As it has transformed nearly all professional and creative endeavors, the recent explosion of mobile apps also changed the world of acting . These applications for smartphones give the aspiring actor many new powerful tools that were previously only available as either costly software for a computer or as a standalone device. But all that has changed, delivering increase opportunities for training, education and finding work for the emerging thespian.
Continuing the tradition the team at TomCruise.com started with the Aspiring to Act, Write and Direct Series, we’ve compiled research on the best of these mobile apps for actors in a guide for easy reference and comparison. Just like our posts for aspiring directors, screenwriters, actors, visual effects artists and producers, performers can find the resources for technological tools to give them a competitive advantage!
As all aspiring thespians know, breaking in as an actor is one of the most competitive environments imaginable. Any advantage should be taken! We cover apps meant for different areas of an actors’ life. Here’s a quick index so you can skip to information most useful to your career:
While we’ve scoured the Internet for the most helpful apps for actors – with big help from the folks over at BackStage – this list is by no means exhaustive. With apps getting cranked out by the score daily, we’re sure there will always be something new and exciting to add to this list. As always, we welcome your suggestions and recommendations – we’re likely to include them in any update for this post! So let us know which mobile apps have helped change your professional life for the best.
Read on for the mobile apps that can shave time off your day or give you the training you need to land that next big part. If anyone can do it, we know it’s our readers who have the passion and technical knowledge to put these apps to good use. We’ve listed them along with their purchase price. For the sake of this post, we’ve included the link to the Apple App store for purchase information seeing as though the iPhone is such as popular platform for mobile apps. However, a number of these applications are available on other smartphone platforms such as Google Android and RIM’s Blackberry. Check the developer’s link by clicking the icon for more information.
A great intersection between technology and creativity comes in the rehearsing tools available through mobile apps. These smartphone applications give actors the flexibility to rehearse and memorize lines from any script without having to find a rehearsal partner. These apps enable actors to not only more easily remember their dialogue, but to learn important timing and cues as well. All this without having to resort to helping friends move or buying pizza for the fourth time to get someone to run lines ;).
ScenePartner ($6.49, fee per script download) – Recently released and featured on several prominent news blogs, ScenePartner offers actors interactive rehearsing whenever they need it. The process is pretty ingenious, the app uses text-to-speech software to read lines back from a downloaded script. Actors can choose portions of the script, or just the lines around their parts in different modes. They can also record their voice or that of their castmates to make the experience even more realistic. There is a fee for each script download outside of the initial purchase price for the app.
Rehearsal (Free, fee per script download or monthly subscription) – Again, using text to speech software, Rehearsal allows actors to interact with a script without the hassle of finding someone to read lines. Rehearsal also offers the ability to custom select the portions of the script for reading using a highlighting feature through the touch interface on many smartphones. Available for free download, you can choose to pay a fee per script or enroll in a monthly or yearly subscription for unlimited scripts.
Actor David H. Lawrence XVII, best known for his role on the television show Heroes, helped develop this app and walks through its features in the video below:
From all appearances, both Rehearsal and ScenePartner look like they could be a lifeline for actors in need of help mastering lines.
SpeakEasy Voice Recorder ($1.99) – A simple favorite of actors for a long while has been to just record their parts to play back and better help memorize lines. A favorite of the editors at BackStage was the SpeakEasy Voice Recorder for it’s ease of use and sound quality. Actors looking to quickly get their parts recorded may want to take a peek.
Good research can land an actor a role, but great research gets actors remembered forever. Below are some apps that make it easier to delve into the history of the performances that came before you, making it much easier to play a role as your own. Also, it’s great fun to learn more about the history of acting and film. Happy studying!
IMDb (Free) – The grandfather of all film databases, actors would be well served to regularly sift through the awesome collection of information available through the Internet Movie Database and its handy mobile app. IMDb is a clearinghouse for all credits information with a library of movies stretching back to the earliest days of cinema and into the most obscure regions of filmmaking and television. A fun game to play on this app: linking two wildly different actors together through six different jumps in credits.
Netflix (Free with Membership) – The Internet’s premium video service, Netfilx not only delivers DVDs to your door or computer, but through this app is happy to send them to your phone. For any subscriber, all the movies you can watch instantly on a computer are available as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. This way, you can examine famous parts from a number of classics or catch up on great new performances all from the convenience of your phone.
