Be The Newbie

Be The Newbie

THROUGHOUT YOUR ENTIRE CAREER BE THE “NEWBIE” Be the newbie for your entire career. The beginner has a fresh perspective and to be perfectly honest has far more fun. Dame Judi Dench once said “If I’m not having fun, I’m not rehearsing right.” And I’m sure you will agree with me – the woman knows a little bit about acting!! When we are new to something we have no choice but to approach it with a certain level of innocent curiosity. When we approach any learning from this space there are no limits to how much we can learn. We are like sponges soaking everything up. There is no judgment in that space only focused conscious attention. After all, when we are new to it how can we judge it, we have no reference points? When we begin placing our expectations on the outcomes, when we start saying things like: “I should be further along than this”; “I’m never going to get this”; “Everyone else gets it and I don’t”; or even worse “I’m so much better at this than everyone else”, our progress slows. As soon as you start to make judgment calls about your progress you have stepped out of innocent curiosity and into judgment. Judgment kills creativity. In a state of innocent curiosity you stop getting in your own way. If we get too judgmental of ourselves, of others or of the process we begin to close around the subject and we stop learning, we stop creating. Learning can be thought of as creation at its purest form as we are creating new thought patterns, new understandings...
Learning To Listen

Learning To Listen

What does it mean to truly listen? Have we lost the ability to really listen? In acting it is a necessary skill to listen like your life depends upon it. It becomes a sensorial experience. All of the five senses are engaged as well as that sixth sense that picks up those things that cannot be explained. It’s a very different way of listening, different to how we might listen in our lives today. And perhaps we need to retrain ourselves to listen like we did thousands of years ago when our lives didn’t afford us the comfort we now experience and our survival depended upon on our ability to listen out for danger. It’s an alert listening. A listening that will guarantee you can take whatever action is necessary at any moment to ensure your survival. Most scenes, whether on film or on stage, are set in this moment. The moment where, from the character’s perspective, their life depends upon a particular outcome, and therefore, their ability to listen to and process what is being communicated very precisely. Because we, as the actor, know the outcome of the scene we often don’t play it this way. And, as a resul,t the scene loses its magic. It loses that feeling that, at any moment, anything could happen. Without this feeling we lose our audiences and the scene dies. If acting is reacting then you really need to focus very carefully on what you are reacting to. So how can you improve your listening skills on the stage and screen?  Learn to listen to things like you are hearing them...
Do You Have What It Takes?

Do You Have What It Takes?

After my children were born I found it hard to juggle my acting career, which meant very late nights, and the early-to-rise demands of my children, and so I taught drama in secondary schools. While teaching I thought it really important to come up with a clear, well defined mission statement for the drama department that centered around the values that I wanted to instill in both staff and students and so that our philosophy was clear to everyone. I thought long and hard and finally came up a mission statement that not only summed up my hopes for the drama department but also really defines the industry in general. If you wish to succeed in the industry it is an ideal you must not forget. It is a secret that most of the elite actors know because they have experienced it first hand. The degree to which you fully understand and embrace this ideal will not only determine the level success you will achieve but it will also define the journey through the industry that you will take. So, it pretty important!! Sit with it and contemplate it for some time. Allow yourself the time to explore the possibilities of this truth. So what was the mission statement? Our department signed off all our correspondence with “rewarding enthusiasm with opportunity”. Let’s explore that for a moment. Let’s go back to the moment you started acting. The moment your interest was peaked. The moment your enthusiasm for the craft started. Let’s look at how enthusiastic you were. You wanted to find out more. You were prepared to do anything...
Are You Ready For Success?

Are You Ready For Success?

EVERYONE WANTS TO BE SUCCESSFUL UNTIL THEY SEE WHAT IT TAKES. Are you ready for success? So many aspiring actors want to be famous and successful and they want to that success now. Often they aren’t prepared to put in the hard yards to get there. More often than not they don’t realize that the journey of the actor is much like the journey of a professional athlete. In his book The Art of Learning, Josh Waitzkin suggests that, at this point, most begin to question “if ambitions spells probable disappointment why pursue excellence?” The answer of course is the day-to-day enjoyment of the process. With out this enjoyment of developing the craft can seem like a pointless task. Dr Carol Dweck , a leading research in the field of developmental psychology, discovered that children who associate success with hard work tend to have a “mastery orientated” response to challenging situations, while children who see themselves as just plain smart or dumb at something never “learned helplessness” orientation. Are you mastery orientated or when challenged do you more often than not feel helpless? Waitzkin goes on to explain, in his experience, successful people shoot for the stars, but their hearts on the line in every battle and ultimately discover that the lessons learned from the pursuit of excellence mean much more than the immediate success or glory. Each year at graduation I introduced the graduating class as the bravest people I know. And each year I mean what I say. I know how much they have risked every day in order to get where they are with the craft. I...
Move Towards A Career in 2019

Move Towards A Career in 2019

Did you finish 2018 with your hopes high after auditioning for acting schools across Australia only to begin 2019 confused, frustrated and down hearted because you weren’t successful? Were you excited and looking forward to spending 2019 working towards your dream career and now are feeling hurt and unsure as to how to move forward but determined not to give up on what you know you can achieve? Do you feel a little humiliated after telling people of your plans and then not getting anywhere – even your parents are beginning to lose faith and have begun leading conversations to the subject of “back-up” plans? Have you been asking yourself, “Am I ever going to get started?” Are you feeling confused and wondering why other actors, not as talented as you, are getting through the door and winning opportunities, when you get overlooked? If you answered yes to any of these questions; firstly, you are not alone, and secondly, these questions have been created from my own personal experience going through exactly what you are going through. And I am sure you don’t want to take “no” for an answer in 2019. There are three mistakes people make after getting an industry knock-back: They allow the setback to alter their ideal. They start changing the goal posts. No longer believing they can achieve the dream in their hearts because they feel low after the setback, they convince themselves that they will be happy settling for a smaller, less scary, version, telling themselves its more “realistic” and that they aimed too high previously. They begin to buy into stories that...
Acting is Being Awake

Acting is Being Awake

Awake, being present and mindfulness – they are all the same thing. And without it our art dies. …   Never before has our society been so preoccupied with the past or the future or what we might be missing out on. With the increasing popularity of the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter the anxiety associated with the fear of missing out is on the rise. All of this takes us out of the present moment. With our fast paced living we are becoming less and less present in the moment. “We often cannot hear our own inner voice, the voice of our artist’s inspiration, above the static.” Julian Cameron – The Artist’s Way Without these distractions, we are once again thrust into the sensory world. The present moment is one of the greatest tools for an actor. Actor training has become more about training the mind of the actor to remain present and the discipline associated with being mindful to the moment. If an actor cannot demonstrate this kind of discipline over his/her mind then their art is lost. It is in the moment in which the spontaneity of the scene lives. One of the first lessons my first acting teacher taught me was there are 3 types of actors: The first swims on the surface with mask and snorkel observing the fish below. The second dons scuba gear and bravely swims amongst the fish. But the third type of actor swims down and breathes with the fish. I love this analogy! It describes the mindfulness needed for a magical performance and also hints at the discipline and...