Thursday, March 3, 2011

...Some of The Best Things in Life are FREE

My experience with finding good opportunities on Craigs List has been either hit or miss. Most people I know who uses it, generally feel the same way. Sometimes you can find quality and the majority is mediocre. Last November I had a great experience when I received a response to volunteer for The Los Angeles Show Biz Expo on day 76 & 77. Then last week, I had a really mediocre experience and ended up leaving because it was too unorganized, on day 157.   

Not to mention, the response percentage is less than 1%. It can really get frustrating at times. Especially since I'm on there everything submitting for stuff. Nonetheless, that 1% is common in every aspect of the entertainment industry. Yesterday, I scored a home run with a limited time offer for a free acting class for this month. Initially, my email response came in on Saturday and it specified 100% free quite boldly.  

Before I went, I invited my whole Vampire Masquerade Cast and a few other people I met since I arrived. The only person that showed up was my fellow vampire cast member Ava. She also had the same attitude I had about the offer. She was like, "What do I have to lose?" Truthfully, nothing. There is more ways to benefit and gain then any other probability. Ava also made a smart move by looking up the teacher in advance on www.IMDB.com. She found some reputable credits for him. That was a very prudent of her. By the way, thanks for the Star Bucks before the class Eva. I greatly appreciate.

Shortly after arrival, we both realized that we walked into something really great. The acting teachers name is and he genuinely wants to share it. Myself, Eva and about ten others signed up for 4 intense acting lessons. After just the first day,  I am sincerely humbled by his passion, wisdom and enthusiasm for helping actors achieve their desires.

Our first class included an introduction,  monologue audition and critique. We all received results for the audition that same day. Two people didn't advance through the auditions. I'm aware of one person but I'm not sure who the other person is. I'm proud to say that I passed the audition with proud "Colors."

It just so happens that I completely forgot bring a monologue with me so I had to blow the dust off of an old song/poem I wrote back in my college prime. For my long time fans, it was my old classic "Who's Stalking Me."

Now for my thespian enthusiasts, I will now share with with you Acting and auditioning tips from Allen Levin. If you are a serious becoming an actor all of those notes with benefit you so pay attention. In addition, to that you better consider signing up for his class. This guy knows what he's talking about. He's really good. To be honest, you don't even have to be an actor to benefit from these notes. Most of it is real life.

Please note, these tips are not listed in an order of importance.

Acting and auditioning tips from Allen Levin


*  Be interested (in what you are doing, talking about, or listening to), do not attempt to be interesting. 

*  90% of success in acting is simply the ability to work well with others.

*  Be likable.  Be the person that your friends love.

Make a human connection with someone when delivering a monologue. Ask the casting director or a person in the room if you can deliver your monologue to them. Talk to someone, just don't look around the room.  If you do not have permission to deliver the monologue to a person, deliver it to one specific place in the room as if a person is there.  Example:  an empty chair. 

There is a power in an unplanned moment. Example: If someone sneezes during your audition or monologue tell them "Bless You."  Enjoy the spontaneous moment in character - it could be a great moment.

*  Acting is communication.  It's simple but not necessarily easy.  If you are communicating well to your partner, the audience gets it as well.

Acknowledge your energy when your auditioning. If you are nervous express it. If you are angry feel it. If you are happy or sad put it all into your performance.

Assess the room you are in. Make the space yours. Move things around in the audition room as your performance needs.
If someone is shooting your performance - you may need to ask, "If I move this chair here, am I still in frame?" 

Play into your environment. Play into a pillow. Play into things. Live there. Create a space.

Be very judicious on who you share your dreams with.

Never say never.

*  Be thoughtful. 

*  Artistic integrity: Care more about the performance and show your commitment by having been prepared. 


*  Auditioning is a game. Let it be fun. 

*  Keep things positive. 

*  Be believable and show perspective (how your character feels about specific things).

*  Don't tell casting directors or producers your age. Tell them your age range. It's an unethical question and for the purposes of job hires - it's illegal. For example, if they ask you your age, tell them you can play the range of 18-25yrs.

*  For legal reasons, beer commercials need to know if you are at least 25.  


