God forbid I ever believe that the reason I don't get any callbacks is because I'm too good for anything or anyone. What it really means is that I'm rusty. So! Back to class I go!
I'm over at the Garage Workshop which had two things really going for it. 1) Kris Kelly, a great friend of mine from our school days, and 2) a completely new way of going about things, acting wise. That it's not an "art" so much as it is a "science." That a more effective way of opening up to your emotions isn't necessarily only thinking of your dead dog, but rather, controlling your breathing patterns!
Now, this sounds a lot like hooey, but when I was onset for "What Should You Do?" waaay back in 04 where I played a student whose math class was being held hostage, so she fakes being pregnant and having a miscarriage to get the eff out of there, (it was the strangest audition. They were trying to match the real person, so I walked into a room of 12 girls who all looked like me. And I thought I was so unique. Truly terrifying.) I had to be very emotional on set. I mean, hey, there's Crazy Eyed Guy with a gun in my face, and I'm Going To Die! I was worried that I wasn't good enough an actress to be crying for 10 hours straight, but the most amazing thing happened: I learned that not only Could I cry for 10 hours, but I could also shut it on and off just by going back to a certain breathing pattern!
And when this workshop mentioned that, I thought, you know, I kinda want to hear what else they have to say about stuff.
They record us on camera, which is super fantastic, because how else is a struggling actress going to truly judge what she looks like in regards to acting and camera technique, unless she can actually watch herself on camera! But they're also high tech, so I pop in my DVD instead of a VHS. I had been to a class audit somewhere else where they told us all to bring in a VHS and this annoyed me a great deal, because a) I'd have to set up my vcr that I haven't used in 4 years to watch it, and b) Target doesn't even carry blank VHS's anymore because, as we all know, IT'S AN OBSOLETE MEDIUM!
So last night was week 2 of the class. The first week, we played aorund with socio-class. How to carry one's weight/posture/speech when a person is in a higher position. We're not talking rich/poor, but status. For instance, a babysitter has higher status than her charge. And most oftentimes, (as we've all observed in our own lives, I'm sure) the 13 year old teen gives herself higher status than her goofy parents. We had a monologue to perform and were given direction for different class status in both of them. That saturday, a recap email went out that highlighted 3 students (one of them me!) so I'll share it with you, because after all of these no call backs, it sure is nice to hear good things about my work: Elle had a great character of a Low Class prom queen who was voted in as a joke, but enjoyed the trappings of fame. She followed that with her High Class runner up whose life was turned upside down by losing to the Low Class girl. The great thing about Elle’s set of monologues is something we all (myself included) need to keep remembering about the process of acting. She just worked the tools and didn’t think about it.
Pretty nifty, huh? That was such a nice thing, I thought. And last night we worked on giving props a biography, and what our relationships to the props are when they're either in our hand, in our pocket, or away from us. Think of it like a rabbit's foot that someone has with them all the time, and the anxiety one gets when they realize it's not in their pocket. No wait, actually, think about it like it's your cellphone and you left it at home. It feels like your arm fell off! That type of anxiety. I haven't watched the playback yet, but I hope it's good. I feel like it was. When I go up, I feel like I have everyone's attention. And at the end of the night, the instructor, Jim, tapped my shoulder like "Good job." That's how I'm going to read it, at any rate. He could've just been trying to scare a bug off me.
There are actually two instructors. Jim and his wife Lisa. Lisa has a recurring on The Office, and another gal in our class just booked a co-star on The Office as well. Man, is it awesome to have so much great happy energy in a class of actors.
Epecially when it's so slow in this town, and has been the past year.