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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Inside the Actors Studio Actors Roundtable


Werner Herzog on filmmaking.

"Read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read. If you don't read, you'll never be a filmmaker."

-Werner Herzog talks about the foundation of film-making.



http://nofilmschool.com/2014/09/whats-foundation-filmmaking-heres-legendary-director-werner-herzogs-answer

Silent Raiders in B&W: Steven Soderberg on why films remain powerful without sound or color.

http://extension765.com/sdr/18-raiders

Shoot films as if you were shooting Black and White and without sound...if you do so your film will have dramatic and story telling impact well beyond what you see in a full color viewfinder.

Steven Soderberg posted the linked blog with the full movie in B&W and without the famous soundtrack and dialogue to prove his point.
(Note: This posting is for educational purposes only.)
I’m assuming the phrase “staging” came out of the theatre world, but it’s equally at home (and useful) in the movie world, since the term (roughly defined) refers to how all the various elements of a given scene or piece are aligned, arranged, and coordinated. In movies the role of editing adds something unique: the opportunity to extend and/or expand a visual (or narrative) idea to the limits of one’s imagination—a crazy idea that works today is tomorrow’s normal.
I value the ability to stage something well because when it’s done well its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be easy to master (it’s frightening how many opportunities there are to do something wrong in a sequence or a group of scenes. Minefields EVERYWHERE. Fincher said it: there’s potentially a hundred different ways to shoot something but at the end of the day there’s really only two, and one of them is wrong). Of course understanding story, character, and performance are crucial to directing well, but I operate under the theory a movie should work with the sound off, and under that theory, staging becomes paramount (the adjective, not the studio. although their logo DOES appear on the front of this…).
So I want you to watch this movie and think only about staging, how the shots are built and laid out, what the rules of movement are, what the cutting patterns are. See if you can reproduce the thought process that resulted in these choices by asking yourself: why was each shot—whether short or long—held for that exact length of time and placed in that order? Sounds like fun, right? It actually is. To me. Oh, and I’ve removed all sound and color from the film, apart from a score designed to aid you in your quest to just study the visual staging aspect. Wait, WHAT? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? Well, I’m not saying I’m like, ALLOWED to do this, I’m just saying this is what I do when I try to learn about staging, and this filmmaker forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day (for example, no matter how fast the cuts come, you always know exactly where you are—that’s high level visual math shit).
At some point you will say to yourself or someone THIS LOOKS AMAZING IN BLACK AND WHITE and it’s because Douglas Slocombe shot THE LAVENDER HILL MOB and the THE SERVANT and his stark, high-contrast lighting style was eye-popping regardless of medium.
- See more at: http://extension765.com/sdr/18-raiders#sthash.AKY24AVR.dpuf

Extension 765 is A one-of-a-kind marketplace from Steven Soderbergh


Raiders

Sep 22, 2014

(Note: This posting is for educational purposes only.)
I’m assuming the phrase “staging” came out of the theatre world, but it’s equally at home (and useful) in the movie world, since the term (roughly defined) refers to how all the various elements of a given scene or piece are aligned, arranged, and coordinated. In movies the role of editing adds something unique: the opportunity to extend and/or expand a visual (or narrative) idea to the limits of one’s imagination—a crazy idea that works today is tomorrow’s normal.
I value the ability to stage something well because when it’s done well its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be easy to master (it’s frightening how many opportunities there are to do something wrong in a sequence or a group of scenes. Minefields EVERYWHERE. Fincher said it: there’s potentially a hundred different ways to shoot something but at the end of the day there’s really only two, and one of them is wrong). Of course understanding story, character, and performance are crucial to directing well, but I operate under the theory a movie should work with the sound off, and under that theory, staging becomes paramount (the adjective, not the studio. although their logo DOES appear on the front of this…).
So I want you to watch this movie and think only about staging, how the shots are built and laid out, what the rules of movement are, what the cutting patterns are. See if you can reproduce the thought process that resulted in these choices by asking yourself: why was each shot—whether short or long—held for that exact length of time and placed in that order? Sounds like fun, right? It actually is. To me. Oh, and I’ve removed all sound and color from the film, apart from a score designed to aid you in your quest to just study the visual staging aspect. Wait, WHAT? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? Well, I’m not saying I’m like, ALLOWED to do this, I’m just saying this is what I do when I try to learn about staging, and this filmmaker forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day (for example, no matter how fast the cuts come, you always know exactly where you are—that’s high level visual math shit).
At some point you will say to yourself or someone THIS LOOKS AMAZING IN BLACK AND WHITE and it’s because Douglas Slocombe shot THE LAVENDER HILL MOB and the THE SERVANT and his stark, high-contrast lighting style was eye-popping regardless of medium.
- See more at: http://extension765.com/sdr/18-raiders#sthash.AKY24AVR.dpuf

