Tag Archives: Lesly Kahn

On Camera Audition Class-Week 2

16 May

Last Friday Meg and Sunny sent us our scenes. They had told us last week that they would be short scenes and that we’d be split into small groups and each group would have a different scene. Then we’d all take part in a mock audition and act as different people in the room: producers, directors etc. The scene my group got was from the movie “Loveless in Los Angeles”, a comedy from a few years ago that was a straight to DVD release. It was a short scene, just under a page so over the weekend I made my choices and memorized the scene. I felt I was ready for class on Tuesday.

My group ended up going last, so we watched as the first two groups did their scenes and took our own notes as though we were producers and directors. At the end of each group we discussed each person individually and then voted on if we would cast someone we saw or keep looking. It was interesting to hear what some people saw and what bugged people. For me I always noticed how a person entered and exited the room. It was something that I was taught at Lesly Kahn last year and it has really stuck with me. I try to be very conscious of how I enter and leave, especially how I leave, as that’s literally the last thing they’ll have from me.

Watching other people audition is also enlightening as an actor. You can see what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes actors (and I’ve been guilty of this) end the scene before it’s actually done. Stay in the moment until the casting person says thank you or breaks the silence. As Meg and Sunny said, “Let us enjoy the moment and what just happened.” It can be a hard thing to do because as an actors we can feel that the silence is a very long time, when actually it’s a very short time. We have to remember to let casting end the scene, not us.

Next week we will be preparing two auditions: one that we will self tape by Monday night and the other one for Tuesday night class. Meg and Sunny gave great tips to keep in mind when self-taping. Some of the big ones: use a real person as your reader and camera operator, make sure the lighting is flattering, and test the file by sending to yourself before sending to casting so that it still works. Self-taped auditions are becoming more and more common in our current electronic age. And if you can be a local hire in another state you may be asked to put yourself on tape for the local casting director. Bottom line, don’t fight self-taping, embrace it. And I am ready to!

After our mock auditions were done, we talked about dos and don’ts in the audition room. Not giving everything away here, but here are some of my favorites. Big thing to remember, it’s OK to ask questions! It’s not a test when casting asks if you have any, they legitimately want to help you if you need clarification. Keep your eye line to the reader. If there are other characters you talk to, make their eye line either to the same reader or to the other side of the camera, don’t put them to the side of you or behind you. It’s also okay to use a prop, like your cell phone or a water bottle if need be. Don’t be afraid to do the action listed in the script, especially if that’s a majority (or all) that is in the sides. And finally, don’t be afraid to go all out. Just bring it, it’s your one chance to make an impression, so make one. Until next week…

STRAIGHT OUTTA REHAB Film Shoot

1 Mar

Over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, I had a great time shooting a short film. It was my first film that I would be getting paid for and I was one of the leads. Last December I got a message on Facebook from a friend, Ryan, from acting class at Lesly Kahn that he was doing a short film and the director wanted to use me as the female lead. I didn’t have to audition, the director/writer, Christopher Stewart, trusted Ryan’s judgement. That weekend I went to Chris’ house to meet him and the third actor to join us. It turned out to be a tree trimming party and I had a blast with everyone there. I read through the script as soon as I got it and was laughing out loud! I couldn’t wait to shoot in January!

Straight Outta Rehab Cast L-R: Sarah Allyn Bauer, Ryan Nolan, Matthew Steven Herrick

Straight Outta Rehab Cast L-R: Sarah Allyn Bauer, Ryan Nolan, Matthew Steven Herrick

I play Zoe, a Christian Fundamentalist who is hoping to get married before she turns 30, which is only two years away, but the man needs to be perfect. And from church. I go on a date with Paul (played by Ryan Nolan), who is fresh out of rehab run by my pastor, so I know he’s on the right path. Everything seems great, until our waiter, Danny (played by Matthew Steven Herrick), gets into our heads.

You Tube Trailer

A week before shooting we all met for a read thru and some rehearsal. Time was going to be tight at our location so we needed to be sure all blocking was set before we got there the following week. It was a 15 page script and the rhythm of the lines needed to be just right, so we ran through it a number of times that afternoon. We met one more time the following Saturday and we were ready and excited to start shooting the next day.

Timmy was hard at work making the pasta the day before. Photobomb by Ryan!

Timmy was hard at work making the pasta the day before. Photo-bomb by Ryan!

My alarm clock went off bright and early Sunday morning (ie. 6am) and after a quick shower and some fresh coffee from Peet’s (because getting up that early I definitely need coffee right away) I was on my way to my first day of shooting. We shot at a bar in Silver Lake, which was a mere 15 minutes from my apartment. And at 6:30 in the morning there is no traffic, a true rarity in Los Angeles. I had a fabulous make-up artist Austyn Cuccia to make me look pretty, then into wardrobe. I was the first shot of the day. Our fabulous Director of Photography (the DP), Matt Brodie, made us all look good on camera.  It was a great Sunday shoot and we were done at noon as another event was coming in for the afternoon. It was actually perfect because I had a rehearsal down in Hollywood at 1pm, so off I went.

My fabulous hair and make-up artist, Austyn Coccia, working hard.

My fabulous hair and make-up artist, Austyn Coccia, working hard.

