Archive | June 2010

94, 95, 99, 98, 99…

golf scores? speed limits? bust sizes of girls in california…? no. the above are the forecast temperatures in fresno for the next week. i wont lie. its fucked. i have to redefine what i say to people constitutes as “walking distance”. im here now in fresno at the wonderful campus. and while everything is gorgeous and beautiful… there isn’t a cloud in the sky, and it’s only about 10-20 yards before you break into beads of sweat.

for those of you who dont know, i was lucky to get into a steppenwolf intensive course which is held at the steppenwolf west campus. now, when they say INTENSIVE, they mean it. we are going monday to SATURDAY, 815am to 10pm. yeah. 14 hour days. whats up? HOPE YOU LIKE WORK! we’ve got some fantastic teachers here, jeff perry from steppenwolf (and its magical having him work WITH us, and not even as an instructor), alexandra billings who is one of my favourite people in the world, kim (a new teacher for me, who seems to work with the same goal as alex, but in a different way), rob clare from the royal shakespeare theatre company (who seems to be as good if not better than ms hensel in making shakespeare approachable, as opposed to some foreign task), and john mayer… no not THAT john mayer.

ive been handed a food card, which allows me three meals a day (see mum i AM eating well… im destroying and hoarding the fruit basket and taking them back to my room like a good starving actor). and im staying in a lovely little apartment which could probably fit eight people… comfortably.

im absolutely exhausted. i cant write much more, but ill keep you guys posted. ive been thrown down a challenge to not use my mobile phone at all during the time im here at fresno (during the day at least), and computer access is limited (HOLY FUCK!) but if you want to get a hold of me, im on facebook from time to time. OTHERWISE LEAVE A MESSAGE? HOWS THAT FOR AN IDEA??

on a side note, i met the toughest, baddest, fucking squirrel youve ever seen walking to the cafeteria. im used to possums and birds in australia that fly off when you walk near. that being the case, i was walking with some new friends of mine when i saw a squirrel ahead. now, he was standing in the middle of the path. now i didnt notice this sonofabitch until i got closer to it, and i noticed it eyeballing me. now, at about 10 feet, it hadnt walked off. at 5 feet it kinda squatted down as if it were going to. at 2 feet… i kinda stopped and we had a stare down. after a little while, it kinda walked nonchalantly off, as if to say “im walking off on my terms. you peasant.” i was going to yell “yeah you better walk away…” but to be honest, i didnt have it in me.

r.

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talent, skill and fear.

talent is something not everyone has. talent is of no value without skill.

skill is what comes from hard work. more than that, the relentless pursuit of perfection in one’s craft.

fear is often the engine or the brakes that either power or cripple the journey you embark on from your skill and talent.

r.

hi.

i rode a bike 8 miles today.

i watched karate kid. it was good. will smith isnt an idiot. he wouldnt throw his son to the sharks. there was no way he’d have produced this film without making SURE it promoted jaden in exactly the right way.

i do however debate a story in which a kid who learns kung fu for a few months manages to kick the crap out of a group of kids who would effectively be the best china have to offer having trained from the age of 2.

oh yeah, and ive been working on a monologue. just because i want to. ill post it on youtube. i performed it for ms bohannon to which i got positive reviews.

r.

kicking arse in hollywood.

i was walking down hollywood blvd last night on my way to dan’s place (he likes to do the all american thing with beer pong, and the red plastic cups). and on the way there, i have to walk past the chinese theatre, and the hollywood walk of fame. now around this area (if youve not been) there are often people busking for money, dressed up as celebrities, movie characters and the like who allow you to take pictures for a few dollars here and there.

last night, i came across a midget michael jackson, and storm trooper with just one leg, and a slutty tooth fairy (who failed to wear a bra)… but best of all, i came across a guy in a jump suit, with his hands handcuffed. who was he trying to be? no one. but the sign around his neck, and the group of people crowding around him with iphones and cameras stirred my curiosity. coming up closer, i realised what the sign said and what he was doing.