*  You need not list age information on your resume

*  When asked a question, especially if you already know your response,  take your time to answer your question and be thoughtful. 

 
*  Don't be stingy with your smile. Smile more.


*  The number 1 communication of an audition in 4 words: IT GOES LIKE THIS.  You are telling your audience, this IS the character.  Deliver your performance with confidence and know that in art you can't ever be wrong.  Make a choice and go with it.

Casting directors are looking for reasons to hire you.  Just be a likable professional and you are in the top group every time.  This includes having a professional headshot and resume (without typos).

*  Try not to bring up religion or politics in an audition. It can alienate people. The Nazi monologue might not be a smart choice for most auditions. Unless of course its an audition related to World War II.

*  Use different emotions, responses, even vocal ranges in your audition. Perform high and low...


*  "Color" is emotionality in all forms. You need different choices.  Acting is like painting.  Do not paint with one color.

*  The more "Colors" you have, more of the character is revealed. Mix your colors with different reactions. 

*  Rehearse everyday. A professional musician practices with their instruments every single day. Actors need to work on their instrument every single day also if they would like to be professionals. 

*  Don't be afraid to start over in the audition if you don't like the direction its going. This is YOUR audition.  Request to start over. The worse thing they can say is "No."

*  Don't apologize for your audition performance by saying things like, "that's all I have..."

*  Celebrate your accomplishments.  Treat yourself well.  This will help you remain in the game.  If you quit you fail.  That's the only way to fail.  Stay in.  Step up the mountain one step at a time.  Celebrate your victories.

*  Be loose and fun. Walk into an audition as if you would be walking into a room of friends. 

*  Use a head shot that represents your personality and/or the part that you may be auditioning for. 

*  If you have a short resume, focus passionately about your projects with the love you have for them.  Don't apologize for having too few credits.  

*  Attitude is everything.  Maintain a great attitude no matter what happens on set or stage.

*  Be a real person. If they ask you where is your favorite place in the world is, having a place other than the place you are in makes you unique.  Know your favorite place aside from where you currently live.

*  Specificity is very important. Specify by taking things from your real life. Personalize who you are talking about in your monologue. Identify in your head, who you are talking to, so you'll know how to talk to them as you do in real life.  This will make the conversation much more real.   

*  Steal moments from real life. Study people and artists. Study environments. From this point on observe life. 
You have the eyes of an artist.  No longer should you just "look" at things.  Study things.

*  Don't steal moments from other actors performances, because you will be a copy.  To be an original steal moments from real people, real experience.  See a nervous person in real life tapping their foot constantly?  Put it into your performance.

*  Steal moments from a friend (who is not trying to be an actor).

*  Using monologues that are obscure or original gives you more license to mess up because no one but you will know.

*  Keep 6-12 head shots in a folder in your car for auditions where you may have forgotten to bring one. 

*  Don't mention that you don't have an agent or manager. Say you're excited to get an agent/manger soon and celebrate it.

*  When asked why do you want to be an actor, don't make your answers merely about you. Say its because you want to help family, friends, animals and people.  Have a cause that you believe in.  This helps our art to be less superficial and much more important. 

























As the Quest Continues


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      Motown Maurice

5 comments:

  1. Motown!! Thanks again for sharing this with us, and I am very glad I attended the audition - as you accurately portrayed on your blog. Allen is very commanding yet approachable. I think we are going to learn tons from him, and it's so amazing that he's willing to share his time, space and expertise for free.
    Again, THANK YOU for sharing this opportunity with us, I know a lot of "LA actors" would have kept this just for themselves!!!
    Ava B.

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  2. Motown" am so thrilled that you have been very determined, to learn and grasp every opportunity it take to be a success. I love your blog. Continue to prosper, in body, mind, soul and spirt. Motown am estatic, finally you have meet the right person to guide you along your victory.Amen.

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  3. Bravo on your quest and yes, you'll get it! Just keep stepping up the mountain. Love having you in our group.

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  4. Cassandra RaphaelMarch 6, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    "Im your biggest fan Motown you are soooooo special and the world will soon discover ur vision."

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great article Motown !
    Keep up the great talent and hard work.

    miss my acting buddy ...

    ReplyDelete

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