Posts tagged #actors on acting

An Actor Repairs: Moving Forward After a Bad Audition

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Sometimes when you leave an audition, you practically float out the door knowing you’ve totally, unequivocally nailed it. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times. You blew it. Objectively, you know that bad auditions happen all the time to actors of all levels of talent and experience - heck, Peter Jackson even called Jake Gyllenhaal “the worst actor I have ever seen” after a brutally bad read for Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings. As universal as failure is, it’s still tough not to get bogged down when you swing and miss. Feeling like you should just throw in the towel and never show your face at a casting call again? Try these three things instead to get back on track.

Throw a Tiny Pity Party

First, you have permission to be gentle with yourself. It’s normal to be bummed out about a missed opportunity. If you need to take some time to nurse your wounds, there’s no shame in drawing a hot bath, slapping on a face mask, polishing off a carton of ice cream, Postmating a second carton of ice cream... well, you get the idea. Who are the people you can count on to love you unconditionally and let you vent for a minute? Call your mom, text your best friend, ask your partner for an extra-long hug. Sometimes a little attention and empathy are the best balms for the sting of rejection.

Growing Pains

You came, you saw, you didn’t conquer, you cried a little. Now’s your chance to take this tough experience and use it as fuel to grow as an actor. After you’ve had some time to decompress and the pang of disappointment isn’t quite as sharp anymore, you’ll have some more clarity and can take a thoughtful look back on what went wrong. Once you pinpoint where things went awry, you can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future. Did you keep the auditors waiting because of car troubles? Download a ride app and grab a copy of the local bus schedule to keep on your person just in case! Stumbled over your script? Check out Google and YouTube for some cold read memorization tips. Keep catching yourself fidgeting? Record yourself on your phone while you prepare and watch over for nervous tics, then practice moving more comfortably and carefully. Think of every rough audition as a learning experience that gives you new tools to hone your craft and soon you’ll be on your way to your next great role!

Get Back on the Horse 

Not literally, obviously; it doesn’t have to be an audition for a Western (but if you hear the Coen brothers have anything new in the works, let me know). No, the final and most important step of recovering from a bad audition is putting yourself back out there. If Jake Gyllenhaal could do it, you can, too! You’ve given yourself some time to wallow, you’ve reviewed what went wrong, and you’ve made some concrete changes in your prep and planning. It’s time to let those newly-polished skills shine - you’ve totally got this.

Interview with a Triple Threat: Jalen Harris

Photo courtesy of Jalen Harris’s Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Jalen Harris’s Facebook.

You’ve probably heard of the expression, “Like attracts like” - nowhere else is that more true than at Studio 27. We have a high-caliber roster of coaches and talent - Jalen Harris being one of those talents. He is truly a star on the rise, having worked in the Broadway national touring production of The Lion King playing Simba, is a singer and model, and has graced your TV sets in shows like Grey’s Anatomy and - spoiler alert - was a contestant on American Idol. Jalen sat down to chat with Studio 27 on his life in the spotlight - read on.

S27: Hi Jalen! Thank you for speaking with us today! Tell us about your career: how did you get started in the music and acting industries?

JH: First, it’s an honor to share with you some of my journey throughout my life as an entertainer. I grew up in a musically-inclined-and-church-involved family in Memphis, TN. I performed my first solo in church at age 4, where my grandfather was the pastor and founder. From that moment on, I knew in my spirit that being on a stage was where I felt safe but also purposed. Performing in many talent shows, town fairs, church plays, and sporting events as a kid, my parents helped cultivate my musical talents, which eventually led me to be a contestant on American Idol Season 10 at age 15. At age 17, I met an angel. Her name was Cheryl Harris. Upon meeting her, and working with her on a few projects, she later became my manager, introduced me to different agents in the business, and the rest is history. Since training and developing my acting skills with her, I’ve appeared in different TV and film projects, and most recently as Simba in Disney’s The Lion King Broadway tour.

S27: That’s phenomenal - you’re a busy guy! What has been your favorite acting role to date?

