie!

Heeeeere is my reel link for consideration in the Actors Access critique column! Your feedback on my other materials in Self-Management for Actors course at Get A-Listed was invaluable and I’m really interested in what you think of this reel.

Basically, I taught myself how to edit so that I have the skills to keep up with it. I’ll say no more so that I can get a clean opinion. 🙂

Jolyn Janis

All right, so here’s the link to the reel: https://youtube.com/watch?v=ZYqe8fDIn-g

Jolyn, I love this as a reel to show directors, who will usually be happy to sit through longer reels than folks in casting may endure. Not that this was a chore to experience! Just saying, I want you to have another version that comes in around 90 seconds, with fewer montage buffers (even though they are REALLY well done) and less footage covering your co-stars (especially in the museum scene).

If you can have this long-form version to show to potential agents and managers, as well as to directors or producers who really want to explore the fullness of what you can do, PLUS a version that is quick, to the point, and great at helping us know the answer to the question: “Does this actor solve the casting problem I’m having right now,” without offering anything up that may talk us out of it. Basically, for that purpose, shorter is better.

Still, really great stuff and I love that you’re doing this yourself! Outstanding! And totally empowering. 🙂

Let’s now head over to Devin Kordt-Thomas for some goodies.

You are the best! Love the latest video. My reel is revised and on IMDb below. Would love to be a case study for your critique.

Also, just got word that my individual clips are now on Actors Access. Would love to hear your feedback about how I have them labeled.

All right, so here’s the IMDb page https://IMDb.com/name/nm4111966, where I checked out the full version of your reel. It’s a wee bit on the long side, and I think you could lose some of the bits of acting that are weaker than the rest (not so much YOUR acting as a few weak lines delivered by your co-stars) and still maintain a ton of good stuff that showcases what you do.

As for your Actors Access labeling, I think you’re on the right track, but may be giving us TOO many words. I — of course — am a fan of detail, in labeling individual clips, but I worry that your wordiness may be a little distracting. I think it has something to do with the fact that there’s repetition in the NAME of the clips and description of them. Pare that down and I think you’re in great shape, to offer up specific clips that will answer casting directors’ questions about whether or not your work lines up with what we’re casting next.

Finally, let’s jam with Marty Brown, and his son Jack Justice.

Hi Bonnie!

I am really looking forward to your SMFA/young actors class this weekend! We are getting ready to update Jack’s website soon and would really appreciate your critique if you have the time.

We are so grateful for your guidance over the years and have used several your recommendations in developing the site. Thank you!!

Marty Brown

All right, here’s the link to Jack’s site: https://jackjustice.com.

I really like the comic book vibe. It works for his look and I feel like it’s authentic, based on the types of projects he’s been doing, and the work on his reel. I think — since you’re looking to do an overhaul — it may be time to have Jack’s bio done in *his* voice. Try it out and see if it feels right.

Of course, I love the resumé and the link to a PDF version, as well as the drawn icons for making contact, keeping the look consistent throughout. Oh, one fix: The transposed IMBd (should be IMDb) on the links list. Otherwise, it’s looking good and will only improve with more of Jack’s vibe coming through, as he gets older. Run everything through the brand filter WITH him and I bet this will be an even cooler site (it’s already pretty dang cool).

As with the year-end critiques, again I am thrilled with the goodies y’all are sending in. Yes, I have a good hundred more sitting in the queue, but please — if you are on the Bonnie Gillespie mailing list — send over your materials for a future round of critiques. I’m so glad to know this is helpful for y’all! And I love seeing very few “beginner mistakes” these days. That tells me you’re paying attention to these critiques and starting your work from a place of understanding a few of the fundamentals, then hitting up the brand filter to be sure your goods are working for YOU. Awesome.

Keep at it! 🙂 Looking forward to our next round, down the line!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001615.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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