Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mythology of the Neurotic Artist

There's is a time honored mythology of the neurotic artist who creatively feeds off his or her own trauma –that creativity is a function of inner friction. I've never fully subscribed to that. You can have a healthy, happy life and still be indelibly connected to the deeper sorrow of the world. You don't need to create personal trauma to experience darkness, In fact, in some rarefied theological schools of thought, one could argue the opposite.

From In Cahoots with Tony Taccone, interview by Ellen Mclaughlin for American Theatre Magazine September 2006

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


What you think or feel resonates with the rest of the world...
As actors, you can have an impact on the whole planet.
Think about it, and play with it.....
The world is your oyster, it is precious.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Becoming a Creative Channel- Shakti Gawain

"Great works are not created by the ego.They arise from a deep inspiration on the universal level, and are then expressed and brought into form through the individual ego and personality."

" Creative people usually function as channels in only one area of their lives (such as art, science, or business) and have no idea how to do it in the rest of their lives. Thus, they are often terribly out of balance."

Shakti Gawain, Living In The Light

Find balance

Every day, ask yourself: "What can I do today to treat and nurture my instrument?"
It need not be long, or expensive, it can be a small caring gesture that will place you at the center of your universe.

It is not selfish, it is an artist's act of self-preservation.

Artists need to nurture and care for their instruments.

If you were a pianist, would you let your piano get out of tune?
If you were a dancer, would you sleep poorly and eat junk food?
If you were a writer, would you avoid solitude and drown yourself in over-activity?

As actors, your instrument is you.

Don't send yourself to Boot Camp,

Treat yourself!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Listening to your instinct and your character - Jodie Foster

"I'm happy to say I have learned a few lessons from the young performers with whom I've worked during the course of my 43 years in the entertainment business.

One of my best teachers was Abigail Breslin, the heartbreaking young actress from "Little Miss Sunshine."

This month we costar in "Nim's Island," an adventure tale about a little girl living on an otherwise uninhabited island with her father and e-mailing a neurotic adventure writer in San Francisco. That would be me.

When we were filming last summer in the Australian rain forest, Abbie, who turns 12 this month, taught me that although it's a good exercise to try to execute a director's vision, it's an actor's job to bring a full character to the table.

And that means defying arbitrary designs dictated by technical exigencies or a director's preconceived notion of the character.

Some things about a character just can't be decided while a director orders room service in his hotel.

The greatest gift an actor has is instinct. Sometimes that instinct has no grand intellectual vocabulary. Sometimes you just have to say "no."

Abbie knows exactly how to say "no" if it doesn't feel right. That was a lesson I wished I'd learned when I was her age.

Somehow she's learned to do it so sweetly and with such goodwill that directors don't even notice.

When she doesn't feel that the character should shout in a scene, she'll simply say, "Listen to it quiet. Isn't that better?"

My new rule for those of us actors still plagued with people-pleasing: Go with your instinct, even if it means saying "no."
Los Angeles Times Magazine April 6, 2008

For the full article please click here:

Fatigue - Burnout

From: Princeton University: Guidelines for theatre safety

Fatigue is a serious safety concern that should be considered during all stage productions. With performance dates approaching, most crew members can become severely overworked.

Follow these simple guidelines to avoid fatigue:

* Get proper rest. The average person requires 8-9 hours of sleep per night.
* Limit drugs that might contribute to fatigue (tranquilizers and cold/allergy medications)
* Reduce caffeine, nicotine and alcohol which can also contribute to fatigue.
* Take frequent breaks while working. Repetitive or long work sessions can reduce one’s ability to concentrate on the work at hand.
* Plan ahead. Having your building materials and equipment ahead of time can increase efficiency and reduce the work time required.
* Know when to quit. Recognize signs of fatigue – loss of concentration, slow reaction times, memory loss – and knock off for the day.

For the full article please click here.

Sleepless in Los Angeles: Heath Ledger

From: Ian Munro in New York, Kate Benson and agencies
January 24, 2008

“Less than three months ago, Heath Ledger described his sleepless nights and mental exhaustion as he wrestled with his role as the "psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic" Joker in the new Batman film.

One night he took a sleeping pill, Ambien, to little effect. He took a second, slept for an hour, but then woke, his mind racing.

"Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night," Ledger told The New York Times.

"I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going," he said, while admitting he also "stressed out a little too much" about his role in the Bob Dylan film I'm Not There.

Yesterday, the 28-year-old Australian film star was found dead.”

For the full article please click here:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Risks of the Trade

From an article by Kristin Kloberdanz

"Many actors relax after work with their favorite drink or a pack of cigarettes. But the obvious dangers of smoking aside, daily drinking can creep into problem drinking or even alcoholism, in people susceptible to the disease. "By and large, people in theater do not lead a hugely healthy lifestyle," Brandfonbrener says. "Actors are a pretty high-stress group. It's their long hours, their hard work, their intensity, and their personality." And until recently, cocaine and other drugs were a familiar part of film actors' landscape: Even if they weren't using them, drugs were as plentiful and available as candy. It's no wonder that the acting industry is rife with stories about famous stars struggling with their addictions."

To see the whole article please click on:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Marion Cotillard on leaving the character of Piaf

Even the greatest actors admit it: leaving a role can be hard. You can experience post-show blues or post-performance stress. Actually, the better the performance, the harder it seems...

Here is what Marion Cotillard, Academy Award Winner 2008 (Best Actress in a Leading Role for "La Vie En Rose") says about her experience with the role of Edith Piaf:


“ It was about letting this moment happen when the character appears. I do not know how to explain this process; that we are going to feel a person, a presence, inside of ourselves. I let myself be taken by something, not to say someone… The idea was to try not to control anything: by controlling the smallest intonation, I was afraid to take away the life of the character, and to deprive myself from pleasure.
[...] On the second day of the film shoot, I heard this voice coming out of me. It wasn’t my voice! What a shock! It was more than a voice actually: I felt in my body, the walk of Edith Piaf. It was almost mystical: the moment I had seen her, Piaf almost never let go of me again. It is not about being possessed, it is more about the feeling of being inhabited.”


At one point though, I will have to leave Piaf.
I seemed so obvious to me before the shooting and it is so hard today. I am going through a time of mourning; I feel that I am seeing her every day; that I go to places haunted by her without knowing it. Now, I will have to take back my place within my whole body.