"In response to the national crisis in the aftermath of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery (Brunswick, GA), Breonna Taylor (Louisville, KY), and most recently George Floyd (Minneapolis, MN) THIRTEEN’s Great Performances resumes free streaming of Marc Levin’s film adaptation of Anna Deavere Smith’s play “Twilight: Los Angeles.” It originally aired on PBS in 2001."-PBS
If you haven't seen Anna's complex and stunning solo performance, click on the link here. It is an interesting and moving depiction of the Rodney King Riots of 1992. Very timely for what we are experiencing now.
Now is the time to take action.
This is a great article by Casting Networks, showing how industry leaders are taking action and ways you can, too.
Check it out here.
-Are in the entertainment industry
-Are interested in the entertainment industry
-WATCH or CONSUME any form of entertainment (Hello, everyone!)
Watch this. Now.
I wanted to give yall some information on an opportunity that is being provided by the Nosotros Organization.
"Nosotros is the oldest Latinx arts advocacy organization in the United States founded in 1970 by Hollywood legend Ricardo Montalbán. We specialize in giving rising talent the platform and tools necessary to succeed in the entertainment industry whilst enhancing the image of the Latinx community in media."
They currently have an open call submission is for their 2nd Annual Nosotros Ya Tu Sabes Monologue Slam.
"Ya Tu Sabes is an underground, pop-up monologue slam showcasing emerging diverse Latinx Writers and Actors. After a multi-round selection process, 12 Writers and 12 Actors will perform original monologues at the Ricardo Montalbán Theatre in the heart of Hollywood in front of industry professionals, family, and friends. This event was launched as an initiative with NBC to seek out the next generation of Latinx writers and actors, while celebrating innovative storytelling from diverse Latinx backgrounds. "
Writing submissions are currently being accepted through June 12th via FilmFreeway at this link. Acting submission will be accepted starting in July.
To learn more about the organization visit www.nosotrosorg.com and IG: NosotrosOrg
I am hurting, as I'm sure a lot of you are as well, by the recent tragic death of George Floyd, whose name is added to a growing list of victims of police brutality that include Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other victims.
Let's be clear: this is not new. Violence and mistreatment against black bodies have been happening for centuries. This is not one isolated moment in history. What IS happening is that it is being documented. What IS happening is awareness.
I stand with you.
I commit to listening and holding space.
I commit to using my voice and privilege to stand up for racial equality.
I applaud those who are taking to the streets in protest and making their voices heard. Change begins with action, and because of this, I have compiled some resources and action steps. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Many of you have resources that should be on this list. Please let me know, and I'll gladly add them:
Dominic Taylor, the acting chair at UCLA, sent out a moving email to the theatre faculty. I asked his permission to share it with you all.
As an African American man, he can, obviously, speak to this in a way that I cannot. Also, as a cisgendered, heterosexual white woman, my voice has been heard plenty. Now is a time to listen.
We are at the end of the quarter but at the beginning of a new unknown terrain. The murder of George Floyd has caused the euphemism that we have been using for two months – "Alone- Together" to be placed in sharp relief. For many of us, the realization that together does not mean the same thing for all Americans has been shocking and unsettling. The simple fact that we, as a nation, watched the death of a man, at the hands of a law enforcement authority figure, made us refigure what we knew.
We are theatre practitioners and engagers. I often tell my students that the etymology for theatre is from the Greek Theatron. It means to view or see. (It can also mean viewing place or seeing place.) I also ask them the question early on, do we all see the same thing. If they learn nothing else from me, they know that the answer is no. They also know that what I try to do as a theatre artist is to frame the questions so that we can all examine something through the same prism. We might not see the same thing, but the framed question should be consistent.
The question that we have asked ourselves again is: who/what are we as a country? If we train those to “serve and protect” us that they can destroy a Black body with impunity, who/what are we as a country?
If a white woman in New York City believes that the police force is used as a system for the removal of Black bodies, who/what are we as a country?
