June 7, 2012
“Creative risks will always outweigh technical mistakes.” – One of the judges on the cooking competition series ‘Chopped’. (Food, acting– same thing, right??)
April 27, 2012
How many times a day do you get stuck? In your acting, in class, at work, in your decision-making? ALL. THE GODDAMN. TIME, right? I think the more we try to ”solve” something, the further away from a solution we begin finding ourselves, simply because we are so zoned in on getting a result. It’s annoying as shit. Which is why I am presenting The John Rosenfeld Studios Blog Imagination Workout!
Just like working out physically for better agility and health, we should be shaping and developing our imaginations to stimulate our creativity and strengthen our ideas, two of the most important ingredients of badass acting. That being said, I am hereby challenging all of us to tackle the unpredictability of whatever comes our way, because that’s what happens in this business, right? And we have NO. CONTROL. OVER. THE RESULT. We have to be able to use nothing more than what is right in front of us and have no expectations of ourselves to be “the best.” It’s all about telling a story, that is ALL that matters! So—
Here is your very first Imagination Workout!
(Ladies and metrosexuals, ya might wanna pinch your nose and have the Purell ready for this…)
AT RANDOM, pull out five objects from the trash can. Ask yourself: what can be made using all five of these random objects? Can they be assembled into a car, a dog or cat, or a replica of Mount Rushmore? A velociraptor? How many different ways can they be arranged to form another creation?
This will completely change your focus! You are being forced to see a pile of randomness in a way that only YOU can see it! Does the term “threading” ever pop up in class and during rehearsals?? This is threading! You are being forced to solve a random creative problem using only your creative energies and you’ll probably find yourself being distracted from the frustrating, infuriating (and many times painful!) stress of having to “get it right” and “be the best.”
SEND ME PICS!!! Send me pics of your dumpster-diving masterpieces! What are they? What’d you think when you were putting it together? Were you stressed out? Did you feel stupid? Was it fun? It’ll be AMAZING to see what look like piles of garbage become a story as everyone explains what it means to THEM. THAT’S the point of this- storytelling. NO ONE BUT US CAN TELL OUR STORIES. If you can make someone see how an apple core, a toilet paper roll, a soda can, an old toothbrush, and a wadded up kitty litter bag can turn into the Griffith Observatory, YOU GET THE JOB!
Ya feelin’ me on this??? I call it ‘The Imagination Workout.’ And we’ll be doin’ a lot of them here on the old JRS Blog! Get ready!
SEND YOUR PICS AND STORIES TO: theJRSblog@gmail.com - we’ll share ‘em here!
- Scott Borden, JRS Blog Editor
This installment of ‘Devastatingly Badass Quotes’ courtesy of ... THE GREATEST COMEDIENNE IN TELEVISION HISTORY, THE INVENTOR OF THE SITUATION COMEDY, AND THE FIRST FEMALE STUDIO HEAD IN HISTORY… LUCILLE BALL!!!!!
“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy. Without that, acting and comedy are nothing.”
February 25, 2012
“As actors, we know only too well that we spend much more time auditioning than we do performing. Let’s look at what may make that time a bit more enjoyable and productive.
The amount of rejection in show business is legendary. People on the outside wonder: how can we take it? Doesn’t it beat you down? The answer to that is, ‘Yes, sometimes it does, but most of the time, it doesn’t.’ I’ll explain.
After someone has been in this business about a month, he realizes that we are always going to lose more auditions than we are going to win and to survive, we’d better take the “personal” part out of it. It wasn’t that they didn’t like ME (they don’t even know me). They didn’t think I was right for the part. In that, they were either right or wrong. Perhaps they were right and I really wasn’t right for the role. (It happens.)
But, if they were wrong and I actually would have been great for the part, I have some work to do. Perhaps they didn’t know what I could do or they weren’t aware of my range and ability? I’d have to work on correcting that. The way professionals react to negativity is much more analytical and professional than just putting our tail between our legs and slumping home.
However, we are human. Dry spells can be particularly difficult. The longer they go on, the harder it is to keep ourselves ‘up’ and positive. Occasionally there are also roles that stand out over the others. These are the ones we REALLY want. It’s also tough when we lose them. They don’t come around that often.
The only thing we can do is to face it professionally and like a baseball pitcher who’s in a slump, just keep throwing. His coach and your agent will tell you both the same thing, keep after it. It won’t last forever. Hang in there, you just have to wait it out.
That’s what we do because, basically, we have no alternative. Face it like a numbers game; the more interviews we go on, the more jobs we’ll get. We shoot our best shot then forget it. Hanging around waiting for a phone call won’t cut it. They know how to reach us.
Actors, many times, don’t have to look further than themselves to find someone to beat up on them. Example: an actor does a play that is reviewed by six writers. Five loved it. One thought the actor wasn’t strong enough to carry the show. That actor could be morose for weeks thinking that people believed he was too weak for the role. The five glowing reviews have been forgotten. The bad one, he can’t get out of his head. Actors can be like that. We have to watch it. Some actors who are severely handicapped by questionable reviews make a point of never reading them. Much better for their peace of mind as well as their subsequent performances.
