Since Los Angeles is a blue city and California is a blue state (we are the only state with two liberal, female senators; Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein), and NoHo, being an arts district, is predominately populated with liberals and registered Democrats, we’re always shocked whenever one of those crazy, nasty political attack ads sneaks its way through to us. We’re shocked for three reasons.
What Happened to the Free Press?
…….and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them. Thomas Jefferson
It’s been said many times in many ways that acting is probably the most difficult profession on the face of the earth. A couple of years ago I was at an art opening talking to Aaron Eckhart when a man approached and said to him, “You’re so lucky. Acting is the easiest career in the world.” Aaron literally went off on him for 20 minutes, telling the man why he was wrong. He said things like, “You go from laughter to sobbing on cue in front of a crew of 100 people. You convince a studio head that your are entertaining, mesmerizing and worth a fee of 25 million dollars. You do job interviews every day for six six years before you finally get a job, only to realize you’re loosing it again in a couple of months.” Aaron let him have it, and rightfully so. The guy clearly had no idea what he was saying. Why? Because, actors like Aaron make it look so effortless and easy. Samuel L. Jackson says, “The actor’s job is finding work. The fringe benefit of our job is that we get to act.” Finding and keeping work as an actor is a never ending task. And, without fun there would be no reason or incentive to pursue it.
What’s the Most Important Thing?
There is one question that I get fairly often and it is probably the most powerful question you can ask. It is this: “What is the most important thing you can do if you want to be a working actor?” Think you know what it is?
Dedication, what does this mean? If you are listening to the radio at the lovers' hour, then it means someone is playing your favorite song and the DJ has just announced your name over the airwaves and your lover is smiling and you are blushing, cause he/or she remembered you loved it.
For the past couple of months I focused these blogs and the techniques and tools of being an actor. I mentioned at the beginning there were 10 tools that I thought were essential to acting. We’ve covered seven of those in the past seven weeks. I still have three more to discuss, and I will, but I’m going to change the format of these blogs and get a little more personal.
Some would call it a muse, that strange feeling you get while you are waiting for excitement. Some think we can find it, if we look for it, and some, find it in a special place that they have created for themselves in a room with books, bean bags, or bar stools and baristas.
In my office I have a framed poster of Robert Duvall. On it is one of my favorite quotes regarding acting. Duvall is quoted, “The truth is that acting is all about talking and listening. It’s as simple as that.” I completely agree with that statement. And, to be very honest with you it’s probably taken me nearly 20 years to grasp the meaning of it.
Last month we did two major photo shoots for our company, The Mighty Squirm T-Shirts and Art. They involved photographing all our old designs and about a dozen new ones, with five gorgeous models (Jessie Payo, Jared Swanson, Jennifer Kretchmer, Kenzie Alexander, and Dylan DoVale) and extraordinarily talented photographer/artist W. B. Fontenot. I've included a few of the shots so you can share my excitement about how they look.
Every now and then I will get in a conversation with someone and they will inevitably say, “I just don’t know how you actors do it. How do you memorize all those lines?” Even my manger said it to me the other day. I don’t know about you but I struggle with memorization. I never know exactly how to answer that question. Usually, I mumble something back like, “I have no idea. With a lot of work, I guess.”
Agapito Doronio III is a graphic artist & creative director for the Los Angles-based design community, Collective Aesthetics. Agapito showcased his first sculptures and live art back in March 2011 with North Hollywood art gallery Cella Gallery in the exhibit "Scaling the Wall" which was inspired by the urban aesthetic and the ongoing discourse concerning street art and the institutionalization of fine art.
It’s been good for me to review the vital acting tools in these blogs. One of the reasons I love blogging, speaking and teaching so much is because it reminds me what I need to focus on as an actor. I’m in the trenches with you and if I talk about the essentials of acting I’d better be practicing them in my own work. Like a professional athlete I need to be “in shape” all the time. I need to practice in order to stay on top of my game. I need to make sure my own set of acting tools, the ones I talk about, are honed and readily available. I’ve said it before, the best actors in the world are right here in L.A. and they are my competition (and yours). The top masters of technique are sitting right there in the same room with me, waiting to audition for the same role.
Tell us about your style of art.
Dersk One: The style of art I am most associated with is Graffiti Art. I do paint and produce art in other styles such as photography, cooking, sculpture, and poetry, but working in a graffiti style has been a passion of mine for over 20 years.
As a curator and marketer I am often asked by artists for advice. One of the questions that I find plagues most is if they should continue on their own path or attempt to tap into the current trends?
It always makes me chuckle when I hear someone say, “Acting is the easiest job in the world. Anyone can do it.” Obviously, they have no idea what they’re talking about. They haven’t been through the many years of training and endless hours of rehearsal and performance to understand how wrong they are. There are so many different talents an actor needs to master in order to become skilled. Over the past few blogs we’ve discussed several of those talents including script breakdown, emotional control and physical control. Next, I like to discuss the voice.
Registration for the 2012 Drawing Us Together visual arts exhibit and competition for young and emerging artists, grades 6-12, is open now through May 4th!
Over the past few blogs we’ve been discussing the various tools that belong in every actor’s toolbox. But, just the other day someone asked me, “Does that include Headshots?” I suddenly realized I had intended these to be the tools we need from a technique standpoint, not a marketing standpoint, so I decided I should clarify things. To avoid further confusion I have decided to call these the Tools We Need In Our Actor’s Technique Toolbox. That’s a lot of verbiage but you know what I mean. So far we’ve explored the intellectual skill of knowing how to break down a script and the visceral skill of mastering your emotions in order to make you characters real and attached. This time I want to focus on the physical aspect of acting.
My artwork over the last decade has dramatically changed. I was very recently asked by a friend of mine, Toni Adzar the owner of Groundfloor Gallery, to put together a show for this coming Art Walk-Thursday the 8th. It is aptly named “Collection” and has examples of my work from the last decade or so. Some of the work has been shown in the past, and some of it has never seen the wall of a gallery.
After having labored through the intellectual subject matter of “Script Breakdown” in my last blog I am ready to get messy, have a little fun and talk about us crazy actors and our emotions. Yes, it is invaluable that you know your script inside and out and intellectually dissect every thought your character has in order to play the role adequately, but it is just as important to understand and bring to life the emotional side of your character.
Many an acting teacher has tried to break down the art of acting into a series of usable skills. The intent is to first identify the various tools necessary in order to learn them and thus become a highly skilled actor. The idea is to have a set of tools we can keep in our “actor’s toolbox” that we may use whenever needed. Of course, it makes sense. We all want to be highly skilled and most of us have at least one tool we’ve mastered, but most of us still have more to learn. The easiest way to teach an art, like acting, is to break it down into its basic components and then one by one teach how to master those components until finally you have a mastery of them all.
Our next show at Cella Gallery titled “ Femme Fatale” features the work of 35 artists hand picked by curators Nicole Bruckman and Stephanie Chefas.
Every year at about this time there is a significant number of new actors coming to Los Angeles to try their hand at a career in acting. Somehow, just about everyone across the country has heard at one time or another that January is the beginning of pilot season (although that is not necessarily true, things generally don’t really pick up until after Sundance at the end of January). For that reason, I felt it appropriate to make a few lists and talk about the things that I think an actor 1) absolutely must have, 2) probably should have and 3) it would be nice to have if they hope to make it in LA.