Archives for : SLIDER

WHY YOU SHOULD (FINALLY) WRITE A SOLO SHOW, AND HOW TO DO IT

Tonya_Meeks_Eviction_PhotographSolo performance is “…one of the most beautiful, honest, powerful mediums we have. There’s an intimate relationship between the audience and (the actor)… It’s just a perfect soul exchange.” Or, so says John Leguizamo. 

Given that, who WOULDN’T want to create a solo show?!

Well I’m in. And, as I’m doing research for my own project, I’ve found there are lots of resources out there which I’ll share with you. Firstly, In my experience if you want to do something, find another person who has already done it and then do what they did. You will of course put your own spin on it, but hey, a role model is a fabulous thing!

I recently met Tonya Meeks who has written a one-woman show and teaches workshops on how others can do the same. She sold out the Hollywood Fringe Fest and has since toured her show all over the country, and is MAKING MONEY doing it. Here she answers a few questions from LA Actor’s Blog.

Tell us a bit more about you Tonya…

I have worked as a psychotherapist, producer, writer, and actress in solo one woman shows since 2004. I love sharing my true life story in the hope of giving others courage to share their stories as well. In addition, I believe in theatre you have a cathartic process between audience and performer. This is a reciprocal healing process.

I truly believe we all have a story to share and that if we are authentic, vulnerable and tell the truth the story will land with an audience.

How is this different from doing a play?IMG_0963

Solo work is different from a play because the cast consistents of one performer. Though I describe my work as a play with one performer. I typically break the traditional style of solo performance and include a live dancer and sometimes a singer to create a balance with one modality.

What do you feel you have learned from doing solo performance?

I have learned to stand in my own skin.I have learned to love and follow my intuition through performance.I have learned to honor and love my mother. Plus, each show I learn a new piece about myself and the characters I play.

I describe my performance work as a spiritual experience. I have been sober for 12 years and I found my spirituality and faith through performing. This an experience of trusting the universe, being in the moment, and letting god/divine speak through me.

What is your advice to anyone wanting to create a solo show? Where do they start?

You start with a thread of inspiration, a spark, a strong emotion, the thing that haunts you in your life. I go for the guts… the deepest piece. The piece that scares me the most. Yet, in this the light can shine through and the dark material for me has so much hope and light.

You start free writing, doing daily morning pages from Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and then start writing beats or areas that you want to explore– such as a relationship– then break down to specific piece, a climax, for example the end of the relationship.

Then I work in a nonlinear way then go into the theatre and and improv the sections you have discovered in free write.

The most important piece for me is I book a show date and then set myself in motion without turning back or procrastinating. Deadlines are my lifesavers in creating solo work.

To find out more about Tonya’s next Kuai Retreat where she’ll get you started on YOUR solo show click here! 

 

Tonya’s sequel show opens

at Electric Lodge in Venice 3/30/2016, 8 PM

 

You can get tickets here

 https://flyingstandby3.eventbrite.com

And find out more here

 www.flyingstandbyhome.com

 

 

* If you are an artist in the process of creating your solo show / one-person performance piece, I invite you to share your process and your journey in the comments below, as well as info. on your show! *

 

 

FOR FURTHER READING…

HERE IS A GREAT ARTICLE FROM BSW ON “WRITING AND MARKETING YOUR ONE-PERSON SHOW” 

AND ANOTHER FROM HUFFINGTON POST ON 8 SOLO PERFORMERS TO WATCH for inspiration!

AND CHECK OUT THAT INTERVIEW FROM JOHN LEGUIZAMO

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ARE YOU WRONG ABOUT YOUR ARCHETYPE?

When I began training as an actor I thought I could learn to become someone else—someone more glamorous, more exciting, more lovable. Someone MORE than whom I already was. I was wrong.

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It is possible of course for a skilled actor to inhabit the life of a character, but in order to do that with any authenticity, the actor must first be authentic as him or herself. That means being in touch with your own vibration, your own motivation—you must meet yourself where you are so that you can do the same for any role you wish you take on.

