Photo Shoot

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Today the cast of 25 Years met again to do a photo shoot for the upcoming release of the movie. I’ve got to say I was so impressed by the directors direction. We came dressed in formal wear and did some great promotion shots. The backdrop, lighting, and elegant couches and chairs added such a wonderful look. I can’t wait to see the finished product. Stay tuned! 

loriatphotoshoot

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Improv and the Wiseguys!

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A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to assist in auditions for a new TV and dinner show called The Wiseguy Kitchen.  This show features a mob family that is trying to go legit by offering cooking demonstrations with a TV show.  I was asked, along with the great Robin Dorsey to improv with the auditioning actors. The set up was that the actors were the character they were auditioning for and we ( Robin and I) were general audience members there to watch the show.  We were tasked with not making it to easy for the actors and given the go ahead to even make it a little tough for them! Even though the actors worked hard, they really shined even as we threw them a few curve balls.  Let’s just say at one point in the improvisation Robin was vomiting from the food and I was flirting and buying knock off watches that were not so legal.  It was such a fun afternoon ( I really LOVE improv) and I enjoyed seeing the array of audition pieces and styles that came to the casting call.  It was also rewarding to have the chance to work with Connie Lamothe from CCL Productions and Talent and Vincent Fiore.  With each actor that auditioned they were encouraging, engaging and friendly.  If asked to help out again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. It was a fun and engaging rainy Virginia afternoon.

Let’s talk improv for a moment.  For me, I love improv because I get to work alongside actors who have great comedic timing and I don’t have to memorize any lines! I enjoy feeding off each others ideas and seeing where the momentum will take you. What’s really cool is that often it takes you where you never thought you would go. For example, I’m pretty darn conservative.  Out and about with my friends I’m friendly, but not flirty. In improv, I can flirt all I want without worrying about the consequences. It’s just clean fun.  I can play a serial killer or a nun. Each time the story line leads down a different spontaneous avenue.  

Some basics of improv are to first, not hog the story line.You’re working as a group, keep up with the group.  Say yes when given a new way to go and remember to state what’s going on rather than question it.  For example: Wow Robin you look really green, instead of; are you sick Robin? There are some great games to play to help you warm up and get into the improv mood.  I love zip, zap, zoop and Not Today! I use alot of these games in my third grade classroom too! Here is a great website I found that has a myriad of ice breakers or improv games to use with your acting group or with your classroom. Improv Encyclopedia

Two resources for Improv in the NOVA and DC area:

Washington Improv Theater

DC Improv

Below: I’m working on some improv in a one day workshop with the Northern Virginia Christian Filmmakers Group.

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Addicted…to The Walking Dead

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Okay!

I admit it!

I’m addicted to The Walking Dead. It has amazing writing, great acting, and of course ~ Zombies! Who wouldn’t be addicted? As an actor and a writer, I watch and think: I want to write like they do. I want to be an actor who can do post apocalyptic TV like Lennie James!

Last week The Walking Dead brought back Morgan.  In season 1, Morgan saved our hero Rick from the zombies and clued him in on the changed world he now lives in. Then we ( the fans) never heard from Morgan again until last Sunday in an episode called Clear. Morgan was alive and crazy.  Some fans think finally finding out what happened to him was a let down. He wasn’t going to get to help Rick and his ragtag crew defeat the evil governor, or was he?  This is where my writer brain calls out BRILLIANT   Morgan didn’t return as fans hoped he would, ready to kick some &$#! Yet his return made Rick take a hard look at himself and realize one of the main themes from this season, you cannot do it alone.  You need people by your side. It was a sad, melancholy and mesmerizing episode which gave our hero hope. Do you watch? Did you walk away with hope?

As an actress, I think Lennie James ( guest star who plays Morgan) is an amazing actor. He does helpful, adorable, conniving, and crazy so well. He’s one of those actors I look at and think, man I wish I had the skills you bring to the table. If you want to see him in action, check out Snatch or Jericho. Lennie James on IMDb.

Honestly, I would love to be a guest zombie on The Walking Dead. The chance to get into the special effects chair and transform would be…well…special.  Imagine watching as they set the stage and intricate traps for the scene. Picture seeing the actors from the show do their thing ~ priceless. As a matter of fact, an actor friend in LA had that opportunity and I’m jealous!  Hi Patrick.  You can see Patrick in Coffin along with actor Johnny Alonso. Both of these men are actors you should start watching. 

