Monday, 21 August 2006

"Acting Up"; Some uplifting moments.

The biggest vibe I got from yesterday about being an actor, and being successful, is that you have to LOVE it, and you have to be rather mad. Sounds good to me. :-)

The acting workshop in the morning was great. The teacher was Alison Ingram who attended the Ensemble years ago and spent a while training/working in New York. She and I chatted a bit while waiting for everyone else. Most participants were a fair bit younger than me, but there were a couple of older ones too, and everyone was serious about making an effort and participating. It started out with a discussion questioning what the essence of acting is - the answer; listening. Excellent. I have heard that before, of course, along the way, but yesterday it finally struck me how important that is. I realised I've spent way too much of my acting energy focussing on myself and my own character and not doing nearly enough listening.
Anyway, then we did a couple of simple conflict exercises. I volunteered first (of course!) with another girl and we did the "yes, no" thing (one person only says yes and one person only says no). I was yes. It became quite compelling and desperate as I tried to think of new tacks to take to convince the "no" girl of my "yes". Afterwards the others commented htat they coudl see we both tried lots of different approaches but that we could've done more. Alison agreed and added that she saw a very real, energetic connection between us and that we were both really involved. Yay. :)
Others volunterered for a few more similar exercises. An interesting one was where the two people's phrases were "I"m hungry" and "go away". The two who did that one came up wiht really interesting ways of dealing with each other and we could really see moments where the "I'm hungry" boy almost convinced the "go away" lady. It was really involving.
Then we broke into differnt pairs and were instructed to think of one objective that one person wants, adn the only parameter for the impro was that that person had to try to achieve that objective, adn the other person had to resist. I was with a lovely boy named Will (I had to restrain myself from saying "short for William I presume? Good strong name. After your father hey?") and we decided that I wanted him to give me a ride to the airport. We did really well, I thought, I truly had an interesting time trying to convince him. When the teacher asked how it felt I couldn't really answer, I just said "good I guess, I felt normal..." and she thought that was a great answer because "if you can't describe what it was like that means you were really in there, really just trying to get your objective". Yay for good feedback.
It was a great way to start the day, with a bit of uplifting to help my confidence. :-)

So, feeling great, I then went for the screen test. A great Ensemble man named Dave had a lovely little chat and showed me in, along with two young boys, to meet the director Mark (I wish I'd gotten everyone surnames!). Mark was lovely too and once he realised I was rather more in-the-know than the two young fellas he took some time to have a small chat and made me really comfortable. The boys got a section of script from Shrek and I got Holly from The Wedding Singer. I went first and my first read felt a bit dodgy. Mark commented that I needed to focus more on listening to the other actor (who was reading off-camera for me), and to take more time to respond to her. The 2nd time through I did a much better job and Mark said I'd done really well, and that I looked great on the screen. Nice. :-) When I was done Mark walked me to the door and asked a bit about me, and we had a short chat about actors who start their careers after they've had kids. It was great talking to him and I'm kicking myself now that I didn't think to give him my card (I completely forgot I had them!).

Okay, I think I've said "lovely chat" a few too many times now. But they were!

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