If the media never shows us the thousands of peaceful protests that have gone on throughout the country, who/what are we as a country?
If we have people who are justifiably frustrated and determine that the only mechanism to exhibit their collective frustration is to destroy property in their own communities (for the most part), who/what are we as a country?
If people think that robbing a Patagonia is an act of civil disobedience comparable to sitting at a segregated lunch counter in the 1950s, who/what are we as a country?
I could go on, but I wanted to leave you all with my usually obvious points to consider for our final teaching week.
• We (students, faculty and staff) might be dealing with a new series of feelings and emotions as the stressors have added a new element. Be aware of this with grading going forward. Some students might not be able to finish their final project on-time. Make exceptions when you can. These are hyper stressful times.
•The sting of unemployment or under-employment is getting more acute for our families. Our families have had two months now, and things are starting to get tighter. Additionally, there seems to be no clear economic answer on the horizon.
• Take a moment and Draw Yourself. In the New York Times – At Home section in Sunday, there was an exercise to draw a self-portrait. All you needed was a mirror and a pencil. It was really calming for me on Sunday.
I do not want you all to feel at a loss. We are people whose mission is to help people "see." I think we often hold onto bromides and we don't acknowledge that we are doing good work. Nevertheless, it is WORK. President Obama used to quote Dr. King's line "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This adage gave the impression that the moral universe was a free-standing agent turning without the diligent work of all of us.
King gave us a paraphrase from Theodore Parker, an abolitionist minister who delivered a sermon in 1853. He said:
“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe. The arc is a long one. My eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.”
I agree with the good minister. I will not let the moral universe operate without my direct and forceful input. Forgive me as I mix my metaphors but, as long as I have breath in my body, I will keep my shoulder to the wheel pushing as hard as I can to move that moral arc towards what is right.
Everyone reading this, I know, is doing in his/her/their way the same diligent work demanding that the moral universe moves in the proper direction. Your work has not been in vain, but we must keep working.
Godspeed to all,
Brian Patacca has cultivated an incredible list of COVID resources for actors. Everything from creativity resources to finance to health, he has covered it all! Check it out here.
Do you need an agent?
What about a better one?
I know finding an agent can be tough that’s why I’m so excited to share this incredible – and totally free! – resource from my friend Brian to help you.
I first became acquainted with Brian over quarantine, and he offered to create something special for you guys. There are TON of creative coaches out here in Los Angeles, but he is legit. He is down to earth, kind, and extremely generous.
Between you and me, he’s crazy pants for giving this all away. I tried to tell him, but he insists…
Brian Patacca created the Agent Email Super Pack so you can write emails to agents that actually get opened and lead to more meetings.
This free download includes 40+ email templates plus a step-by-step guide telling you exactly how to make the templates your own so your message stands out each and every time you click send!
And it’s got the best URL ever…
IN THIS FREE DOWNLOAD, YOU’LL GET:
See what I mean… he should NOT be giving this away for free. :-)
If you’d like a better way to reach out to agents without looking like you're desperate or feeling like you're being annoying, you’ll love every page of the Agent Email Super Pack.
Wishing you lots of luck on your representation hunt!
I get asked a lot about monologues--what monologue should I do, what does contrasting pieces mean, etc.
Here are some thoughts on monologue hunting:
-Your monologue choices let people know who you are as an actor. So, choose pieces that are within your type and brand. What do you have to say? How is your voice different? Let your pieces reflect that difference.
-Contrasting doesn't have to mean funny vs dramatic. Contrasting can be light vs dark, broad character choices vs subtle character choices, contrasting actions, contrasting characters, etc.
However, don't be so broad with how you contrast your pieces that you go outside of your type/brand. This will just confuse casting. For example, my type is strong willed, determined, gritty, fighter, leader women. If I chose a monologue of a delicate flower (like Laura in Glass Menagerie), that wouldn't be representing my type. If I paired that piece with Lady Macbeth (who is my type), then my buyers are left confused.
