Summer is approaching, which means...WORKSHOPS! Let me know what would be interesting to you by taking my quick survey here.
Throwback to 24 year old me.
I had been in LA for only a few months. I had a manager who told me I was too overweight and ugly to ever be an actor.
I wish I could say that I left her immediately, but I stayed for about a year, trying and trying and trying to fit into HER idea of an actor.
One day I had a meeting with the then head of the Academy, the inspirational Hawk Koch.
He asked me, Why are you in LA? Do you want to be famous? Or do you want to be an actor?
I told him, I want to be an actor.
He said, good, because no one can make you famous, and there's nothing you can do to make yourself famous. That's like saying your dream is to the win the lottery, and unless you win the lottery, you won't consider yourself successful or happy. That's a recipe for a miserable life.
BUT! While no one can make you famous, no one has the power to keep you from acting, no one. So if you want to act, act--write a short film, do a play, arrange a play reading.
No one can make you famous, but no one can keep you from acting.
This photo is from the day I dumped that manager. This is the day I started my acting career.
More resources coming your way! Huzzah!
Ok, let's talk about finances. If you're wanting to be an actor in Los Angeles, be ready to shell out some serious cash. Acting is an investment, folks, a BIG investment. Fear not, I have 4 apps for you that I think you'll find nifty.
Digit analyzes your spending and automatically saves the perfect amount every day, so you don't have to think about it.
You guys. This one is amazing. Not only does it text you your bank balance everyday--which, yes, can be scary, BUT useful--it also puts a liiiiiittttttle bit of your money in savings every. single. day. This is so helpful for when you need some emergency cash for new headshots, reels, or, lets face it, rent.
These next three are kind of similar, but equally great--they all give you cash back when you shop at your favorite stores.
Dosh is partnered up with thousands of brands, so that each time you shop, you can earn up to 10% cash back automatically. Whaaaaaat??
For extra cash IMMEDIATELY, use the promo code: ALEXANW188
Drop is similar in that it helps you earn cash back every time you shop at your favorite stores.
For extra cash IMMEDIATELY, use the promo code: cbwmk
Lastly, Ebates is really amazing because you can put it on your phone or on your computer.
For $ 10 extra cash IMMEDIATELY, use the link: https://go.ebat.es/U2W7xH5MnW
And, because yall KNOW I love a podcast, check out Get to the Point Podcast, where two nifty and hilarious ladies discuss all these finance.
See you all soon!
Hello, you beautifully creative artists!
Let's dive into the Active Actor Resources for August, shall we?
I was recently in Scotland playing Lady Macbeth in the light, comedic fare that is Macbeth. You read that right--Macbeth in Scotland! Needless to say, it was a magical journey. If you want to see pictures, hop on over to my website.
Anywho, one of the best things about doing productions outside of Los Angeles is that I get to meet a whole sleeeew of new, creative, talented folks, and in meeting them and working with them, we exchange resources, tidbits, and hacks. Us artist people are all about taking care of each other :) Get ready for all that creative and helpful information to be sprinkled in later Active Actor Resources!
An oldie but a goodie: Bananatag. In their own words, Banantag lets you "see what happens to your emails after you press send." Want to know if that email was opened? Tag it. Want to see how many times it was opened? Tag it. Want to see if it was forwarded, if a link was clicked, if an attachment was opened? Tag it.
Hop over here for more info.
Another oldie but a goodie, and equally as creepy feeling as Bananatag: Mouseflow. In their own words, Mouseflow "lets you replay the full visitor experience to identify pain points, boost conversions, and optimize your site." This site is cruuuuucial in understanding how future buyers are interacting with your website. What pages are they clicking out of? At what point in your reel are they becoming bored? What are the headshots that are getting the most interest?
This beautiful quote was read to me by the director of Crimes of the Heart, Luke Yankee.
A creative quote to keep you going:
"Act, when and where you want to, since you feel you must, but do it with all your might. If you do anything at all beautiful on a stage, anything nameless and joy-making, anything above and beyond the call of theatrical ingenuity, I will rent a tuxedo and a rhinestone hat and solemnly come around to the stage door with bouquets of snapdragons." JD Salinger
Fantastic opportunity for non-union actors:
The Shakespeare Center of LA is forming a non-union Apprentice Company comprised of well-trained actors who have recently graduated top notch training programs to tackle Shakespeare for student audiences.
