Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Solo Brings me to a New Level of Acting

On Sunday, I did what has become a Christmas tradition for me: singing Amy Grant's Breath of Heaven as a solo for my church. This year brought it to a whole new level, as I was able to use the acting tools I've learned over my first year as a New York actress to bring the virgin Mary to life in a whole new way.

I sensed myself being much more vulnerable as well as more open to discoveries along the way as I sang. This vulnerability and openness brought a whole new level of joy, opened me up more to what God wanted to do, and proved to be very useful. Halfway through the solo, a 2-year old Jamaican girl, Samantha, who hardly ever smiles at me or acknowledges my lame grown up attempts to say hello to her, walked up the aisle mesmerized, and I had my acting teachers' words in my head saying, "Go with it." So go with it, I did. I knelt down and included her in the picture of the story I was telling--or rather, God was telling through me. Because really, it was His moment in the sun. This much was very obvious to me.

Afterwards, people kept commenting on Samantha's entrance as one of highlights of the solo. And I am thanking both my Lord and my acting teachers Jeri Smith and Jared Houseman for their advice to "Go with it!" By doing so, I started to understand more what it means to really live the life of the character...and the deep joy that that can bring.

As always, thanks for reading. And merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Got the Part!

I just got a voicemail from Dina last night saying that she wants me as a part of Neva Give Up! I will post more details when I get them. This is exciting news; at the audition she talked about her plans to take the show to California, Washington, and several other states in response to their interest. Stay tuned for more details...

And for more information about the show itself, here is a review of its run at the Producer's Club in Manhattan:

This link will give you the inspirational story of the director Dina Levin's life and motivation for creating the show:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fantastic Audition!

I auditioned this week for a stage play called "Neva Give Up". I was going out for the role of a social worker dealing with child custody cases, and in preparation, I did internet research, worked the script, and even had the chance to interview one of my husband's coworkers who used to work in the field (it gave me a whole new appreciation for social workers and child abuse situations).

Funny thing: I got into the audition, and the director, Dina, asked me about my age range (as in what age range can I play). I answered with, "about 20-30" and she said, "Really? I see you as more like 18." (Ha! Know thyself: Even in business casual with a full face of makeup I come across as...a high school senior. Very valuable information. And I will definitely be going out for more roles on Gossip Girl!)

So, anyway, this led Dina to ask another actress and myself to improv as mother and daughter, in a situation where I have just found out that my high school friend was taken from her mother at a young age by my social worker mother. The scene went really well! I was really proud of both of us, and our chemistry was great. The audition assistant still wanted us to read the audition sides for the part of social worker, and Dina said to her, "Really? We've already seen her acting ability." We did end up reading the sides, but it was evident that our mother-daughter improv was really the acting highlight of the audition.

She then put me on the spot and asked me to sing. When I asked what style, she had me sing Amazing Grace. She then pushed me even further by saying, "Now sing your favorite song." I knew exactly what to do and started singing Amy Grant's Breath of Heaven, a song I can at this point fully inhabit on cue.

When I finished singing, to my amazement, the other two auditioning actors started clapping! That's a good sign. The woman I had improved and read with kept telling me how great the song was, and Dina said, "We will definitely be calling you."

I would label this audition success.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Audition: Digital Film Academy

I had an audition today for a short film being made at the Digital Film Academy on 9th Avenue. It's for a teenage best friend role. Amazing how I just turned 28 and I am told that I can go for high school roles. Plus, I am starting to embrace the fact that my type is the wholesome best friend/girl next door. I had an acting teacher tell me he could see me as "America's Sweetheart". Well, when you put it that way...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On the Boardwalk...

So, yesterday was great. I worked on Boardwalk Empire, and loved all 14 hours of it.

The show will be aired on HBO starting, if I heard correctly, near the end of 2010, starting with a pilot directed by Martin Scorsese. Being on set was incredible, just like stepping back into the 1920's, and I do love period pieces. And it was fabulous to watch a background cast of about 75 actors be transformed one by one by an upbeat, hardworking team of hair, makeup, and wardrobe artists from 21st century New Yorkers to 1920's boardwalk walkers. And I don't care if I was "just" background, I put my heart and soul into every scene I did as a passerby! I was just letting it all soak in, thinking, "Thank you, Lord. I am getting to do what I love to do. How amazing is that?"

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Pliable Face

In case you are looking for a wide range of facial expressions for your project, here's a sampling of what I have to offer!

Check out my album.

Shaking Matt Damon's Hand

Oh, and by the way, last Tuesday, I worked on the movie The Adjustment Bureau, and had the chance to shake Matt Damon's hand! Here ends my acting journey.* I have reached fulfillment.

*Not really. Please keep checking back for further updates!

Roz Coleman's Film & TV Technique Class

This month, I have been taking class at Actors Connection under Roz Coleman, the on-set coach for HBO's In Treatment. This has been an excellent opportunity to get in front of the camera and really learn the ins and outs of on-screen performance from a woman whose career spans film, television, and Broadway and who has worked with the likes of Meryl Streep.

For the class, I have worked on scenes from Law & Order: SVU, the sci-fi crime show Fringe, and the scene I brought in from the film Pride & Prejudice (2005). We've worked in the context of both auditions and on-set performance, and it's been an invaluable experience: I have gained both confidence and performance skills. Thank you, Roz!

Monday, October 5, 2009

2 Songs

Yesterday at church I had the chance to sing a classical solo: "The Lord's Prayer" by Albert Hay Malotte. Boggie, our pianist, did an incredible job improvising, especially considering we hadn't practiced until yesterday morning! One talented woman. I was proud of myself for how it sounded, particularly the high notes, and people who came up to me afterwards said they really enjoyed it and were moved, one woman even to tears.