I learned that ultimately I must become me, my authentic self, more than anything else if I wanted to be successful as an actor, and as it turns out as a human.

This was not my own idea. The concept of psychological archetypes was advanced by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, c. 1919. In Jung’s psychological framework, archetypes are innate, universal prototypes for ideas and may be used to interpret observations, though they may vary a great deal in interpretation.  

Many actors continue to play the same role again and again, repeating the same story because it is their essential story—not one they’ve made up about themselves, but one that anyone can plainly see when that actor so much as walks into a room.

Those actors are not bad actors. Those are smart actors who have discovered their archetypes, and in turn the parts that mirror that archetypal story.

Those actors are WORKING actors.

I spent the first thirty two years of my life trying to be a sort of “Outlaw.” I wanted to be cool, an out of the box thinker, someone who didn’t care what others thought. But it seemed like I was always getting caught, I thought far too much and I cared tremendously what others thought.

I remember when casting director Tineka Becker gave me a part from SEX LIES AND VIDEOTAPE to perform in a workshop. I felt sure she’d handed me the wrong one.

“I would usually play the other sister,” I told her. The one who had been portrayed by Laura San Giacomo in the film. (You know, the cool sister, the brazen sister, the outlaw sister).

“I know that is who you think you are but this is how I would cast you.” As the Andie Macdowell sister. (Ugh the nice sister, the passionate sister, the one who sees the beauty in everything).

I was flabbergasted. Offended even. But now I can see, this is the sister who is full of love. And that is who I am. I am the “Lover,” not the imgres“Outlaw.”

Some are able to layer upon that archetype another role, another story, but if they do not know who they are and how to be comfortable in their archetypal self to begin with it will come off as false and forced.

And even so the roles the best actors are most recognized for are the ones that celebrate exaggerated versions of their true selves, their archetypal selves.  What we see in TV and Film is a heightened version of real life, but if it is any good, it is always based in truth.

Not only that, understanding your archetype makes you more castable because you are more universal. Audiences get to relate, identify with a character and a situation, both socially and culturally because they recognize the character, they “know” the protoype already.

But remember the personal is universal. You can’t imagine a feeling someone else (possibly everyone else) hasn’t already had. To think otherwise is arrogant and false. Conversely, how an “Outlaw” handles, say for example disappointment versus how a “Lover” handles it is completely different. Once I began to align with my authentic self and who that person is, what that person wants, how that person lives in the world, I began to have a much richer and more successful life both on and off screen.

So acting became my workshop for life. Slowly I let the parts that were not me drop away. And now when I step into a role I bring all of who I am and I can breathe life into a character with authenticity because I know myself. Do you?

If you’d like to know more about this idea and the process for discovering your archetype, look for more upcoming posts on ARCHETYPES FOR ACTORS!

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THIS IS ACTING FOR FILM AND TV – Guest Blog by Jamison Haase

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I am a theater-trained actor. I have spent years strutting the boards and working on the text, working on my projection—basically, working on my acting craft. There’s only one problem: I now work in film and television, and the mediums are very different.

Many of my students come from a theater background, and much like I did when I first entered the industry, they can sometimes have difficulty transitioning from theater to film and TV. The first thing theater-trained actors need to understand about working in film and television is specifically how different the mediums are. Obviously, there are many differences between film and television and theater— differences in physicality, rehearsal, and clearly, pay—but there is no difference more profound than how the story is communicated to the audience.

Film and television is a story in pictures.

In theater, the story is told mainly through the characters’ dialogue. Often, characters will simply tell you what they are thinking and feeling. This is largely due to the physical distance of the audience. Many of them are so far away, they cannot see what a character might be thinking, feeling, or even doing, and so this information has to be imparted to the audience through the dialogue. This is why if you listen to a radio play or attend a reading, you understand the vast majority of what’s happening even though the visuals are minimal or even non-existent.