As a fan, I thought Clear was one of the best episodes of the season.  We saw Carl doing stupid and heart warming kid moves. We saw Rick get a wake up call. We saw Michonne talk and protect Carl. In the real world, I kinda wish I could be as kick ass as Michonne with her swords.  And we saw how the world has changed our weary travelers who don’t even heed the call of a lone human trying to survive. As a writer, my take away was write deep characters who go beyond the surface.  Morgan couldn’t kill his Zombie wife until she killed his living son. He couldn’t change as the world changed and as a result, lost all that was dear to him. Rick is letting the world change him and forgetting to hold on to those who make him human. He is also holding onto dead memories. The richness of this story line draws you in and makes you debate motive and choice. I plan to go back to my writing and make sure I’ve included those nuances in my own characters. As an actor, my take away is to go back and watch Morgans speech as he tells his story of what happened since he and Rick parted ways.  The pattern of his speech and the emotions ( or lack there of) that pass over his countenance show that he’s pulling from deep emotion in his own life. He’s not just “acting”, he’s brought real hopelessness and grief into the scene. That’s my goal as an actor. To feel safe enough to bring my true self, pain and happiness, into my characters. 

Finally, my take away from this week’s episode as just a regular girl living life is to remember we can’t do it alone. We need our friends and family around us to bring us back to reality and to have our back in case of a zombie attack.

 

 

Keeping Up the Pace

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Finding the time to devote to your career is hard. Especially, when your dream career isn’t the one that brings home the dough! As an actress and writer, I am the CEO, Talent, Booking Manager, and Marketing Executive of me! Since I’m the one who has to keep the budget, book the auditions and keep up with the training and marketing, I sometimes drop the ball. It’s like I’m juggling and can easily keep two areas in the air, but somehow one is rolling around the floor and I don’t realize I’ve dropped that ball until it’s too late. For example, I missed the opportunity to submit and audition for a great project because I wasn’t checking the board daily.

Why is that you may wonder? Well to be honest, its because I have other areas in my life that are requiring my time. To pay the bills, ( i.e. mortgage, gas, and food!) I need to keep my day job. Which is a job I love too! I’m a teacher and that requires a LOT of time. Attempting to switch over to the world of acting and writing isn’t the same as changing jobs in the teaching world. As I’m making my way into this new realm, I’m working a great deal with talented people with vision. Yet, often those jobs don’t pay the mortgage. At least not enough to quit the day job. So what’s the solution? I’m still working it out. I know it’s time management, but I haven’t quite figured out how to manage my time efficiently yet. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them! Until then, I’m gonna keep on plugging away and pursuing my dreams! I hope you are inspired to do the same! Follow your dreams friends!

Auditioning

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Today, I went with a friend to audition for a new TV series being created by an up and coming entertainment company out of DC.  We arrived in the North East Capitol area and made our way up the steep and creaky stairs to find a great bunch of people casting and a lot of nervous actors waiting for their opportunity to show their stuff.

 As I sat and waited for my turn, I watched two young sisters audition.  ( Those auditions in front of others are always a little extra nerve racking!) The first sister was full of energy and precociousness! She engaged everyone and even got claps after her audition. The older sister went next.  She was quiet and shy and very very nervous. It was her first audition and her dad was coaching her on the sidelines telling her what to do.  She looked ready to keel over any second, but she got through and the minute she stepped away from the camera her face lit up in a beautiful smile.

  As Robin and I drove away, we talked about the professionalism of an audition and the importance of taking notes and actually making a change then and there when asked to by a casting agent. Robin is even thinking of teaching a class on the professionalism of an audition, but until then I thought I’d share a few helpful hints or insights.