Straight Outta Rehab

Our dinner table

Our dinner table

Monday morning came too quickly and once more my alarm went off before the sun came up. It was another great day of shooting and with all the cranberry juice Ryan and I drank (aka, fake red wine) it’s safe to say no UTI’s were happening, lol. We never had to eat the cold pasta so that was another upside. My favorite part was making sure all the wine bottles and candles in the background were in just the right spots. There was also fun in doing hair and make-up in partial darkness. But Austyn was fabulous and worked quickly when the lights could come back on in between takes. We wrapped on time and made plans to have a wrap party later in the week. There was extra snack and breakfast food that we got to take home with us. I grabbed whatever no one else wanted and have been passing out potato chips and individually wrapped danishes to the homeless of Los Angeles ever since.

Matt Brodie, our DP, setting up one of my close-ups.

Matt Brodie, our DP, setting up one of my close-ups.

Dave gives a thumbs up.

Dave gives a thumbs up.

Hard working PA Brent sitting in for Ryan.

Hard working PA Brent sitting in for Ryan.

Hard working PA Mo getting ready to hang a lantern.

Hard working PA Mo getting ready to hang a lantern.

Shout outs to the rest of our awesome and hard-working crew: Timmy Paul, fab producer; Stephen Parsey, awesome editor; Dave Beresford, stellar boom operator (and another Lesly Kahn student and friend), Colleen Nolan, amazing wardrobe; Mohamed El Emam and Brent Aronowitz, amazing PAs .

Straight Outta Rehab, Day 2 Wrapped

Straight Outta Rehab, Day 2 Wrapped

It was a fabulous two days. I recently got to see a first cut of the film and it looks great! It will be submitted to film festivals here in southern California as well as other festivals around the country. When you get to do what you actually love to do, a 6am alarm clock, cold pasta and lots of cranberry juice don’t seem to matter. For two days I got to be an actress. I got to shoot a short film with two other fabulous actors and an amazing crew. And I can’t wait for the next one!

Straight Outta Rehab, starring (L-R): Ryan Nolan, Sarah Allyn Bauer and Matthew Steven Herrick

Straight Outta Rehab, starring (L-R): Ryan Nolan, Sarah Allyn Bauer and Matthew Steven Herrick

Gindi Thai And Lesly Kahn

22 Oct

As much as I love cooking, I equally love going to a good restaurant. Because eating is such a communal activity, it’s the most common thing we do when a friend says, “I haven’t seen you in awhile, want to get together next week?” Plus, we all have to eat. Moe Friday (yes, that’s his real name), a friend from acting class, emailed me recently to congratulate me on my blog and we said it had been too long so let’s get together for dinner after work. I picked a restaurant I had eaten at once for lunch and been looking for an excuse to go back to, Gindi Thai. It’s yummy deliciousness in the Burbank/Toluca Lake area. We split an appetizer of Crispy Spring Rolls (no picture as we devoured them very quickly, lol), as we started to play catch up. For dinner I had their Gra Pow from the Wok and Moe had the Mango Avocado Shrimp Salad. We chowed down and caught up on the last few months. I have to say, food is the best way to play catch up.

My dinner was chicken with Thai basil leaves, fresh garlic, chili, bell peppers and white wine. Gindi Thai

Mango Avocado Shrimp Salad: Shrimps, mango, onion tossed in tangy spicy dressing on halved avocado and spring mix. Gindi Thai

Like the title of this post indicates, it’s not just the food I care to share with you today. Moe and I met in acting class at Lesly Kahn & Company. I was referred to LK & Co by my friends Angel & Eric (remember them from a previous post) and I LOVE it there! In my first class there I met Moe and 10 other amazing actors and we bonded by the end of the two week intensive in a way I had never done in an acting class before. The environment that Lesly Kahn creates at her studio is welcoming, creative, and thriving among other loving adjectives that are escaping my tongue right now. It’s not about Meisner or Stanislavsky, it’s about the basic principle of acting: listening and reacting. She has about half a dozen teachers and classes happening 6 days of the week for all levels. In addition to classes there are also workshops that range from learning about pilots and writing your own material, to Q&A’s with successful actors and picking the right wardrobe. When you enter the studio you feel like you’re entering a home (complete with a full kitchen in the back) and seeing your extended family. I always see someone I know when I step through the door which makes the atmosphere all the more welcoming and comfortable. If you’re looking for a theatrical acting class, sign up for her “Triage Class” where you will meet with Lesly and she’ll place you in a class. It’s a pretty penny for her comedy intensive, but in my opinion, it was worth every one of those pennies.

Acting classes are like dating, you have to find the one that works for you. You have to connect with your teacher, the other students and the studio in general. What might work for one person, may not work for you. I’ve been in classes where it seemed good at the beginning, but as time went on I realized it wasn’t as great as I had originally thought/hoped. When looking for an acting class you should first decide what kind of class you need: theatrical, commercial, on-camera, improv, etc. I like getting recommendations from friends and doing general research then I always audit the class or attend a free workshop to learn more about the studio and meet the teacher(s). Just remember, one person’s wonder class isn’t necessarily your wonder class. If you’re not comfortable there, leave. It’s your money and your career. If you’re an actor, where do you take your classes?

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