Saturday, April 9, 2016

An Actor's Library - TWENTY William Alexander

Now that was truly a good read! I love everything about this book - the author’s easy to digest style, the tracking of the marked up bill over time and the various strange occurrences that befall each recipient. I can see how each chapter could stand alone as an individual short story but I enjoyed how the author connected them. I looked forward to finding the $20. bill in each bizarre tale. Ironically the money was not mentioned only once and it was my least favorite chapter. Could I have blocked it out?

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a taste for a little bit of horror and a whole lot of suspense. I want to read more from William Alexander.

Officially now a fan, I will be following him on facebook and amazon.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

An Actor's Library - TOP OF THE ROCK The Rise and Fall of Must See TV

I am on a new NBC show CROWDED and the actor who plays my son, Clifford Mcghee, recommended this book to me. I always have at least one bookshelf of unread books in my bookcase and yet I keep buying more. I thought maybe if I don’t purchase anymore I would someday read them all. Clifford’s verbal review of this book made me feel compelled to read it. I searched online and discovered the audio version, perfect for driving while listening so I bought it.

What an amazing journey of stories, anecdotes and facts about what makes a network successful and how sitcoms become hits from the page, through the pilot, to many seasons on the air.

There was one name that was mentioned and quoted often and seemed to connect the dots during this golden era of Must See TV. That name is James Burrows. He has directed some of the brightest stars in front of the camera and made life changing executive decisions as a producer. His legacy includes the sitcoms Friends, Taxi, Cheers, Mike & Molly, Will & Grace, Frasier, the Big Bang Theory and now Crowded. Our Season 1 finale was Mr. Burrows 1,000th episode as a director! In my opinion that makes him the Sitcom King. I could relate to so many of the stories from the actors in these ground breaking shows after working with him for 9 episodes. I am officially spoiled!

As an invited guest to the taping of MUST SEE TV An All Star Tribute to James Burrows, I got to experience this book in 3D. It’s still so surreal to me to be in the same room with all of the stars from the above mentioned shows and to know that I am now a part of entertainment history. As Clifford stated, Crowded could easily be the next chapter in this book.

Sean Hayes is also an integral part of the NBC story starting with his role on Will & Grace and now as an executive producer with his buddy Todd Milliner (Hazy Mills Productions). They are the producers of several hit TV shows which now include Crowded and the All Star Tribute to James Burrows. Be sure to tune in on Feb. 21, 2016 on NBC. #mustseetv is back!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

An Actor's Library - MR. PEANUT Adam Ross

I first heard about this book in an article about Stephen King's favorite authors. Being a Stephen King fan I just had to know who he liked and was certain I would like them too. I had the article up on my bulletin board forever and recently when I did a remodel, I took it down vowing to "let it go". I would probably never get to read it anyway. Then one day a few months ago, I was at my hair stylist's studio and saw Mr. Peanut on her book shelf! Well I had to borrow it. It took me about 2 months to read it which is unusual for me especially if I'm enjoying the story. I've been known to finish a really good book in one day. Needless to say I wasn't enjoying this story but I kept struggling through it hoping it would get better and I really did want to know "whodunit". When I found out, I was even more disappointed. In Adam Ross' defense, he does have a style that kept me wanting to know more but I found the book rather confusing and couldn't quite differentiate between the characters. It seemed like the same story was happening to two separate couples and I couldn't figure out what the actual ending was. So back to Stephen King I go...I will leave it to him to get his inspiration from wherever he needs to just as long as he keeps writing the novels I am so often "thrilled" by.

Monday, November 23, 2015

An Actor's Library - ALL IN ALL Stacy Keach

Anyone who truly knows me or has been following my blog knows that I have mad respect for writers and authors. This is the first time I have had the opportunity to work with a person who has written a book about the very industry we are employed in simultaneously.  Stacy Keach’s ALL IN ALL was a gift from him to me while working together on the new NBC show Crowded. As much as I would like to be selfish, it is actually a gift to the world, especially for actors at every level.
This book is filled with wisdom from a classically trained thespian with many years of experience in all areas of acting including voice over’s. He has studied in London and performed all over the world.  I believe his longevity in this business is fueled by talent, passion and a love for his craft. And the love of his life – his beautiful wife Malgosia and their children Shannon and Karolina .
I must say it has been a joy to see this book come to life as I work along side of him every day. I’ve always said that on the job training can’t be beat in this business.
On page 242, Stacy talks about delivering your lines “with robust energy, clarity and emotional truth”. That’s what I see consistently in his work. I’ve learned so much in the past 3 months. Between fleshing out our characters everyday and reading his fascinating stories from stage, television & film, the lessons I have learned will stay with me for the duration of my career. If all goes well, it will include many more seasons of Crowded with my new mentor!
In the meantime, Stacy Keach’s resume will become my Netflix Queue. Watching his body of work should keep me busy until we return for Season 2.
Pick up a copy of ALL IN ALL and look for us on NBC in March 2016. #Crowded

