Acting : Am I full of it or do I have talent? by Thomas Ferranti

Thomas Ferranti

Am I full of it or do I have talent?

Just a quickly made short video at the request of an agent of sorts. http://youtu.be/uCCYMn9NXtc

Guy Goldstein (WriterDuet.com And ReadThrough.com)

So happy to have Thomas Ferranti as a part of our family on ReadThrough.com! Great voice-acting talent, and the video is the BEST! Thank you Thomas!

Thomas Ferranti

You're very welcome and I am very happy to help, and wish you and ReadThrough all the best. I wanna see the site grow!

Guy Goldstein (WriterDuet.com And ReadThrough.com)

Thanks again Thomas! That means a lot. Your support and your video is greatly appreciated!!!!

Cynthia Garbutt

Hello Thomas. Just wondered what kind of equipment did you use for you video: BTW I think you are talented, very talented. Enjyed every second of your reel.

Christina Thompson

I could not stop smiling! I subscribed too!! LOL..

Mike Chinea

You are FULL OF IT! (talent that is). That was really good.

Andrew Gruffudd

Believe in yourself and you will go far. If you don't believe in yourself you will probably not make the front door. But your domain is beyond the front door, so believe it, you got it.

Wendra Colleen

I too have a similar talent and I can say you are wonderful! Karloff especially rocked. Here's a thought, though - if you have the opportunity to do another video like this, I think it would be even more entertaining to introduce yourself by having all of these folks talk about how they "met" you. It would be like a mini-documentary about you through your characters. Now maybe that comment will help you see why I turned to writing, though just watching you made me miss acting! Bravo, I wish you the best.

Thomas Ferranti

@ Cynthia: What kind of equipment did I use? I only ever use expensive HD cameras and mac programs - - - NOT !!! (I'll message you.) @ Christina: Thanx so much! I think of it as "buy what you sell". i.e. make yourself sincerely happy in your performance - it will show to the audience. @ Mike: Thanx a heap! :) Now - how many people will actually share the video and help get me some exposure? No one will know what I do unless they see it / hear it. :/ Break a leg, everyone!

Carla Iacovetti

Love the video; love www.ReadThrough.com, and I'm sharing it everywhere! :)

Thomas Ferranti

@ Andrew: thanx so much - yeah, I do need some objectivity - it is good to know that many folks see that I have something. I know that too. But talent does not equate with success. It's knowing how to get exposure to the right eyes and ears who recognize my value. @ Wendra: This was just the first voice video, far from the last. The reason it has some of the qualities it does (the script style, for instance) is that I was recently asked by a casting agent of sorts to quickly dash out a short video "telling a little about myself", so, I quickly made a succinct script to highlight my acting and voice-acting, and then just wrote down whatever voices came to my head (rather than consulting my list). I'm so glad you are on the same page as me, in that many folks seem to give me the Scooby-Doo look when I tell them that to really optimize the presentation of the voices, that I would like to really find the best things for each of the characters to say - each time a character opens their mouth, they have painted a blank canvas and can choose to express whatever they like - paint whatever picture I think can emotionally grab the audience (whether its a laugh or an unanswered question, or an uncomfortable short-circuit). I'll write to ya. Cheers, all! And remember - presently I am exchanging the use of my talents for exposure in your next project - or your friends' project. (Does anyone know any amateur animators who might like my voice, or any amateur cartoonists, whose work I can animate?)

Thomas Ferranti

@ Carla: did you hear of ReadThrough.com before you heard about it from me?

Carla Iacovetti

Truth be known... I am on ReadThrough.com, run the social media at ReadThrough.com, and know Guy Goldstein personally...so, I did not first hear about it from you. However, the video is classic, and I am posting it in EVERYTHING! :)

Thomas Ferranti

Thanx a heap! Now if only some enterprising and imaginative social media manager of some great up-and-coming site were to work with her supervisor regarding a bitchin' little ad for their site, utilizing the voice talents at their disposal... hmmm....

