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7 Notes from some Actor: Note Five

Aug 17th, 2010

Hamlet: "To be or not to be… that is the question." Well, Hammy my boy, here we are! Living in LA now for nearly 2 years and this will be my first entry to finalize the concepts I was perusing through in 7 Notes when I first started this blog back in December of 2008 and since then, plenty of amazing experiences have befallen me as well as many I fell right into.

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7 Notes from some Actor: Note Four

Aug 10th, 2009

Alright! Back to basics! The basis of our physical life as humans, it seems, is to grow through experience or to just simply die without sensorial pleasures and conversely, discomforts, whether plainly in the mind or purely in the body. All events in one's life are present in the moment to be experienced and it is up to the perceiver to create, learn, and grow from these experiences. We exist as sponges to any and all conscious or unconscious experience through all of our senses; these are things that cannot be denied simply because all the tools we have to detect reality are channeled through our vehicle in this outer world filtered through the mind. We believe things to exist, therefore we experience them as closely as possible, or not. The philosophical flipside to that coin is that we experience things firstly, and then determine their reality. Either way, we must experience something, no?

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7 Notes from some Actor: Note Three

Jul 22nd, 2009

I made it! We’ve all heard that typically American colloquialism. I know what that saying may mean to actors out there or to those of you hoping to be successful in this nearly impossible career to sustain when not “working”, but maybe you haven’t taken the first few scary steps yet. I’ll try and deflate whatever fears you may have about the outer world of the craft which is all business and not entirely “just” your business. The only business one as an actor should consider is the world we create for our portrayals. When I refer to the outer world, I mean the world the character will live in during our portrayal. Whether in a theatre or in front of the camera, you and your character must become one being, in order to know the outer world of the character, the one that has nothing to do with the business you’re attempting to break into. Let’s say you haven’t even thought about auditioning or let alone gotten your head shots done and printed… what to do as an actor? Study, read, learn, research the history and find the clues that will lead you to the source of it all, the craft of the craft. Look for the masters of acting, directing, and theatre and find their works: Shakespeare, Stanislavsky, Uta Hagen, Strasberg, Meisner, Meyerhold, Grotowski, even the Knight Sir Lawrence Olivier has such books of uncanny first-hand relations of stories in the world of acting. The history of theatre and acting is abound in all its glory, from the contemporary Western world of theatre and film to the dramatic leaps and bounds of the ancient Greeks, it is all still out there. From the many histories we get the many teachers, those who pushed the envelope with new content, new directions, and new destinations for the art.

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7 Notes from some Actor: Note Two

Jun 23rd, 2009

I am now in LA, my future here much like the economy, is uncertain. But it is Los Angeles, the Mecca for actors on the lam from their respective hometowns forced to work hard to not defer their dreams. But as fate shall have its way, that’s the way it is and I’m not suffering for it. The full knowledge I had of this before I moved out here was the only proverbial brass pair I had to tug on in hopes that it would keep me confident. When I mean that I knew actors out in LA work hard, I mean I know actors who left Tinsel Town penniless and defeated, running back home with their tales so far up their asses they spit fur as they panted gaining speed towards mommy. But the working hard comes from a different place, a place that comes way before we are ever even ready to go meet with agents to one day hopefully book castings. Working hard means something different to everyone but I will attempt to clear the air as to what actually works for me as an actor.

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7 Notes from some Actor: Note One

Jun 5th, 2009

I suppose an elaboration on the topics of the last few blog entries I've written for the precious few readers I have out there is long overdue and in order. So here it is… Firstly, this blog is aptly titled as such because being a long-winded story-telling human who happens to be an actor, I naturally ramble on just enough of things I've studied, learned, and/or have experienced personally.

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F.Y. Uninformed Actor

Feb 26th, 2009

Alright, so you're a decently trained and young inexperienced actor and you finally got headshots you can live with. Then you got some more done. Now you got an entire book filled with a face only a mother could love and you even went so far as to land a reputable SAG licensed agent who also has the same taste as your mother. You are ready to be sold on the open market, but your agent hasn't had the time to give you the entire run-down. Well here it is. Most people in the biz will tell you never to listen to other actors... this is true, but there are some things that are a part of the starter set you should know. Before you start going out on the castings you've been so fortunate enough to be called on (thanks to those wonderful pictures), there are some necessary things you must have in your bag and in your car (or whatever transport you got) at ALL times. In your bag, you should have:

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Oh, you're an actor? Yeah, we don't hire actors

Feb 24th, 2009

If you're an actor, I think it's in your best interest to know this, especially if you're about to leave your hometown to take a shot at the big time. Let's say you live in Michigan... never mind, let's just say you live anywhere else in the country, anywhere but New York and Los Angeles, and you're an actor who's going out into the city or the ‘burbs, or what-have-you, and you're looking for any type of work. You know, the everyday type of job: waiter, bartender, gas station attendant, Don of the Mob, etc. When you mention that you're an actor, it usually illicits the most surprised of responses, like "Wow, we have a star in the making here," or it may even garner the old "let me tell you my story" kind of dialogue with whoever's doing the hiring... and that's nice. Yeah, it's nice and everything that you have the same chances as anyone else of getting that position, and you may very well get hired... God bless America, right? But were you to mention that in NY or L.A., all you'll be getting out of that interaction is a "thank you but we're not hiring right now" as they flip the Now Hiring sign over.

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Shoot Me in the Head... & Hope It Sells Me

Jan 9th, 2009

So you want to be an actor? You heard of the term "shoot", right? Photographers, Directors, Cinematographers, Cowboys – they all use this term. Now, to get the term right, when it comes to acting it means you need to know that without having your head shot in the right way you are D-E-A-D in this town (or any other town, for that matter). I mean, shot like it matters, the actor's attitude matters, their hair and make-up matters, the clothes matter, the colors matter, why even the manner in which you get it to the right agent or manager or casting director MATTERS. Alright, so I had a small head-start, I've had headshots done by four other photographers before and only two out of a million shots were chosen to be what my then agents in Miami thought could actually sell me. After showing my manager out here in LA the headshots that had gotten me decent work over the years on the east coast, he laughed, burped, farted, and then asked me to burn them. Which after much suffering... I did. Suffering from the gaseous response, I mean.

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The Quest for the Holy Representation

Jan 7th, 2009

In the beginning there was the word, and the word was made flesh. In the middle there was this person named an agent and/or a manager... and they told you what the word was and how it was being used or who was using them, and how you should use these words... and then in the end, the Hollywood Films Casting machine was made whole. So I arrived in Los Angeles with an awesome, almost too-good-to-be-true sounding but entirely legitimate program called The Pinnacle Actor's Group, headed by a wise old man by the name of Lawrence Folgo, who brought 45 years of experience and connections to the program. The program is great in that it offers the determined actor to arrive in Tinsel town with all the opportunities to hit the ground running. It lasted an entire month, and in that month we rehearsed previously found scenes, found new ones, and trained and perfected our craft for the potential agents, managers, and casting directors who came to see our three showcases.

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The Long Look Back & The Quick Turn Forward

Jan 2nd, 2009

After many years spent in my bed dreaming as a child, the only walk in life that could suffer me was the entertainment business. I studied, worked, ate, drank, and slept theatre, photography, art, and film all the live long day while growing up and now that I'm in it... I'm not content... I'm not fully satisfied with my work up until now, which reminds me of a famous quote I was given once by a dear professor of mine in college. It comes from a letter written by Martha Graham to Agnes De Mille:

"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all Time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine: how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open ... no artist is pleased...there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

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