-Choosing a monologue takes time. Yes, you will go through and read a lot of plays that will offer up nothing in terms of monologues, but in the process of reading all of those plays, you are understanding story, characterization, that playwright's voice, structure, tone, mood, etc. Read read read. In the process, you'll learn a ton. You might even find a monologue.
-Don't be afraid to piece together chunks of dialogue in order to create your monologue, BUT you should always keep in mind playwright intention when doing so. Don't be so willy nilly with your editing that you compromise the story. Story is king (or queen).
Start identifying your leaders, heroes, and inspirations—the people who lead in the way you want to lead.
Who are the content creators? The writers? The producers? The actors? The stand up comics? The people who shake things up, create opportunities, and are champions for diversity and creativity?
If you get stuck, look for people who are from your hometown, who are of your ethnicity, sexuality, religious background, etc. Chances are they are writing and creating from their experiences, and if you have a shared experience, then chances are their work will resonate with you in a profound way.
For example, I’m from the Mississippi Delta, which is a very specific place with a very specific culture. A lot playwrights come from the Mississippi Delta (Beth Henley, Tennessee Williams, Katori Hall, Ida Mae Holland), so all of these lovely creators and writers are on my inspiration list. I can feel their work in my bones.
Obviously, there are millions of resources out there--these are just a few:
Sam French--call them! They'll give you great monologue ideas!
abebooks.com for discount books and plays
Adam's website: https://www.adamszymkowicz.com/monologues.htm
Check me on out the hit podcast, On That Note, Mortals! I had such an incredible time chatting with these gals. We cover the industry, Shakespeare, technique, and wine :)
A few weeks ago I went down a TedTalk blackhole (as one is wont to do), and I came across what was, at the time, the most viewed TedTalk in the history of Ted. It was Simon Sinek's powerful Ted Talk on how great leaders inspire action by being connected to their "why."
If you haven't seen this talk, STOP READING, AND WATCH IT NOW.
This reminded me of one of my first assignments that I give to my students, which involves them getting clear on their why. I've included the assignment below; give it a try :)
Factor in the freakout/Get clear on your "why."
I would like to reframe the term "freakout" when it comes to moments of questioning that will invariably pop up during your career and probably during your time at school. Let each "freakout" be an invitation to reaffirm your choice to live an artistic life. For your journal, I would like you to create your "why"--why you chose an artistic life, why you want to be an actor, why you want to dedicate your life to an art where only 2% of people are able to make a living (not a famous living, just a meager living). Create a "why" that feels strong and resonant for you. It can be one phrase, one sentence, one paragraph--whatever honors you and your creativity. Don't take this lightly or treat it flippantly, but also don't become paralyzed by the notion that your life's choices must be summed up in one tidy sentence. Allow yourself to return to your "why" throughout your time at school and throughout your career. Let it change and grow, just how you will change and grow.
It doesn’t need to be long, but I encourage you to make your “why” bigger than yourself. One of the best whys I ever received was, “I’m doing it for my ancestors.” Your “why” should be bigger than your love of acting.
If this assignment confuses you, here is a great article from Forbes. This article focuses on helping the reader find their purpose, but I think it can also help you find your "why."
This is also a lovely example of getting clear on your why.
In episode 7 of Audrey Helps Actors, she and her guest discuss the importance of getting clear on your why.
Here is a great list of quotes from famous actors as to why they chose this career.
The ACTIVE ACTOR
You are probably wondering this blog is about. Well, it's about anything that everything that I find inspiring, helpful, and curiosity building.
Curiosity is my favorite state of being, and I've become a treasure hunter and a trash hoarder, collecting all sorts of articles, artwork, and accessories that fuel my inspiration and creativity.
This will also be a place for me to document my life as an actor and coach in Los Angeles. If performing is your passion, I hope that this blog becomes a place for you to learn from my mistakes, grow from my accomplishments, laugh at my witless choices, and share in this crazy, unpredictable, beautiful, life in the arts.