We have to believe we have a reason to be in this business, that we have something to contribute. Auditioning is our opportunity to show what we do. If we are unable to sufficiently convince others of our ability, we have to work on that. Rejection points out our weak points. They are either so very weak that we end up in another business (or another facet of this one) or we get to work to make our weak points some of our strongest.
Be sure to remember the good reviews and … hang in there.
As Confucius said, ‘Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.’
- Now Casting, ‘Actors Ink’ (Volume 9, #4)
February 25, 2012
SHARON MOIST is a former talent agent and author of ’101 Tips For Actors’ who now works as a leading career consultant. I read a great article she wrote with some tips on getting out of our bouts of stagnance, and they’re much easier and simpler than you might expect!
“During her career as an agent, Sharon Moist saw thousands of actors shoot themselves in the foot, on a regular basis, through the choices they made and the actions they took while pursuing their careers. And, while they weren’t doing it on purpose, it happened because they didn’t have the information and the resources they needed to make better decisions and better choices.
I recently had a conversation with a potential client who talks a really good game.
The challenge with this person is that I’ve ‘been there and done that,’ so I’m very familiar with the ‘talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk’ syndrome. Up until two years ago, I could talk just about anyone under the table with all of my big plans. Unfortunately, all I did was talk. I never took action on anything. Just ask my former trainer; he’ll tell you just how true that statement really is!
Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore. Now I talk the talk AND walk the walk, and my life has changed 360 degrees because of it.
So what changed? Just one thing: I stopped talking and started walking. (i.e. I actually took the first step on something.)
Here’s an example of what I mean: When it came to exercise, I started working out at the gym for just 10 minutes at a time. (This area is definitely a challenge for me, as I’m not a big fan of exercising, but I’m getting there!) When it came to nutrition, I drank one extra glass of water a day. (Soda is my preferred beverage of choice!) When it came to getting my office organized, I set the timer for 10 minutes and worked on a pile of papers. (My assistant lives in Canada, so when it comes to keeping my office straight, it really is up to me!)
See how simple it was? The most important thing was to make each step I took small enough for me to succeed and feel like I had actually accomplished something. After that, momentum built on momentum, and the steps I took got a little bit larger each time, until I was no longer talking, but actually walking!
Now, let’s be honest: The exercise thing and the water thing are still a challenge for me, as I’d still rather sit on the couch reading a good book and drinking a can of soda, than working out, drinking a bottle of water. But, I’m working on it!
You see, I don’t think that most people who talk a good game intend to just talk. I really do believe that they want to accomplish the things they talk about. I know I did. I’ve also come to realize that the reason I wasn’t getting anywhere was two-fold: (1) I wanted to do everything perfectly and (2) If there was too much to do, I became completely overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start.
Finally, after many conversations with one of my own coaches, I realized that the perfection thing was never going to happen! And once I understood that, she helped me break things down into bite-size pieces, which gave me a place to start.
So what about you? Do you talk the talk or walk the walk?
If you discover that you’re doing more talking than walking, I would encourage you to take an hour or two and figure out exactly what’s holding you back from actively pursuing your goals.
Could it be fear? If so, you’ve heard what f.e.a.r. stands for, haven’t you? If not, here’s the definition: False Evidence Appearing Real. Remember, it’s very easy to let fear stop us in our tracks. However, until you know something for a fact, it might actually be nothing more than ‘false evidence appearing real.’
Is doubt getting in your way? If so, what exactly is it that you’re doubting? Your talent? Then maybe it’s time to get back in class and get your confidence back. Your headshots? Then think about giving yourself the gift of new pictures. Your demo reel? If it’s not a good representation of your work today, then don’t send it out right now, as I can promise you that hundreds of actors have gotten auditions and/or representation without a demo reel!
And if, for some reason, you can’t figure it out on your own, talk to your friends or even consider hiring a coach to help you.
Once you have the answers you need to break through your stuck spots, the sky is the limit on what you can achieve!”
- Now Casting, Actors Ink, Volume 6, #40
This installment of ‘Devastatingly Badass Quotes’ courtesy of ... ME!!! (I know, cocky, right?? Sorry. I liked it. From Class Notes. Suck it!)
“Actors are storytellers! WE tell STORIES. In this industry, we are GIVEN stories to TELL, but WE TELL THEM, through OUR eyes and OUR point of view. Simply tell the story that’s been given to you as you would ANY story you’ve ever told and THAT’S what they are looking for. We ALL know classic kids stories and songs, yeah? We all know the same thing, hear it time and time again, but the REASON these LAST is because they’re never told the same way TWICE. You will NEVER hear two people tell ‘The Three Little Pigs’ the same way. EVER. It’s all about how WE learned the story, what WE thought about it when we heard it, what WE think about the story AS we tell it (get where I’m goin’ with this?)… Sides are handed to HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of actors; casting will hear the same 2 pages for days on end, and only the few that somehow manage to make them curious to hear that The Big Bad Wolf was unable to blow down the third Little Pig’s brick house will give them a boner and a callback.”
February 25, 2012
- Make a choice! ANY choice that is a CHARACTER choice is better than PLAYING IT SAFE. for your scene.