Extension 765 is A one-of-a-kind marketplace from Steven Soderbergh


Raiders

Sep 22, 2014

(Note: This posting is for educational purposes only.)
I’m assuming the phrase “staging” came out of the theatre world, but it’s equally at home (and useful) in the movie world, since the term (roughly defined) refers to how all the various elements of a given scene or piece are aligned, arranged, and coordinated. In movies the role of editing adds something unique: the opportunity to extend and/or expand a visual (or narrative) idea to the limits of one’s imagination—a crazy idea that works today is tomorrow’s normal.
I value the ability to stage something well because when it’s done well its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be easy to master (it’s frightening how many opportunities there are to do something wrong in a sequence or a group of scenes. Minefields EVERYWHERE. Fincher said it: there’s potentially a hundred different ways to shoot something but at the end of the day there’s really only two, and one of them is wrong). Of course understanding story, character, and performance are crucial to directing well, but I operate under the theory a movie should work with the sound off, and under that theory, staging becomes paramount (the adjective, not the studio. although their logo DOES appear on the front of this…).
So I want you to watch this movie and think only about staging, how the shots are built and laid out, what the rules of movement are, what the cutting patterns are. See if you can reproduce the thought process that resulted in these choices by asking yourself: why was each shot—whether short or long—held for that exact length of time and placed in that order? Sounds like fun, right? It actually is. To me. Oh, and I’ve removed all sound and color from the film, apart from a score designed to aid you in your quest to just study the visual staging aspect. Wait, WHAT? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? Well, I’m not saying I’m like, ALLOWED to do this, I’m just saying this is what I do when I try to learn about staging, and this filmmaker forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day (for example, no matter how fast the cuts come, you always know exactly where you are—that’s high level visual math shit).
At some point you will say to yourself or someone THIS LOOKS AMAZING IN BLACK AND WHITE and it’s because Douglas Slocombe shot THE LAVENDER HILL MOB and the THE SERVANT and his stark, high-contrast lighting style was eye-popping regardless of medium.
- See more at: http://extension765.com/sdr/18-raiders#sthash.AKY24AVR.dpuf

Monday, September 29, 2014

SAG Foundation Coming to Las Vegas!

Las Vegas and SAG-AFTRA talent who can travel to Las Vegas!

SAVE THE DATE!

October 25 - October 26
SAG Screen Actors Guild Foundation

We are bringing our unique actor programs to Las Vegas including casting workshops and business of acting panels and it's all for FREE!

If you would like more information on the SAG Foundation and its free programming, please visit the links below:

http://sagfoundation.org/programs/cap
http://sagfoundation.org/program/liferaft
http://www.youtube.com/user/SAGFoundation

Also, follow SAG Foundation on all of our social media sites to be the first to hear about our upcoming events, see exclusive pictures, participate in our social media contests, win free prizes and more!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/SAGFoundation
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SAGFoundation
Follow us on Instagram: http://instagram.com/sagfoundation
Like us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/SAGFoundation

Stay tuned to hear more about our Las Vegas events!

We look forward to seeing you in October!
SAG Foundation
323-549-6708 | cap@sagfoundation.org or liferaft@sagfoundation.org
www.sagfoundation.org

There is Experienced Talent outside of Los Angeles, including Nevada~!!!


I thought we were supposed to be a National union. I'm troubled by the following statement and am interested in what others think.

“We have the industry’s most skilled labor pool here in California, [...] in front and behind the camera. And when producers go outside of State lines to other locales, they are not only losing out on a large concentration of experienced and talented actors, dancers, and singers, but specialized craftsmen [...] whose talent and experience cannot be replicated by inexperienced workers that are new to the trade. SAG-AFTRA and other unions, guilds, and industry partners have been working to stem the tide of productions leaving our State.” -Stacey Travis SAG-AFTRA


In class last Friday night a student told me that there was no longer SAG in Nevada...they said the union left. That is the impression going around and it is a false one. We have a strong SAG-AFTRA local made up of local members who work locally and do not cross the line and violate Rule One by working non-union. We lost a fantastic executive in Steve Clinton. We lost the office in his home. But we are still union and we are still in Nevada, and still have a voice on the national union, a national board director seat I am running for relection to continue to represent all talent in Nevada!

The attitude that "Film LA" (which is not a union organization, but one that started with the production community in LA) has is that any production outside of Greater Los Angeles is "run-away" production. This attitude and belief has taken hold among many closed minded union members who live in Greater Los Angeles but have forgotten what unions and unionism is all about!

We are union. SAG-AFTRA remains in Nevada. 

- Art Lynch
First published 7/6/2013

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Meryl Streep on Acting


Tom Hanks on Acting

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mXWQD8Tyve0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Event brings Shakespeare to life in Boulder City

<p>Photos courtesy the Shakespeare Institute of Nevada
Bonnie Freeman stars at Hecate in a production of “Macbeth” by the Shakespeare Institute of Nevada.</p>
Photos courtesy the Shakespeare Institute of Nevada
Bonnie Freeman stars at Hecate in a production of “Macbeth”
by the Shakespeare Institute of Nevada.
<p>Chaz Zuniga appears in a recent production from the Shakespeare Institute of Nevada.</p>
Chaz Zuniga appears in a recent production from the Shakespeare Institute of Nevada.

























Part educational workshop and part cultural experience, the inaugural Out Damned Spot Shakespeare Festival is debuting in Boulder City.

Presented by the Shakespeare Institute of Nevada in partnership with the Boulder City Library, the festival includes an eight-week workshop that culminates in two performances for the public.

“There is an educational component to the workshop. Participants will learn a lot about the life and times of (William) Shakespeare, and why these works are the way they are, how to understand them — so it’s not just get a part and rehearse it and put on a play,” said Dan Decker, artistic director of the Shakespeare Institute.

“It’s much more in-depth and comprehensive. It’s an educational experience as well as a cultural experience,” he said.

“People should not be afraid of it — because they hear the word Shakespeare and get intimidated, but they shouldn’t be. They’re going to come and it will feel more like playing than working. It’s painless education,” said Lynn Schofield-Dahl, director of Boulder City Library, who holds a bachelor’s degree in theater and worked at a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in Odessa, Texas.

Weekly Saturday workshops begin Sept. 6; they are tentatively set for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The sessions will conclude with performances scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Nov. 8 in the amphitheater outside the library, weather permitting.

The performances will feature a compilation of Shakespeare’s works, including segments from plays, soliloquies and possibly sonnets.

Each person who enrolls in the free workshop will be given a small part to work on and perform, Decker said.

“People will get small, bite-sized pieces they can easily master in the workshop’s time,” he said.

The workshop is open to everyone, but performers should be 10 and older. No previous acting experience is required.

