first, Hollywood seems like this big elusive place. You’re just a
little tiny microscopic fish in a huge ass pond. Until you stick it out
for a bit.
I’ve been noticing what a small world it truly is. Just like any
profession, you’re in it long enough and some familiar names and faces
will keep popping up. I’m not even a seasoned professional or anything,
by any means, and yet consistently going to acting classes, taking
workshops, producing theater, seeing plays, attending networking events,
I’m starting to bump into people I know or find out I’m connected to
people I didn’t know. And as we all know, LA is not a small town.
It’s actually quite comforting. And motivating. Here I am, still
“green” as far as Hollywood is concerned, and yet I’m already getting called in for an indie feature
via a director I know through a past scene partner and seeing multiple
familiar faces at auditions and finding out certain actor friends are
connected to other actor friends completely unrelated to me. Attending
that screening for Four Faced Liar is a prime example.
It’s so great watching these connections and networks grow and to start feeling like Hollywood, believe it or not, is a real community.
I think there’s more to an actor’s training than just acting classes. During my short stint at Tisch,
our three days a week in the Studio consisted of classes like Movement,
Voice and Speech in addition to Performance Technique and Script
Analysis. Today I took a lyrical jazz class and it made me think about
how important other classes and practices are to being a successfully,
well-rounded actor. Not just in building other skills that could be good
selling points to an agency or casting director or producer, but in
building your self-esteem, your character, your body.
During the warm up portion of this unconventional dance class, we
gathered in a circle and micked the person in the center who would do
some wacky dance move then pass the baton to someone else. I turned to
my friend and said, “This reminds me of theater class!” It was so fun
watching the diverse group of women (and one fearless man) let go of
inhibitions and not care or worry about the moves they were making.
Then, the second half of the class we learned and performed a few
measures of choreography. At first I was in my head about counts and was
it my left foot first or my right foot… but after a few times, and the
teacher saying “just feel the music” I learned to let go. The teacher
dimmed the lights, turned up the volume and let us all move to the music
with the way we interpreted her choreography and it felt great.
This may sound really cheesy and maybe you don’t agree, but freeing my body and really feeling the
music opened me up emotionally. Physically engaging every fiber in my
body unleashed the non-physical parts that make up who I am. It reminded
me of a particularly challenging moment of a scene in a scene study
class I took at ACT
in San Francisco. The teacher pointed out to me that I kept holding on
to my breath at this one part. I didn’t notice, as often we don’t notice
the various habits and crutches we develop as an actor (some are great
unique traits to embrace, and others are inhibiting and worth checking
out). I then took a deep breath, shook it off and started over. As I
worked my way through the scene ,so much more began bubbling inside of
me. Literally. I could feel it, like you feel your tummy rumble when
you’re hungry. That performance was so much more grounded than my
previous rehearsals all due to breathing!
I’ve also taken dance classes, like jazz, hip hop, belly dance, and
even yoga classes, which have all (whether they were more focused on
professionalism and technique or just having fun and using your body)
been beneficial to my acting in some way.
Dance & Yoga Resources in LA:
The EDGE Performing Arts Center
Millenium Dance Center
Yesterday felt very productive.
I spent the afternoon with a brainstorming creative writing session
with my friend and fellow actor. We whipped out three rough drafts of
scripts in about two hours and, might I add, they’re pretty funny. It
felt good following through on a commitment we had made to each other-
to make a webseries in order to obtain our SAG eligibility. (If all goes
as planned, I’ll share exactly how we did it!)
First thing’s first, which was coming up with the ideas. So, last
week we met for lunch to come up with a sort of game plan. Then we set a
date to actually sit down and write. After a couple cancellations, we
finally met yesterday, keeping the ball rolling and not letting our
project lose steam. I can’t tell you how many ideas I’ve had with
friends, fellow aspiring directors/producers/actors, which disappeared
as quickly as they arrived. But, that’s okay… because one day one of
those millions of moments of inspiration will actually materialize. The
trick is, to never stop having these ideas, to never stop creating even
if your last 998 ideas withered away to die…. it’s that 999th one that
just may be the hit!
Then later on that day, I spent the evening at a webseries
launch/networking/charity event in West Hollywood watching the smart,
witty, entertaining, feminist, funny work of my peers. This made me feel
good. This day made me feel good. I felt motivated. It’s like the
feeling I get after going to a really awesome art opening– all I want to
do is go home and paint! It’s like I get this burst of creative energy
and I just have to make something. But if I never go to an art
opening or a museum or a gallery then that creative fire dims and I
could go months or, dare I say it, years without making a single work of art,
another great passion of mine. This is exactly why it is so important
to go to screenings, film festivals, workshops, networking events… to keep that fire burning bright! This is your dream after all, let’s make it come true!
Another blog about a blog I blog… This one was started by a fellow actor/producer/rock star NOTEr
and it’s all about diversity in the LA theater world. It’s still young,
but growing. I think it deals with important issues not only in the
theater community, but in the acting community at large. I talk about
some of these things in my first post on this brand spanking new blog.
Here’s a sample:
“I am a half Japanese, quarter Irish, quarter Hungarian Jewish female actor born and raised in Los Angeles, CA.
But to most people I look Mexican. (And to confuse things even
further, my born and bred Japanese mother currently resides in Mexico…
but that’s a whole other story.) After that, the ethnicities I usually
get are Filipino and Native American. I can speak speak Spanish and
Japanese conversationally, but I’m American and my native language is
English. So, in the world of casting, where does that leave me?…”
You can read the full post on Diversity at Note.