5 Questions: How Does the Climate of our Times Influence Your Work?

humanity

“No matter what anybody tells you, thoughts and ideas can change the world”

– Robin Williams in Dead Poet Society

The world today is a precarious place with humanity at the immediacy of the media. The endless variety of news platforms submerges us in every glorified facet of existence; ignorance is no longer bliss when the ability to access information is expedited straight to our fingertips. With every click of a Facebook post and Twitter mention we are catapulted into the global perils of society.

Remember the film Clueless? Cher Horowitz depicted a modern day version of Jane Austin’s Emma in the coming of age comedy about a teenage girl and her friends growing up in the lap of luxury in Beverly Hills. Together the teenagers tackled high school, freeways, siblings, fashion and relationships in a much simpler world. Clearly, not everyone is as fortunate as the 16 year old Cher to grow up in a mansion with columns that “date all the way back to 1972” yet, the cult classic undeniably reflected the purity of a time when anxiety and terror were at an all-time low, with the latter barely even a flicker in our sheltered lives. Aside from Clueless being a favourite movie of my youth with its epic one-liners becoming a fixture in my adolescent (sometimes even adult) vocabulary, it also represented a happier time, a time when people seemed to be nicer – and not just sporadically either. One may say the film marked the end of the age of innocence when we had a “way normal life,” our only direction was “to the mall” and before the world became a “full on Monet” aka “just a big old mess.”

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#BreatheMoveReact: No Filter Needed

“This month, make a conscious effort to not apologise for yourself, in life or in the room.”

This month I’ve been thinking a lot about how I view myself and how that in turn affects my career and my performances. I’ve spoke about it before, but I’ll say it again, our minds are so powerful. What we think, we create. Belief and imagination manifest reality. The age of social media and filters has made reality, and the truth, malleable. We place extravagant standards on ourselves as a result of watching someone’s highlight reel and comparing it to our own. Who is honest anymore? It feels like everyone is buying social media followers, filtering their photos and giving that ‘perfect’ audition. It is exhausting trying to keep up.

I injured myself this month and have had to take it easy. Being injured really sucks; I hate not being able to give 100% but that’s what my body needs and I listen to it. I’m almost back to normal now, thank goodness, and I learned that when we get injured we need to listen to our body and let it heal. If we push against that pain and refuse to recognise it, then it’s going to start screaming at us and most likely, we will do more damage.

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L.A. Survival Guide: How to Nail Your Audition

audition

Have you ever been to an audition, walked out and asked yourself the following questions?

  • What the actual hell am I doing with my life?
  • Who even am I?
  • Was that a practical joke?
  • Am I the world’s worst actor?
  • Would setting myself on fire in front of the casting director have been less painful than that casting?

If the answer is yes, then cool – SAME!
If the answer is no then congratulations, you’re a unicorn.

After reading that, it may come as no surprise to you that I have been to some pretty embarrassing auditions. I have been auditioning for professional work for many years and it’s only been the past 12 months I have come to better understand the beast that is auditioning.

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Theatre Angel: Aussies take LA! 5 Top Tips for Success with Damian Sommerlad

“There’s something to be said for seeing someone go from working double shifts in hospitality 6 days a week to getting flown first class across the world to do something they love.”

Aussies in LA. For a relatively sparsely numbered, fairly chilled out bunch so far south that the next stop straight down is the South Pole, we certainly hold our own in the Megatropolis of Dreams.

What is the secret to this much touted Australian success in Hollywood? Is it training? Optimism? Opportunity? Work ethic? Is it positive subliminal conditioning from growing up in a society prizing, at least philosophically, ‘a fair go’?  As our second year acting teacher, the indomitable Australian actor and director Mark Constable would cheerfully announce after we gave a particularly horrific performance: “well, you gave it a crack!”  Without delving into a complex socio-cultural analysis, it is probably fair to say that Australian actors aren’t afraid to take risks. And it is certainly paying unmistakeable dividends.

Now there’s a new kid on the LA block and his name is Damian Sommerlad. Fresh outta Syd-city having filmed Australian feature Life of the Party starring Holly Brisely, Damian has worked in London, Australia and now is hitting LA with a vengeance — and he has some great ‘top tips’ for success.

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Outdoor Summer Screenings in the UK

Summer is here (finally) and it really is time for us all venture out, leaving the comforts of our living rooms and to share with old and new friends alike what has now become a regular staple in the film events calendar – the outdoor summer screening!

With so many different venues and options to choose from these days, we round up a collection of our favourites across the UK.

Image copyright – Somerset House

Somerset House, London
Perhaps the most well known summer screening series, and the longest running, is Film 4 Summer Screen at Somerset House. This year boasts UK premiers of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power on opening night and this years Palme d’Or winner The Square as well as a whole host of other crowd pleasing classics likes Jaws and Donnie Darko. Full screening dates and timesread more

Commercial Actors Should Never Give Up on Commercials Without Realizing It

I’ll be honest, I don’t remember the context of the conversation, but I very clearly remember having it. I was talking with an actor who has been at it for quite some time. He isn’t famous but has been hired plenty of (MANY) times over the years—you know, where lots of actors find themselves, somewhere in that grey, middle area of the success arena. He told me, “When I go to a theatrical audition, I know I can book it. When I go to a commercial audition, I never think I will.”

Ugh.

Commercial actors should never give up on commercials without realizing it.

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Act Smart: What You Can learn From a Day Job

For the past 3+ months, I’ve been enjoying my first time back among the ranks of the fully-employed in 25 years. And I’m not kidding when I say “enjoy”—far from finding the 9-to-5 (or in my case, 8-to-4) burdensome, I’ve found it quite freeing, and in ways I wasn’t really expecting.

Since many, if not most, actors need some kind of day job to survive, I thought it might be worth enumerating what I’m learning from my new gig, how it’s shaping the rest of my life (including my creative outlook—and output!), and other reasons why that thing you may be regarding as a set of shackles could be the very thing that frees you.

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Seminar Recap: Top 5 Tips From Casting Director Michael Sanford

Our May seminar speaker was the fantastic Michael Sanford. Michael and his wonderful team have worked with many top commercial, television, and film directors, as well as production companies and advertising agencies. Several of these clients have been nominated or have won the Oscar, Emmy, DGA, and various other awards while collaborating with Sanford Casting. In 2006, Michael broadened the company’s vision to include casting projects in the Spanish Language market. In 2010, he launched a feature-length and short film division whose recent credits include A Pebble of Love, A Reason, California Solo, The Artist, I Melt with You, Mosquita y Mari, The Sleepy Man, and Dustland. He shared the 2012 CSA Artios Award with his mentor and fellow casting director Heidi Levitt for their collaboration on The Artist. Additionally, Michael received the 2013 Seymour Heller Award for Commercial Casting Director of the year, which is given by the Talent Managers Association. He is also currently serving on the Diversity Committee with the Casting Society of America.

Here are just a few tips that came out of the seminar.


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Help! I lost my voice!

lost voice

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a doctor, so please follow all medical advice first and foremost to get well.

I was woken up by the cries of a newborn baby in my building this morning and I was reminded of those first critical seconds after a baby is born. The silence… waiting…. and then the first breath and then… relief… wahhhh wahhhhh wahhhhh… and then I was reminded of something that I often refer to which is that a baby can wake a whole building with effortless sound. So why is it that we learn such poor vocal habits when we are born with a perfect instrument?read more