According to Decker, one reason to produce works by Shakespeare is to help put Americans in touch with their native language: English. I

ts use erodes daily, and he said he constantly sees young people excited when hearing their native language to its fullest potential.

Schofield-Dahl said live theater also helps introduce young children to the poetry of the language, as it was written by Shakespeare.

“The excitement of live theater is also without parallel in their worlds today. When they see actual three-dimensional human beings interacting with this language, you understand why Shakespeare has been so vital to our culture for so long,” Decker added.

Schofield-Dahl said presenting the workshops and performances is an ideal way for people to learn more about Shakespeare’s works. Although they are often read in classes, the works were created to be performed and watched. This allows people to better understand the words’ artistic nature.

Small children are especially encouraged to to see the performance to be introduced to the language and live theater.

“Where better to start than with the classics?” Schofield-Dahl said. “It’s for those who haven’t met Shakespeare or haven’t met him in a while.”

She added that she hopes this stirs up interest in live theater in Boulder City.

Schofield-Dahl, who is part of an Elizabethan-era Renaissance fair in Bristol, Wis., and performs as Elinor Poole, the Ladye Fettiplace, will present Hamlet’s speech to actors at the festival.

She and Decker said the speech is really Shakespeare’s direction to actors and is typically an intrinsic part of college acting classes.

“Boulder City has lots of arts and festivals, but no Shakespeare festival,” Decker said, noting that most cities the size of Boulder City offer some type of Shakespearean activities. “Even Kabul (Afghanistan) has Shakespeare. In its 400-year history, Shakespeare has never been more popular than now.”

They hope the inaugural workshop/festival will become an annual event.

Several community organizations are sponsoring the festival, allowing the workshops and performances to be offered at no cost to participants and spectators. Sponsors include the library, Boulder City Sunrise Rotary Club, Copper Mountain Solar Facility and Boulder City Friends of the Arts.

In conjunction with the workshop, Schofield-Dahl has arranged for sewers who are affiliated with the Desert Quilters of Nevada to participate in a costume contest. The quilters focus on fashions and they will be provided with fabrics and patterns. They are encouraged to create wearable works of art with their embellishments, she said.

For those who are interested in some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of live theater, Decker and Schofield-Dahl said they also need property handlers, dressers, actor wranglers, set builders, special-effects artists and sound technicians. Those who specialize in social media also are needed.

For additional information or to register for the workshop, call 702-293-1281.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. 
Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

Friday, September 26, 2014

An Actor Trains...

On Actor Training 

From Scott Roger's Studios

 

Because I get hired to coach actors, by studios, production companies, directors, and celebrities, I have to (get to) work with actors from very different backgrounds. Sanford Meisner trained some; LeeStrasberg trained others. Some are followers of Stella Adler and some are UtaHagen devotees. What I’ve found though, is that although the approaches vary greatly, all are capable of giving honest, inspired performances. They are all TRAINED.
Uta Hagen
Lee Strasberg
There are various schools of thought on what constitutes good training. In my opinion (and probably due in part to my background), which style or discipline you ultimately choose is not important - as long as you find what works for you. Different actors respond to different methods of teaching. Some actors need to work more on their imaginations in order to recall strong emotions on demand (important when shooting close-ups or auditioning). When teaching, I might give them sense-memory exercises eventually leading into an Affective Memory or Object exercise—clearly Strasberg’s “Method”. 
But another actor might need help on connecting with other actors (which keeps your acting real and anchored in the imaginary circumstances). For him I might be inclined to use some repetition exercises perhaps leading into the “Three-Moments Game”, which some will recognize as Sanford Meisner’s technique. Different strokes for different folks . . . Remember, if something doesn’t work for you, you may need to give it more time or, you may want to find a different approach; one that fits you better. One thing I have found though, is that first impressions may be misleading.  I've seen actors hate the exercises in a given technique only to find that the reason they hate it is because they really need to work on the specific skills that the exercises are focused on.  Sometimes the technique you hate is the technique you need to work on…
Konstantin Stanislavski
Funny thing is, for all the differences in their approaches—and the differences are considerable—virtually all the major methodologies of modern acting are based on one man’s teachings: Konstantin Stanislavski. That’s right, for all their differences in approach, Strasberg, Meisner,  Adler, Hagen, Harold Clurman, Michael Chekhov, Elia Kazan—all taught variations of the same man’s teachings. The more you read about them and their techniques, the more complete your “toolkit” will be.  So without pushing you toward any specific school of acting, I would like to at least get you going in a productive direction.
Sanford Meisner
Harold Clurman
Stella Adler
Michael Chekhov
Elia Kazan
No matter what technique(s) you use, I believe all would agree that there are two key areas of focus that are very important to every actor:
RESEARCH
Research is learning everything you can about the character. An actor needs to know their character’s background, influences, religion, economic, physical pathology, yes their dialogue, and much, much more. Once you’ve learned all about your character, you learn about everyone your character speaks to and speaks about. To that same extent.
The same goes for all the places your character has been to, and refers to. Think about it, when you talk to your friends, you already know all this information – and more! You need the same safety net of knowledge in order to give an honest performance and feel confident enough to cut loose and "swing with abandon".  I use a checklist called "Treasure Hunt" to help actors ask the necessary, pertinent questions (once they ask them, the actor usually has no problem answering, or making  up answers, on their own!)
IMAGINATION
Research however, is just the first part. When you have all the research in place, then (and only then) are you ready to begin to live the life of your character. Research is the brainwork, but imagination is where the real creativity comes in. This is where a class can really help you develop and grow as an actor. Where you can work on your craft and develop skills that will serve you your entire life. Where instead of just reading about believing in the given circumstances, you can look in the other actor’s eyes, listen to their words and actually believe they are leaving you for someone else. The tears come because your imagination convinced your tear ducts that the circumstances were real. Through intense imagination work like emotional preparation exercises, improvisations, and other exercises designed to trigger real emotions in the actor, you learn to control the triggers that allow you to simply feel honest, real emotions, on demand - take after take. NOT to show or “indicate” emotions, but simply to feel them. And in film, that’s all they want. As soon as you try to show the feelings, it's "too big for the camera".
The research work is time consuming but not terribly difficult. Imagination work, on the other hand, can happen lightning fast but is often the hardest, most draining (although also the most rewarding) work an actor does.
So, Why class…?