The exact opposite is true for film and TV. If you step away from your television for even a moment, you no longer know what is going on, even if you can still hear the characters speaking. The story is told through the thoughts and emotions on the actors’ faces and not what they say. How else can you explain why Steven Spielberg calls himself a “visual storyteller”? Or how we can have movies like “Cast Away,” with more than 30 minutes of no dialogue, or “All Is Lost,” starring Robert Redford, which only has two lines of dialogue in a two-hour movie, or “Quest for Fire,” which is Ron Perlman’s first film, where there is no dialogue at all? And these a just a few examples.

So, clearly, when it comes to film and TV, the dialogue is secondary to the picture, but what does that mean for the actor? It means that what the actor thinks, feels, and physically does is the story, and more specifically, what the character thinks, feels, and does. So never set about trying to just memorize the dialogue of your scene, instead focus on what your character would think, feel, and do, and let those thoughts, feelings, or action inform the dialogue.

On top of it all, props will, on occasion, need to be in the frame to help tell the story. Think of a soft-drink commercial. The actor will often hold the can or bottle right up by their smiling face. Why? Not because we do that in real life, but because the story is about the interaction between the actor and the product. The prop needs to be in the shot in order to communicate that to the audience. Think about an action film. At the end of every film, during the final climactic battle, there is suddenly a shot of the gun on the floor, or the axe on the wall. That shot communicates the importance of the object, where the object is, and that it’s going to be used shortly, all without anyone mentioning it. That’s the only reason why that shot exists.

Think of yourself like a painter. What’s in the frame? What’s out?

For your next film and television audition, focus on the picture. Spend some time beforehand in front of a camera to work on communicating what your character thinks, feels, and does clearly, specifically, and simply, and let the dialogue go. Just a little bit. After all, film and television is nothing but a “story in pictures.”

By Jamison Haase, working actor and founder of LA On-Camera Training Center

*originally appeared in Backstage West

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Why Backstage West Is A Great NEW Resource For You

Backstage West is one of the oldest and most reliable resources for actors in the United States. And, with NEW updates it’s also one of the most complete.


Here, the LA Actor’s Blog asks 5 questions of Luke Crowe– the Vice President and National Casting Editor of Backstage and Call Sheet. He’s been working at Backstage for over a decade, so he knows what’s up!

1. Why is Backstage indispensable to Actors? 

 Founded in 1960 as a weekly magazine, Backstage is one of the world’s longest-running and most-trusted resources for actors, featuring news, interviews, advice columns, and casting calls aimed at helping performers advance their careers.

In the old days, we published separate print editions of the magazine for our Los Angeles and New York audiences; the L.A. version of Backstage was known as Back Stage West. However, with the tremendous growth of Backstage.com, we now reach a wide international audience of millions, and we’re able to publish new articles and casting calls throughout the day, every day of the week, providing actors with far more opportunities and timely information than ever before. We still publish a weekly magazine that’s national in scope, highlighting some of our best articles each week; while our website provides thousands of additional articles, resources, and casting calls.

images-1Casting directors, producers, filmmakers, theaters, production companies, and other content creators post more than 30,000 casting notices and job listings on Backstage.com every year, spanning hundreds of thousands of roles. The actors on our site are able to create customized applications to submit to the roles of their choice; keep track of their application history; communicate with casting directors; and more. Additionally, our site’s Talent Database features the profiles of over 130,000 actors, models, and performers; and content creators use the database to cast thousands of roles, supplementing their casting calls.

 Among a variety of entertainment-industry tools on the site, Backstage.com/Resources also includes an auditions calendar (featuring details on upcoming auditions), a database of monologues, production listings, and our popular Call Sheet directory (which includes company profiles and contact details for thousands of top casting directors, talent agencies, managers, and more).

 The incredible actors that got their start with Backstage include the likes of Robert De Niro, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Amy Schumer, James Franco, Scott Bakula, Jonathan Groff, Marcia Gay Harden, Todd Field, Caitriona Balfe, Chris Cooper, Chris Evans, Kim Cattrall, Connie Britton, Ed Burns, Patrick Wilson, and so many more. The list is endless. We’ve compiled some of our favorite quotes at www.backstage.com/testimonials. And we’re very excited about helping to launch the next generation of actors as well.