They are mounting Macbeth in October with London-based director Kenn Sabberton, who is a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. They are looking for 3 female and 6 male actors/actresses experienced with Shakespeare, without union affiliations. Pay is $300 a week. Rehearsals begin mid-September; performances start October 20 and run through November 3rd.
If interested, self-tape two monologues of two characters from Macbeth you’re interested in playing and email the tapes directly to Ben Donenberg at Ben@ShakespeareCenter.org. Submissions must be received by end of day this Thursday, August 23
In a Booth at Chasen's is having an EPA on Monday August 13. More info here.
Real Women Have Curves is having an EPA on Monday August 20. More info here.
A Splintered Soul is having an EPA on Tuesday August 28. More info here.
Marie is having an EPA on Wednesday August 29. Thursday August 30 will be their Equity Dance Call. More info here.
White is having an EPA on Monday October 1. More info here.
If you have EVER talked to me for longer than 5 minutes about books, then I would have probably mentioned one of my all-time favorites: The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. More info here and here.
This book is set up like a workbook for any and all creative types--it is chock full of worksheets and exercises to help the reader mine their creative power. It is the type of book that you can return to time and time again, no matter where you are in your career or artistic journey.
Speaking of booooooks, I'm a pretty big nerd, and I am constantly buying more books. Abebooks.com has saved me so much money throughout the years--it is an excellent used book online retailer. Check it out here!
Last book resource, I PROMISE! If you have a library card, hoopladigital.com allows you to electronically "check-out" 8 free e-books and audio books a month. If you don't finish your book within the month, no worries--you can just check it out again :) More info here.
Final treats for you fine folks.
This first video is a compilation of two interviews with the legendary Bette Davis. If you read that, and went, "Who is that?" then open a new tab on your computer RIGHT NOW and watch the Queen of Acting do her work. She is my acting spirit animal, and it is nothing short than blasphemous to not know and appreciate her talent.
Then, watch this video. It's perfect. She's perfect.
In this second video, Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Elisabeth Moss discusses her acting approach. I was particularly drawn to this clip because I, too, have always found music to be instrumental (pun-intended) in my character creation. Enjoy!
Applications for the 2018 Women in Film Production Program are now open!
The Women In Film Production Program is a multi-faceted program with opportunities for emerging women on the creative side and in below-the-line positions. Formerly the Women In Film PSA Program, the Production Program is open to all WIF Members who are career level and above and seeks to catalyze careers through production training and support.
The core of the Program is open to Writers, Directors, and Producers to submit their short form projects. If chosen for the program, these members will be teamed up with Mentors who will walk them through the process of developing & producing their material with the financial and physical production support of Women In Film. Projects accepted for consideration are micro short films, web series pilots, PSAs, and proof of concepts. All members of the Key Team (Writer, Director, Producer, and Line Producer) must be Women In Film Members once entered into the program, but only one of these team members must be a Women In Film member at time of submission. The productions will be crewed by industry professionals and supported by emerging Women In Film members in below-the-line disciplines.
Applications can be found here.
Schoolhouse Rock Live is hosting open auditions in Pasadena on July 6, 2018. More information here.
It's time to get cast. Here's how---introducing our
Summer 2018 Industry Workshop.
We are going to teach you the sh*t they don't teach you in school!
All the secret insider industry hacks...shhh...
When is this happening, you might be asking, and what will I be learning? I'm so happy you asked.
Thursday June 14--6:00-8:00 PM--First week: Typing/Branding
Thursday June 21--6:00-8:00 PM-- Second week: Materials/Marketing yourself within your brand (headshots, resumes, reels, websites)
Thursday June 28--6:00-8:00 PM-- Third week: Audition Prep (casting sites, tracking CDs, following up, building relationships with the CDs that are right for you, choosing audition material within your brand to make you stand out)
Thursday July 5 --6:00-8:00 PM--Fourth week: Submitting to Reps and Beyond (Cover letters, how to interview, the day-to-day, budgeting, quality of life)
What you'll get:
A personalized binder filled with an industry tracker, typing/branding sheets, representation submission tracker, audition tracker, industry accolades template, resume template, goals template.