Carla Iacovetti

You bet! Hmm... wow, so you're saying, advertising could be a plus on the site? (wink) We're working on it... in the meantime, keep practicing those lines! Especially with all those voices. :)

Thomas Ferranti

:D I'm saying I'd love to see a 10-second video ad for RT, or a 30second one, etc. and maybe another one that explains the site, with voices, maybe???

Carla Iacovetti

I think that's a great idea. I fully agree. Have you ran this buy Mr. Goldstein? I'm going to suggest it.

LB McGill

Great job Thomas!

Terrance Jackson

Thomas, I think you did well. I will say that it matters only about maybe 20 percent of others opinion, just keep practicing and believing in your talent because that's what matters most. The more talent you see yourself as having, the more others will get caught up in the positive attitude that you put out. Keep your vision alive and bring it to full fruition. I also invite you to my site at www.thewritersclub.ning.com Share your talents there as well. You have nothing to lose.

Thomas Ferranti

Thanx a heap, all. Sorry for the short message - it's late. I'm up too late - again...

Patrick Stephan Marshall

Your voices are great! The acting? Hard to tell without me giving you my own instructions, as this can as well be the directors fault and the few scenes were not enough for me to make a judgment about that. But if I would have to guess, I'd say, you are probably good enough to land some proper roles, if the director knows what he does. You are certainly not a professional high grade actor yet, but my guess is, your are not claiming to be.

Thomas Ferranti

Thanx, Patrick - finally some meat n potatoes here to discuss!!! I have taken my many and varied creative projects for granted and am only recently re-assessing the voice and acting skill I have developed over the years, so your objectivity is valuable. When I performed the voices in the video, did you notice how the facial expressions and body-language also changed to match the voice? When I perform a voice, I automatically assume the whole character. Someday I will film these characters with a scene, and costume and setting to better showcase them. I was told by an actor friend that a very short, 20-second acting reel is the standard, though I didn't think it adequately shows what I can do, though, I AM only RECENTLY getting small roles, so don't have much that was filmed with a good camera. And directors? yeah - tell me about it! As well intended and earnest most of the good handful of directors that I have worked with have been, I think they seem to be stuck on the symbolism, rather than the depth of a character. (Abstract concept perhaps? For sure! But I think that being truly fascinated with that challenge is a key element as to what makes a good director- yes?)

Patrick Stephan Marshall

I did notice the facial expressions, but for me they are unimportant in regards to the voices. May I give you an advice from a directors point of view: until you are character cast, do not make characters for the voices. To train and practice, yes, but don't get them into your system too much, or otherwise, you won't be able to act a voice to a whole different character, if that is needed, because in your mind that voice is attached to something too specific already. About the reel: i watch match many reels - naturally - and for me, they say not much. What I am looking for in a reel is a moment of reality, which most fail to deliver. They cut together 3-4 projects, some of them really terrible quality and hope to get somewhere. My tip: Make the voice acting and the acting reel two different and separate things (you can of course utilize your voice in the acting reel if appropriate). Make a decent reel - if its good, 3-8 minutes with a range is fine - even more if it is really good. Because if I like the actor, I want to see more range and if he sucks I can turn off any time anyway. But don't do clips, do scenes! I want to see you play, no just say a single sentence. I want to see emotions, not just a a cool short shot. Also make sure people can see you from all sides, in different cloth and styles. Standing, sitting moving etc. And if you don't have enough video material for that, get some friends to help, or hire someone to do a reel with you. Pick some great movie scenes and reenact them. Might cost from a few bucks for food and drinks, if its a film student (who might do it for free for his own purpose), to a couple of thousands if you have a real pro do it. Even editing can make a huge difference... To what makes a good director, it really depends, because directors are not directors. Some are storytellers, some are technicians, some are character-directors, others do scenes, action or mood well. And all this and much more part of a possible range that can make a good director. For me it is understanding thee story, the characters, the connections and meta-levels and the visual translation of what is in front into an experience that lets the audience forget that there is a screen. And from there, it goes to the technical, organizational, the communication and the way to translate and explain your vision to everybody involved. If I want an actor to feel something, it is me, who has to be able to invoke the reason for the actor to go there, and he has to be the one who to express said emotion. Too many think that being a director is easy. And today, where you have many specialists who can actually be substituted for a directors responsibility and creativity, you often have people in the directors chair that are not really suited for it, but the team around them might jut be good enough so that nobody notices. I think it is much more than most see and while a great team alleviates much of the pressure, I think it is still my vision that has to translate into moving images.