2. Why are there sections online for cities other than LA and NY — Atlanta, for example? 

The entertainment industry has changed a lot over the last decade, with new opportunities for actors cropping up across the U.S. For instance, a lot of Hollywood film and television productions now shoot in states like Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Georgia. Independent film and theater has exploded in states like Texas. Content creators are shooting indie films, web series, and commercials across the country. And almost every state has multiple theater, film, and digital-media schools now, resulting in more local content being produced.

With that in mind, we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure that actors and content creators have a great experience using Backstage regardless of their location. Backstage’s casting site (www.backstage.com/casting) is set up to allow actors to easily filter through the opportunities based on their location, “type,” and interests; and the content creators that are using our site to cast their projects can likewise filter through the applications they receive (and our Talent Database) based on their needs. For example, our casting content can be viewed from a national perspective, or quickly drilled down to a specific state, city, or geographic radius.

And although we offer our services everywhere, cities such as Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Miami, and Chicago have been particularly popular topics for visitors to our site lately, so we’ve added additional news and casting coverage to these cities to help meet the demand. We’re always working to meet the needs of our readers, wherever they may be living. (And, of course, New York and Los Angeles are still the biggest areas for casting on Backstage.com by far, since they’re the entertainment capitals.)

3. What are the newest features of your digital magazine? 

 We publish the weekly Backstage Digital Edition, which is a PDF version of the print-edition magazine — it looks great on tablets, and our magazine readers love it since they’re able to see it as soon as it’s published, without having to wait for it to arrive via snail mail. However, our full website is where all the big innovations are happening: On Backstage.com, we’ve launched tools for actors to create highly customized casting searches and automatic alerts; profiles featuring their credits, photos, videos, and audio reels; more powerful application tools for submitting to casting calls; a messaging system; a Talent Dashboard for actors to easily manage their profiles, applications, and private communications; interactive resource databases; more articles and advice columns; and an advanced suite of tools that make it easier for casting directors to cast their projects. We’re constantly launching enhancements to the site, as the art and technology of online casting continues to evolve.

 

4. What does an actor “get” out of a subscription to Backstage? 

Every Backstage.com subscription includes full access to all of the articles, casting calls, and tools on Backstage.com — including the ability to add an unlimited number of photos, videos, and audio clips to their accounts for no extra charge (compared to other casting sites that charge additional fees for every media item); the ability to apply to an unlimited number of casting calls; exclusive audition details; optional inclusion in Backstage’s Talent Database; unlimited access to articles and advice columns; exclusive entertainment-industry company details in the Call Sheet resource databases; optional email newsletters; weekly delivery of the Digital Edition magazine (with the option to upgrade to receive the print-edition of the magazine as well); individualized casting searches and automatic notifications; and more.

5. How has Backstage changed in the last 10 years? 

Thanks to Backstage.com, our audience has grown exponentially in the past decade, reaching a global audience of actors, models, performers, and content creators. Along with that, the growth of digital filmmaking, web series, and online video distribution via sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and Netflix has had a huge imimagespact on the number of productions that now need actors. With more projects taking place and a wider audience, we’ve seen astounding increases in the number of projects using Backstage to find talent, which means more opportunities for actors to perform.

At the same time, technology has vastly changed the way casting takes place: Even just a decade ago, a lot of productions were still requesting headshots and resumes be sent via snail mail, and casting directors might have to wait weeks for all of the submissions to arrive and get sorted. Later, a lot of casting moved to email, but initial applications were still largely just based on a single photo and resume, and managing the submissions was still clunky. Nowadays, however, most casting takes place directly on our site, which allows for lightning-fast submissions that often feature a wide range of media items, including an increased usage of video; state-of-the-art tools for organizing submissions; and a quicker and more high-tech casting process overall.

If you have had experience using Backstage in any city, please tell the LA Actor’s Blog how it worked for you in the comment section below!

 And if you’re ready to find out more, click below to subscribe today!


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