Actor Hacks: Top 6 Apps, Programs & More

  If you haven’t seen the above photos of my lovely Aunt, actress Jodie Smith, take a good look! I love her expression, the depth in her eyes, the warm background. You probably would not expect that I shot these photos in a quick thirty minutes using my iPhone! Learn about my favorite and most used actors hacks from 2016 below (including the Portrait Mode on iPhone that I used to take the above images):

  1. IPHONE 7 PLUS PORTRAIT MODE. This is my absolute, hands down number one hack for actors! If you do not have an iPhone, I highly recommend one- even if ONLY for this one feature. You. Will. Use. It. That. Much.   Portrait Mode mimics what professional photographers call, ‘bokeh’ which is the blurred background that naturally occurs when your subject is placed within a certain distance. It creates a beautiful depth, and draws your eye to the subject. Now, the iPhone 7 plus portrait mode is still in Beta so, they are still working out the kinks and it isn’t perfect (look closely and you can see where the camera’s lenses fails to differentiate between the subject and the background, accidentally adding a ‘bokeh’ blur to the wrong parts of the image). However, despite its flaws I find it it be absolutely wonderful. You do need an iPhone 7 PLUS to have the Portrait Mode, but if you’re thinking of upgrading I think you’ll be pleased you did. Now any casting directors asking for a snapshot from today, will be pleasantly surprised to receive your professional looking images! To learn more about this check the link below: http://m.imore.com/how-to-use-portrait-mode
  2. FILMORA VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE. I use this program frequently to edit video auditions, reels and the like. Of all of the programs that I use and love, this one is the simplest while offering the best quality in my opinion. Check out a recent reel intro I put together using Filmora here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BJi0cT-AWdf/  There are lots of free softwares you may choose to use instead, and these are acceptable- however free is free, and you can normally tell. Add music and graphics, credits and more in cute and trendy styles with Filmora. The program costs around $50.00 but there may or may not be a way to find this program for free online *cough cough. Follow the link here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pBMGexLHyRM
  3. SMARTRECORD APP. This recording software has a ‘lite’ option that is free, however the paid for version is around $5 and so worth it! Create voice audio recordings as long as you like, for auditions or personal use. Import them via email in MP3, MP4 or any type of audio file you need. Hop in your closet and shut the door for extra sound buffering. I can just see you all sitting in your closets right about now, and that’s hilarious! 
  4. SCENE PARTNER APP. This app is a lifesaver when you are trying to get off book fast. Upload your own scripts, record your own parts and cast a voice to work opposite you from their large selection of pre-recorded actors. Take notes, import your audio and more!
  5. REHEARSAL 2 APP. Similar to the Scene Partner app, this is an audition or scene practice tool that will help you get off book fast. You have many of the same features as listed on Scene Partner, such as uploading your own scripts or scenes and recording your own voice. You can also write notes on your screenplays, highlight areas and underscore areas. Between the two apps, I tend to use this one more however it comes down mostly to app style preferences and which you prefer based on user friendliness- since their functions are nearly identical!
  6. SIGN NOW APP. Sign Now will save your life when signing contracts and paperwork on the go! This app lets you sign important paperwork, initial, date, etc. right from your phone so that you are never held back from getting that deal or making a commitment. I had the opportunity to sign with new management while traveling oversees, and instead of struggling with hotel staff and potential language barriers to have paperwork faxed or scanned I simply connected to wifi at a local Starbucks and within moments was sending signed paperwork back to the states! This app is free, which is fabulous- and I use it in many other aspects of my life as well, so I’m sure it will come in handy.

That’s it for my top hacks in 2016! I love that most of these can be used on my phone, which reminds me that a big splurge on a smart phone is always necessary. You can use it to advance your business, and yes of course there’s always the silly fun things we use them for as well- like Instagram and Pokémon Go!  Although these didn’t make the cut, I have a few honorable mentions below:

  • The Amazon Prime and Netflix apps are excellent for catching programs on the go and I highly recommend them. 
  • Can you live without your IMDB app? I can’t. Check the actors or directors names from whatever show you are currently watching- or check a casting directors upcoming projects. 
  • And lastly, WhatsApp has been an effective method for chatting with directors and producers free of charge when out of the country. 

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