If you are already a trained, working actor, do you still need to be in class?  For an answer, I point to an actor you may not know by name but I'm pretty sure you'll recognize his face.  William Schallert, former president of the Screen Actors Guild, has worked on an incredible 366 movies and TV shows, according to his IMDB page, dating back to 1947.  He is 92 years young and as recently as three years ago (the last time I checked), he was playing a recurring character on, not one, but TWO TV series' and one mini-series, taking class twice a week and still putting up scenes in class regularly!
Class is how you create and maintain a consummate professional actor.  

But, for the actor living and working outside Hollywood, constant work in class is also the great equalizer between himself and the actors in Hollywood.  When an actor living outside of L.A. auditions for a TV show or movie shooting in their area, they are competing with actors in L.A. who are auditioning, working, and doing scenes in class, daily. How often do YOU audition? If you aren’t working in class, you won’t be ready when they are casting the role that you would be perfect for. 
To paraphrase an excellent description of what class is, (once given by the Meisner based Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC):
 Actors are in class to experiment—to grow.
We create an atmosphere of trust, in the classroom--a place where trial and error is not only acceptable but we believe that, if you aren't making mistakes you simply aren't trying hard enough. You see, when you're performing for a camera or an audience, it's got to work
You make choices that are going to allow you, as an actor, to deliver the goods when the director says "Action". However, if you do nothing but perform, then you are stuck with what you already know works. You can't take a chance and push your limits in the workplace, because you're not sure you'll be able to deliver the goods when the cameras are rolling.
This is where class comes in. Class gives you something you never get in performance - the opportunity to fail. To go out on a tightrope saying, "I don't know if this is going to work, but I'd like to try it". Perhaps it's a disaster, but no worries. There's no audience in the classroom - just a sympathetic teacher and fellow students who are falling off tightropes as often as you are. You get the opportunity to expand your comfort zone, and thereby expand your artistry.
I teach ongoing classes in Portland, OR. and in Honolulu, HI.  and I do Skype coaching for auditions.
For more info, click on the links above, or visit my website.
http://scottrogersstudios.com

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What does a music supervisor do?



When It Comes To 'Gone With The Wind,' Do Kids Today Give A Damn?


A crowd gathers outside the Astor Theater on Broadway during New York City's Gone with the Wind premiere in December 1939.
A crowd gathers outside the Astor Theater on Broadway during New York City's Gone with the Wind premiere in December 1939.
 
 
When the staff at All Things Considered started talking about the upcoming 75th anniversary of Gone with the Wind, it turned out that many younger staff members hadn't seen it. The film, which premiered in December 1939, is returning to theaters nationwide this weekend. But three-quarters of a century after its debut, is Gone with the Wind aging gracefully?

Has Gone with the Wind withstood the test of time? Above, Vivien Leigh (left) as Scarlett O'Hara and Hattie McDaniel as Mammy. i
Has Gone with the Wind withstood the test of time? Above, Vivien Leigh (left) as Scarlett O'Hara and Hattie McDaniel as Mammy.
Anonymous/AP/New Line Cinema 
 
Grantland film critic Wesley Morris isn't worried. He believes Gone with the Wind is a timeless classic — with breathtaking technical achievements. "There's a shot of Scarlett walking across the street, and she's encountering all the bodies, and she's seeing the horror of the war for the first time, and it's just brilliant," he says. "It's just a brilliant shot, and the movie is full of those — low angles, high angles, medium shots, long shots — the close-ups are astounding."

But when I asked 13 students in a Georgetown University film class if they'd seen it, most either hadn't seen the film or had seen only parts of it. These students are serious about movies. But a lot of them sided with Mike Minahan, 20, who said when it comes to Gone with the Wind — frankly, he doesn't give a damn.

"Everything I've seen about it says it, like, glorifies the slave era ... and I dunno, what's the point of that? I don't see that as a good time in history ... like, oh, sweet, a love story of people who own slaves."

The students had two issues with Gone with the Wind: race and rape.

In one scene, Scarlett is raped by her husband and wakes up the following morning in an absolutely wonderful mood. Today we watch that scene — or those with happy slaves — differently than we would have even a generation ago. But that doesn't mean Gone with the Wind isn't timeless, says Morris. It's just that, to many viewers now, it's unfashionable.

Morris says these vexing ideas about rape and race in Gone with the Wind are still huge underlying problems in society. "You can't pretend that those things aren't there anymore just because it's 2014 and not 1939," he says.

In 1939, when the movie came out, its themes of deprivation, food, security and war made sense to Depression-era audiences.

"These issues that are so important to Scarlett were also important to people at the time," says Steve Wilson, who curated an exhibition about Gone with the Wind now up at the University of Texas, Austin. "I think it resonated so much that it became an integral part of our culture that is still with us today."

Hunger, homelessness, dealing with trauma after war — they're all still contemporary issues, Wilson says. And even though it's told from the perspective of a white, slave-owning woman, Wilson believes Gone with the Wind's large-canvas love story is timeless, too.

"I've had the experience of falling in love with someone who didn't fall in love with me ... that is something that I think anyone can relate to," he says.