William Shakespeare Quote Pro ($0.99) – Even the most contemporary actors bow down to the Bard. This app makes it easy to find any quote from the arsenal of William Shakespeare plays through a search function that combs the 38 combined comedies, tragedies, histories and romances. If you’re ever searching for something witty or appropriate to the occasion, chances are you’ll find it here.
Easily among the most stressful facets of the acting business is auditioning. Thankfully there a number of new mobile apps created to make the process somewhat bearable. From finding casting calls to submitting headshots to keeping track of who you’ve talked to, theses applications for your smartphone allow actors to gain some control over their auditions.
Actors Access Mobile ($24.99 and Showfax subscription) – An admittedly expensive application, Actor’s Access does deliver through allowing actors to quickly submit their drendentials and headshots to casting agents from wherever they may be. With digital submissions quickly becoming the standard of the industry, getting your photograph and resume over to a casting director ASAP could be the difference between getting an audition or not. One caveat, actors using the app need to be enrolled in the corresponding Showfax service, which is where your online casting credentials would be stored.
iPerform ($5.99) – For the busy actor, keeping track of contacts, casting agents, phone numbers and all the various dates can seem overwhelming. iPerform collates all that info into a single spot as a digital personal assistant and syncs it with any number of different calendaring software and address books. It even includes reminders about wardrobe and expenses! This app also works with a number of different smartphone operating systems such as Android, Windows Mobile and Blackberry.
Actor Genie ($9.99) – Knowledge is power and for actors that includes knowing who is doing what in the major markets of Los Angeles and New York. Actor Genie allows actors to get a picture of what film and television projects are in production, along with the names and possible contact information of the casting agents working them. Keeping abreast of these projects is how many actors find themselves getting called in for a last minute audition and – hopefully – a last minute casting.
Some actors play a role behind the lens as well as in front of it through the creative impulse to write their own scripts. Just look at performers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck who won their first acclaim in the film industry not only for their acting in Good Will Hunting, but for winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay! The mobile app below can help actors get their creative thoughts into a script regardless of where they may be.
Screenplay ($4.99) – While a smartphone may not be the first choice for a scriptwriting appliance, when inspiration strikes away from a writing tool, you’ll be happy you have a place to contain it. Screenplay offers the ability for aspiring actors and screenwriters to get their story down in the correct format anywhere they can take their phone. So much for a legal pad, you wind up filming your first project on the same device you wrote it on!
Any help available during production is likely welcome, with organizational tools desperately needed to keep this most expensive and stressful part of production in order. Check out the mobile app below to aid in the hard work of getting a film in the can.
ProPrompter ($9.99) – Sometimes there’s a revision to the script or on-the-fly changes that need to be kept in the screenplay. Or maybe you just couldn’t master the last couple pages of dialogue. Whatever the reason, ProPrompter for both the iPhone and iPad allows actors a smooth, professional teleprompting interface to have your lines available basically in the camera lens. This can alleviate the nightmare of forgetting lines and backing up production on the day of the shoot.
Being an actor requires the same, if not more, discipline as any other business. It takes being in total control of your life in the first place the allow the flexibility for the spontaneous audition or to fly out to a shoot at the last minute. For that reason, actors should always be looking for tools to keep their lives organized. Below are a couple of our favorites here at TomCruise.com.
Maps Traffic View (Free) – If you’ve ever tried crossing Los Angeles or Manhattan at rush hour needing to hit a deadline, you know how important traffic information is. With the mapping featuring and GPS on most smartphones combined with a realtime traffic report, you can route yourself to that make-or-break audition even in the teeth of a four-car wreck. Okay, maybe not then, but you get the idea ;). Our advice, always give yourself twice as much time as you think you’ll need. It’s never bad manners to show up early :).
Evernote (Free) – A cool free app for notetaking, Evernote allows you to save written notes, voice notes, screenshots, photos or links all in one handy place that syncs to the Internet and your home computer. This works especially good for actors researching roles who spot inspirational items while out on the town and want to remember them later for their part.
So that about does it for our rundown of useful mobile applications for actors! Let us know which of these are your favorites or which ones we missed in the comment section. Also remember to stay in touch with the TomCruise.com team at Twitter and Facebook for the latest news, resources, photos and other cool extras we post daily!