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Posted by admin, March 18, 2015 6:36 pm

Last week, a student told me he was *so excited* because his new scene partner was courageous and willing to push outside of his comfort zone.  Actors often say they want to be in a class with actors who are better than they, but I would like to encourage you to want to be in a class with actors who are willing to expand the limits of their comfort zone.

Acting requires fearlessness; and that can be terrifying!  Maybe our character would do this scary thing – but our ego says, “No way, you’re not going to do that!   You’re going embarrass yourself. You’re going to look stupid.” or “You’re going to get hurt.”  Poor little ego, it’s afraid and it just wants to protect us.  But since acting requires that we step into a character’s circumstances by meeting them where they live, we have to distract our ego with technique.  That’s where The 9 Questions of Intentional Acting come in; it’s a way of tricking our ego into doing things it normally wouldn’t.

And sometimes, we just need to tell ego and fear to take a hike.

Uzo Aduba of Orange is the New Black did just that when had to pee on camera in front of director Jodie Foster. Here’s how she describes it:

“I remember thinking, ‘This is happening!  I can’t believe it!  And my mom is going to see me doing this, too!’  But Crazy Eyes is fearless, so I needed to be fearless.  She lives all the way, and if I don’t meet her where she lives, she doesn’t live.  Even if that means peeing on floors.  As strange as it sounds, if I go half-way with urinating, it doesn’t feel honest and the payoff isn’t going to be satisfying for anyone.  Crazy Eyes has taught me so much, because she’s very solid in who she is.  She’s always connected to the truth and bets on love every time, no matter what the cost.  And she’s not afraid to pee in front of others, which also helps me understand what kind this was going to be.  No boundaries, no rules.”

No boundaries. No rules. Push yourself. Tell that ego to take a hike. Make every scene you do an adventure and before you know it, you’ll be soaring past your comfort zone!

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Posted by admin, March 12, 2015 3:47 pm

You’re on set.  It’s been a great day – you’ve overcome the jitters and gotten a few good scenes behind you when suddenly the Director says, “Hey can you…”   Your gut tells you “No, this isn’t right!   Speak up!”  But the director’s behind schedule and the camera crew is waiting for you.

What should you do?  Speak up?

Yes, your Director has the final say, but you need to listen to your gut.  Empower your gut!  If you don’t – the quality of your performance will suffer.  Your gut will hear, “Shut up.”  Then you’ll either be fighting to push your instincts down or they will be silenced altogether.  Either way – you will not be able to perform at your best when it matters most.

Ask yourself these questions before deciding if you should speak up:

1) Does it feel morally wrong? You know what is right or wrong.  Ask yourself:  was I  told about this in the audition?  Did we contractually agree to this?  If not, stop before you go any further.  This applies to adult and child actors. You have the right to be emotionally and physically safe as well as respected.  Parents – it is your job to be on set and protect your child.  And remember, you are the only one who can protect you or your child’s professional reputation.

2)      Does it feel completely out of character? You’ve done your homework.  You know your character and what she/he would do or not do.  If you can’t make the adjustment work, then you need to ask for clarification and talk it out.  Directors aren’t perfect and it’s possible they were so focused on one of the other million things they’re responsible for that they were unintentionally confusing to you.

3)      Is it something that’s not in the script? Stunts, wardrobe, putting in extra time, and delaying a meal are just a few of the things that get asked of actors on the spot.  SAG has rules, hotlines and a representative on set, so try to get clarity before moving forward.  If it’s a non-union set they aren’t bound by the rules of SAG, but SAG rules still remain a good guideline for knowing what’s appropriate and what’s not.   Know them before you go!

4)      Is it a valid concern or is my ego driving the bus? It’s easy to get caught up in the attention of being on set, particularly if you’re the lead.  Just remember that production is always a team effort.  We all have to work together so stop, think, and be rigorously honest with your self.  Are your feathers just ruffled or is this something that is truly concerning?

The most important guideline: You have to evaluate each incident on a case-by-case basis.

And finally:  make sure to take time to THINK before you speak up!