Joachim McClain

Oh there is some talent there for sure! ... There were some really great voices ... especially the old man! ... sorry the old Irish man! ... If I could critique one them, and only very gently :) , it would be the Aussie accent ... But I know it's a hard one in fairness!

James Holzrichter

You know I just have to add the wiser side of things,....You are full of it AND you're talented ;)

Guy Goldstein (WriterDuet.com And ReadThrough.com)

Two things stand out: Your amazing acting talent, and ReadThrough.com... :)

Thomas Ferranti

@ Patrick Stephan Marshall: (your quotes in quotation marks.) A sincere THANK YOU for your substantial feedback! "I did notice the facial expressions, but for me they are unimportant in regards to the voices." - This confuses me, as I was recently told by two pro voice-artists that one must ACT - not just do the voices - yes - even if its for voice-acting... ???? :/ (they hadn't yet seen the clip at the time.) "May I give you an advice from a directors point of view?" - Most definitely! "..until you are character cast, do not make characters for the voices." - If you mean going outside of the direction, I see no reason to think of for taking such a liberty, though I have asked directors if they were open to having the character have an accent. I hope that's okay? "To train and practice, yes, but don't get them into your system too much, or otherwise, you won't be able to act a voice to a whole different character, if that is needed, because in your mind that voice is attached to something too specific already." - I think i understand. recently I am being asked to stretch my imagination - and this, I LOVE doing! I am aware that I can show my conviction by behaving based on my own imagination, and once I get the director's character fleshed out in my own mind, then the character becomes real - with whichever voice they choose. "About the reel: i watch match many reels - naturally - and for me, they say not much." - I can imagine! "What I am looking for in a reel is a moment of reality, which most fail to deliver." - This reminds me of the paradox I have been observing in beginning actors AND voice-actors - rather than being the part, they (way too often) appear to me as if they are TRYING to ACT the part. A paradox perhaps (to act by not acting) but it seems to be the key that is too often too elusive and nebulous to too many. "They cut together 3-4 projects, some of them really terrible quality and hope to get somewhere. My tip: Make the voice acting and the acting reel two different and separate things (you can of course utilize your voice in the acting reel if appropriate). Make a decent reel - if its good, 3-8 minutes with a range is fine - even more if it is really good. Because if I like the actor, I want to see more range and if he sucks I can turn off any time anyway. But don't do clips, do scenes! I want to see you play, not just say a single sentence. I want to see emotions, not just a a cool short shot. Also make sure people can see you from all sides, in different cloth and styles. Standing, sitting moving etc." - VERY re-assuring! makes perfect sense to me! So - some background on the clip may help clarify... Recently I had asked a casting director about auditioning for a role in a pilot aimed at children, for a recurring character, and asked him if he had considered an accent for the part. In response he asked me to quickly make a short video telling a little about myself, and, so, I took the opportunity to showcase the voices, so this is JUST my first video, and for a very specific request. "And if you don't have enough video material for that, get some friends to help, or hire someone to do a reel with you." - Would love to hire someone to do this, but do not have any funds with which to do so at this time, though i do have friends with some high-end cameras. This will take some planning, but would be very much worth the effort! "Pick some great movie scenes and reenact them." - Do