This is my third month in LA and I am definitely still loving the town. It’s vibrant and exciting and constantly abuzz with hope and opportunity. I love it!!! But I am definitely a little homesick, we are so blessed to be able to call Australia our Island home. I miss the beaches, our incredible people, a real beer garden and a proper Pad Thai! I’ve been getting by on the amazing Mexican food, numerous hikes and the folks out here aren’t too bad either read more
Tension is the enemy of the actor! The tight jaw, rock hard neck and shoulders, restricted breath, locked knees. Ugh! It makes me feel awful just thinking about it. We are all prone to it though, consciously or subconsciously, and it can seriously diminish our work, slowing us down, restricting our impulses and just feeling plain awful! As actors we must have the body as free as possible, we are a conduit and the thunderous roar of our creativity and art has to be able to flow freely and wholeheartedly.
So this month, I have been in LA. Its been a blast, I love this town. I feel like the air is full of hope and opportunity (if you’re willing to work for it!) I adore the fact that I can walk ten minutes to Runyon Canyon and go for an early morning hike or in spin class I’m seated behind a well-known actor who’s gasping as much as I am.
Every corner seems to have had a role in something. I even love the shrill of the constant sirens. The buzz is electric and intoxicating. On the flip side, it is a big town and it can be terribly lonely, I am so blessed to have some wonderful friends here but there have still been moments where I find myself asking ‘WTF am I doing here?’
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.
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!
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.
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.
Hello! Hope you are all feeling motivated and back on track after a healthy, happy January!
The Suzuki Method of Actor Training is known for its rigorous physical performance style and intense, imaginatively rich works.
Shy founded the company, comprised of nine actors to investigate highly rigorous and disciplined ensemble performance-making.
ALY: What drew you to the Suzuki Method of Actor Training (SMAT)?
SHY MAGSALIN: I was initially drawn to the rigour and the discipline. The extreme energy and physical exertion gave me a completely chaotic experience in a very strict format. I was highly strung and very temperamental when I younger, so the training was initially a good container for all those fiery, erratic emotions. More interestingly, what’s kept me doing it for 10 years is the training’s intricate, imaginative work that I’ve been able to apply to all different types performances over the years. That’s the stuff I’m always keen to explore.
This is my favourite time of the year. Some people live for December—they love the carols in the shops, the Christmas lights, the parties, and the buzzy lead up to the holidays. Me, I adore January! The renewed zest with which we examine our health, dreams, and relationships excites and drives me. It’s like being given that new notebook that is pristinely blank and waiting for you to create whatever you desire on its pages!! (Am I the only one to get excited about a visit to Officeworks?!)
Self-evaluation and goal setting should not be confined only to the start of the year, but it feels great start a new cycle off with fresh intentions, goals, and loads of hope and determination. I take an hour and write down everything I’d like for my year to hold, where I’d like to be, and what I’d like to release, etc. I encourage you to do the same!
On the other side of things, I definitely enjoyed myself over the holiday season and will be looking at getting my body back to tip top shape for the upcoming year as quickly as possible. It is imperative as actors to be ready to go always.
Check out my tips and the Bust your Butt workout vlog below.
This month the worst thing happened to me: I lost my voice. On set. This has never happened to me. I am diligent about health and have a killer immune system – if I do say so myself. The last eight weeks have been a very busy time and my tenacity weakened. My health became a second priority as I rushed from A to B and sleep was put aside in order to find more hours in a day. I also travelled from summer to winter for five days and my body just shut down. I wasn’t gonna stop, so it stopped for me! My voice, unfortunately, was the main casualty.
Luckily, I had the wonderful Prudence Holloway on set with me. Singer, actor, and voice teacher, Pru helped me manage my vocal performance with little strain and maximum result. I thought I would know what to do in a situation like this, but my sick, spluttery, foggy brain was so clouded I couldn’t think of anything.
It got me thinking – imagine if I didn’t have Pru on set with me! I’m sure I would have pulled it together somehow, but wouldn’t a go-to list of what to do when such a disaster strikes be awesome to have on hand?
So that is what I am giving you this month!