Next Week:  Decided to speak up?  Here’s how…

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Posted by admin, March 3, 2015 7:33 pm

The Bold Audition Gone Wrong

While it’s always a plus to “walk the character into a room,” there are limits.  A few years back, there was a call for a child actor wheelchair user.   Able-bodied kids and kids with disabilities showed up (including one of my students, who uses a wheelchair and a  service dog.)

The casting team got very excited about one actor in a chair until, at the end of the audition, the boy stood up. He confessed that he didn’t have a disability and that the chair was rented.

The casting director was floored.  The team felt duped.  It was a huge slap in the face to the actors there who had real disabilities.  The CD was not amused and the actor was dismissed.  Luckily, the next to be auditioned was the very talented Brock Waidmann, who went on to land the role.

What was meant to be a bold audition choice became an epic failure because the actor didn’t follow The Bold Audition Rules:

1)   RESPECT.

I can not stress this enough! Don’t go so far out of the norm that you insult the production team.  Remember, these are hard-working people who are giving you their time and energy.  Respect it.

2)  Justification in the script.

You have to be able to justify your choices. They need to be grounded in the facts of the show or the script.  Remember that your choices should also be grounded in the text and not just randomly wacky for the sake of being bold.

3)  Don’t be gimmicky.  Be authentic.

Casting Directors can spot a gimmick a mile away.  They can tell when you’re trying too hard and it won’t get you the role.  Don’t overreach, keep it authentic.

Go boldly…but go smart.

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Posted by admin, February 23, 2015 7:07 pm

There are many stories of actors who landed roles by making famously bold audition choices.

Here’s one such story:

When actor Michael Dorn went to audition for the role of Worf on Star Trek:  The Next Generation, he walked straight to the back of the room and stood there, ramrod straight and unblinking.  He did not smile, speak, or sit.   When called, he marched into the room, scowled, and shook the interviewer’s hand sharply.  Afterwards, he gruffly thanked the director and walked out.  He so inhabited the character that they simply had to cast him:  he was the only actor *being* a Klingon warrior.  He was Worf.

That’s a bold audition choice.  Making bold choices like Michael Dorn can set you apart from the competition.

Or it can get you the title of “crazy actor” and thrown out of the office…permanently.

So how can you go bold without going bad?

Here are three Bold Audition Rules to help you decide if your bold choice is a good one:

1)   RESPECT.

I can not stress this enough! Don’t go so far out of the norm that you insult the production team.  Remember, these are hard-working people who are giving you their time and energy.  Respect it.

2)  Justification in the script.

You have to be able to justify your choices. They need to be grounded in the facts of the show or the script.  The Star Trek script called for true characters from a different world, so Dorn’s choice reflected that.  Remember that your choices should also be grounded in the text and not just randomly wacky for the sake of being bold.

3)  Don’t be gimmicky.  Be authentic.

Casting Directors can spot a gimmick a mile away.  They can tell when you’re trying too hard and it won’t get you the role.  Michael Dorn was being Worf, and therefore was authentic.

Go boldly…but go smart.

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Posted by admin, February 10, 2015 6:35 pm

Many actors tell me that when they go into an audition, they just want to “Get it Right.” But “Getting it Right” doesn’t get them the part.  Because when you focus on “Getting It Right…”

  1. You become the most important person in the scene.
  2. It creates no reason for you to connect to the other person in the scene.
  3. It puts you in judgment of your performance and doesn’t allow you to be in the moment of the scene.

“Getting it Right” doesn’t allow the actor to experience what the scene is about, which leaves an actor feeling unsatisfied…and that leaves the Casting Director unsatisfied and on to the next actor.

Make sure you breakdown that scene and you know what your character’s intention is: What do you want the other character to feel or do. Connect to that intention, how you relate to that, make it personal, and fight for that intention. Then allow the experience of the scene to unfold.

This is more likely to get you a call back…and the part!

Share your audition experiences and how you prepare for an audition below!

