Improvisation 7/29

I am at the beginning and sprinkled throughout.

I am still simply hoping to get through the basics in my scenework. Who, what, where and spacework that is clearly defined and I am absolutely involved in. I think the spacework is my strongest attribute. Even when the words I said were shabby or thin, I at least had movement that was somewhat interesting. I noticed how much more I want to watch myself when I run out and “attack” the stage than when I hesitate. It automatically makes you interesting.

Something else I’d like to learn is to stop automatically calling older men “Dad” and younger women “sister,” and guys my age “honey.” Why can’t a 15 year old be my grandma? She would probably be so happy if I gave her that gift and it would start out interesting.

Commercial 7/28

I start at 9:50 for the first run.

This was a cold read and while he said my first read was good, I had seven more reads he took me through! Main thing I caught here is that I ended nearly every read on a low note. I needed to smile or do something to be excited about the product at the end.

I start at 3:40 here.

I didn’t like my first sentence delivery. There was no enthusiasm for getting on the ladder! I had a couple other lines that were delivered that way as well. Overall, I’m happy with it, but the pacing was off.

Film 7/27

I start at 3:15.

I very clearly enjoy being the crazy, but this was played on one “Kramer”-like crazy moment throughout. While I followed direction in speeding up the performance, it seemed unrealistic to me that this woman would be able to walk out on stage in such an obvious state of distress. If I had really considered my moment before, I think Mary would have been more calmly determined and had moments of psychosis rather than a string of it. BUT, my VOICE! You can hear it! And it is not just because I am yelling. I have really been working on it for the last few weeks and am so grateful that I’m able to tell a difference!

Commercial 6/23

Find me at 3:24.

This was after my first read where I had been a bit goofy. I didn’t have the commercial memorized as well as I thought I did, and my instructor hit it spot on when he said my goofy movements are a cover up for not having it memorized.

He also told me to try talking to different people for each line, which I did in this take. Every time I have to work on nerves and something tells me that will never go away, but I’m learning how to think about one positive thing instead of thinking, “I hope I don’t screw this up.”

I did a weird thing with my eyes before saying “Have you seen me before?” It was weird. Not doing that again.

Film 6/22

I start around 11:40

I’ve decided to post the videos before my lengthy descriptions for those people who just want to get to the freaking point. I cringe when I find a recipe that sounds delicious, but I have to scroll through someone’s life story before I can find out if I need mozzarella or cheddar! So I’m taking my own advice. This bit is for those of you who have nothing better to do than read my own critiques. Or for those of you who just love me. Thanks for that, by the way!

This was my first go at the Mary Titfer monologue. I did not have it memorized perfectly all the way through so he only let me go about 1/3 through. I still had a blast. Interesting, though. Watching it I realized it was much flatter than it felt.

If you are disturbed by this one, just trust me, the rest of the monologue will clear up what she is going through. And you will still be disturbed. Oh, and if you need a good cry, watch the guy after me. So good.

Film 5/11

Getting into monologues! Last week we did a cold cold read. Meaning I sat in a chair, turned over the paper with the monologue, and read it, taking time with each thought. “You know,” read it, attach a thought, look up and be thinking that thought as you say it. “It’s really something,” read it, attach a thought, etc. etc. throughout the entire monologue. This was so good for me. I can read something in a few seconds and already have an idea of how I want it to turn out. In some cases that is a good thing. But here I am learning to be more flexible SO when the director undoubtedly has a different idea about how this should go, I’m ready and not caught in my own impression of what it should be.

Over the next week I memorized the scene by rote and I kept myself from thinking…too much…about how to perform the monologue. This scene you’re watching is my first time saying the monologue all the way through in character, instead of rattling it off while balls are being thrown at me (seriously).

I was happy with it, so very happy. I like this whole memorize by rote business. It also helps that I’ve never seen “As Good as it Gets,” so I don’t have to work on getting someone else’s performance out of my head. I just took the words as they were.

I start at 10:20.

Commercial 5/5

My scene partner and I went outside to read the script we had just been handed and, without having read it first, started saying the lines. I had the uncontrollable giggles for awhile. We were finally able to get a grip before going on camera. I over-enunciated “ship” the first time in an attempt to not laugh, but it just sucked the funny out of it (obviously). That starts at 2:40. Next take at 4:00.

Improv 4/29

Let’s just be fair here—this was my second-ever improvisational performance class, and it was a showcase, and I was the only new student. With that, I had a blast! Because, yes, ignorance is indeed bliss!

I have a scene 5 minutes in, and right afterwards my instructor explains what we just did. 8:15 is my next scene, it is another game, “Who, what, where.” I was only supposed to say “what” we were doing. Oops. Last scene is at 28:45. I don’t know what happened either.

