Happy Fall Y'all!
October 2023 Newsletter
TRICK OR TREAT
We spend so much time getting our costumes and the roles they represent ready for Halloween. We wholeheartedly approve, and we want you to start a new habit: Keep this habit up throughout the year for your acting career.
We are not suggesting you pick out costumes for every character...or maybe we are.
One of my 'Artist Dates (see The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron) that I do for myself is to imagine characters that already exist in plays that already exist, and work on them by combing thrift shops and costume pieces on eBay. The thrilling part is assembling a creation all of my own and making him (that character) real. It's way more than costumes and props. They are only there to inspire you. (And maybe take a picture of you as your character, which might be used as a submission some time this year.
You must never let them catch you acting. (Spencer Tracy said that, and if you don't know who he is .. you need to find out.. One of the greatest American actors of the 20th Century. Start with Inherit the Wind, and go from there.) But I digress. The point is to develop a character that is so complete that it looks so natural to an audience, and feels so natural and comfortable to you, that it doesn't look like acting at all. It just..is.
This is sacred work; don't go showing it off to just anybody, so you can get some kind of quick approval. Only show it onstage, in an audition or to a teacher that you trust, a teacher who will see where you are going, encourage you, and direct you as to how to get where you want to go. Please, RUN AWAY FROM SCREAMERS. RUN AWAY FROM TEACHERS WHO FEEL THEY NEED TO BREAK YOU DOWN IN ORDER TO BUILD YOU UP. Once they scream or berate you, you know you have reached their knowledge's end. A good teacher inspires the student; a good student inspires the teacher.
So, what would your modern-day Hamlet dress and sound like?
What would your Richard the Third look and sound like?
What would your Mary Poppins look like?
What would a human Winnie the Pooh look like? Or a Piglet or an Eeyore?
In our class, we spend so much time on character work, training our actors to make bold, organic choices to stand out and be memorable. So take time this month to dress up, have fun and train yourself to do the same: create and explore characters and make everything your characters do or say truthful and motivated from the inside out, not just randomly chosen affectations.
"Why" is one of the most important questions you can ask and answer as an actor. You can make all kinds of choices in your scene, but if you don't have THE WHY for your character and THE WHY for you, the actor, it just won't be compelling. Carve out some time this month to just work on THEY WHY for all your choices in your scenes, and see and feel the difference. There is no one correct answer to the WHY; it is deeply personal to you. That makes your portrayal of the role/ your audition stand out. It's not the gimmicks; it's the work. What makes the character that you are portraying do and say all the things they do and say? And "Because it's in the script" is just the starting line.
HOW TO TRASH YOUR CAREER
We have finally released it! Our book! This was a concept we've had for years and are exocited to bring it to production.There are so many books and teachers that tell you want to do,. ...but no one tells you what NOT to do. That is equally important and hilariously funny So sit back and dive into it iin paper back or ebook. Let us know whaat rings true to you.
"Awesome…Brilliant…tears of laughter. What a wondrous book!"
- Cooper Thornton, actor, Parks & Rec, Sully, House of Sand and Fog.
"This book is absolutely worth reading if you wish to detect the traps you create for yourself and instead move forward. It's humorous and feels like talking to a good friend…If you want to stop trashing your career (or never want to start doing it)- start by reading this book. And enjoy the journey!"
Fee Denise Horseman, actor, Soko 5113
"If you are an aspiring actor (or even a veteran actor) …this little book is a clear and witty yet very direct mentor to set you straight." -
Trish Degrave, actor, Lake Arrowhead Repertory Theatre Company
THE STRIKE. AND AI
I've been hearing and reading a lot of scary things about AI and the Actors and writers' strike regarding the use of Artificial Intelligence, and I want all our friends to stay aware and informed and don't get desperate.
The rumors I've been hearing of production companies, and some studios, asking actors to let the companies scan their images and their voices, for use in other projects down the road. That means that for a single session payment, in some cases, a production company can use your likeness and your voice in as many projects as they like. You could see and hear your likeness in potentially hundreds of movies, TV shows, and commercials, audiobooks without ever being paid. I've also heard rumors, just rumors, mind you, that some agencies are encouraging their actor to get their images and voices scanned. Although, I can't imagine why, since agencies only make 10% of what their clients make, and if their clients make nothing…
The good news is that the WGA has just approved the contract in which AI cannot be used to write or edit any script. This is a major development.
Please stay aware and informed, and don't let yourself made decisions out of desperation and sign your career away. Read as much credible industry press on this as possible, and read it often; it's always changing. We want you to think long-term in all things. If you don't take the time and effort to be informed, instead of being rich and famous, you could end up famous…and broke.
THE LINE LEARNING LAB
Megan and Chuck are teaching our Line Learning Lab for actors who are having trouble memorizing lines, or for those actors who just want to learn lines better and have a competative edge. This is a highly effective class in which you will learn about 10 different techniques to learn any script easily. You will have homework to prepare, and exercises for you to practice that will keep your line-learning ability sharp.
The class runs for 3 Saturdays (Oct 21, 28 and Nov.4)
from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. California time. The classes are small with lots of time with Megan and Chuck. The cost is $150. Click the link to learn more. See you there!