That relatability is partly what separates a Gone with the Wind from a troublesome classic like The Birth of a Nation. And traditionally, Gone with the Wind has been a family movie. That's what it was for Georgetown student Becky Neff.

"I saw it because I have aunts and uncles ... who were very affected by it when they were growing up," Neff explains. "It's a way [for] us to share something together in common and they like to pass down things that were interesting for them."

And how interesting to families today, to acknowledge and talk about the problems with the film; to understand America's evolving sense of what's acceptable, and better appreciate a sweeping — and timeless — American epic.



The Georgetown University students you heard in this piece are John Buckley, Juliana De Souza, Greg Keiser, Walter Kelley, Julia Kieserman, Taylor Lambert, Bryan McDonnell, Mike Minahan, Becky Neff, Lauren Saar, Teddy Schaffer, Joseph Servidio, Benito Skinner, Alana Snyder, Sean Stempler and Maxwell Wheeler.

Breaking Down the Script. How to start a Script Breakdown



   Read everything on the page, study the script and what it is saying. Pay attention to the title given to the script, to the product, to the length and to the different voices implied through the written page. applies to entire scripts,  but it applies  to any side, scene, commercial copy, audio-book or industrial script you are asked to perform.

   Remember your high school English. Look at the narrative arch, conflicts, resolutions, what led to the conflicts. Ask questions.

   When you are handed a script, do not read anything out loud until you have answered the hidden questions in that script.

•      What are they trying to say?
•      Who am I to say these words?
•      Who am I talking to?
•      Where am I?
•      Where is my audience?
•      Am I withholding information?

   Work on the script and before you ever open your mouth, know how you are going to read each word, phrase, and idea. If you prefer look at overall arching themes and meanings behind the word, sentences and phrases. Both systems work. Many actors use a combination for best impact.

This is most important as you get close to the final stage. In all other forms of auditioning or performance this phase is needed before you step back and relax and allow yourself to internalize and bring the words and the scene further to life.

   With every scene you start large and work your way down to details.

   Large begins with fully understanding your character. It is usually best to start with your own life, your own personality and your own experiences. If that is not possible, use other people you know, complex characters you have read about or seen in other forms of media. Do not copy, simply learn from. Who are you? Who are the others in the scene? What makes you who you are? Where did you learn the emotional and physical reality you use in the scene? What happened prior to the scene? What happened just prior to the star of the scene the audience joins (all scenes are in progress, even if they start with someone entering a room for the first time).

   Listen, pay attention to, learn from and understand the other characters in the scene. Do not forget that just because a character is not on stage or on camera, their personality and impact may make them a part of the scene. There are always more “actors” in a scene than what the audience actually sees or hears.

   Listen to, react to and interact with the other characters and the actors who portray them. A scene is never simply what your character says. Always react. Always respond. Always be willing to adapt to changes made by others. Look for the gifts in the script, from other actors and in the overall purpose of the scent. Look for conflicts and emotions.  When breaking down the scene, try to understand where this may occur, but be flexible enough to adapt to the other performers and what they bring to the work you are all bringing to life.

   Ask yourself why the scene or character or event is it the script.  Nothing is in a final production without a reason for being there, at least if it is well written and produced. Find out where it falls in the overall story and the overall projects narrative arch. Why is it there. What it the purpose for filming this scene, or including it in a play or other project?

   Say the words as written, unless permission is given to ad lib or improvise. The author may be a decision maker in casting an words may be on paper for a specific reason you might not spot or uncover yourself.

   Next, be ready for an open to change. This could come in the form of word changes or directions. Never shoot or record a change until after you had the opportunity to rehearse it first!

John Armond Acting Academy

"When somebody studies with me, they're not studying with someone who's a student of a student of a student, I am a direct link to the masters." -John Armond

John Armond Actor's Studio is the premiere acting class in Las Vegas. It will prepare you for a career in the entertainment industry by training you in all aspects of the craft. John Armond is not only a veteran teacher but a professional working actor. His goal is to provide aspiring actors with the tools they need to be natural and confident in front of a camera or audience. He strongly encourages you to audit his class and see if it's a fit for you!

http://www.johnarmondactorsstudio.com/
Editor Note: I worked as a fellow teacher and coach with John for over a decade at John Robert Powers and Kim Flowers Academy. He inspires young talent and knows how to turn a novice into an experienced cold reader and skilled at auditioning. He does share all of his knowledge and skill gleaned through years of study with the masters  and work in both Hollywood and New York. Classes are on the near west side of Las Vegas.  -Art Lynch

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Welcome Michael T. O'Toole


Michael T O'Toole...now a Lynch Coaching Team Member...Writer, Actor, Producer, Director...no limits to his strange and creative mind.

The loss of the Human Touch.

Did you know that all those friendly "live" voices on the radio are automated and not really there talking to you? No, not all, but the vast majority. Technology has made it possible to sound live and there for you, when the person is sleeping, off golfing or....

Nevada Public Radio is like that. The Classical station is mostly from elsewhere beamed to the station, and even those voices are prerecorded. The local talent, except in the morning drive and afternoon drive on weekdays, are recorded. Most of the wonderful talk, magazine and game hosts are also recorded in advance and time shifted.

When I started, in the dark ages, we were there to talk with the audience 24/7. If the weather changed (as it often did in Chicago), there was a big news story locally or internationally, traffic became a problem or people just needed a friend, we were there.

I remember working with Eddiie Schwartz on WIND, Chicago. We volunteered, without pay, to work Christmas Eve because that is a day when people get lonely, and need a human live voice. We answered the phones (try doing that with most host on the radio today), not just on the air but also off the air. We were there for the listeners.

I have been on the air during tornnados, earthquakes, floods, fires and riots, to keep people informed and most of all to keep them calm and current, feeling safe and cared about.