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Posted by admin, February 4, 2015 4:10 pm

The great artist Michelangelo once said about his artistry that, “If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”

The life of an artist.  The world sees our work and because of the blood, sweat and tears we pour into our craft it all looks so easy.  But, the moments that seem easy are due to all the hard work it took to get there.

Make It Easy

A couple of years ago I found myself watching the contortionists at the Cirque du Soleil and realized that they make acrobatics look so easy that I forget how impossibly hard it is.  I took for granted the strength, the flexibility, the practice, and courage it takes to achieve those feats.

Acting is the same.  Great actors make acting seem easy.  But I see a lot of actors who take the craft of acting for granted.  They think “I can do that” and they audition, go to casting workshops, do showcases; all without having a good teacher, being in a regular class or even practicing in front of a camera.  By the way, these are the same actors complaining that they’re not booking.

Respect Your Craft

Great acting requires consistent practice, a good coach and personal courage to build the emotional strength and emotional flexibility required to perform great roles.  Respect your craft.

The way you show casting you’re an actor who respects their craft is by ensuring that your audition tape is as good as it can be.  Let us not overlook the obvious here:  if you want to book jobs this pilot season (especially when you are one of a 100 submissions), you have to deliver an audition that makes casting say “WOW.”  At the very least, don’t leave them with a bad impression by submitting a lame audition tape.

If you don’t have the time or can’t afford a professional to put you on tape, then make sure you master the keys for an awesome audition tape.

 

Here are 8 tips to help you:

1. Pick a quiet space that has little to no back ground noise.  TVs, fans, running water and air conditioning distract the viewer when heard in the background.

2. The wall behind you should be white or blue.

3. Position yourself a few feet away from the wall to avoid casting shadows.

4. Be sure you are lit well so that the viewer can clearly see your face and eyes.

5. Record a test sample.  Check it on your computer.  Make sure that you can clearly see and hear yourself.  Remember:  if you can’t see or hear yourself, neither can the Casting Director.

6. The camera should be on a tripod to keep the frame steady. If you don’t have a tripod, use a stable surface.

7. Before shooting the scene, do your script analysis and research and ask the 9 Questions of Intentional Acting.

8. Record all your rehearsals. Your rehearsals may be your best takes!

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Know someone who could benefit from this acting tip?  Please share!

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Posted by admin, February 2, 2015 11:44 am

Isabella Mulford is going to be shooting with legendary Hall Of Famer WWE Rowdy Roddy Piper in a national commercial. She’s super excited! 

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Posted by admin, January 28, 2015 8:13 pm

There isn’t an actor alive who hasn’t experienced rejection.  And there’s no way around it…

It.

Stinks.

But what if you’ve been rejected so many times you just want to throw it all away and quit?

Here are a few things to get you back on track.

1) Go Back to Why You Started.

What inspired you? What grabbed your heart and made you think you had to move heaven and earth to do this?  Go back to that moment and spend time there; you’ll remember what you love about this nutty business and why it means so much to you.  Keep those moments in your acting notebook.

2) Remember That It’s Not Always All About You

There are so many factors that go into a casting director’s choice.  Often it has nothing to do with your talent and more to do with something you have no control over (hair color, height, etc.)  And it’s always good to be in front of a casting director no matter what, so your effort’s never wasted.

3)    Get Support

Talk to your agent, your manager, your coach and anyone else you have in your corner.  And then, TAKE THEIR ADVICE.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had agents and managers tell me that their clients are whining about not going out or booking, but they won’t update headshots or resumes, won’t return calls, etc.  Take your craft seriously so that others will, too!

4)    Get Back On the Horse

I know you don’t want to.  Really.  But you MUST.  If you feel your enthusiasm flagging, keep going.   Get ACTIVE.  Get into a class, talk to your teacher, get some private coaching.  It’ll motivate you!  And it’s the only way to push yourself out of your rut…and back into your dream career!

5)      Remember:  Don’t give up ’til the miracle happens.

