UPCOMING AUDITIONS

CASTING: UNION or NON-UNION, 18-20 yr old FEMALE, strong-willed, intelligent, confident, resilient, holds herself together in a calm manner, mature for her age. Must look 18-20, no exceptions. This is important to the role. Deferred pay/ pay structure will be worthwhile w/ contract.

Drama/Mystery, feature film being shot in Columbus, OH. Filming begins early 2018. Written and Directed by Aaron Massey. PLEASE SUBMIT HEADSHOT/RESUME and DEMO REEL IF AVAILABLE TO steelvalleyfilm@gmail.com

Auditions will be held in January 2018. Will send sides to potential actors. The Director's previous work can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/user1280585
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CASTING CALL

Upcoming short film (Non-Union) beginning production in mid January 2018. Any and all are welcome to come audition!

Click here to download the CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

The casting call will take place on Monday January 8th, 2018 at 8:00pm until Midnight. The location of the auditions will take place at 6115 Parkview Crossing, Dublin OH, 43016. Signs will indicate you are in the correct location.

For anyone interested in auditioning, please send an email with your headshot and resume to: logan.solana@gmail.com

If you do not have a resume or headshot, that's okay too! Just let me know that you are interested in coming in for the audition. I will be sending confirmation emails out to everyone on Saturday January 6th confirming the date and time.

If you have questions, please email me and I will answer them as soon as possible!

Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing from you all!


Why Acting Is so Much More Than It Appears to Be By D.W. Brown and Joanne Baron

For many people, acting appears to be people talking while sometimes getting emotional—basically, they think it’s someone on screen or stage being themselves. Which is why so many people think they can do it. They say, “Acting is only hard because you have to memorize lines. If I could remember, I could be an actor, too.” They see Robert DeNiro in “Taxi Driver” and think, “I’m from New York and I can drive a car. I could do that.”

On the flipside, no one imagines they could just wake up one day and be a professional ballerina or opera singer or classical pianist. To the uninformed, what these professions require that acting seemingly doesn’t is years and years of intense training. Acting skills?

Not a thing, they think.

But here’s the thing: Remarkable actors do go through intense training specifically so you can’t tell how hard they’re working, so you can’t see the years and years of training that got them to this point. There is a disguised virtuosity in the complex craft of acting that doesn’t show itself in skilled acting. The goal of great actors? To act so naturally—yes, acting naturally requires acting—that their skills are invisible. 

Good quality, complex acting must always come down to an invisible naturalism that makes the challenging components of it far less apparent than every other art form.

Acting isn’t just memorizing lines and talking in conversational reality with intermittent emotion. As Meisner said, “Acting is doing things truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” If understood and appreciated, this definition is an ambitious and remarkable thing to aspire to and strive for. To do things truthfully, the actor must first acquire many challenging, hard-fought skills.

Speaking words in a costume does not guarantee the writer’s story will come to life or be clear. Without the skills mentioned above, the script will remain flat on the page, despite being recited out loud. To make a script come to life in a believable way, the actor must make active choices. These actions and the clarity of their execution in emotionally local sequences creates the character—much more than simply saying lines. 

Imagine for a moment how many different ways there are to deliver one single line. Even something a simple as “close the door” can mean so many different things and be expressed in so many different ways by so many different types of people. The words are the writer’s, but the behavior that brings them to vivid life? That is the actor’s. The components of acting beyond reading and memorizing lines are the ability and facility to take the words in and then give them back in a new, purposeful way. 

So yes, great acting does take training. It does require skill. You cannot just wake up one day and be a great actor. It takes time to train your eye and brain to look for action in lines, to figure out where and when to make bold choices and when to keep them subtle. Actors are instruments and their work is as complex as other crafts you often associate with trained skills (like that aforementioned ballerina, opera singer, and classical pianist). 

Using your full imagination, analyzing scripts, planning both the inner life and actions of a character, developing a rich resonate voice and an expressive physical life are the skills that allow an actor to create a truthful, complex plan for a performance that doesn’t betray the amount of work that went into it. Do not be fooled into thinking anyone who can read and speak can be an actor. The subtly and naturalness displayed by great actors is exactly what makes you think that way, but it took them all years of training to get to this point. It is so much more than you know. 

Joanne Baron is an actor-producer and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Baron’s full bio!
D.W. Brown is an acting teacher, actor-writer-director, and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Brown’s full bio!