Film 4/27

This was my showcase performance (as in, supposed to be my very best and a benchmark for measuring progress), and I did not like it at all. I realized I became so caught up in displaying an emotion that I didn’t feel, so I was not as focused on my scene partner as I needed to be. And this part makes me giggle—the director told me that if the audience didn’t believe we were friends who really cared about each other, the scene would fall flat on its face. I am not a touchy-feely person by any stretch of the imagination, but I sure tried to be. And it just looks awkward. And strange. At least I gave myself something to laugh at. Thank you, anti-hugging Kara. I never received the video from 4/20’s class, so this is the best I have to show here.

I did learn, however, that using past experiences to create an emotion doesn’t always work. For me, I get angry when I think about injustices, even if it is “sad,” my primary emotion is anger. So if the director asks me to show sadness, it is better for me to use my imagination—like Meisner talks about in his book On Acting. At this point I am still learning what methods are “allowed,” in order to bring forth emotion. From here I plan actively try different methods and discover what works for me. This is not one-size-fits-all.

On a more practical learning note, I needed to look up more. The fourth wall is going to become my hiding place. (Meaning I’m going to start letting the camera see my emotion by deciding the space directly around the camera is where I “hide” my emotion. I like it! Bam!)

I start at 8:55, with my lovely scene partner. If you want to see something really fun, watch the guy who goes on after me, I love it!

Film 4/20

Interesting class last night. I was praying during my scene from “Pretty Woman.”  All I could think was, “Lord help me, Lord help me!” I was supposed to be showing grief. The scene was so dull and lifeless I got mad and slammed my suitcase shut and stormed offstage…which wasn’t really out of character, it was actually the best part.

My teacher asked me how it felt and I said, “It sucked!”—“Why did it suck?”—“I don’t know! This should not be hard for me! This scene should come naturally—I know what grief feels like. Like right now, here, now I can cry about it and feel it, why can’t I do this in character?” At this point I was crying and well on my way to blubbering. Not over my poor performance, but over the genuine feeling of grief. To which he responded, “Start again! Now!” And the film was rolling and we delivered a good scene! Haha! He asked again how it felt and I said, “Well, it was completely honest and truthful, so if was refreshing!”—“Yeah, exactly, because you were you! Listen, we aren’t even getting into character stuff right now. What is truly captivating is to watch YOU just truthfully dealing with what you’re feeling. That’s what acting is. It is not something fabricated, it is genuine and it will come from you.”

I told God later, “Well, that was not exactly how I expected you to answer but it worked!” I learned to not get so wrapped up in whether I could really be this exact character, but rather, “Can I feel what this character is feeling? How can I identify with her?” It was almost like I was showing empathy for the character I was playing, I was crying with her. I know it is not perfect, but it is one step closer.

I was thinking about all this when I read in Mark 8:22-26, where Jesus restores sight to a blind man.

“When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked,               ‘Do   you see anything?’ He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like                  trees walking around.’ Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes.                   Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything                   clearly.”

I think Jesus was simply demonstrating it is okay, even right, for some things to happen in stages. Just because the man couldn’t see clearly the first time didn’t mean Jesus had failed. It just meant one hurdle had been overcome and there was more work to do. Along the same lines, there is 1 Corinthians 13:8-9

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes,                the imperfect disappears.”

So who in the world am I to expect perfection from myself? God knew I wouldn’t get that scene right the first, second, third, or fourth time. Goodness it is okay to get it not quite right or completely wrong. It’s actually the only way. Because as He Himself points out, I do not yet know fully! But I take comfort in the fact that I am fully known by a God who has given me this gift and desire and the time and resources to pursue it.

Right now, my understanding of acting cannot even yet be likened to the man who said “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” But I’m keeping my eyes open and I’m trusting God to put His hands on my eyes every day as I pursue Him. It is a fun life!

Film 3/23

This is a scene from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” I haven’t seen the movie which I was grateful for. It makes me read the script and make my own decisions based on the character. I had practiced this at home quite a bit in front of the camera with all different personalities. I decided she was jerk with a rough exterior, but she liked it when Scott told her he was in love with her. There was something very endearing about it to her. That was my first read.

On the second read, he told me I needed to be more “into” Scott. You will hear my teacher giving me some direction as far as what he wanted out of it. Pretty self-explanatory except the fact that it is quiet! I had to attach speakers to hear anything.

In the end, I appreciated his direction regarding how cold it was. It allowed me to focus so much on just getting warm that the rest of the scene was just normal conversation. A fun one, I really enjoyed the challenge of being a jerk…who was also in love…

I do have a funny way of either launching a blink attack or donning bug eyes. There must be a happy medium.