Now I am, for the first time in two decades, and for approaching the longest time in my adult life, not on the air. After fifteen years being the Sunday voice of Nevada Public Radio, I am off the air.

It feels good to have weekends with my wife, to have the ability to actually go to church on Sundays, leave town for a weekend if I want to and to be flexible. But it is strange to lose the income, to be without a microphone, to not be there for an audience I care about.

Strange.

Of course radio is not who I am.

I am a husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, coach, actor, writer, blogger, friend, mentor to some, and could again be a broadcaster.

I am me.

Society does not know what we gave up to automation and advertising and how much personal touch is now gone.

But the worse has yet to come...

Robots, or automated systems, are not emulating human voices at an increasingly interactive and realistic rate. It is only a matter of time before the friendly voice on the radio is not even a human being...but a computer or "robot", sounding and acting more human than the automated voices you hear today.

From fast food to broadcasting, manufacturing to distribution, robots are the future.




We face the worlds largest "un" and under employed generation, one displaced by automation, the shrinking job market that results, and a feeling of uncertainty about their own future.

I guess I am glad to be a child of the 20th and not the 21st century.

But our kids and grandkids will make something of it and a brave new world will emerge. 





I hope it is one where the return the human touch, the real live person who cares, emerges victorious.

T2 anyone?

Art Lynch
Lynch Coaching

Monday, September 22, 2014

4 Acting Scams and How To Spot Them

Editor Note SAGACTORONLINE: At the end of this is a link to a pitch for you to spend money on services from Mr. Green. Always make informed decisions, but services that charge and promise short cuts are also red flags worth checking out before taking out you checkbook / bank card.    -Art Lynch

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4 Acting Scams and How To Spot Them
When people mention actor scams, they usually think of the "casting couch" or the oversized promises made by unscrupulous modeling training companies. I myself was fooled into believing I had "modeling potential" back in the day (because it’s so believable in my case). 

While information moves faster nowadays, and fewer prospective actors get taken by these low brow swindlers, some of the old school scams have been replaced by seemingly legitimate, yet equally unnecessary products and services. 

Sometimes it’s just a question of timing, i.e. being sold something before you need it or before you can use it. When your guard is low and your hopes are high, it’s easy to spend money on things you don’t need or be convinced to do something that goes against your moral compass. Here are some of the common and not so common things actors may be "conned" into doing.

1. Dream Peddlers – “We are currently casting for all types of people for major Hollywood studios.” If you live in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and a few other select cities, you will see posters on telephone poles and little ads in the papers and on Craigslist mentioning that various "agencies," "casting companies," and other places are apparently looking for complete unknowns to make big money in major Hollywood productions. Whether it’s reality shows, features, TV, or modeling, answer one of these ads and it’s pretty well guaranteed they are going to try to sell you some kind of overpriced service or have you show up on a movie set where they're shooting porn Any request for up-front payment in order to submit yourself to any project or to audition should be carefully scrutinized. Even the "legitimate" online casting sites offer extremely limited chances of being called in for network TV and studio films. 
With no credits or relationships to your name, it’s a wing and a prayer. If someone insists on cash up front to do business, walk away.

2. Photographer/Agency Kickbacks – “Your problem is you need new headshots.” When things cannot be explained, UFO’s are often made the scapegoat. Absent a starship sighting, headshots are the next best thing. Headshots have been blamed for everything from failure to get auditions to global deforestation. Let me tell you something right now; you don’t need new headshots. However, your friendly neighborhood photographer/agency kickback duo will suggest them every time. If you meet with an agent and before they even try to get you an audition, they tell you that you need new headshots, what's the scam? Agents recommend photographers who give them a referral fee. Legal or illegal? Ask said agent or photographer if they’d like to discuss their relationship with the State’s Attorney-General while you’re there. The color of their complexion should say it all.

3. One-Off Workshops – “I won’t see you for free, but I’ll see you for $50.00.” Actors spend a lot of time in a fantasy world, so maybe they can’t be blamed for believing they are not the reason they are getting too few auditions. Ironic as it may seem, "workshops for work" have been expressly banned by the actors' union. They ban actors from "…offering anything of value to an employer or prospective employer…” and the California State Labor Code bans any casting director or company from offering paid auditions or any other form of workshop other than those which are part of “ongoing traditional acting classes."

4. Overseas Workshops By U.S. Casting – “We cast big Hollywood productions.” I work with actors from all over the world, and I’ve been amazed to hear about casting directors and teachers flying all over the world to teach the same workshops they teach in Los Angeles and New York – with two scary differences: They cost more and deliver even fewer results. Ouch! It’s bad enough to know that so few actors are called in from ostensibly illegal workshops within the U.S., but you can only imagine how many actors from London or Toronto have booked a co-star role on a show that shoots in L.A. Actors themselves shoulder some of the blame here since they should understand their business and realize that no one is going to spend thousands of dollars to fly them to Los Angeles for a five-line role. Illegal? No. Unethical? You decide.

The list of scams is only as long as the list of suckers. Informing yourself and taking a long-term approach will cause the parasites to search for a slower moving carcass. Once you are really good actor and have a solid working knowledge of the business as well as a couple of strong industry relationships, you will be able to spot a scam in a second. Take the time to learn your business and all the shiny pretty offers won’t even show up on your radar.

David Patrick Green is a professional actor and the founder of Hackhollywood.com, a membership-based website dedicated to empowering and educating actors around the globe on how to become a professional actor. His simple, five-step approach inspires actors to be ruthlessly creative in their approach to the art and business of acting and life in general. Mr. Green has an MBA from the University of Southern California and was an international management consultant before realizing Platinum frequent-flyer status had few rewards other than boredom, bedbugs, and beer. His earlier reincarnations include working as an advertising account executive in Warsaw, Poland and he is still kicking himself for leaving the French Alps where, among other things, he taught skiing to European royalty and often simultaneously) tasted fine French wines. He has lived and worked as an actor in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Toronto and coaches/consults to actors and businesses who want to get on the short path to success while maintaining a sense of humor. He can be reached at david@hackhollywood.com.

