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Posted by admin, April 15, 2015 5:51 pm

So why is it so important to keep an Acting Notebook?  Because without it, you’re not tracking information that could help you, you’re not keeping resource data that could serve you, and you’re dooming yourself to repeat past mistakes!

Here’s how to start building a successful Acting Notebook TODAY:

1)       Track ALL of your audition feedback; the good, the bad and the ugly.
There is no better way to track your progress and learn from your mistakes.

2)      Journal about your work in class and in private coachings. What did you learn in each class?  What notes did your teacher give you?  How are you feeling about your acting, your career, and your progress?  By journaling, you’ll begin to see what common notes keep coming up.  Perhaps it’s vulnerability, or remembering not to over-act, or a comment on keeping it simple.  When you see it in written down, you can improve on it.  Amazing, magical things have happened for me when I’ve written regularly about my creative process.

3) Keep a list of Casting Directors and Directors.
I tell this to the actors in my classes all the time!  Every time you watch a movie, a tv show or anything else that grabs your interest, make a note of who the Director and Casting Director were.  Should you happen to meet up with them in an audition, you’ll have an immediate reference for their work and what they’re looking for.  And it’s always great when you can talk to them about what they’ve done!

4) The 9 Questions.
Having these with you will make it a snap to break down any scene before an audition.  Be sure to keep some blank paper in there, too, so you can use those questions again and again!

5) Script Analysis Breakdown Tips.
Intentional Acting Script Analysis Teleseminars are INVALUABLE.  Take the time to listen in, then keep those notes in your Acting Notebook!

6) Acting Tips.

Every time you get an acting tip that speaks to you, whether it be from me, another teacher , a Casting Director, or an actor – put it in your Acting Notebook.  They’ll remind you how to make your partner the most important person in the scene, how to find your intention and fight for it, how to prepare an audition tape and loads more!

7) Your Successes.

Nothing will keep you going like seeing your successes in black and white.  This is one of the toughest businesses around and rejection is everywhere.  So it’s important to keep your spirits up and your eye on the prize.  Looking at what you’ve already done will help you recover faster when you feel discouraged…and it’ll inspire you to keep going!

Know someone who could benefit from this Acting Tip?  Please Share!!

www.intentionalacting.com

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Posted by admin, April 9, 2015 5:03 pm

The actors in my class who make the most progress and have the greatest success have one thing in common:

THEY ALWAYS KEEP AN ACTING NOTEBOOK!

Studies have repeatedly shown that people who are highly successful keep track of what they do.
It’s true for diet and exercise and it’s true for acting, too. You can’t evaluate where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.

Having a record of your own personal experiences is an invaluable resource for acting auditions, honing your skills, correcting mistakes and tracking contacts.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1)      Track ALL of your audition feedback; the good, the bad and the ugly.
There is no better way to track your progress and learn from your mistakes.

2)      Track your notes in class and in private coachings.
What did you learn from in each class?  What notes did your teacher give you?  When you track those, you’ll begin to see a pattern emerge.  Once you know what the common notes are, you can start making improvements on them.

3) Keep a list of Casting Directors and Directors.
I tell this to the kids in my classes all the time!  Every time you watch a movie, a TV show or anything else that grabs your interest, make a note of who the Director and Casting Director were.  Should you happen to meet up with them in an audition, you’ll have an immediate reference for their work and what they’re looking for.  And it’s always great when you can talk to them about their work!

FOR NEXT WEEK:  How to build YOUR Acting Notebook!!!

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Know someone who could benefit from this Acting Tip?  Please Share!!

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Posted by admin, March 31, 2015 5:50 pm

Pilot season hasn’t gone as you wanted and now you’re looking for a breakthrough?

Create your own!

Here’s how:

Identify Your “Breakthrough” Goal. Your goal should be: MAPS.  Measurable, Attainable, Personal and Specific.  The idea here is to create a goal that motivates you to go outside your comfort zone – something that will be a “breakthrough” for you.

 

Develop A Plan With Milestones…and Deadlines! This is the core of your plan.  It should include a breakthrough goal, a timeline, and an action plan. Be specific!  (Why is it important to you?  What’s the outcome?)  Share it with your team to get their feedback, then make adjustments as needed.

 

Get Support. Yes, you heard it: your team.  You can’t do it alone.  No one can.  So why try?  There are so many great ways to support your journey!  Try these:

 

1. Create Accountability Buddies. Find an individual with whom you can talk on a daily basis.  And create a group of like-minded actors with whom you can meet on a weekly basis.  Pick helpful, supportive, positive people.  No judging or shaming allowed!  Set your goals together, then report to each other on your progress.  Just the fact that you have to report in will keep you focused and on track.

 

2. If you’re not in one already, GET INTO CLASS! If you’re uninspired by the class you’re in, get into a new one!  Every time a student joins my class with a specific goal and commitment, amazing things start to happen.  When you’re inwardly committed, the outside world will come to meet that commitment.  Plus, what better way to create a supportive acting community than to be in a class full of inspiring fellow actors every week?

 

3. Get a private coaching/consultation. Take an hour and enlist professional support for your goal.  Get help refining your breakthrough goal and mapping out ways to achieve it.

 

Keep Your Eye on the Prize. Print out your goal and post it near your desk, near your bed – any place that you see it often.  And make sure to keep a copy of it in your Acting Notebook!  Remember:  the more you see it in writing, the more you’ll see it in your life.

 

Claim Your Breakthrough. Affirm your breakthrough goal on a regular basis.  Okay…you might think affirmations are hokey, but there’s scientific evidence that when you affirm something — it happens!

 

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Know someone who could benefit from this Acting Tip?  Please share!

www.intentionalacting.com

 

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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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Know someone who could benefit from this Acting Tip?  Please Share!!
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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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