Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Never Stop Learning – Keeping your Acting Tools Sharp

Most professions require occasional seminars and training courses in order to keep abreast of industry developments, and to keep employees' skills honed. Acting should be no different. You might have taken acting courses in high school and college, but you should periodically take refresher classes, or work with a coach. Even if you're a professional, you shouldn't rest on your laurels – there is always room for growth.

Learn from the masters

One of the reasons it's easy to backslide in terms of acting quality is that so much material is just, well… bad. If you've spent the past few years doing nothing but TV spots and small films, chances are you've been working with material that is not only unchallenging, but probably unwatchable! When you take formal acting classes (if you're taking good acting classes), you have to work with excellent material – material that forces you to be present, smart, and emotionally available. Nothing makes you sharper than Shakespeare!

Work in a safe environment

Another benefit to taking acting classes is the fact that everyone is there to work on their craft. No branding, no posturing. You only benefit by throwing yourself, body and soul, into the work at hand. You're free to make bold choices, and make mistakes. This is essential for growth.

Keep yourself focused

Sometimes, it might seem as though an acting career is 99 percent networking, and 1 percent memorization. It can definitely get discouraging.
It is very easy to get lost in the world of endless auditions, personal branding, and rejection. Revisiting (or visiting, if you're new to a class) your training, where skill and creativity are valued above all other qualities, will help to remind you what drew you to acting in the first place.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Making your Career Yours

Billy Bob Thornton. Mindy Kaling. Owen Wilson. What do these three actors have in common? They took charge of their careers by creating their own opportunities.
Today, it's easier than ever to brand yourself. Even as recently as 10 years ago, we didn't have nearly as many online resources for making original material available to casting directors and industry insiders as we do today. If you want to be a working actor, you have to learn how to build your brand.

The power of social media

Make sure you use every possible social media opportunity to the fullest extent. You might already be posting video of yourself, but you might want to consider upgrading your tools. High definition cameras aren't exactly cheap, but they're far more accessible than good quality cameras have ever been in the past. It's a worthy investment – the quality is infinitely sleeker and more eye-catching than either smartphone or web cameras.
Start vlogging on a regular basis. Be as natural in front of the camera as you possibly can. Even though, as an actor, you should have the requisite skills and training to disappear into a role, at this stage in your career, you should focus on selling yourself. Casting directors and agents like to get an idea of the sort of person you are, so start posting video of yourself where you really shine just being you.

Learn how to tell a story

Read up on screenwriting, play writing, and direction. Take courses, if possible. Write your own material. If you don't create your own stories, you'll never get a real handle on story structure or character development, and your career could suffer from it. Besides, you want as much control over the material you perform as possible. If you have material you're proud of, use whatever resources you can to film it, so you at least have good footage for a demo reel. Don't ever put your career at the mercy of poor screenwriters and poor directors.
For the vast majority of people in the entertainment industry, an acting career isn't something that just happened. You have to take the reins and drive your career to where you want it to go!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Life on Stage

Ask any actor, amateur or professional, that if they could spend their time in a more meaningful or satisfactory manner, would they drop acting as a passion that drives them forward. Even those actors and lovers of stage or screen who had to get a “real job” will be ready to admit that the magic of a life on stage is irreplaceable. Their fondest and most enduring memories will be those moments on stage or screen when they “found” themselves while portraying a character.

Image Source: creatingu.com

For many actors, to be given the chance to pose as a famous dramatic or comedic character and to bring their own unique understanding and individuality to the role is the chance they constantly pursue. To perfectly and honestly express their understanding and perception of the character in which they have become in a part of their real world is the greatest gift that they could offer to an appreciating public. And through this appreciation, their life on stage or film becomes an even greater acknowledgement of their efforts to bring laughter, tears, and honesty to an adoring public.

Image Source: backstage.com

Of course, the above is an ideal situation and desire. Many actors work thanklessly and tirelessly, whether nationally or locally, which tells you that they choose to pursue a life on stage not because of the potential rewards that they could possibly earn, but because of the immediate gratification of being able to walk astride a stage and to temporarily suspend their own life and drama in order to momentarily create a new persona that the audience can embrace and relate to.

