November 2023 Newsletter
"Good things come from bad things. With gratitude, optimism is sustainable."
Michael J. Fox.
It has been another strange year. We are all just getting on our feet again from the pandemic. Long industry strikes have made us all stop in our tracks. And suddenly, here we are in November. "It's not over yet, you may say," and you'd be right. Anything can still happen, but usually, around this time of year, the industry winds down. If it's not "inked" by Thanksgiving, it waits until January. So we are just taking time to think and appreciate. Appreciate what we managed to get accomplished this year, and think about what we can plan for next year.
So many people are passionate and shy or even apologetic about their talent and their careers. We are writing this to give you some advice. Don't be shy about your gifts; they are important. Don't apologize for your gifts. They are important.
.Take time to appreciate all that you did get done this year, and give yourself a good pat on the back; it wasn't easy, any of it. How much fun was it? Gratitude is so important to develop a career and keep it going.
Megan and I are both so grateful for both of our fathers fighting and defeating some very bad people and crushing fascism in World War II. We wouldn't be able to do what we do if they didn't do that. We probably wouldn't even be here. So, I'm grateful for all who served and are still serving in uniform for keeping us safe.
But soldiers and first responders are just a part of that gratitude.
We are grateful to everyone we met this year who shared their talent and their passion with us. It was very inspiring.
I'm grateful to artists everywhere, of all disciplines, for making the world a better place.
I'm grateful to Leonard Bernstein for his interpretation of music. I'm grateful for Dustin Hoffman's for his work in The Graduate, which guided my career choice. I am very grateful for Tom Pappa for making me laugh so much.
If anyone, including yourself, tries to make you think less of your talent or your career. You don't need to argue about it. You don't need to justify or defend it. Just quietly remember, we don't really remember the warriors or the businessmen; we remember the artist and the art that the warriors preserved and the businessmen bought and collected and shared with the world.
I'm not writing to disparage any other profession. They are all important, just as artists are important. So be grateful for your creativity and respect it. You were given these talents for a reason. Use your talents. Express your talents. The world needs artists of all kinds just like it needs soldiers, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, and everything else that gives us a life and gives us hope on our journeys.
Now, let's bring in the "What" that we talked about earlier.
What...do you want to say as an artist? What do you want to do with your talents as you use them? What do you want to do with your career as you curate it? So, at this time of year, especially when you are with family and friends. Don't apologize for your talents or your career, at whatever stage of development they are, be grateful for them.
Of the "FIVE W's" of acting, what is just skimmed over by most.
What do you want as a character? Think about it. What would you want if you were in the situation your character is in? Not sure? Just make a choice and see if that choice feels powerful. Then, make another choice about it.. This time, make it a bigger choice. Then make an even bigger choice for your 'WHAT". WHAT DO YOU WANT? Don't make it a casual want. Make it a big want. Make it an important want. Make it a "desperate need" and see how that motivates you.
Try it tonight. Give this a go: Take a simple scene and make three or four different WHAT'S in each scene. Now, practice the scene with each and see what feels right to you, which motivates you more. Which makes you more expressive, and which is more fulfilling to play? Video some of the choices, and you decide. Be sure to commit fully to each choice, and then take a look and appreciate what you did. Yes. Go figure out what you can improve on and make it more honest and more full and more truthful, but don't criticize. Commit and appreciate.
WHAT'S UP AT THE STUDIO
WINO won BEST PILOT in the Mindfield Film Festival. Killing Hope has won awards at three festivals, CRITICS' CHOICE and BEST TRAILER, and has been accepted into three more film festivals. We are so excited, and we tell you this to inspire you to make you own project.. Begin now.. Megan and I will be interviewed on a podcast for the Star City Film Festival on November 3 to be aired during the festival. We'll put a link to the interview on our Instagram.
HOW TO TRASH YOUR CAREER IS GETTING REALLY GOOD REVIEWS!
Another shameless plug for HOW TO TRASH YOUR CAREER. It's getting some excellent reviews on Amazon. Suppose you want an idea of what NOT to do in your acting career. Check it out.
"A fun and insightful book from someone who has been in the front seat of this crazy business for many years. The stories will hit home with many actors. They are creatively written in Chuck's genuinely good-natured voice so you feel like your best friend is reading them to you." Richard Cross
PRACTICE WHAT YOU DON'T DO WELL.
We all usually shy away from what we are afraid of or nervous about or just plain don't do well. So we suggest Honoring your fear, being honest about it, and marching straight at it. Practice what you don't do well. We find that actors who don't face their fears don't easily move forward in their careers.. Most don't see opportunities that are in front of them just for the fear they have deep inside them.
So, it turns out that one of the biggest fears seems to be
Not remembering their lines.
Now, it also turns out that our director's biggest complaint is that actors don't know their lines.. so this might be a warranted fear.
Part of what all artist have to do is identify their fears and face them head-on. Classes are very useful for that. If Shakespeare intimidates you, study that. If comedy makes you nervous, take a class in that.
We just taught a three-week Line Learning Lab for actors who were worried or concerned about memorizing lines. It was a very successful class; they are much more confident and so much less afraid, and we will do it again in January.
We cover about ten different techniques to learn any script quickly. The course runs for 3 Saturdays (In January 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.