This scene starts at 20:10.

Commercial 3/24

Finally, I made the right choice regarding who I was and who I was talking to! All it took was an awkward toilet paper commercial! I was so very happy when I read my side, it made me giggle. Giggling is good. Initially I was thinking gate guard at the base telling some young airman that he can’t pass inspection. But I just couldn’t make myself believe that a gate guard would make sure an airman’s rear end was clean. Not only could I not believe it, but the very thought disturbed me to my core.

So then I thought, “I will be me, talking to my husband.” Nope, couldn’t believe that either. And our sensei is always reminding us that we have to believe the story, believe our character, believe the setting, or it just won’t work. I finally had an “aha” moment and decided to be the angel on my hubby’s shoulder after he had done his deed in the loo. Classy stuff, right? I imagined myself appearing on his shoulder amidst glitter and stars with a smile. “I am your saving grace and I just want the best for you.”

And he said it worked! But, as always, he wanted to see what else I could do. So the second read he said “Give me something totally different,” and the third was, “Now make it as quirky as possible.” For that one, I thought of a good friend from high school who was and is…about as quirky as possible.

When I watched them all, I was actually disappointed—I would start off strong, then get boring in the middle and suddenly remember to pick it back up at the end. Learning to make the choice and strongly believe it all the way through!

I’m at the beginning.

Film 3/16

And…I didn’t know I was doing the same scene, so I didn’t rehearse at all. I was too disturbed by that, and sort of missed out on the first half of the scene. Didn’t start connecting till halfway through.

I start around 6:30. But you can always watch the other people too, I love them!

Commercial 3/17

Oh how I love class! Where else do you get so many opportunities to laugh at yourself? I memorized rote this time, though, and I do think it paid off. Watch if you can see the changes. In the first one, I’m thinking “I’m a mom, you’re a new mom.” Next, “I’m a pediatrician (who apparently hates little babies).” Next, “I’m a pediatrician who actually likes kids and does not in fact want to murder them” (I was thinking of my sister-in-law for this one.) And for the last one, I’m a stereotypical doula/midwife.

It was good to see I could take direction. Next time, it needs to be memorized that well, with an excellent first choice. And I have got to stop wiggling.

I start around 1:40

Film/TV 3/9

This was my first time saying a slate with my agency. I was nervous and it shows. I look like I’m in pain. After this first read, the teacher asked me what I had done wrong. To be perfectly honest, I thought I did great! Haha, sure sign of a beginner! He proceeded to tell me where I was in error. Count the times I sigh or take a breath. That’s showing artificial emotion, instead of actually allowing the face and eyes to register a feeling. Also, my feet moved. No good. The camera is focused and the feet moving is just distracting in a close up. He told me to allow myself to be affected by my scene partner rather than letting everything slide off my back. All good words, and I was so grateful for them when I went on Job #3!

I’m at the beginning and 12:09

 Commercial 3/10

Ever feel like the more you learn the worse you become? When I first started, I didn’t know right from wrong in commercial. Now I know more so I can pick myself apart so very well:) I had rehearsed this first one for skin cream, but I had too much confidence in my ability to memorize, and it showed. It was boring. Now I wish I had picked up on phrases like “sleep on this” and “fights signs of infection.” Fights! I missed a golden opportunity to do a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick there.

The second commercial was just boring. My voice is too tiny. This is not me just picking at myself, they are legitimate critiques that I have the power to fix, and I will. I’m performing this second one again in a couple days, so hopefully I can knock those bubbles out of the water! Bam!

I am at 4:17 and 18:37

Commercial 3/3

Okay, anybody who knows me knows that “sexy” is not my forte. I was given a commercial script in class the other day for M&Ms. I decided I would “say” it to my mom, since we both like chocolate and all. No matter that the last line is “Unwrap your wild side,” that must just mean I want to be silly, right? Well, my ever-so-honest teacher informed me after my first read, “Unless you have a really weird attraction to your mom, you made the wrong choice.” Haha! So, I was sent out to practice some more and come back with something better. I tried making it seductive, I really did. But after every practice read, I would break into uncontrollable giggles. Every. Time. When I tried again, he gave me direction, without saying as much, to at least try to look sexy. Ha! When all was said and done, he said I’d like it and it was a good read. He lied. I got the link to the video a few days ago. I have been laughing ever since at how absolutely ridiculous I look. So I thought I’d share it with the world. You know, with my massive following. Beatin’ you people back with a stick! I start at about 1:21 and 4:22. HA! Oh my goodness I just watched it again!

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