Image Source: groupon.com

Keep in mind that there are leaders and followers in the world. Leaders tend to comprise about 10% of the population. Great leaders and actors typically grace the top 10% of that list of leaders. Life on stage: it is leading by example and with courage.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Discover Yourself in Acting

If the world is indeed our stage, as the Bard would insist, then by stepping onto the stage, all you are doing is exploring and discovering new facets of your own self by acting. Too often, we have been admonished to act our age or not to act as a fool, but some of the greatest moments on a stage are when we decide to not act as we ourselves or others perceive us.

Image Source: fanpop.com

How many great actors wish to have a role that is not typecast to the previous roles they have taken on and offers a different take from what most fans are used to seeing? They are given the chance to portray perhaps a hidden side or aspect of themselves that reveals, to both their audience as well as to themselves, a new and unexpected facet.

Image Source: discovertalent.com

Many well-known actors will readily admit that it is neither the fame nor the money that draws them to a stage or a camera. Rather, it is actually the never ending challenge to delve within themselves in order to find a character that they did not realize resides within. To take on a character that they abhor or cannot imagine themselves to fit into, and then the genius of their love of acting and authenticity takes over and the public (and the performer!) is stunned into a new appreciation of the actual actor.

Image Source: nyfa.edu

So while acting is considered a magical career, it really has very little to do with fame, power, or money. It has to do with the possibilities of learning and growing, becoming more of a person than was ever imagined or expected. Of reaching beyond imagined boundaries and finding new elements within the same old self.

Whether you wish to act as a hobby or a life commitment, never forget the immense power that acting can bring to your life.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Acing your auditions: How to impress with your monologue

Image Source: footlighterstheater.com

It can be difficult to play a scene by yourself, but it's important to learn how to best act out monologues especially when you're trying out for a part. Monologues can be dramatic, comedic, or a little bit of both. They should show your acting prowess and convince the casting director that you are right for the role. So how do you impress the audience with a monologue? Here are a few quick tips:

Choose your monologue wisely

Don't choose a monologue based on what you think will impress the casters. Choose one that you like and that interests you. It's easier to believe in the actor when he is playing a role that he is comfortable in. The choice of the monologue has a big impact on your overall audition performance.

Keep it short

Lengthy scripts may look impressive, but you might fall prey to being draggy and boring. A long dramatic script may not be as effective if it runs on for too long. Don't let that happen by keeping your script short but sweet.

Image Source: wlmac.ca

Tell a story

Choose a script that tells a story. Do not stick to monologues with just a person ranting about his arch nemesis or a girl pining for her true love. That will be boring and will reflect a flat performance. A story should be complete, with an introduction, a rising action, climax, and resolution. This way, you keep your audience entertained.

Enjoy yourself

You don't have to smile to show that you enjoy yourself. Your commitment to the scene and your acting is proof that you are truly enjoying being an actor and that will reflect positively on your performance.

Image Source: plays.about.com

A theater actor for over two decades, Louis P. Habash, has played many coveted lead roles in musicals. Follow him on Twitter to learn more about the theater and the acting business.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

REPOST: ‘Legally Blonde Jr.’ comes to the Acting Up stage

Acting Up is proud to announce the cast of the upcoming musical, ‘Legally Blonde Jr.’ on this article below: 

Acting 3.jpg
Savannah Slaby (Elle) and Zachary Hoyer (Emmett) rehearse a scene for the upcoming Acting Up production of “Legally Blonde Jr.” March 20-22 at Mason Middle School. | Image Source: cincinnati.com

Short and sweet, fast and fun are not what you expect to read about the opening of an award-winning musical about to take the stage.

That is exactly what the director and cast promise for the family friendly production of Acting Up’s “Legally Blonde Jr.” which opens March 20 and runs through March 22 at Mason Middle School Theater.

Acting Up is a theater group for young performer’s ages 5-18 based in Mason. For 10 years more than 1,300 children have come from all around Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky and Indiana to display their theatrical talents singing and dancing their way through blockbuster musicals. Highlands High School sophomore Savannah Slaby has the lead role of Elle Woods in her fourth Acting Up production.

“It was the most magical enlightening experience I’ve ever had,” she said about coming to Mason for Acting Up. “Every cast I’ve worked with at Acting Up is talented. From the very smallest ensemble role to the very largest role, everyone plays an important part in the show; makes the show what it is. Everyone is so good and prepared.”

Good and prepared for the natural brunette Slaby included dying her hair blonde for the lead role as Elle. Reese Witherspoon played the girl who seemed to have it all with good looks, great boyfriend, stylish clothes and sorority president in the popular movie version of “Legally Blonde.” She chases her boyfriend to Harvard Law and learns it’ll take more than her charm to succeed. Facing unexpected challenges from professors and other students, she tries to prove her worth and finds her true potential.