Like the Movie, Only Different

Hollywood’s Big Bet on Broadway Adaptations


  • Morris Mac Matzen

  • Peter Mountain/Warner Bros. Pictures

  • Helen Maybanks

  • Zade Rosenthal/Columbia Pictures

  • Paul Kolnik

  • Laurie Sparham/Miramax Films

  • Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

  • Disney Theatrical Productions

  • Columbia Pictures

  • Claudette Barius/Warner Bros. Pictures

  • Miramax Films/Photofest

  • HBO/Everett Collection

  • Universal Pictures/Photofest
NEXT

The musical adaptation of “Rocky” in Hamburg, Germany, with Drew Sarich in the title role.

LOS ANGELES — To understand why Hollywood is moving aggressively into making musicals for Broadway, just look out the eighth-floor office window of Jimmy Horowitz, the president ofUniversal Pictures.
On the studio lot below, along a route where trams of tourists roll by, is a black-and-green poster for the hit musical “Wicked.” Universal is the majority investor in the show, which has grossed $3 billion since 2003 from productions in New York, Chicago, London, Tokyo, and dozens of other cities. More to the point: “Wicked” is on track to become the most profitable venture in the 101-year history of Universal, Mr. Horowitz acknowledged in an interview, more lucrative than its top-grossing movies like “Jurassic Park” and “E.T.” The show is an open-ended juggernaut, charging 10 times more per ticket than movie theaters do.
“ ‘Wicked’ opened our eyes to the possibility of what can happen when you have a show that becomes a perennial,” said Mr. Horowitz, whose studio initially planned to make the 1995 novel “Wicked” into a film instead — and now expects to make a movie of the musical someday, expanding the franchise. “I don’t think we’d appreciated what those revenue streams could be.”
Now Universal is turning “Animal House” into a musical, and “Back to the Future” and“The Sting” may be next. Twentieth Century Fox is eyeing “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Waitress.” Sony is developing “Tootsie.” Warner Brothers has “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in London and is talking to producers about a possible musical version of the Channing Tatum flick “Magic Mike.”
And once again this season on Broadway is dominated by screen-to-stage adaptations like “Rocky,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” “Bullets Over Broadway” and “Big Fish,” all of which have varying degrees of studio involvement. The musical “Aladdin” is coming this winter, adapted in-house by Disney, which has the biggest screen-to-stage hit of all : “The Lion King,” with its worldwide gross of $5.4 billion.
If the Hollywood frenzy raises questions about originality — has theater become just a derivative cog in brand machinery? — the stage adaptations may simply be too financially rewarding for the studios and Broadway to cut back. And adaptations can be artistically creative: The new musical “American Psycho” (based on a book that became a film) is about a serial killer, while this year’s  Tony Award winner for best musical, “Kinky Boots,” is based on a little-known British movie and has the first Broadway score by the pop superstar Cyndi Lauper.
But what does it take for a movie to become a blockbuster musical?
That’s the puzzle that Hollywood executives are trying to crack as they mine their movie catalogs to squeeze more profits from them, a hands-on strategy that represents a significant shift, after decades in which studios passively signed away film rights to theater producers who did most of the work. What Hollywood is finding is that there are no easy formulas: No “Wicked 2” or other sequels; no surefire star vehicles (Nathan Lane’s departure killed the “Addams Family” musical on Broadway); and no superhero action fluff that is easy to stage (hello, Spider-Man). In other words, don’t expect to see the biggest moneymakers go to Broadway anytime soon, studio executives say — no “Avatar: The Musical,” no singing Wookies.
“We’re looking through our 4,000 movies for the stories with the strongest emotional resonance, for stories that feel like they want to be sung onstage,” said Lia Vollack, who oversees theater for Sony and is also president of the company’s worldwide music division. “And I wouldn’t rule out any genre — though a horror musical could be challenging, and superheroes really do rely on certain types of visuals that are pretty cinematic.”
What the studios are confronting is the tricky alchemy of stage adaptation: finding films and books that have the DNA that might spawn a musical, then matching them with artists who have a vision for delivering quality onstage and quantity at the box office.
Most Broadway musicals throughout history have been adaptations, although complaints about the movie-turned-musical have been a relatively recent trend. (The latest, by the film critic of The Telegraph in London, appeared last month under the headline “Can We Please Stop Turning Great Films Into Musicals?”) The first nine winners of the best-musical Tony were based on books and plays, starting with “Kiss Me, Kate” in 1949; the first best-musical Tony winner inspired by a movie was “Applause” in 1970, drawn from the 1950 Fox movie “All About Eve.”
Not that relying on a brand-name movie has ever been a guarantee. Roughly 75 percent of shows lose money on Broadway, including many beloved popular movies that were turned into musicals, like the recent flops “Ghost” and “9 to 5.”
“Sometimes you don’t get artists who jell,” said Mark Kaufman, one of the executives overseeing theater ventures at Warner Brothers. “Sometimes the material doesn’t translate to stage. Sometimes audiences complain, ‘Why aren’t there original musicals?’ What’s happening now is, Hollywood and Broadway are trying to make better shows together.”
To that end, Universal invested in the recent Broadway musicals “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” and “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” to cultivate ties with their rising-star directors, Alex Timbers and Diane Paulus. Last summer, Sony executives bought a stake inthe company of the Broadway producer Scott Sanders (“The Color Purple”) to give him a first-look deal for their film catalog, beginning with the “Tootsie” project. And last month, Fox announced a partnership with one of Broadway’s most successful producers, Kevin McCollum (“Rent,” “Avenue Q,” “In the Heights”), to help turn 9 to 12 movies into stage musicals. Fox executives also tapped Isaac Robert Hurwitz of the New York Musical Theater Festival to advise them on their projects with Mr. McCollum and on theater producing strategy.
