Imagination

The other night I was watching an episode the new sit-com, Guy’s with Kids.  In this particular episode one of the characters is presented with an anniversary gift of a 60 inch flat screen TV.  As it is being uncrated he calls his children in to see his gift.  The two boys run in and joyfully exclaim, “Wow, a cardboard box.”  The next we see the very large cardboard box it has been converted into a space ship. Continue reading

Follow Your Bliss

Bliss was a short film made long ago by the filmmakers brining you Stages. It really has nothing to do with the article...except that following Bliss led us to doing lots more amazing work...

Bliss (noun): Complete happiness.  I like the sound of that – COMPLETE HAPPINESS!

What gives me complete happiness is teaching.  I can’t go a day without teaching.  If I am not teaching I fill the void by writing.  Teaching is truly my passion.  It’s my bliss.

What is your bliss?  What gives you complete happiness?  What is that something that when you are doing it your world seems complete?  Whatever it is, do it.  Don’t deny yourself your happiness.

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Letting Go of Fear

Sometimes, even David Stott gets scared...he is producing his first feature film, with support from many of us at StageSuccess. You can support him by liking it! (Click pic above!)

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

That is probably the most famous quote of the twentieth century.  It was proclaimed by president Franklin Roosevelt at the beginning of World War II.  Never were truer words spoken.

Fear has been described as an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real.  Translated, fear is the result of the unknown or perceived.  Giving into fear creates a roadblock to any and all goals.

Fear surfaces our insecurities: What if I?m not good enough?  What if I fail?  What if there are others better than I am?  What if I don?t have talent?  What if…?

Let?s eliminate from this exploration of fear the words “What if.”

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The True Seed of Character Development

Casting is the process by which characters are born.  By choosing an actor suddenly the character is given eyes, hands, and a heart: the whole palette of humanity.  Directors are looking for the performer who brings her character to life, so that she is no longer an idea or words on a page but rather living, breathing, walking and speaking right before their very eyes. Continue reading

It’s Off to Work We Go

By Adam Hill

Recently I had the guilty pleasure of viewing, for the first time in many years, Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  What a delightful experience.

I especially got a kick out of the seven little men and their joy of life.  In particular was their daily march off to work.  They sang as they strutted through the forest “Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it’s off to work we go!”  Arriving at the mine wasn’t the end of their enjoyment only the beginning.  While there they “whistled while they worked.”

Acting is work.  It is a job.  It is true that acting is an art, but who ever said that art wasn’t work?

For those of you interested in a career in acting, it is important to remember this.  Acting Continue reading

Objectives, Objectives, Objectives

It’s all about objectives. The first thing we learn in Acting 101 is that the most vital acting tool is the objective. Without an objective there is no theatre. There is no play, movie, or television show. The objective makes theatre possible.

So what exactly is an objective? An objective is what the character wants. Each character has a series of wants that connects to more important wants, that connects to the most important want. That most-important over-arching want is called a super-objective. Continue reading

Hitting the Brick Wall

I remember all too well the moment in my career when I seemed to have slammed into a professional brick wall.  It was more than uncomfortable, it was debilitating.

What I also remember was my survival instinct took over.  I loved my craft and refused to sacrifice myself on the altar of failure.  What did I do?

First I gave myself a week to indulge in all my negative feelings.  I wallowed in self pity.  I enjoyed this self indulgence primarily because I knew that at the end of the allotted week I would be denying all this feelings.

The beginning of the second week I asked myself the following questions:

What about my career was working?

What about my career wasn’t working?

What is it I need to do to make it work?

I then asked myself the most difficult question:

Am I content with my level of craft?

And, if not, why aren’t I doing something to increase my expertise?

I got a part time job as a bartender to pay for some new classes and enrolled with a teacher who I believed would support me in the areas I needed to grow.  In other words, I decided to strengthen my weaknesses.  It was during the second month of this incredible experience that I auditioned for and got a Broadway show.

During this same period, I changed representation and became more active in my career.  I got off my butt and became more active, more than any agent or manager could be, in my career.  I became current on everything happening in my business.  I told my new agent what was casting.  I sent out pictures and resumes.  I included a note that said I was sure my agent had submitted my picture, but in case it was lost in the mail, here was another. I wrote that I believed in their project and that a role in their production was worth fighting for.

My short message here is – do something.  I didn’t ignore my feelings.  I gave them their due.  Then I dug deeper, to what my true feelings were, and honored them.

From a strictly selfish point of view – I do not want to be deprived of your talent.  So for my sake, do something.

Opposites Do NOT Attract

Too many actors get together to complain about their careers, the state of the business,  how much they hate their “bread-and-butter jobs”.  If you don’t believe this drains you of a positive self image you are greatly mistaken.

It’s people of like mind that attract each other.  If you find all your friends wallowing in gloom and doom, know that it was you who attracted them into your life.

Make new friends.  This idea that opposites attract is nonsense.  Continue reading

Making Effective Physical Choices

Physical Actions, or choices that you make to do something physical as your character, can often come across as gimmicky.  To be effective, they either happen spontaneously in a moment, or are well thought out and/or worked on during rehearsal.  They’re an asset only if they don’t intrude on the story or upstage where the focal point should be.  They can be extraordinarily effective but must be used sparingly and creatively.

The substance of a physical action must come from within the play or from the life of the character.  Otherwise it is nothing more than a gimmick.

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Go to Work

To have a successful career in stage, film, or television, you can’t treat your career casually.  You must work on your instrument daily.  If you are not in class or working, your instrument atrophies.  You can delude yourself into believing it doesn’t, but deep down you know it does.

It breaks my heart to see talented actor’s careers go down the drain because they treat their talents with an indifference, apathy, or simply unwise behavior. Continue reading