Craft Notes by Ed Hooks


Marion Cotillard
"PRESENCE"
Suppose you are portraying a character that has a lot of self-doubt. Like, for instance, Blanche Dubois in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” or Martin in Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love”. You know from your study of psychology that anxiety presents itself as a high and heady power center. Blanche is already on the verge of a nervous breakdown when she makes her entrance in the first act. Anxiety expresses itself as tension, and tension makes you feel light, not heavy. Confidence, by contrast, manifests itself as a feeling of relaxation, which you experience as weight. Stanley is confident and therefore has a lot of weight. Blanche is bird-like.
The question one of my students put to me recently is how it is possible to play – with confidence and weight – a character that is inherently anxious, tense and light. “Isn’t that,” the actor wanted to know, “a contradiction?” “How can you be light as the character while feeling the weight of confidence as an actor at the same time?”
This is actually a very good question that must be answered in two parts. Part One has to do with an actor’s role vis-à-vis the audience; Part Two has to do with characterization.
If I asked you to walk across the stage like a regular person, someone like your own self in real life, could you do it? Good. Now, suppose I ask you to walk across the stage like a professional actor. Would there be a discernable difference? Probably not. Now suppose I ask you to walk across the stage like Blanche Dubois. Blanche is not comfortable in her skin, but you the actor are. In other words, you have weight, but the character you are playing does not. Indeed, Blanche seems frequently on the verge of taking flight. But here is the key: It takes the confidence (weight) of a good actor in order to portray this characteristic of Blanche’s personality. If you are yourself unsure of your footing on stage, your interpretation of Blanche will make the audience nervous. It will make it more difficult for them to willingly suspend their disbelief (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1817).
Regardless of the role you are playing, you are first and foremost an actor. The audience expects you to lead them. They did their part by showing up tonight. If you are not confident in your ability to lead, the audience will feel cheated, uneasy, worried for you as a person. They will not be able to get past you and into Blanche. Have you ever seen a nervous actor on stage with a teacup and saucer, with her hands trembling so that the liquid almost spills out?
The actor who asked me the question in the first place is relatively new to her craft. And she is worried a lot about being truthful and honest. Blanche is a nervous wreck and so, for this actor, the correct portrayal was to be a nervous wreck. The problem, of course, was that she appeared to have no weight – i.e. no confidence – on stage as an actress when all we saw was Blanche’s tension. All that honesty and truthfulness, although appropriate for Blanche, was only succeeding in making me nervous for her as an actress as I watched. Before anything, it is the actor’s job to let the audience know it is in good and confident hands, that the actor knows his job. Recently, I read a review of the all-black “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, now playing on Broadway. Anika Noni Rose is playing Maggie “the Cat”. I imagine she is quite good, but all the reviewer had to say was that she was “pushing too hard” at the role. In other words, the actress herself was coming off as lightweight, while playing a character that oozes sexual confidence.
There is a wonderful book by British writer/director Patrick Tucker, Secrets of Screen Acting, in which he speculates why it is that such a large number of Best Actor and Best Actress Academy Awards are won by British actors. This very year, for example, Daniel Day Lewis won Best Actor and Marion Cotillard won Best Actress. Both are British. Tucker muses about the difference in training between British actors and Americans and, somewhat with tongue somewhat in cheek, he observes that American actors are really too obsessed with being honest in their acting. He pointed out that British actors don’t worry about that; they only want to APPEAR that they are being honest. In other words, the British may be more aware of what the camera (i.e. the audience) is seeing. Acting is, after all, pretending. The British-trained actor perhaps – according to Mister Tucker – has a somewhat stronger grasp of that distinction than American actors with all of their Strasberg Method and Meisner Technique. Whether he is correct or not is almost beside the point. It is necessary for an actor to know he is acting. Theatrical reality is not the same thing as regular reality. I have myself sat in classes and heard reputable acting teachers advise that, when acting is “right”, the actor becomes unaware of the audience. That, forgive my French, is hooey. An actor never is unaware of the audience. Stanislavsky never advocated oblivion! The audience is the reason the actor showed up at the theatre in the first place!
“If I am totally in the moment”, goes the argument, “I will not be aware of the audience.” That’s fine except that being totally “in the moment” is an ideal that is not achievable. If you were actually to get “in the moment”, you might just wander off stage. Acting is a discipline, and the actor is in control. The audience does not show up to see you be “in the moment.” They care about the story and the characters, not “the moment.”
Put in a more practical way, I often advise new actors to avoid physically leaning forward from the waist in order to emphasize their lines. If you go to any high school production, you’ll see the actors on stage bending from the waist all night. If you go to a Broadway show, you will rarely see it. Professional actors learn the power of weight; they learn not to chase the audience, but to bring the audience to them.
Regardless of the kind of character you are playing, the audience expects you to be confident of yourself as a leader. Actors are shamans. Truthfulness is nice, but it is only part of the successful theatrical transaction.
Ed Hooks April 2008

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Secrets of Screen Acting by Patrick Tucker

In this new edition, Patrick Tucker retains the engaging style and useful structure of the first edition while addressing significant changes in current technology, ensuring that this volume will remain an indispensable resource for contemporary students of screen acting.

Updated for a new decade of screen performance possibilities, Secrets of Screen Acting is a magician's box of acting tricks for today's performer and makes the distinction between acting for the stage and for the screen. He explains that the actor, instead of starting with what is real and trying to portray that on screen, should work with the realities of the shoot itself, and then work out how to make it all appear realistic.

Tucker has created and developed several screen acting of a courses, and this book is an extension and explanation of a lifetime of work in the field. Containing over fifty acting exercises, this book leads the reader step-by-step through the elements of effective screen acting.