The Vlog Continues

Hello hello.  In all the chaos of trying to get the videos edited and out to the inter webs I completely forgot to post the second video on my own website!  Woof.  So here we go, episodes 2 and 3 are now available for your digital consumption.  If you are interested in following along for the journey make sure you like the video, subscribe to my YouTube channel and if you are feeling up to it go ahead and share my videos with whomever you want.

 

 

The Actors Medium

Certainly I am not the first person to consider that theatre is the actors medium, not film or TV. Fran Montano wrote about it in 2014, Kevin Spacey expressed it at a Bollywood panel, Rutger Hauer, and many more have states this thought before it even occurred to me. But as an aspiring actor it is something that has been gnawing at me more and more.  My third year of graduate school we will be taking an “Acting for the camera” class and attempting to put together a basic reel that I will be posting on this website as well as submitting to agents in hopes of getting film auditions.  It is important to note that film (including commercials) can obviously be lucrative.  A single national commercial can net an actor a years worth of income in a matter of days.  Additionally you could find yourself in the position of someone like Stephanie Courtney, better known to most of us as Flo from Progressive. She is fiscally set for the rest of her life.  But she didn’t go to LA to become the face of an insurance company. Stephanie worked her tail off and was a company member for The Groundlings out in LA because she was and is an actor.  She performed frequently and wrote often to hone her comedic and performative skills, giving herself the tools necessary to walk into an audition room and become the character known as Flo.

The Hilberry Theatre has a history stretching back more than 45 years and a distinguished reputation in the college theater world.

This is where I currently train, The Hilberry Theatre in Detroit, MI. I got my BFA from CU Boulder and then spent 5 years in Chicago doing store front theatre all over the city as well as a touring production that went around the state of Illinois.  I turned 30 this summer and at this point I am 12 years into this profession.

The theatrical stage is where the Trade of acting is actually practiced. Not in front of a camera.  Good editing and cinematography, along with some nice underscoring and foley work, can make a mediocre actor look fantastic. On the flip side those departments can also ruin good acting.  Great film requires many masters in many different fields to come together and collaborate on a single artistic vision, the acting is just one part of that.  The stage, especially if we are talking about minimalistic design elements, is where you can see someone truly Act. Add back in masters of light, sound, costume and staging and the theatre can be a place that is more powerful than the cinema.  It’s just damn hard to pay the bills.  So go to the theatre, watch someone working on their trade and recognize that they do this for well over 40 hours a week and for very little financial compensation.  Especially in smaller theatre spaces.  In my last post I talked about how Concert’s Are Kicking Theatre’s Ass and I think that one aspect of the live concert that people enjoy is the fact that even though this music is recorded and I may own the album, or even just the one hit wonder, the live performance of the song that I am seeing right now is unique and will never be the same again.  That is something that Theatre needs to embrace and lean into in my opinion.  Hamlet will be performed for another 100 years, but tonights performance is perfectly unique.  Did you see it, or did you watch a movie that you’ll be able to watch any other night? So go see a show, if you’re lucky you’ll see a master before everyone else. And for my own selfish interests, come see a show at the Hilberry.  

Accountable

Following another weekend of keeping quite busy with performances in the evenings, speech and debate tournament on Saturday, rehearsal on Sunday morning, closing matinee and then strike for The Rover…I suddenly find myself with some extra time on my hands.  Now that Rover has closed I have Thursday-Satruday night and Sunday afternoons free.  What to do with that time….hmmmm.  It would be so easy just to take that time off for the next couple of weeks and slowly try to figure out what I would like to do.  But that is exactly what I am trying to avoid doing, wasting a day.  I need to hold myself accountable for my time and wasting a day is something that I am realizing that I don’t want to do, but more importantly, something that I can’t afford to do.

This week I have been listening to a mix of motivational speeches that thedjraz posted on 8tracks.com. Most of the speeches, but certainly not all, are given towards athletes but the same principles can be applied towards a career in the arts.  Becoming a professional actor requires a similar level of insane dedication that it takes for those who work towards becoming professional athletes.  Currently I have 18 more days of P90X to complete before I reach the “end” of the program.  That being said I will go ahead and say that I am already looking forward to the second round.  I’m looking forward to the pain, the struggle, the discipline that is required to survive the next 90 days, and I know that I will be looking forward to another 90 days after that.  For the second round I will be adding more daily goals, not just working out everyday. I need to sing, practice piano, read, run monologues, study movies, study other actors, see shows, network…I need to work.

The best part about all of this?  I am the one who gets to make it all happen.  I get to look back on my life when I am older and I get to see this period in my life as the time that I really started to figure out what it actually takes to become a successful person.  That I held myself accountable and was able to make things happen.

Hearing back

A lovely Friday to all those amazingly wonderful people who find there way to my website. Today I had fun filled day of filming a horror short and performing in another show of The Rover.