“kick my ass for a dollar”.

he was bending over a bike rail, saying “give me all you got”, and “seriously, i wont sue” while these american kids (tourists didnt have it in them i dont think) lined him up, and literally took a run up to kick this guy. hard. and im not even talking a little tap, they were kicking him with all of america behind it. if robert green had trouble with clint dempsey, he would never have stopped some of these guys.

that being said. i thought about it for a second and i didnt have much sympathy for him. the process isnt so different from me going for an audition. only im not always promised the dollar.

r.

“i can cry on cue! i was born to be an actor!”

crying on cue. it’s a little more complicated than that. when the layman hears about this, they think that’s everything thats everything about acting. if you can cry on cue, then you’ve got it. that’s the problem when you see untrained actors, and actors chasing their dream in hollywood with stars in their eyes claiming they have what it takes to make it out here, saying they’re different, and that they were born to do this, they’re naturals, and they have passion for it.

when you hear people saying this (or at least when i do)… two things spring to mind. i find it insulting that they feel they’re so different because they “want it so bad”. get in line. so do the rest of us, stop belittling the people who are ultimately your peers by insisting and insinuating you want it more than we do. don’t try to come across as though your hang ups are more significant and moving than mine. we all have baggage, it’s part and parcel of being an actor and a human being.

secondly, crying on cue. you’re focusing on the end result, and discounting the journey it takes to get there. the manufacturing of tears is not synonymous with the true expression of emotion. what an actor is trying to do when they perform, is to express themselves honestly. making tears because you think it fits the scene goes against everything a trained actor would work for. i’m not always entirely for “going with whatever happens”, because frankly as i’m learning from working with a lot of film directors and students, sometimes we need a look, and we need it ON CUE. so what does a good actor do? from my current understanding, it’s the ability to use what is in the given circumstances (the script, the opposite actor, the place) to justify and harness the emotional energy and recall required (and more often than not tossing it like a freight train at your partner). from HERE, the actor is able to direct the energy however required for the scene and or the cinematic effect… which may well be the same end result of tears.

some people will stand back and say, can you really tell the difference? i like to think so. because if not i’ve seriously just wasted a big part of my last year and finances.

r.

(but if you’ve ever watched a person cry on stage or screen and just not given two shits… it’s an excellent chance they’ve gone for the former, not the latter)

commercial.

shot a commercial the other day. i didn’t tell anyone that i travelled three hours to get there (i guess because i was embarrassed id go to such lengths to get somewhere to get something done). you know what pissed me off though. i was going to a place called woodland or something… pretty much directly north of where i am in west la. but the bus i have to catch, (or route i have to take via google transit), takes me first into hollywood, and then into woodland, which in case you didnt know, is a big fucking triangle.

thats not what pissed me off though. google said travel time was two hours and 38 minutes, and i had to be there at 130. so i gave myself a good chunk of extra time and left at 10. these days, you have to understand that travelling anywhere in la is a novelty for me. i mean, its all fun right? i get to see some of the city, im doing what i love, party time. now, every one of the buses arrives literally within a minute, and im pretty happy with myself. right up until the last bus is a spectacular 32 minutes late. still that’s not what pissed me off. in fact it doesnt come, i catch the bus after it. then i ended up arriving a couple of minutes late, but im sweating like a pig, and looking like hell. THAT’S what pissed me off. whatever.

anyway, im not supposed to say anything about the commercial (they’re doing something a little different, but really dont commercials WANT exposure?), but i will say that filming for 8 hours doing 15-16 takes with green screen stuff can get very repetitive. IT WAS AWESOME. i kept running through my head, im getting paid for something i really enjoy. its not exactly what i studied for… but at the same time, without the study, id surely not be here. easy three hundred bucks.

hmmm. less than a month until fresno, and ive been auditioning for everything, getting new headshots done, and doing my internship at columbia college. there are times that i wonder if im doing everything i can to further myself. but then there are other times that i realise i do actually have a lot of my plate; its just unlike previously in my life, theyve not been chores, so it doesnt feel like ive had to do any hard yards.