- Actors are storytellers! WE tell STORIES. In this industry, we are GIVEN stories to TELL, but WE TELL THEM, through OUR eyes and OUR point of view. Simply tell the story that’s been given to you as you would ANY story you’ve ever told and THAT’S what they are looking for. We ALL know classic kids stories and songs, yeah? We all know the same story, hear it time and time again, but the REASON they LAST is because they’re never told the same way TWICE. You will NEVER hear two people in class tell ‘The Three Little Pigs’ the same way. EVER. It’s all about how WE learned the story, what WE thought about it when we heard it, what WE think about the story AS we tell it (get where I’m goin’ with this?)… Sides are handed to HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of actors; casting will hear the same 2 pages for days on end, and only the few that somehow manage to make them curious to hear that The Big Bad Wolf was unable to blow down the third Little Pig’s brick house will give them a boner and a callback.
- Not sure how to start the scene? Peek at how the scene ENDS. It’s called an ARC- THIS IS GUARANTEED TO IMPROVE YOUR SCENE!
- MAKE SURE YOU’RE SELLING YOURSELF AS SOON AS THE SCENE STARTS! Once they buy the car and drive it off the lot, your job is DONE, right?
- It’s a cliche term, I know, but the ‘moment before’ entices the audience to follow you into the story. It’s unspoken flirting that LEADS TO SEX.
- Dressing the part will often times do half the work for you.
- You don’t get cast for your choices, you are cast for embodying the character. Choices are tools. Never in the history of this solar system has a brilliant architect been praised or had heaps of fortune piled upon him because of his protractor and graph paper.
February 25, 2012
This installment of ‘Devastatingly Badass Quotes’ courtesy of ... ONE OF THE GREATEST WRITER/PRODUCER/SHOWRUNNERS IN ALL OF TELEVISION HISTORY, DAVID E. KELLEY!!!!!
“Chemistry is not anything an executive producer or writer can orchestrate or plan; you just hope and pray for it. Only the actors can show it to us.”
February 25, 2012
Here is a great GREAT article from Now Casting’s ‘Actors Ink’ (Volume 9, #4). Read it then send me your thank you cards.
“Countless actors pour into Hollywood and New York every day. All after the same dream. But what is it that everybody is chasing? Why do so many people want to act? First of all … It looks so easy.
When a small town boy or girl with stars in their eyes watches tv or movies, it is really easy to sit back and think “I can do that”. But what small town America (and all those with similar dreams around the world) are not shown is that with very few exceptions, most successful actors have been working at it for years. If not decades. Remember that the good ones make it look easy. That is part of the job.
Also, media shows only the fun and glitz and glamour.
It is easy to buy into the facade that actors spend most of their time shopping and at spas, at parties, and on red carpets, because, well… That is what is shown in the media. If someone only sees what is shown on entertainment shows, the life of an actor looks pretty darn easy. In fact, the only time any negativity is shown associated with actors is when it is so sensational that it makes headlines. A starlet shoplifts, or an angry star punches a photographer, a legend overdoses, etc…
An interesting question that actors should ask themselves is, WHY do I want to be an actor in the first place? If someone wants fame, one might suggest that there are a lot quicker ways to become famous. And if an individual wants fortune, statistics would show that acting as a profession is probably one of the very worst ways to achieve wealth.
Yet they still come.
An interesting phenomenon that is prevalent in the acting community is the belief among certain actors that just because they moved to Hollywood and bought some headshots, took some acting classes, and got an agent, they should suddenly have a professional acting career. Just imagine if it were that simple! Just put in a few hours of training and a couple hundred dollars and then in return receive fame and fortune! What a deal! This way of thinking may seem exaggerated to some, yet on many levels, it is actually quite commonplace.
Can you even imagine someone who wants to be a surgeon thinking that they could just practice with a scalpel for a few hours, buy a lab coat, and then just go out there ans operate? Or picture someone who wants to be a professional basketball player just shooting hoops for a few hours and buying some sneakers then sit back and wait for the millions in endorsement deals to pour in? No. Of course not. This only happens with actors.
This also can be one of the reasons that the majority of actors quit and go back home when the truth of the business starts to seep in. Like many things in Hollywood, a true career as a working actor is not what it appears. When actors get frustrated with their careers and “the biz” it is almost always because their career does not live up to their expectations. This is partially because their expectations were unrealistic to begin with.
Again… Getting a headshot, an acting class, an agent, (and any number of other steps in an acting career) does not mean one should automatically receive in return, the fame, fortune, fun, and artistic fulfillment so many desire.
This is not to say however, that there aren’t thousands upon thousands of brilliant, hardworking, talented, proactive and positive actors out there that HAVE paid their dues and have put in the time and effort. There are so many actors who are absolutely deserving of a great career. Some have gotten rewarded for their hard work. Many have not. Well at least not in the way they desire.
To the talented hard workers out there… DO NOT QUIT. Plain and simple. You never know what is right around the corner.
Since the competition may at times seem insurmountable, it is vitally important that actors take the time to really understand the game. Make peace with the game. And then actually PLAY the game 100%! And one last thing…. When you allow it to be, The Game can be quite FUN!