The total cost for the workshop is $400, which comes to $100 per session. If you refer a friend who ends up taking the workshop, your workshop cost will be decreased to $300. Yay!
To give you an idea of price, another leading typing/branding woman in Los Angeles charges $150/15 mins. Yikes!
But, Alex, what if I don't live in LA. What do I do????
Skype. Easy peasy.
So, Alex, what if I do live in LA? Where is this happening?
My home. With snacks.
How do I sign up?
Email me! Alexandraruthwright@gmail.com
Call me! 210-601-1199
American Conservatory Theater is hosting an open call for their 2018-2019 season. More information here: Audition
Flappers comedy club is hosting auditions June 6 and June 7. More information here: www.flapperscomedy.com
Looking to help build up your marketing arsenal? Try creating your own logo! Not only is it fun and effective in building up your audience, it is a great exercise in getting super clear on your brand. Logojoy.com and designhill.com are two of my favorites.
Speaking of branding, if you have ever had me as a teacher then you know how much I love Bonnie Gillespie. Check out bonniegillespie.com for a ton of free resources.
Not going to lie, I'm pretty obsessed with subscription boxes. It makes me feel like I'm getting a gift--even if I'm the one who bought it! Right now, I love FabFitFun. Every three months you will receive a fabulously curated box full of fitness and fashion finds, worth over $200.
Use this link to get $10 off your first FabFitFun box! http://xo.fff.me/i-L59
My other favorite subscription box at the moment is my Sunbasket food delivery. Each week I am sent a box of fresh ingredients and 3-4 recipes that are tailored to my diet preferences. They offer everything from paleo, vegan, gluten-free, lean and clean..you get it! It has made a huge difference in my health--between teaching at four universities and acting, I need something quick, easy, and healthy.
Use this link and get $40 off your first delivery: sunbasket.com/invite/Alexandra1043961
Breath, and the way you utilize breath, can have a huge impact on your presence. We have all felt the panicky breath, stuck high in our chest, when we are in anxious or stressful situations; and, we have all felt the blissful, centered, and full breath, dropping deep in our bellies, when we are content and relaxed.
Our body works like a two-way street: how we feel can affect our body, but also, our body can affect how we feel. Amy Cuddy does a brilliant Ted Talk on this subject, which I mentioned in an earlier blog post (found here). So, if your breath habit is one that is stuck high in the chest, you are inevitably sending the signal to your brain that you are anxious and stressed. Similarly, if you learn how to breathe properly--with a deep, centered, diaphragmatic breath--you are sending the signal to your brain that you are relaxed.
There are numerous exercises that can teach you how to not just take a fuller breath, but how to also take a more present breath--a breath that allows you to become more observant and ultimately helps you connect on a deeper, more meaningful level, to those in your life.
This website (found here) walks the reader through one of my favorite Patsy Rodenburg exercises. I hope you enjoy :)
Did you know that the way stand, breathe, move, and talk throughout the day can affect the energy and presence of the people around you? That's because of a small thing known as mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are "special neurons that show activity both when a subject performs an action and when it observes the same action performed by another. Some scientists consider mirror neurons one of the most important findings in neuroscience in the last decade, in part because they are thought to be responsible for the empathic response in humans." (Philoctetes).
So what does this have to do with presence? Well, if we are in 2nd circle (AKA, present) with the people around us, then who is to say that those around us won't start mirroring that presence? After all, presence is energy that is combination of how we are standing, talking, moving, speaking, and breathing, so if our friends and family are mirroring those actions, then their presence is affected as well.
This is why there are certain people who, when we hang out with them, make us feel lighter, happier, more relaxed, and more present. We are mirroring their energy!
Here are two fabulous resources that offer up more information regarding mirror neurons. The first is an episode from the podcast Invisibilia. The second is a scientific lecture regarding the connection between mirror neurons and acting. Make sure to check out the PDF transcript of their roundtable discussion.
Enjoy, and happy creating :)
Mirror neurons and acting link
THE ACTIVE ACTOR
What is this thing?