“Most actors don’t understand how much gold is in the scene just by listening.” -Spencer Tracy. Beautiful.
Yesterday I went to a ‘general’ for a major network.
Lesson learned on how not to stay general at a general? Be as specific as you can.
It’s always interesting to see other actors and actors who are deemed the same type (in this case, ethnicity) as you. Being that I started from an improv background - I started on-camera acting as having kind of a bit of an aversion to lines.
The good news is I was completely off book, had done all of my homework, and learned a ton from the process of taping myself at home, which (the scripted part) is a lot more difficult for the improv girl in me.
Lesson learned at a general be as specific as you can be to make your choices truly yours. It’s those moments you react to something someone says or really truly take in or really live out your inner monologue.
And don’t forget to breathe.
Had the pleasure of auditioning for Wynn Handmann.
First I auditioned for his assistant Billy, and then was brought back to audition for Wynn. I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated. Mr. Handman has the shrewd eyes that tell me he’s kind of seen it all.
That and the fact he’s taught Allison Janney.
It’s amazing how much a girl can practice a monologue and still wind up feeling her back leg trembling a little bit.
Mr. Handman asked me to improvise with the monologue putting it into my own words in several areas, and then invited me to join his Monday night class, which starts tonight.
I’m very excited to start tonight.
I’m very happy to say I signed with a new manager, Kevin Miller of KM Artist Management! I very much look forward to working with him.
I am in Paris for part of this week, on a trip to the UK that was for business and while I was in the area decided to stop in France on my way home.
Paris is for some – the city of love – but for me it has been a city of magic.
At a tour of Notre Dame, I was talking to one of the guides, and we were talking about artists.
I was asking him about the artists of Montmartre, particularly Picasso. I asked him how he lived as an artist, on an artist’s wages, how he afforded that house at 49 Rue Gabrielle.
I asked because I am not a painter, but I’ve noticed how paints can be very expensive the times I visited Utrecht for my crafting purposes for Meisner classes. (Remember how many pictures you had to redraw perfectly? Yish!)
He told me the reason Picasso had his ‘blue’ period is because the paints were so expensive the only color he could afford was blue – thus causing Picasso to use blue all the ways he could – inadvertently causing him to be more creative.
He said: “In Paris we have a saying for artists. Stay as poor as long as you can.”
He went on to explain that once you start making that money, you want to make more money, and then more, and will sell out for it – because that is human nature.
However, he also added that once you are (as an artist) AWARE of this, it is good, because then you can stop it.
Traveling is a good way to rekindle one’s creative soul in so many ways.
Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.
This exercise in a recent on-camera class helped me a lot. A guy was telling our teacher how he ‘can’t cry’/show emotions sometimes on set because there is so much pressure to cry.
The guy was a very good-looking guy and had modeled so he was booking quite a few shows, but had not trained in acting classes. He was humble and wanted to learn and had good instincts.
Our teacher told him about how a lot of actors think just because they can cry it means they are acting. This led to a lesson that illustrated the importance of specifics in crafting, he then took him to the front of the room, and led him through this:
1. Look at three different points on a wall.
2. Assign one person you love a great deal in real life to each point on the wall.
3. Now, imagine this is the last time you will ever see this person.
4. Genuinely say goodbye to them.
Our teacher specified to not ‘show’ emotion, but just talk to the person. And when the specifics are there and used to the best of your ability, you will create the appropriate emotional life aligned with the role.
Two made the guy weep - one more than the other, one did not but still produced an emotional result.
This morning on the subway I saw a man fidgeting to get the exact right fit on his belt buckle of his backpack to fit just right around his waist. Without realizing, I watched him for about 5-7 stops struggling with that activity. I wondered why he was such a perfectionist and if/where else he was a perfectionist in his life. It’s interesting how when someone is doing something truthfully even the simplest act can be mesmerizing.