First and foremost.  Come prepared. If you’ve been given sides, know your lines! If you are about to do a monologue, make sure you have an extra one handy in case the casting director asks you to do something with a different style.  Robin and I talked on the way home about an everyday actor without great looks, but with great skills who has 21 monologues he can pull out of his hat at a moments notice.  He lands parts!  You don’t need to have 21 ~ but you do need to have a few ready.  Have a dramatic monologue and a comedic one at the very least.  Make sure you pick characters that are true to you.  An audition is not the place to try your hand at something that’s not really right for you.  Be honest, know yourself.  I’m a middle aged fluffy actress with medium looks. I will not play the young and beautiful lead.  That’s okay. I can play the aunt or best friend of the lead. I can even play the unassuming neighbor that’s sweet and quiet and turns out to be a serial killer. I cannot play the role of a 20 something. I may wish I could, but if I want a part, I must be aware of my marketability!

How you dress matters. I know, I’m a girl who could live in PJ’s or jeans given the chance. Sadly, I can’t show up in whatever I want. Try to dress neatly.  You don’t want shirts with sayings or logos on them.  You need to be a blank slate. That way the casting director can imagine you for a variety of roles they may be casting. I read in The Audition that if you have call backs, you should wear the same thing.  The casting directors tend to remember the girl in that red shirt  who did that great monologue,  not Lori. So if you get called back, dress the same way.  Hey, every little bit helps! Don’t forget to wear nice, but understated makeup and avoid clothes that are sparkly and have patterns.  Those types of clothes don’t do well on film. 

Remember earlier, that second sister who smiled after she finished her audition? She needed to show that beautiful smile as she slated and did her monologue. Her personality came out much more when she was away from the camera.  My advice is to smile and be kind to everyone you meet. My acting coach John Pallotta tells us all the time, you never know who has the power to cast.  You need to treat everyone with respect from the person who greets and screens everyone at the front door to the person behind the camera. 

Take direction while at the audition.  In class, our teachers are always redefining how we do a scene or a monologue.  They say, that was fine, now do it this way instead.  You’ve worked so hard to get it just right and then your teacher stretches you and says no, do it this way instead. It’s no longer a romantic piece, but you hate this guy. Everything you are saying is filled with sarcasm and disdain. So in that moment, what do you do? You’ve worked hard to get it just right and they want you to change it? Are they crazy? No, you are if you don’t take the note and try to go for it!  In an audition, a casting director may ask you to change how you just did a side.  You have to roll with it. Actually, not only roll with it, but do it so well that it’s almost like you practiced it that way in the first place. And there’s my last hint. Prepare your monologue two or three different ways.  Chose the way that works best for you and use it in your audition, but if the casting director says can you do it differently, you just smile and say of course! All because you prepared! 

So, how did our auditions go today? Well Robin did her Raisin in the Sun monologue and gave me chills. (literally) She’s the consummate professional. I always learn so much from her.  My audition went well. I decided to do something different and I think it payed off. I know the other actors were laughing at all the funny parts ( not at me silly!), so hopefully that’s a good sign.  Now it’s the wait and see game! 

Feel free to ask any questions and/or leave a comment. I’m hoping with this blog I can meet other actors and writers on their journey to follow their dreams. We’ve got to support each other.

Till next time,

Lori

 

 

 

I’m over 40 and I just started following my dreams!

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Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be an actress and a writer. Many children want to be superheroes or firemen. Me, I wanted to write and tell stories through acting about superheroes and firemen. What can I say, I’m a geek girl who loves a good sci fi hero story, but more on that later!  

Sadly, those dreams I cherished slipped through my fingers as I grew up and were replaced with life’s to do list.  I let them go as the world and my decisions threw me a few curve balls. Last year, I decided to pick up and dust off those never forgotten dreams. Follow me as I share my experiences.  

I could sit here and list reason after reason of why I should not pursue these dreams.You may even be thinking it already, So let me just blatantly state two very obvious road blocks to the acting world: I’m old and I’m fluffy! Fluffy is my word for fat which I got from the comedian Gabriel Iglesias. I’m auditioning for roles with women who are younger and much thinner than I am. Many of these women have a vast amount of acting experience that I don’t have in my repertoire. I care ( let’s be real ~ who wouldn’t want to be a little thinner and  younger?) and yet I don’t care. I refuse to let my age or my weight define what I can and cannot do with my life!    

Tune in for the next blog of how my first year in this whole new world turned out! ( are you singing the Disney song as you read that? I am!) 

Talk with you soon new friends!

❤ Lori

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