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...
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...
The Cost of Investing in Your Dreams

The Cost of Investing in Your Dreams

A New Study Exposes ‘Class Ceiling’ That Deters Less Privileged Actors – see link below. Dreams do take a certain amount of investment. But is it our financial situation that really stops us or is it that we are afraid to invest in ourselves? How often do we use our financial situation as an excuse not to invest the goal? Can we see the value in investing in our goals (and therefore ourselves) and stop at nothing to move towards the goal? After all if we are not ready to invest in ourselves why should anyone else – why should a director, or producer, or production company for that matter. When it comes to investing in ourselves it should never be a matter of invest or do not invest. We should approach our goals with a “do-whatever-it-takes” attitude and look for that third option and ask instead “how can I make this happen?” Often all it takes is the decision to invest for the money to magically appear. Stand behind your talent and do whatever it takes. Click on the link below to find out more:...
Mastering Auditions

Mastering Auditions

Understand the value you bring before you start Often when new actors walk into an audition they believe they are there to please the panel. To show them that they are exactly what the panel wants them to be. Whatever that is! They believe they need to show how easy they are to get along with, what a great sense of humor they have and what an all round nice guy/gal they are. Afraid that the casting panel may not like certain attributes about their personality, the new auditionee “waters down” who they are and in fact almost completely loses their personality altogether. Remember it is your personality just as much as mastery of the craft that will get you the job. Your personality IS the draw card. Hiding your personality from the casting panel leaves the panel unsure as to what you will bring to the production. And besides, how can you be what you think they may want when you do not know what that is. Sometimes they aren’t really clear on that either. You are not a mind reader. Stand in your own power and confidently make them aware of who you are. They will thank you for it. It makes their job so much easier. So how can you ensure you bring YOU to the audition? a) Before the audition, sit down and list all the ways that you are right for this job. Identify attributes in your personality that you think the production team would benefit from by having you on board. This may mean some research into the production team and their mission...