you mean to re-invent the character? Compete with a well-established role? :/ I recall someone being asked to perform the role of the Joker for a job in animation voice-over, and they imitated Mark Hamill from the animated series. His response? "We already have someone who can do that voice; Mark Hamill". How about something entirely original? Or what about a satire? Sometimes I like to do satires that are out-of-character for them; my thought process is that if it elicits an emotional response from them (i.e. laughter) that that is a the most potent demonstration of validity one can give, no? Or - are you, in fact, suggesting an outright imitation (or something else)? "Might cost from a few bucks for food and drinks, if its a film student (who might do it for free for his own purpose), to a couple of thousands if you have a real pro do it." - Yes - I should check out local schools!!! "Even editing can make a huge difference..." - I have noticed the difference it can make, as well! A good editor can more objectively see the potential inherent in the pieces to optimize the impact, yes? "To what makes a good director, it really depends, because directors are not directors. Some are storytellers, some are technicians, some are character-directors, others do scenes, action or mood well. And all this and much more part of a possible range that can make a good director." - I had not considered that until you mentioned it, but it seems to me to make perfect sense - of course - actors (and other creatives) have their niches, too. "For me it is understanding the story, the characters, the connections and meta-levels and the visual translation of what is in front into an experience that lets the audience forget that there is a screen." - That affirms my understanding of what I have seen; for example; too many beginning screenwriters I have seen seem to not "get" the solid story components, no emotional hook, but rather reveling in the genre that they like, in the hopes that others who like that genre will also like it, rather than seeing / appreciating a strong 3-act play and the value of dimensional character-development. "And from there, it goes to the technical, organizational, the communication and the way to translate and explain your vision to everybody involved. If I want an actor to feel something, it is me, who has to be able to invoke the reason for the actor to go there, and he has to be the one who to express said emotion." - Ah! YOU'RE the director I have missed in my shoots so far! "Too many think that being a director is easy." - I agree. I have wanted to direct many a scene myself, or at least to try to show the director how to get something more real from the actors. "And today, where you have many specialists who can actually be substituted for a directors responsibility and creativity, you often have people in the directors chair that are not really suited for it, but the team around them might jut be good enough so that nobody notices." - I never thought of it that way, though I had noticed the momentum gained from getting all the actors, crew, equipment and the script in place, and thought that if they don't have a main character we care about, and a story that grabs us, etc., that it... well.. it reminds me of the rip-off acting "agencies" that charge lots for your headshots, does a few things with you, and for as long as you are willing to pay the price, you can say "I have nice headshots - I have my own acting page, this is a serious company, they like me" and feel accomplished - for a little bit, anyway - until it gets out of your system. (A real shame) "I think it is much more than most see and while a great team alleviates much of the pressure, I think it is still my vision that has to translate into moving images." - reminds me of a good band - there may be a lead singer, but unless the song is good and the band and producer and arranger arent in sync, the odds are very much against creating a meaningful song.