Walt Disney was turned down by 120 banks.  Yes, 120 banks said “An amusement park in the orange groves?  It will never work.”  1000 restaurants rejected Colonel Sanders’ fried chicken recipe.  So he started his own restaurant.  My academy award qualifying film, Cries From Ramah, was rejected by 30 film festivals.  But then the 31st film festival accepted it…and it won Best Short Film.   Don’t give up.  It could be the next audition that books the job.

You’re the only one who can make this happen, but you don’t have to get there on your own.  Get support, get inspired, get busy…and GET ACTING!

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Know someone who could benefit from this Acting Tip? Please share!
www.intentionalacting.com

One Response to “How to Keep Plugging…Even When You Don’t Want to Plug Anymore”

  1. You always seem to inspire me Loren! Kudos to you and your acting tips that I always read!

    I am living prove of this dream……and are always grateful for the support and love I have from you and countless others who have always been there for me whether it is physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

    Thank you!
    Humberto L. Meza


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Posted by admin, January 20, 2015 1:27 pm

 

 

This is an excerpt from actor Jane Lynch’s commencement “YES AND” speech at Smith College.

“YES AND” is the vital and only rule of improvisation. Never deny your fellow actor. You should be willing and able to accept whatever your fellow improviser throws at you. Use that as your jumping off point and expand it.

Heighten and Explore. For instance, if I say to you “Stick ’em up!” and you say “That’s not a gun, that’s your finger!” We’ve got nowhere to go. If I say “What a beautiful day” and you say, “No it’s not, it’s the middle of winter and it’s snowing!” Where do we go?

In order for our scene to go forward, we affirm what the other is saying, which is the “YES” and take it and build on it with “AND.” And in order for our lives to go forward to engage fully in life, we need to be willing and able to accept what is right in front of us. Whatever it is, the good, the bad, the thrilling, the heartbreaking, every emotion, occurrence, event, person, place or thing, you will experience them all. That’s the “YES” I’m talking about. And the acceptance and embrace of it with all your heart and doing something with it, that’s the “AND.”

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YES, Jane! AND I would add that living in “YES AND” allows you to BE IN THE MOMENT which is an essential tool for a great actor and a happy human being.

If you’re an actor or know someone who is feel free to share this article on being present with those you believe could benefit from it. Thank you.

Remember, as an actor, you’re part of an inspiring community. Share your experiences in the comments below. This is your inspirational story and can serve as a valuable learning tool for others.

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LIVE THE DREAM YOU WERE BORN TO!

Acting should be simple. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you’re an actor or you know someone who is, there is no better moment than now to make the intention to take full control of your acting career and live the dream you were born to.

Call 818-325-5752 or email me at Loren@IntentionalActing.com to interview and sign up for the next Intentional Acting class today.

In the meantime, to learn more about Intentional Acting and the 9 Questions that frame the work do with actors of all ages visit www.intentionalacting.com/what-is-intentional-acting/.

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Posted by admin, January 19, 2015 12:04 pm

Yes, of course you should always be working to improve your acting skills.  But there’s a time and a place for everything, and there are a few situations that you should NOT use to sharpen your skills:

-An Audition.  While it can be good to make a bold choice in an audition, DON’T do it in an area of weakness.  For instance, if you’re not good at accents, don’t choose this moment to read your sides with a British accent.

-On Set. Same holds here.  If your director is asking you to go free-form for an alternate take, do it in an area of strength.  Don’t try to tap dance or sing an aria if you stink at these.  And Loren’s Number 1 Rule of Being Prepared holds here, too:  think about alternate ways of doing things when you’re studying your script so that you know where to draw from*before* you’re asked to do so.

Remember:

For weaknesses: being willing to work on it.  Ask for help and get in class so you can turn that weakness into a strength!

For strengths: Don’t get cocky, just keep practicing so it remains a strength.

Use your acting notebook to keep track of your strengths and weaknesses.   This is a great way to keep you strong, inspired, and…say it with me…PREPARED!!!!!

We always love to hear what you have to say about this Acting Tip, so please comment below!

Know someone who could benefit from this Acting Tip?  Please share!
www.intentionalacting.com

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