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ask A Stage Goddess - What Do I Do After A Win?

All victories large or small are to be celebrated!! 

It’s the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and it’s time for us to celebrate! The month passed so quickly and I am reminded that we can do anything we say we can do with commitment and accountability.

I’d like to thank everyone who left a comment on my blog. I’ve enjoyed reading the blogs of my fellow UBCers and have become a fan of a few. I hope to continue to be enlightened, educated and entertained by those whom I will continue to follow.  Please do the same. Re-visit my blog from time to time, Like/Friend me on facebook, Follow me on twitter & Instagram and by all means check out the Ask A Stage Goddess series on YouTube if you know anyone pursuing a career in show business.

I love the diversity of this group and no matter what your area of expertise, remember:

Be A Star Where You Are !

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ask A Stage Goddess - So What Do I Do At The Callback?

Congratulations for getting one step closer to booking that job! We’ve talked a lot about clothes and the video below addresses why you should go in looking exactly the way you did for the first audition so let’s talk about the process.

If you ever get a script before an audition, read it! It gives you so much more to work with and a clearer picture of how your character helps to tell this story. Read your sides over including stage directions for more clues on how to enhance your character. Like I’ve said before now is not the time to come up with something completely brand new from your first audition but sometimes little subtleties can make a big difference. Make strong choices and also be able to make adjustments. The team wants to know that you can hold your own and take direction. 

In the waiting room stay focused and avoid small talk with your fellow actors until after the audition. You’ll be to notice the same faces from audition to audition. You become friends with your peers over the years, however now is not the time for a reunion party. It is rude to those in the room and a distraction from what you are there to accomplish.

There are often a lot more people in the room at the callback. Producers, writers and of course the director. It is very serious business. This is not the time to chit chat, showoff or be cute (as my mom would say). The casting director will probably read with you and you may notice that they are more serious at this level. You’re trying to get a job and they’re trying to keep theirs. Remember they want you to succeed and even if you don’t book, they look good if you “do good”.

Stay focused, do your research and be prepared.
Try to be unattached to the outcome. Do your best and move on.

Some will, Some won’t, So what…..Next!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ask A Stage Goddess - What Do I Wear For My Headshots?

Here is one of the headshots from my most recent photo shoot a few weeks ago. I, like many actors, do not even really enjoy this part of our job. Unlike models I hear who absolutely love it! Maybe because they are getting paid. Actors hope to land a job as a result of having good headshots.  It is probably the most important tool of the trade. At the very least it will get us in the door.

I went through my closet and pulled out a lot of different “looks”. You really only need to be concerned with tops: shirts, blouses, jackets, sweaters, etc. since we only see the upper part of your body for headshots. (I must note that the pink I am wearing in this photo and the video is a dress). I was going for colors that look good on me, bright and colorful for commercials and darker colors for the more dramatic look for TV and film. The photographer helped me choose my wardrobe, he knew exactly what backdrop to use for each look. He is also phenomenal at lighting for Black actors which is important and not to be taken for granted. 

Let’s talk about hair and make up for a minute. For the men, if you are an actor, you should already be familiar and comfortable wearing make up for the camera, so you might want to put on a little powder to help keep down the shine. Ladies, I heard an amazing tip recently. DO NOT hire a hair stylist and make up artist for your photo shoot!! Why? Because you are the one who will be doing your own hair and make up for every audition. The last thing you want to do is submit a photo that doesn’t look like you when you walk into the audition room. You can definitely style your hair differently in your photos and change up the make up for a specific look if necessary. The more natural the better.

Get a good night’s rest, be one time and be prepared…Camera Ready! I like to listen to music during the shoot, it relaxes me and gets me into character. So load up that playlist on your iPhone and have fun!!