JH: Definitely playing Simba. Not only is The Lion King the greatest show in the world in every way imaginable, it also taught me that I was much more capable of doing things I never knew I could [be capable of]. It is my favorite, because I grew up always wanting to be a superhero. Simba is a role where the actor sings, dances, and performs stage combat and various stunt work. Thus, singing every night on stage and avenging my father “Mufasa” from my evil uncle “Scar” was the perfect combo!

S27: Okay, dish the deets - what was the most dramatic moment you had while performing with The Lion King on Broadway?

JH: The moment that changed me as a performer due to the intensity of live theater, was my first performance as Simba. I had only rehearsed for 2 weeks, and had been anticipating the next 2 weeks to complete my training for the role. So without a dress rehearsal, or experience doing the show as Simba yet, a stage manager told me after the opening number, “Jalen, you have to go on now. This is not a test”. So the team and crew rushed me to the basement, where I would have to be put into makeup and wardrobe, in time for “Hakuna Matata,” Simba’s first appearance. When I was ready to go to my cue, I waited in the wing, with the entire cast a crew cheering me on, swung out, and began singing, “It means no worriessss……” I’ll never forget that time. I felt so much love and support from my show family.

S27: Outside of The Lion King, what was your favorite performance to date?

JH: My favorite performance to date was singing the National Anthem for the NCAA Football Championship Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. With 60,000 fans watching, and my parents being somewhere in the crowd, I was so proud to open such an incredible event, televised for the nation.

S27: What are some of your biggest musical influences?

JH: Musically, some of my biggest influences include artists from about every genre! [laughs] But most notably, I am most influenced by the styles of Prince, Whitney [Houston], Brandy, and of course, Michael Jackson. But also artists like Chris Brown, Enrique Iglesias, Justin Timberlake, and Beyonce [are musical influences].

S27: Tell us about your new album - what inspired you to write it?

JH: I am so excited about my new album and collection of songs that will soon be available for everyone to enjoy! Honestly, my life experiences are the true source of depth in what inspires my writing. Whether it’s from memories in my childhood, experiences my siblings or friends have had, or even my own first-hand circumstances, I find that being genuine with my pen and being vulnerable in the music is the best way for me to connect to the listener.

S27: Plug time! Tell us what you have coming up next.

JH: Coming up next from Jalen: Music, music, and more music! I am honestly so grateful for my dream team of management, production, and agents. They work tirelessly everyday for me. You will be seeing me in other projects as well like feature films, television series, and maybe a magazine or two. But I am mostly excited to release my new music and performing live bi-coastally with my band!

We’re excited as well, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this superstar!

4 Life Hacks for Actors

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As working adult actors, we have all been through the wringer at one point or another: we got a flat tire on the way to an audition; we overbooked ourselves; we shook the auditors’ hands in the audition room, even though we KNOW it’s an industry faux pas. There are a myriad of ways we can ruin our careers - or at least, that’s how it can often seem. But as actors, we are also prone to - ahem - theatrics. None of the above examples will ruin your career, per se, but it can make for a stressful day, which no actors wants, especially when he/she is in the middle of auditioning! And if you live in a bigger city like LA or New York, you may have multiple auditions in a day. The following ‘life hacks’ will make your audition process smoother and more fruitful - no matter where you end up.

The Emergency Actors’ Kit

Keep an “Emergency Actors’ Kit” in your car - this can be a makeup bag or pencil pouch filled with the essentials: a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, makeup, lipstick, mints, a token that reminds you why you’re living this insane life; whatever you think will help you nail the next audition! If you don’t have a car, keep it in your purse or “audition bag” - it helps to also pack a change of clothes for the next audition or gig.

Headshots & Resumes

You knew this one was coming: always keep at least 10 headshots with your actor’s resume stapled to the back in your car or audition bag. You never know who you’re going to run into, or how many you’ll need for an audition. These days, most auditions have gone digital and won’t ask for a headshot/resume (because they’ll already have your info on their tablets or computers!), but it never hurts to be over prepared.

