WeRehearse is Video Chat for actors – the iPhone app and website helps you run lines, rehearse scenes and get advice, on demand from the community of real, experienced actors, coaches and casting directors.
WeRehearse connects users through advanced in-browser video based on a technology called WebRTC. This means that you don’t need to install plug-ins or use a separate program such as skype or your old video chat system. Modern browsers from devices can communicate directly with each other with crisp images and better sound quality, which makes it perfect for running lines in the most natural way possible.
Darren Darnborough is an actor, filmmaker and entrepreneur from London UK, who is now based in LA. His TV and film credits include True Blood, Roots, 2 Broke Girls and Eastenders.
Darren co-founded promotional staffing website www.StuckForStaff.com, and recently WeRehearse.com with actress and YouTube star Jessica Rose (lonelygirl15) and actor/producer Richard Cambridge.
Vincenzo: Firstly, Darren let me say what a great idea for actors the WeRehearse is.
Could you let our viewers know a little bit more about the app and how it works?
Darren: Thank you! It’s a really simple app that allows you to connect with another actor, any time you like through video chat, to rehearse your scenes or get advice. You just open the app, put out a request (like you would book an Uber) and within minutes you’ll have a few choices of actors that can help you instantly and connect in the app’s video-chat rehearsal room. You can add your script straight from the app and away you go. If you’d like to help other people too, you can be a reader and earn money, whilst still work on your craft. Its a win-win for actors.
Vincenzo: What got you onto the idea, to begin with?
Darren: My co-founder Jessica Rose came up with the idea as she would often Skype with her mum back in Australia before auditions. Many of her friends would be unavailable as they had evening bar jobs. So the idea of connecting a community of readers started us off. Jessica told me the seed idea as I was in my dressing room for the TV comedy “2 Broke Girls” hastily trying to learn some script changes on my own, and I thought it was brilliant – if it had existed I would be using it right at that moment. As I have a background in both acting and online business, Jessica and I agreed to partner. We developed the idea out and then brought on Richard Cambridge, another actor from the UK who is also a very talented tech guy, as our CTO.
Vincenzo: How was working with Jessica Rose and Richard Cambridge (The other Co-founders). Where did you guys meet?
Darren: It’s been great as we all have a very different skillset to bring to the table which complements each other. Location-wise, it is a challenge as I am based in LA, Jessica is based in Australia and Richard is in the UK. But on the plus side, it means there’s always someone working on the site, and word has spread internationally through our personal contacts pretty well!
Has marketing the APP been Easy Peasy Lemon Squeeze or not?
Darren: I don’t think marketing anything is easy peasy – it always takes a lot of work and effort. But we have been quite fortunate in that people seem to enjoy the product and spread the word for us, and we’ve been picked up by the major trade magazines such as Backstage, the Stage and the Huffington post which helps. The main thing is though – it takes two to tango – or rehearse in this case – so the beauty of it is, for every person that puts a request for a reader out, many more hear about it and can benefit. As with any marketplace, though, these resources get more valuable the more people that use them, so we highly encourage you spreading the word!
Vincenzo: The fact that actors can earn £ by helping each other out seems a pretty cool idea.
Darren: We’re pretty proud of that angle. Many businesses out there to help actors just seem to take money from them – which is not a bad thing, everybody needs to earn a wage. But with WeRehearse our members are paying each other, much the same as they would spend on a taxi or gas, or picking up the coffee tab. Like I said, it’s a win-win because as an actor when you’re helping someone on a scene, you are still flexing your own acting muscles. AND you’re getting paid.
Vincenzo: Do actors have to use pay pal to pay and be paid and use the Service?
Darren: Yes currently that is the only way payment works as it is integrated into the app for simplicity and safety. But it’s easy to sign up to PayPal (who isn’t these days?!)
Vincenzo: I noticed the app is already available on iTunes? That’s pretty impressive and cool. Was it a bit hurdle to get the App going?
Darren: It definitely takes a lot of work to get an app market-ready – the building, the testing and the approval. The great thing about the Apple approval process is that once you’re live, you know you have a good product that works well, and is useful and adheres to their rules. There’s some great satisfaction and validation in that, a little like when your teacher finally gives you a good grade. Now the challenge is getting people to leave reviews, so if you’re a user, please head there and share the love.
Vincenzo: So, your an English actor that’s now living and working in the USA. What are the advantages of being overseas for a British actor?
Darren: Definitely the opportunities out here are greater – there are simply more shows and films being made. For a while, it feels that you have the advantage of your accent and background, as it makes you interesting, but once you have settled in, you end up working on reducing the accent to get considered for more roles, so it can seem a deficiency after a while. I think the British standard of training helps you stand out here, but in contrast, I am continually impressed with the American work ethic and talent that I see.
Vincenzo: Is it how you planned your career? Or just a great accident?
Darren: I guess I always had designs on being in America, but it wasn’t a strict plan. But around age 28 I was feeling a little stagnant in the UK – in career, in life, in a lot of ways and I just needed an exciting change. Once I made the choice then yes, the career plans started, and here I am 10 years later and still very, very happy with that decision.
Vincenzo: Setting up a profile is there a charge for the actor to join?
Darren: No, its totally free to join, free to use. You only pay the other actor if you want to book someone that charges a fee, but many people offer to help for free or tips.
Vincenzo: Could the APP be a bit of a dating site for actors? (I’m joking) But, WOW seems like another APP? “I’m looking for a lady to read My Eastenders script with for a few scenes for next Friday” for example! (LOL)
Darren: It definitely ISN’T a dating app, and as of now we haven’t had that problem – I’m happy to say all the members are very professional and courteous so far. But yes, you’re right – the filtering is similar. The best way to use WeRehearse is to be as specific as possible. For instance, if you have an audition for say, The Walking Dead, and you write that in your request, your reading partner could well be someone that has guest starred (or even starred!) in the show, so can give you a great insight to the casting process, or your first day on set. I’m happy to say that we have several members that make that previous statement true ;) So I actively encourage people to not only use the site when they have auditions but to just practice, find out about the industry, or quiz another actor about a production or set environment before their first day at work. You could get valuable knowledge that can make you shine or save you getting cut.
Vincenzo: Self-tape is very big for castings. How easy would it be to get an actor to read a scene that would be recorded for a self-tape audition?
Darren: Many of our members use it for self-tapes. Most set their iPhone / iPad or computer up next to the camera and use a WeRehearse reader as their other person. Our video technology runs on WebRTC – (Real-Time-Communication) – in layman’s terms that means a clearer connection, without lag or delay, as long as you both have good internet signal.
Vincenzo: Do you have any other fab Apps or ideas that actors may want to know about?
Darren: We’re currently testing a couple of great features that we will be launching on WeRehearse soon, so stay posted for more goodness.
Vincenzo: I’m looking forward to letting my headshot actors know about your app Darren. Think its great as I said. Great ideas come to great people.
Darren: Thank you Vincenzo – really appreciate your support. It seems like you want to help your actors succeed and get the best shot at the job, and that’s exactly why we created this too. Ultimately, we are just actors that wanted to create a resource for ourselves, but to share it with the community at the same time.
Vincenzo: Your very welcome Darren. It’s a pleasure. I get so many actors and that come to see me at Vincenzo Photography asking for my advice on many topics from actors headshots to agents to acting, and when I come across nuggets of great ideas then I love sharing them in my Actors Tool Box.
The WeRehearse App and website is great and it’s going to help so many of my readers and clients. I wish you well with the App and look forward to getting more updates as soon as they become available Darren.