The horror short was titled Smile and is a student film I had auditioned for on Wednesday at the SAG-AFTRA office downtown. The film has 3 roles and at the audition I read for all of the parts. The director sent out his final casting choices that night! For those of you who don’t do the whole acting and auditioning thing let me just tell you that in my experience that is very rare. Thursday morning we received an electronic copy of the final script and the call times/shot list for Friday. Like most film projects we fell behind

Only 2 days

Now that it is Monday morning I have the opportunity to sit, breathe and look back at this past weekend. Wow. An awful lot happened in only two days. Saturday was go go go from when I awoke till I fell asleep on Sunday morning! All three auditions seemed to go well and hopefully I will hear back from one or more of those. I had been told by two of those projects that they would be letting people know in two weeks, so now I will just be keeping an eye on my email. The treasure hunt at the Art Institute of Chicago went really well. Honestly it is a great job that reminds me a lot of being a camp counselor. I am just supervising an activity for a group of people, the only difference being that they are adults not children. But the same rules apply, if I am excited, they get excited. If I am having fun they are more likely to have fun. Simple observation, but very important.

The biggest event on Saturday was the opening of The Rover!!! Our first rehearsal was back on Monday, August 27th and then 62 days later the final result is one that I am very proud of. We will be performing the show Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm. Our closing performance will be on Sunday, November 18th. Both shows went well this weekend and I am hopeful that we continue to have a great time performing this production. We did have some reviewers come see the show and I will post the reviews as I find them.

Following the show we went over to one of our cast mates houses for a costume/opening night party.

20121029-142658.jpgThe theme was Peter Pan so I got myself dressed up as the one and only Rufio!!! We had a tinkerbell, peter pan, hook, smee, wendy and a few loat boys as well. The evening was a blast. It is a wonderful cast and a good group to hang out with.

Following the show on Sunday I had a first rehearsal at Gorilla Tango for one of the films I had auditioned for on the 12th of October (got cast!) which went really well. The director cast 6 actors (4 men 2 women) whom he will be working with to organically create a script and then film. I really had a good time and think this project definitely has some good potential based on the director and other actors.

Now sure that right there could have been the end of my weekend but no! Post rehearsal I biked down to Pilsen to see some of my friends in a production of The Kindly Ones. The script was written by my friend Bohrs Hoff and it is an adaptation of The Eumenides. The story is the first ever democratic trial conducted my the Greek Gods (and siblings) Apollo and Athena. We the audience act as the jury in this trial of Orestes for the murder of his mother Clytemnestra. Every audience member was given a white and a black stone which would be used to determine the final judgment. Apollo is representing Orestes and defending him because he deeply loves the mortal. Athena is representing the Erinyes as well as summoning the spirits of the dead that would be the witnesses (Iphigenia, Agamemnon, and Clytemnestra) in the trial. Overall I enjoyed the show, was very impressed with my friend Bohrs for writing that script, and proud of the work all my fiends did. Good physical and vocal work as well. Post show we went and had a taco (delicious) and then I biked 8.5 miles into a headwind to get home. What a weekend.

Happily Busy

The weather has finally cooled off in Chicago, took until October 25th which is quite amazing, but that has not slowed down my schedule today.

I woke up with morning at 6:30 feeling a bit congested and not really wanting to get out of bed. I sucked it up, not wanting to spray myself in the face with water, and got ready to do Yoga X. About 15 minutes into the program my nose started to clear up and I received a jolt of energy. By the time I finished up shavasana I was feeling awake, energized and ready to tackle the day.

I auditioned for two films today, one called The Martyr and the other called Axed Story. Both auditions went well but I was told that I won’t be hearing anything for at least two weeks for the first one and a month for the second one. I liked both of the scripts, or at least the parts I got to read, and would enjoy working on either project. Currently I am downtown at The Art Institute of Chicago assisting with a public hunt for Watson Adventures along with my friend Nicole. She said that it is a large group (47) for a public hunt but we managed to get the groups sent off without a hitch. They should all be back with the next 35 minutes.

Following the conclusion of this hunt I will be swinging by my residence to pick up my bag (such a useful bag), grab some food and them heading off to…another audition! Boom school. After that I make my way to The Rivendell Theater for opening night of The Rover by Aphra Behn. I am very excited to open the show and see what new moments and discoveries are made tonight. Plus, surprise not, the cast part is going to be after the show. Yes it is a costume party. Yes I am dressing as Rufio from Hook. Of course I will take a ton of photos because most of the cast will be dressing as characters from the Peter Pan world.

Time to finish up this Hunt! Stay tuned for pictures.

Busy in a good way

Despite my lack of a 9-5 style job I myself and keeping quite busy.  Busy enough in fact that I blew off posting yesterday (bad excuse because I can do it on my phone I should have at least put something up) figuring that I would be able to update today instead.