“I really dislike stereotypes,” Slaby said. “That’s why I really enjoy this show. The idea of girl power, breaking stereotypes, breaking boundaries, I just love this show.”

The cast includes several talented Loveland kids in a variety of roles too. Cole Hankins leads the way as the stereotypical creepy professor Callahan. Sarah Koopman, Claire Streit, Katherine Abel, Ellen Long and Maddi O’Connell play roles from junior partner, bookish client, to sorority sister, inmate and salon patron.

The fun-loving Hankins really transforms himself to play a much older and more serious role. Director Brent Peebles said Hankins does a good job with both acting and voice to be the older character on stage.

“Cole is fantastic,” Peebles said. “Callahan is supposed to be mid-40s or older. That’s a tricky thing to do and Cole really pulls it off.”

Hankins was in the Loveland High school production of “Legally Blonde” when he was a freshman, and five other Acting Up shows. He thinks this one is especially great. Kyle, the UPS guy, played by Sam Hoyer is one of the characters that stand out for him in the show.

“He’s hilarious,” Hankins said. “It’s going to be really fun, really fast-paced and then it’s going to end. It’s going to be a fun time. It’s not going to be long.”

Just a mention of Sam Hoyer as Kyle brought immediate laughter from director Peebles. The cast also includes Paul Phillips and Zachary Hoyer from Sycamore. Phillips plays Elle’s boyfriend Warner. Hoyer is Emmett who starts out as her nerdish tutor but ends up being more. Tess Hogan really “sells it” playing a mean antagonist Vivienne. With more than 70 cast members, Peebles has to keep it fast and fun.

“It’s really fun,” he said. “The music just gets in your head and doesn’t let go. I love it. I think this is a great show. Fast and fun.”

Acting Up presents

“Legally Blonde JR.” is Acting Up’s 20th Broadway style musical production.

•When: Four performances, Friday, March 20, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 21, at 3 p.m. (sign-language interpreter will be provided) and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 22, at 3 p.m.

•Where: Mason Middle School, 6370 Mason Montgomery Road, Mason. Tickets: $12 for all seats - available for purchase at www.actingup.com, at the door starting one hour before the performances, or call 494-6062.

•Complete cast list and more show information at: www.actingup.com.

Acting Up is a member of ACT Cincinnati and won 26 Orchid awards for last year’s musicals including costumes, set design, overall technical quality and excellence in musical theater performance

To learn more about Louis A. Habash and his take on where filmmaking is potentially headed next, follow this Twitter account.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Acting dangerously: Actors without stunt doubles

Being an actor or an actress is not all about the glitz and glamour, red carpet parties or paychecks with lots of zeroes. Some of your favorite actors would go the extra mile to make their films realistic by choosing to do their own stunts. This is both incredibly amazing and painful. Here are the most notable actors without stunt doubles:

Jackie Chan

You cannot make a list of actors doing their own stunts without the inimitable Jackie Chan, who was originally a stuntman, performing in movies like Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon and later going on to do the most impressive action scenes in Hollywood history. It's difficult to pick out the best among his life-threatening and risky stunts because he had set the bar so high. Even if it's crazy and dangerous, his insistence on doing his own stunts adds authenticity to each of his movies.

Image Source: miramax.tumblr.com

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise is one of the few A-list actors who consistently throws himself into action roles. Even in if he's in his 50s, Cruise shows no signs of stopping from doing some of the most dangerous and remarkable stunts. Some of his notable action movies include the Mission Impossible series, The Last Samurai and Knight and Day. In his last Mission Impossible movie, he willingly hurled himself out the window and onto the side of the Burj Khalifa, the highest building in Dubai – one of his riskiest stunts to date.

Tom Cruise filming on the set of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Image Source: telegraph.co.uk

Angelina Jolie

Raising the banner for women everywhere is the brave and beautiful Angelina Jolie. In 2010, she revealed that she did her own stunts for the action movie Salt, where she played an FBI agent accused of being a Russian spy. She prepared for the role by doing 2-hour sessions of Muay Thai and Krav Maga three to four times a week. She also did her own stunts as Maleficent in the 2014 Disney adaptation of Sleeping Beauty.

Image Source: hollywire.com

Learn more about Hollywood and the life of an actor by following Louis P. Habash on Facebook.