On a completely different note, although also a musical note, one of the Dutch tourists on my Manhattan tour bus sent me an email recently. Apparently, she had promised to send me the video she'd taken of me singing "New York State of Mind" on a tour. Not only did she send it to me, but she made it available to the whole world! (Oh, dear.) So, if you need a mini-break from work, check out the short video of me getting in tune with Billy Joel: Zangeres in New York.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Booked! isABelt Infomercial

Shoots tomorrow in Greenwich Village. Yay!
I am now officially a soccer mom...with no kids.
Here's the website if you are curious about the product...I'm really hoping I get a free one for my efforts. Apparently it was given out in one of the gift bags at New York Fashion Week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

TV Intensive with Melissa Moss

Not only do I have the infomercial audition tomorrow, but I will also be attending an intensive class at Actors Connection on auditioning for tv roles. I am particularly excited about it because Melissa Moss, the casting director teaching the intensive, also cast Heroes and High School Musical! (I have no shame in admitting my status as a fan of both of these prestigious programs.) And she is currently casting a new New York television series. Great to be making valuable connections.

Audition: isABelt Infomercial

Tomorrow, I'll be auditioning for the role of Soccer Mom for an infomercial about the ORIGINAL invisible belt product. My first audition for an infomercial. Should be interesting to try and sell a MUST-HAVE Fashion accessory that solves problems that have plagued women forever. Plus I'm kind of liking the idea of being a soccer mom. I feel inspired (no know who you are).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tackling Roberta

Currently, in my acting class at AIDA (the Australian Institute of Dramatic Arts), I am working on a scene that is meant to stretch me as an actor: Roberta in the play Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. It's by John Patrick Shanley, who also wrote Doubt, out of which they made the recent movie.

Reading the play, I was immediately struck by its story of redemption. As Roberta, I am saying more cuss words than I ever have before, and also jumping into the skin of someone I possibly would not like if I met her...that is, until I got to know her. She's hard, but longing for beauty like every other woman.

Thankful to be stretched.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Successful weekend on set of short film

I spent Friday and Saturday (Aug 14 & 15) shooting the short film, Diminished Chords. I put my heart and soul into my one line of dialogue ("I got the part!"), creating a strong objective based around the epitome of high school motivation: a crush on a boy.

I also "sang a solo" in the school musical, although it had been decided before I ever came to rehearsal and showcased my singing talents that it would be dubbed use on my reel or not? My lip syncing skills are a fine addition to any project, I must say.

Friday, July 31, 2009

News: Accepted as a member of 13th Street Repertory

This week, I interviewed and auditioned to become a company member of 13th Street Repertory Theater, an off-off-Broadway theater in the Village. After an interview, I was accepted into the company! I then had the opportunity to perform for the directors in their intimate 60-something seat theater.

Talking to Edith O'Hara, the owner of the theater since 1972, who is now 92 years old, I got the sense that she really gets what it's all about. Everything frivolous about the acting world just fell away as I sat on the couch and she sat in her armchair in the theater lobby and told me about her childhood in upstate Idaho, her three children (all artistically gifted), and her lifelong devotion to theater.

I will keep this blog updated with any new developments.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It is much easier to remember my website now. I am becoming more tech savvy using trial by fire. Instead of, just go to Simple? Awesome.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New website up!

I just created a new website: Spent most of today trying to get it finished. I plan to buy a domain name so that the website address is not so convaluted! This one's a little hard to remember.

News: New Role in "Diminished Chords" (SAG)

I was just cast in a musical number as well as several scenes (including one line) in the short film Diminished Chords. This will be my first work done on a SAG project!

News: "Kiran" canceled

Unfortunately, I just heard from the director of the film Kiran, Jimy, saying that for a number of reasons, the shoot has been canceled. I was really looking forward to this project, but before the project closed down, we did have our dance rehearsal for the Bollywood scene, which was a great time, and a chance to learn moves I've never done before.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

News: New Role in "Kiran"

I have been selected to be part of an NYU student thesis film called Kiran about an Indian girl who goes to high school, wants to be accepted by those around her, and views her life through a Bollywood lens.

So...I am super excited about being one of the Bollywood dancers in the film! I'd show you my cool new hand move, but that's hard to do on a blog.

The film will be shooting in mid to late July here in New York.

Join me on my acting journey!

Welcome, everyone!

Blog mission statement: This blog will be a place for me to post updates about my journey as an actor.

Quick bio: I am originally from Austin, Texas, but recently spent two years in central China, and am now going strong in New York City. I am currently studying acting with the talented folks at the Australian Institute of Dramatic Arts. The most recent class I took there was Neutral Mask.

Me as an actress: If I was typecast, I'd be the sincere, intelligent girl-next door. However, I have played a variety of roles, and have also performed as a singer and ensemble dancer. So basically, I am an actress who sings and "moves well," as they like to describe it on audition notices.

My main focus right now is breaking into film and television, but I also enjoy the stage. I also have a desire to be part of musical theater, but I am trying to put "freeing limitations" on myself...keeping it simple so that I have a specific focus and a channel for my passions. So, straight acting is my main focus at this time.

Why I do what I do: As a Christian, I believe God has given me these talents and passions for a reason, and I desire to use them with the best that I have to offer and with my whole heart trusting in Him. I want to tell stories that matter and that inspire. I want to be an artist to the best of my ability, and always on the path that follows His footsteps.