For those actors who have not heard of the website Actors Access you need to get yourself over there and sign up.  I highly recommend that you pay for a yearly subscription (only $67 I think) which will allow you to submit yourself to an unlimited number of projects.  You can pay per submission if you would like but it is $2 per and I think you will be more eager to submit after you have paid for the year subscription.  Through this site I had booked myself for two auditions at Columbia College.  The auditions were in two different buildings downtown which I was totally fine with because I had plenty of time to travel between the two.  The fist audition was at 2:30 at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book &  Paper Arts located at 1104 S Wabash Ave.  I had been told that I would be getting sides e-mailed to me but they never arrived.  To be perfectly honest, that is one of my favorite things to have happen before an audition.  I love walking in, having them ask if I brought the sides, telling the casting director I never received them, getting them on the spot and then BRINGING IT with my audition.  I like to leave them with the idea that, hey if this is what he was able to do in 30 seconds what could happen with an hour? Two hours? Twenty-four hours?  That is the positive side, the negative side is that if I never received the sides there is a good chance the project might be a bit disorganized and end up being a nightmare but hey, good with the bad as they say. Overall I felt that I did well at this audition.

As I was leaving the room to go to my second audition, another student who was running auditions for her project stopped me in the hall and asked me if I would want to come read for her.  I obviously said yes, since I still had plenty of time, and headed into the room.  Now this brings me to a very important note for young actors: Always carry extra headshots and resumes. Now this might not always be possible, and I understand that, but if you can definitely carry them in your audition binder.  Another good alternative is, if the casting director is fine with it, to email an electronic copy of your headshot and resume to them on the spot.  I find the best way to make that happen is to make sure that you have a Dropbox account. Oh, my, goodness, is that a useful app to have.  It is totally free for 2GB of storage which can be accessed from any web browser, from your smart phone, and your comp.  You simply save any file you would like into the Dropbox folder and BAM you have access to it whenever you need it.

I felt that the second audition, though completely a surprise, went well and at the very least it was another good opportunity to perform and quickly create a character.  I then headed to the north side of downtown for my second audition located at One East Erie.  Not thinking too much of this I headed to the building only to discover that the audition was being held at the Sag-Aftra offices located in the Kaufherr Members Resource Center (KMRC)! I never had even heard of this place but the more I have been reading about it on their website the more I am excited to hear that a place like this exists and has these resources available to actors.  Even though I am not union it is a very cool thing to discover and gives me even more energy and excitement as I continue this journey of becoming a professional actor.  This audition was really fun, it was the first time I have ever read for the role of a police officer and I know that it won’t be the last because that is a character that will never die out.  First time I read the sides it was with no instruction and then the director gave me one note and they had me read again.  Overall it was a blast and I was very greatful for the opportunity.

Despite the fact that the auditions all went well I don’t think that I will get any of the roles because I had multiple conflicts with the shoot days for all three projects. If one of the films decides to go with me I know that they must have really enjoyed my audition if they are willing to work around the schedule that I have.  Regardless I got the chance to perform three different times and I walked out of each audition feeling good about the work I had presented and that’s really all you can do at an audition!

Felt Good

Last night I had two auditions and both of them went very well.  Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that I got the part(s), which I really hope I do, but it does mean that I walked out of both auditions feeling good about the performance that I gave in my short one man show.  The first audition I arrived early for and went across the street to the McDonald’s to grab a coffee.  Post caffeinated beverage I headed over to Gorilla Tango Theatre.  Before I went inside, and I did this before my second audition as well, I took 2 minutes and stood in a power position that I learned from a Ted talk given by Amy Cuddy in June of this year. The concept of the talk deals with the idea of “fake it till you make it” and if this is possible.  Turns out, yes it is.  By standing in positions of power the levels of testosterone and cortisol in the body can be altered and thus can make us seem and feel more confident.  Both of the roles that I was reading for had characters who were very confident and “alpha” in personality, so my thought was that if I took this drill and performed it right before my audition hopefully it would help my body give off the correct signals of a confident individual.  By the flip side, if I get cast in both of those projects ;), I am also planning on using this in an opposite type situation where I need to portray a person who has low confidence and low self-esteem.  This all is very fascinating to me because as and actor I am trying to create these living characters and if I can alter my own chemical make-up to help me in this process…..well then that would be particularly beneficial and amazing.  Both projects said that they would let me know by the end of next week so, fingers crossed and I will let you know what the final verdict is.

Audition

This evening I am getting ready to head off to two auditions, both of them are for film projects.  One of the projects is currently Untitled and the director is planning on casting the roles and then working with the actors on a collaborative effort to create the story. I am going to be auditioning for the role of “Hero/Everyman” and the audition will consist of a 2-5 minute monologue and some improv work.  Personally I am not a huge fan of a 2-5 minute monologue audition…heck I think the monologue that I am going in with is only 1:30 if I stretch it but I think there is a good chance this person has not run too many auditions and they aren’t aware how quickly you can make up your mind when someone is performing a monologue.

The other audition is for a project titled Twitch which is a project from a Columbia student  about “On the night before Amber heads out to College, she attends Jordan, her popular boyfriend’s, house party with not-so-popular Gabe causing a confrontation that forces Amber to choose between social status and genuine friendship that will forever change their dynamic.” where I will be auditioning for the role of Jordan.  This audition will be sides only with no monologue to present.  I am very hopeful that both of the auditions go well and that I am able to get myself involved in one or both of the projects.  I will let you know how it goes!