Patrick Stephan Marshall

Voice & Faces - yes, when you do voice acting, of course you do the expressions, because they translate into your tone. But that is for voice acting alone. I would even go so far as to say to exaggerate the deeper emotions. But that is for voice acting. In the end, nobody will see your face. In front of a camera, it is a whole different story. And since you asked about the acting, this is what I was referring to. "I have asked directors if they were open to having the character have an accent. I hope that's okay?" That is perfectly fine. Some directors like inputs from actors, others don't. I personally try to give them as much room as they are comfortable with, as long as I get out what I need. But attaching a specific persona to a specific voice - better not. Because you will make it too exclusive. Again, this may work better if it is voice voice acting alone. "This reminds me of the paradox I have been observing in beginning actors AND voice-actors - rather than being the part, they (way too often) appear to me as if they are TRYING to ACT the part." Yes well... even professional actors do that sadly. Many do not get it really and it often can years and years until they eventually do. The irony is that it is much easier NOT to act. Also, many come from a theater background, or from an acting school that teaches theater and theater is theatrical. It is overplayed, exaggerated, because the audience in the last row needs to understand the emotion too, while subtle emotions in an extreme close up, maybe with the help of some melancholic music... and even "real" can be too much. Imagine a death scene. A father dies, his boy, just 12, over him. In theater, he would scream, cry, hold a monologue about his old mans demise, like he just did for 4 minutes while dying. While on screen, he says one last, quiet sentence and the boy just looks sad, one tear rolling down from each eye and then he hugs him and sobs into his lifeless chest - enough emotions. There is nothing you can do, tell, train or whatever, that will make another person understand the simple process of being a different character. we do it constantly as children and that is why children often have a much easier time getting there without years of acting school. If you get it, you got it and it is just like flipping a switch (mostly). The truth is, we are all actors and most people could play a halfway decent role, if guided well. What actors learn is to get there without external guidance, alleviating the production from trimming them into a character - and frankly that is their job. :) "so this is JUST my first video, and for a very specific request" for that, it should be fine. but don't use it as your professional reel. This will take some planning, but would be very much worth the effort! Absolutely. It also shows you are willing to go the extra mile, insert yourself etc. "We already have someone who can do that voice; Mark Hamill". And rightly so. He also comes with the name, which is a boon... Why not do both? Try to match Al Pacino's Devils Advocate and then do it re-interpreted. If you can do many different takes on Hamlets big monologue and make it sound humorous, sad, energizing, dramatic, melancholic, cheerful or threatening in the different takes, than you are good. One thing you are not supposed to be is shy - at least in front of the camera or mic. You are allowed to show off. But do it right and well prepared. "that that is a the most potent demonstration of validity one can give, no?" For the audience yes, for me as a director... depends. I don't look for what you deliver, I look for what you COULD deliver. That is why it does not matter much what type of scene ends up on the reel. But something original also puts the material into question and you might ruin an otherwise great performance with terrible material - which might not even be because of the material, but the viewer may be alienated if he can not place it. There is no reference. With a classic movie scene the director has something to compare it to. Also insert text information on the pieces. That helps, especially if it is something original. While there may not be a reference, now I know it is something original and I will be prepared instead of trying to place it somewhere. If you make 10 very different 20 second scenes of very different emotions, expressions, deliveries and tone (no voice acting, just pure acting) and then do ten voices with or without expressions, whatever you like. And show your range from funny, happy, sad, tiered, obnoxious and whatever you might like to show, it would show range. Do you know those funny images with the many expressions of actor X, where every image is basically the same? The opposite is what you try to do. "A good editor can more objectively see the potential inherent in the pieces to optimize the impact, yes?" Absolutely. It is a lot about timing and rhythm. Things you as an actor do not need to think much about - it helps if you do and understand, especially in terms of continuity - which is what I always try to make my cast aware of. But movies are written three times: when they are made into a script, when they are shot and when they are edited. A movie can be saved and destroyed in the cutting room. The same is true for your reel. "there may be a lead singer, but unless the song is good and the band and producer and arranger aren't in sync, the odds are very much against creating a meaningful song." I rather go for a classical orchestra analogy here. You may have the star violinist, the master piano player, but it is the whole that makes it happen. Some minor mistakes will be easily overheard if it is from an instrument not essential to the piece. The master pianist or star violinist will play incredible no matter what, but if the whole production sucks, it will sound terrible altogether. And the person responsible to interpret and convey this interpretation to the musicians and then guides them through the process is the director. And in the end, it will be the directors fault, if the piece sound like crap and it will be a collaborative success if it is good.

Thomas Ferranti

@ Joachim: Thanx! tho there was an old man voice in there followed by an irish old man. :) @ Stan: Thanx! It is hard to be objective, when everyone thinks they're good. @ James: hehe - thanx! ;) @ Guy: thanx! Am very much looking forward to future roles and would recommend all to check-out ReadThrough.com!

Thomas Ferranti

and PS to all re: my convo with Patrick. It will be a bit easier for me to carry our lengthy convo to private. Though feel free to comment re: any points made, above. Thanx! ;)

Guy Goldstein (WriterDuet.com And ReadThrough.com)

@Thomas! Thanks for your support Thomas!

Guy Goldstein (WriterDuet.com And ReadThrough.com)

@ Patrick, if you get a change, come check out www.readthrough.com, where actors and screenwriters collaborate online, bringing screenplays to life, while promoting talent.

Patrick Stephan Marshall

@Guy Interesting site! And perfect for Thomas to show off his talent :)

Robert P. Davenport II

I am very impressed you have a very wide performance pallet ..... I am interested in using your skill set on an animation project I am producing. You surely have talent!

Guy Goldstein (WriterDuet.com And ReadThrough.com)

Thanks Patrick. Hope to see you there too! :)

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