im tired.

r.

all in a day in el ay.

i moved out of the place i was house sitting in hollywood yesterday and packed up around the house. doing the final checks and making sure everything was clean and the like (took the rest of the toilet paper from the bathroom… its a valuable commodity), and checked the fridge… crap. still had food remaining, some sausages, eggs, bread, hash browns (which taste not so dissimilar to athletes foot… but i hate wasting food) and some milk.

i invited shawn paul, a good mate of mine over to destroy what was left. shawn is one of the few people i talk “shop” with in terms of acting. im realising more and more that a lot of actors in LA enjoy saying theyre actors, and that they love what they do, but when it comes down to it, theyre not very hard working, nor do they have the extra yard in it. so i dont bother trying to share a conversation. people like jonathan who gave me the time of day, and shawn are exceptions.

anyway, as we’re destroying the last of the foods, we are in the middle of a conversation when we hear this huge screech and crash outside below. we peer over the balcony and see that a car has gone through a stop sign, and clipped a car pulling out of a park at no less than 25 miles an hour (thats based on absolutely no forensic evidence). we do the observer thing and ready our phones to see if anyones injured… but then. a woman gets out of the car pulling out. and she has. the biggest. most spectacular breasts youve EVER seen. it is scandalous. shes wearing a blue tank top that leaves nothing to the imagination, she’s about 5’7″ (again based on a birds eye view… but trust me), and a short skirt. both parties seemed fine, and they exchanged details while shawn and i watched. we were going to ask if they needed help or assistance, but every single guy that walked past was doing that for us. she had alllll the assistance she needed. old men, young men, some eating, some on their phones, some just staring. my favourite though was a guy who’d been busking for money as batman up on hollywood blvd yelling “DAAAYYAMMMM GURL!” i was going to yell something out. i thought better of it.

after we finished our food and gawking, we went to the internship. the one at columbia college where we’re used as props for the directors. i have to say thats a really good program. its interesting the way directors and actors think. we both mutually want the same outcome – a great cinematic, and engaging film… but because of the very, VERY different ways we get there, there’s always that kind of actor/director conflict. they go from the outside in… “look up at that light and deliver the line as if someone’s holding a knife to your throat”… where actors (good ones at least) go from inside out… “how do i feel about what just happened? can i let this person get away with this? i have to stop him.”

fucking directors. i love them (for the record).

after that, i hung around to speak to a few directors (student directors) about their projects. they like me. naturally.

then it was off to the pantages. dan goldston couldve come. but he piked out. so i shawn paul was in the right place at the right time. we were off to see “a chorus line” which is musical theatre piece about 19 dancers who are at an audition in 1975 going for a role. it highlights the kind of pressures that engulf actors and dancers at an audition, the kind of personal journeys that are taking place, and the fear involved in being an entertainer of any sort. while not really aimed directly at actors, singers, dancers, etc… i find that if you do understand it, you get a lot out of it. i mean, the industry is scary. i really enjoyed the piece, they were an extremely talented group of performers. the dancing was the highlight. after having a little training in ballet this year, i can appreciate just how hard those guys worked.

at one point in the audition, someone hurts their ankle and has to go to hospital. and the director asks them a thoughtful question. imagine you got hurt. or not even that. imagine if you were told today, you could never dance again. personally, i made the immediate connection, what if i had to stop acting today. that struck a really sensitive note for me. it was a very light hearted piece until they posed me that question and i absolutely lost it. crying like a princess with shawn paul holding my hand. not quite that bad… but it did get me.

i guess its that fear that people who GENUINELY want to be here have. but if i can take one thing in solace… its that alex billings has taught me that fear isnt something that should hold you back. its what should propel you forward. i know youve heard that a million times before. but when you really understand it. its a wonderful thing. and scary.

anyway. all in a day in el ay.

r.

(long entry… you still here? good for you… leave a comment then…)