“Successes are a bonus, but life is made of the process of following your passion.”
“…two weeks later, I was on a plane flying to Mauritius to shoot the first episode.”
October last year, I was sitting on my couch on a rainy Sunday night, throwing myself a pity party. The party involved me sitting in sweats, eating Postmates, and watching murder mysteries. I hadn’t left the house for the entire day. I was ignoring text messages and just generally feeling really sorry for myself. I had been to countless auditions that month and hadn’t booked a single job. I felt lost. To top it all off, and I had acute bronchitis. I mean oh my god, how long do you have?
Talayna Moana Nikora
Continuing on from last month’s superhero focused edition, this month I talk to Talayna Moana Nikora—actor, stunt person, and, in my opinion, all round superwoman! Any actor that says they haven’t dreamed of doing an action flick and smashing their own stunts is lying. The adrenalin rush you get from watching those films is insane—can you imagine being the one performing them? I know that growing up, and even now, one of my most coveted roles is a Bond bad girl! Give me the fight sequences, the death defying stunts, and, in the long run, the usually explosive death scene . . . argh!
The Australian talent pool is a world-class arena, fuelled by a unique authenticity and a rigorous work ethic our actors continuously set remarkable industry standards. The recipe for success for these driven Aussies exceeds artistic brilliance, with intelligence and courage factoring into their triumphant international careers.
Born in Belgrade, Bojana Novakovic is a Serbian-Australian actress who personifies this method. With a sharp mind, contagious enthusiasm, and unquestionable talent, Bojana excels in all that she does. At seven years old she moved to Sydney where the gifted student attended The MacDonald College, graduating at the top of her class. Three years later she received a Bachelors Degree in Dramatic Art from NIDA.
Image courtesy of LACE
“For me, the role of the artist is to be a rebel.”
This month, it’s over to Los Angeles for an empowering workshop with Brian Estwick. If you’re at all artistically “stuck,” feeling overwhelmed by the current political climate, or finding that despite your best efforts, success continues to evade you, then read on.
With an M.A. in Art History, Brian offers empowering strategies to help artists and actors live according to the “First Principles of their Life and Work” to become a “vibrational colossi of energy and truth.”
Together with his LA based theatre collective, The DIAMOND Theatre Project, upcoming film Desert Eyes, cable series Midvale, and a two-woman play Pressure Cooker, as well as commercial acting work, Brian works across a rich variety of artistic mediums.
Copyright DC Comics
So this year seems to be all about the superhero when it comes to cinema. Logan was just released, Wonder Woman and Thor: Ragnarok are coming later in the year, Justice League and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 are on the way as well, not to mention Scarlett Johansen in Ghost in the Shell (that costume . . . WHOA!). We are seeing some incredibly strong and fit bodies on screen.
This month I spoke to Cam Neeld, Fitness Team Trainer at Virgin Active Australia, about how to get on the road to that outta this world physique.
ALI: What’s the best place for an actor to start to create superhero strength and tone?
Cam Neeld: To achieve the muscular superhero Thor physique, Chris Hemsworth’s former Navy Seal trainer adopted an “Old School Bodybuilder” approach with careful attention to arms & shoulders.
Hello, you arrangement of atoms, you.
“The challenge that most actors face is learning to live their life without a sense of certainty.”
A few years ago, I was the maid of honour at a friends wedding. At the wedding reception, as part of the bridal party, I was introduced to the wedding guests—a huge room filled with close to 200 people. Afterwards, I went and sat down and a friend came over to speak to me. She told me she was surprised after watching me be introduced to the room that I seemed shy and somewhat uncomfortable with the attention. I told her that I often felt shy and found such a huge room filled with people looking at me intimidating. She responded, “But you’re an actor. Isn’t that the point?”
Well, yes and no. And I guess yes.
That conversation struck me for many reasons, most strongly because it was assumed that because I am an actor I am always confident, always looking to speak publicly, that I love attention, and I don’t get nervous.
Here’s the thing about that: none of it is true.
Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order. – Samuel Beckett
Unless you’ve been on another planet, you know La La Land, the award winning film musical that brings singing and dancing back to the screen. Since the vibrant and grand MGM musicals, this powerful form of expression has long been a part of the movies and it is truly wonderful to see this style of film on the main stage being celebrated once again. I grew up watching the golden oldies like Singin’ In The Rain, South Pacific, and anything Rodgers & Hammerstein, so it’s super exciting to see the modern take on the genre.
After a tape was put in front of US agents, Australian actor Ben O’Toole began making trips to Los Angeles. A 2011 WAAPA graduate and an already working film, television, and theatre actor in Australia, Ben felt unsure about the decision to make the move. However, in Feb 2016, after shooting Hacksaw Ridge, and with a big push from his US agents, he finally did it. He gave himself five weeks to get seen and go to auditions. A year later Ben has three US feature films under his belt., including Everybody Loves Somebody, a romantic comedy with Ben starring alongside Karla Souza, currently showing in US cinemas.
In my latest addition to the L.A Survival Guide, Ben discusses nerves, last minute auditions, finding inspiration in LA, and why it should always be about the work.
Aaron Glenane as Michael Gudinski in Molly
“Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due.”
– Winston Churchill.
It was 1938 when Winston Churchill spoke these sentiments; the world was approaching a war that Britain would engage in for national survival. Yet, even on the brink of a shattering historic episode, one of the most powerful men in the world recognised the importance of the arts in defining it’s time and empowering it’s people.
Storytelling is fundamental to the preservation of civilisation; it reinforces a nation’s cultural and social interest, cultivating historical events which otherwise would dissolve with time. With each brush stroke and penned word, citizenries are enlightened to the melody of the times and the narrative of the creative visionary is ignited.
The Ripper Street Cast onset. Image: BBC America
“It’s not just about the actors, the directors or your own team. Everyone is making this show happen and good working relationships are so important.”
Theatre, film, and TV bring imaginative worlds to life, transporting us through the magic of so many unseen creative hearts and minds. We so often celebrate actors, the ‘front-men/women’ of a production’s colossal galleon that is, in fact, sailed, steered, and charted by so many other (often unsung) talented artists: craftspeople and specialists. The very visual artistic screen and stage mediums owe much to their intricately styled and detailed costuming (evident in the jarring response we so often have to seeing, say, a watch on a Roman solider’s arm, instantly pulling us out of the world’s verisimilitude).
If you are one of these talented people who work so tirelessly behind the scenes to enrich our senses (and make actors’ lives so much easier), then we salute you! Or if, perhaps, you are an actor (or other creative) fascinated by the beautiful, tumbling world of silks, tapestries, scratchy old hessian sacks, gold, beading, and embroidery, then Casting Networks Australia is delighted to bring you these 5 Top Tips for Working in Costume with the gorgeous and talented Fern McCauley, actress and purveyor of costumes to the stars, who has worked on some of the UK’s best screen and stage projects.