Scripts

Have a go-to monologue or scene? Bring those lines with you! You never know when you’ll need to quickly review it for an audition. It happens more often in theatre, but often, auditors will ask you if you’ve prepared anything else - and you want to be ready.

Writing Items

Make sure you bring a notepad or tablet with you wherever you go - you also never know when you’ll need to take notes! Your phone works, but if your day turns into a more intensive note-taking session, you’ll wish you had more room to write.

What are your #actorslifehacks? Let us know in the comments!

Posted on February 5, 2019 and filed under Actors.

Interview with Sara Coates, Actress and Future House Name

Headshots by Leah Huebner. Z Nation shots by Daniel Schaefer. Photo of Reuben by Sara Coates.

Headshots by Leah Huebner. Z Nation shots by Daniel Schaefer. Photo of Reuben by Sara Coates.

Studio27 Talent: Hi Sara! Thank you for speaking with us today!

Sara Coates: Hello! I am so excited to chat with you! My pup Reuben is currently lounging on my legs. I may get a cramp.

S27: Reuben is a star in his own right, and it is an honor and a privilege for him to join us as well. First off, tell us how you became an actor, and how it’s led you to where you are today.

SC: For starters, I can’t imagine doing the same thing forever. As a child I wanted to be/do everything. Vet, lawyer, cop, lunch meat seller (that is real). It took me a long time to realize that I could be all of those things and more. I also have fallen in love with the hard things about being an actor. I love auditioning, I love the grind, I don’t hate the “No’s”. I am consistent, I take the hustle seriously, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

S27: I love that, and am tattooing it on my body. Next shameless question: what’s your favorite part about being low-key famous?

SC: [laughs] LIVING MY BEST LIFE! Honestly, the things that I am recognized for are so immersed in nerd culture, and they are the greatest fans ever. That’s what I grew up with. My older brother is a gamer, and it’s so cool to be in things he likes. Also, someone made me an action figure, and it shook me to the core.

S27: Love it - quick! Name your favorite director to work with, and tell us why!

SC: Rachel Goldenberg! Her background is with “Funny or Die” and she let’s me improvise the [crap] out of scenes. She directed a few of my ZNation eps, and I would follow her to the ends of the earth.

S27: What acting techniques, tools, or teachers/coaches help you get in the zone the best?

SC: [My advice would be to] take some sort of class. Anything to stay creative. UCB is wonderful, and I met so many people I could call tomorrow to help me with an audition. But classes can get spendy, so even just gathering friends and reading something out loud is helpful. I also make sure I am so off book for auditions. It lets me be free to change it up in the moment. I always hold my script, but I never look at it. I also don’t take myself too seriously. This can be the best job, and the weirdest job.

S27: Do actors need to move to LA to make it in the biz? What tactics can they take if they’re stuck in their hometowns?

SC: I don’t think you need to be in LA. But, there is SO MUCH WORK here. That doesn’t mean you can’t book things at home. I would get close to a “hub” if you can: Atlanta, NYC, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, etc..I’m sure there are more. It’s just important to not wait for things to happen to you. Make things happen.

S27: Tell us some hot celebrity goss. We’ll never tell.

SC: I once held hands with Idris Elba at the “Beasts of No Nation” premiere, and left my boyfriend out in the car for 45 min. I have no regrets, and I would do it again.

S27: Ha! Okay, now, tell us an on-set Z Nation secret that viewers may not know, that you’re not contractually obligated to KEEP a secret.

SC: I once was crying in a scene with Keith Allen “Murphy” and I was leaning over him and a booger came out of my nose and landed on his face. I think it’s on film somewhere. It’s my greatest acting moment.

S27: I hope he kept the booger. Thank you so much for chatting with us, Sara! Plug time - what can our readers see you in (or hear you in) next?

SC: I have some more video games on the horizon. I am in a horror movie called “The Parish” coming soon! I have the greatest dog in the world named Reuben Wrinkles. You can find us daily on my instagram @scoatesy ! Thank you so much. ACT my friends! ACT LIKE THE WIND!

Posted on January 15, 2019 and filed under Celebrities, Interviews.