At the heart of the Fox deals is a recognition by the studio — and you hear this all across Hollywood — that most filmmakers don’t really know how to make great stage musicals on their own. The most successful one is Scott Rudin, an Academy Award winner who is one of the lead producers of the smash hit “The Book of Mormon.” Disney is alone in having an in-house theatrical division that makes its own musicals, led by another top producer on Broadway, Thomas Schumacher.
Studio executives say they are counting on Broadway veterans to tell them, among other things, whether characters like Euphegenia Doubtfire or Bluto Blutarsky can be made to sing — and if so, how that should be done. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, for instance, has some approval rights in the musical version of “Rocky” over casting and certain production elements but left most decisions to the creative team, led by Mr. Timbers.
“They definitely never weighed in on content,” including the climactic fight between Rocky and Apollo Creed, Mr. Timbers said of MGM. Given that the fight is a famous moment in the “Rocky” franchise, the stage scene could have risked becoming an embarrassment for the brand, but Mr. Timbers’s use of stage magic has drawn praise from critics and Broadway producers who have seen the musical’s world premiere in Hamburg, Germany.
Sony, too, took a collaborative approach with the film producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen on the musical adaptation of “Big Fish.” Songs by Andrew Lippa (“The Wild Party”) were performed for Sony executives, and they weighed in on script and production choices, ultimately deciding to invest in the Broadway run, which starts in September. (Sony executives and Mr. Jinks declined to specify the amount.) But the hardest work — making a musical out of a fantastical story of an old man unspooling one tall tale after another — was left to the producers and their team.
“A movie can have so many more scenes than a musical, and so much can be achieved with close-ups and other cinematic devices, so we had to think carefully about which scenes to keep and make theatrical and what other moments could be turned to song,” Mr. Jinks said. “In the movie, there’s a scene where time stops and the main character walks through a circus tent — a mesmerizing scene. For the musical, Andrew has a written a song called ‘Time Stops,’ and it hits you emotionally in a way only musical theater can.”
For Mr. Horowitz of Universal, the 2000 film “Billy Elliot,” about a British boy who wants to dance ballet, had several “key ingredients” that might make a good musical, like a lead character with buried emotions that could be rendered in song, and a plot full of big dreams and wishes coming true. But it took theater artists like the director Stephen Daldry and the composer Elton John to turn the movie into a wholly credible song-and-dance show, he said, by coming up with the juxtaposition of the would-be ballerinas and the struggling coal miners in Billy’s town.
“They took the underlying material and reinvented it so completely that the audience had a completely different experience than the one you had watching the movie,” Mr. Horowitz said. “Billy Elliot” opened on Broadway in 2008 at a cost of $18 million, won the Tony Award for best musical and turned a profit, but it ended up closing earlier than expected in 2012 because of its high running expenses and a decline in ticket sales.
Even if “Billy Elliot” fell short of commercial expectations on Broadway, Mr. Horowitz still said he views the musical as a model for Hollywood adaptations. While he declined to discuss “Animal House,” finding the right artistic team has proved a challenge. The musical group Barenaked Ladies recently left the project, replaced by Broadway composer David Yazbek (the movie-to-musical adaptations “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”), and the playwright Michael Mitnick is taking another crack at his script, according to news reports. The director remains Casey Nicholaw, who showed with “The Book of Mormon” that he has a talent for blending raunchy humor with characters both outrageous and sweethearted — pure “Animal House.”
Putting together teams can be arduous, whether for movies or stage musicals, but the front-end development costs for musicals tend to be far lower, often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars compared with millions for movies. By Hollywood standards, too, stage musical budgets are small — $5 million on the low end, $20 million on the high, compared with $100 million or considerably more for movies.
Deep-pocketed studios are, meanwhile, a veritable godsend for musical producers, who are otherwise forced to line up dozens of investors who write checks of $50,000 or more. ”A very powerful financing partner — a multibillion-dollar company as a partial funding source — gives you a tremendous leg up to get work in development and get shows onstage,” said John Davis, a veteran film producer at Fox (“The Firm,” “Predator”) who is working with Mr. McCollum on the new theater venture at the company.
Mr. McCollum cited “Mrs. Doubtfire” as an example of the potential risks and rewards of studio-driven adaptations. Fox executives said they were eager to develop it into a musical and perhaps finance 25 percent or more of the costs, and Mr. McCollum noted that the plot seemed tailored for Broadway audiences, as a family-oriented comedy about a man who poses as a female British housekeeper so he can spend time with his children amid a custody battle.
At the same time, Mr. McCollum said, the movie had a memorable star turn by Robin Williams, and not so long ago (it was released in 1993), raising the question of whether audiences would warmly embrace another actor in the role.
That was one problem faced by the 1996 musical “Big,” spun off from the Tom Hanks movie without much impact on Broadway. And it is certainly a test for “Rocky,” a $15 million production that in some ways is one of the most surprising ventures of all. WhileTony winners like “Kinky Boots” and the 2012 musical “Once” are best-case scenarios for adaptation — no-name movies with the bones that could make for popular musicals — a beloved film like “Rocky” could stretch the tolerance and patience of theatergoers.
Even the original star of “Rocky,” Sylvester Stallone, who is one of the musical’s producers, acknowledged as much.
“Some movies work perfectly as movies, and you don’t want to mess around with them,” Mr. Stallone said in an interview after the Hamburg opening. “But I think the ‘Rocky’ musical is really original, not some derivative silly show. We know, and the studio knows, that audiences will have the final word, though.”