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Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing/Offers for Acting in Foreign Films.


QUESTION: Dear Taylor

1. Are there challenges to accept offers to act in foreign
films ?.

What i mean by a Foreign Film is a Movie which has a different Language spoken in the movie by Artists etc German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch etc other than English Language ?.

2. On a Personal Level, Will you accept these offers ?.

As a example a French Film Maker approaches you with the script and the role to be portrayed, will you accept these offer ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Hello again Prashant!

Well, the biggest challenge would be speaking the language of the film. That, and understanding the script. Different cultures experience things differently. Like humor. What works in one language and culture might not play well somewhere else. To further complicate things, comedy can be tricky. Here in America, we have had generations of comedians with various "shticks" (a Yiddish word for (gimmick")) at first it is a new approach and people love it, but after a while, it has been seen and people tire of it. There is also the cultural differences. Some things don't translate well between cultures. For instance, in America, many people will use the phrase "Rule of thumb". We all know it to mean "normally" or "usually" because we have heard older generations use it. I guarantee that very few know it's origins. It was originally from early American English colonial times. Literally it meant that you could not beat your wife with a stick bigger than your thumb! That is not very kind or appropriate in modern society, but it is still in use because of ignorance. So, what I am saying is that it might be hard for a foreign actor to understand cultural nuances. In Japan, years ago, they loved to laugh at American blondes who didn't understand the language. It was an extension of the "dumb blonde" stereotype here in America.

Would I take a role in a foreign film? Yes, under certain conditions. First, I would need a coach to train me phonetics to "fake" knowing a language I don't know. (I understand a lot of German and some Spanish). Secondly, it would depend on if it was a major film with very good accomodations (hotel, attendants, transportation) and very much, SAFETY! There are many countries that are not safe to be in due to their politcal climate. I would not go to Mexico or Egypt right now, because they are in turmoil. While everyone assumes Americans are all rich and can pay big ransoms, in reality, 10% of us have riches, and it is getting worse all the time. My friends often ask me why I do not just act and not work normal jobs. I tell them that the life of an actor is not all riches and limos, that only top stars enjoy that. If a young person asks me about acting, the first question I ask is WHY they want to be an actor. If they say "To be rich and famous" I do not encourage them. Success in acting comes from loving the art, not hoping for the advantages. Am I rich? no. Do I get surrounded by paparazzi? No. Am I successful? YES!! Every time I get to act I am in heaven! Sunday night I shot a scene for an independent film in an old house with no electricity. The lights were powered by a generator across the street behind us. We had one tiny heater in another room. It was below freezing. I wore boxer shorts and a thin shirt and was barefoot. I was so cold. Yet, I loved it!

I hope this answers your question, best to you!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Taylor

Thank you.

As a example i took of a French Film Maker approaches you with the script and the role to be portrayed, will you accept these offer ?.

Now in this case, if the film is french, and you do not know french language then will there be voice dubbing for you ?.

But then Synchronizing the lip movements with the voice dubbed for you in French would be difficult as the language is new to you. This could be a challenging as well as a difficult part to perform ?.

Above was just a example of French film, it could be any other film other than English Language but that language is not spoken by you i.e. Its a new language to learn.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Hi Prashant,

Will have to make this short as I am working today.

Yes, they CAN dub your voice with someone else's. It used to be that they did not care if the lips moved with the voice, but nowdays they can adjust the sound by computer to fit the lip movements. It is frightening how real it looks!

You would simply speak normally, and they would dub and match you. Very simple.

I had to re-record a line in a commercial a while back. They wanted tio change the words I said. I thought there was no way it woulod look did. Imagine what you could do in politics if you used that technology to make your challenger look bad? That's what I mean about scary!


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Taylor Sheppard


I can answer questions: on starting a career in acting, mistakes in acting, etiquette when dealing with industry contacts, finer points on how to act, and things to avoid in the field.


I have been a professional actor 21 years, with appearances in TV, Film and commercials. I have made good decisions and potentially damaging mistakes. I believe anyone who has a dream deserves to explore it, and I take their aspirations seriously. That being said, I do not pull punches. I try to be tactful, but I will not lie to someone, honesty is more effective. My last film role was in "Teeth" which was picked for Sundance in January 2007. It was sold to Lionsgate and Weinstein Co. for somewhere over 2.5 million. The role was "Mr. Griffith", a sex-ed teacher.

Ciao Agency-Austin/Georgetown, Texas. (Formerly known as Donna Adams Agency. Matthew McConaughey was a good friend and fellow member. I also have belonged to agencies in three other Texas cities, but they have since closed.) TXMPA -Texas Motion Picture Alliance. Various other internet networking web rings as well as Actors Access. I was instrumental in advising actress Krista Allen on getting her career in acting started in Austin,Texas (we worked at the same Health Club in the early '90's).

Previously wrote on a now defunct website such as this one. I enjoyed helping new actors.

I have acted for 21 years. I studied under James Nelson Harrell as well as other talented actors at Southwest Texas State University. After college, I have taken classes with Julliard graduate Mona Lee, Bill Johnson, Van Brookes, Marco Perella and others in Austin Texas. I am constantly attending classes to maintain my edge and explore new directions. In addition to attending strictly acting classes, I have also taken business workshops with respected casting directors, such as Shari Rhodes ("Jaws","Close Encounters", "Raggedy Man".) Barbara Brinkley, Jo Edna Bolden and Donise Hardy, (Castingworks LA).

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