Adam Creighton's logo Adam Creighton
   Playing with
Other Blogs: Karen Commins Bob Souer

Adam Creighton, Voice & Film Actor (Ramblings) (Subscribe)

People, by nature, have some interesting things to say. Here are some of my things. Some about acting. All about living ...

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Lolcats and acting

It's nice when two things I love intersect.

Here, it's Lolcats and acting:

funny pictures of cats with captions

'Nuff said.

Labels: ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Monday, March 01, 2010

Auditions and Blood Work

So, I had blood work drawn as part of routine physical, and that got me to thinking:
Getting blood drawn is like auditioning.

You really want to perform well with both, but you've done the real work weeks and months ahead of time, you kind of "fire and forget", and you hope the results are good (and really really hope they're not bad).


Labels: , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Free night with DAN FAUCI in Austin October 15th

So tomorrow (Thursday, October 15), Dan Fauci will be in Austin for a free evening, speaking on acting, creativity, and vision in your craft and career (followed by a Q&A).

Dan Fauci is a gift of a human being to the creative community. Besides being a past commercial, soap, theater, and film actor, he's the guy who started "The Mastery" acting intensive workshop, and created and teaches the successive "Leadership and Creativity" and "Into the Abyss" intensive weekend workshops, has his own production company(ies), and generally does whatever he can to help creatives get their work made.

It is seriously a friggin' big deal to get some time with Dan, so if you're in the creative space (in any form), I encourage you to go.

You can just show up at the event, but space is limited, so you may want to contact Van Brooks to assure yourself a spot. If you go because of this post, be sure to tell Van or Dan that.


When: Thursday, October 15th, 7:30-9:30 pm
Where: The Doubletree Inn, 6505 IH 35, exit 238A (Austin Room)
Other: Parking is free.

Labels: , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Adam's POV

Casting Director Bonnie Gillespie told me the first of my guest columns is now live at "The Actors Voice - POV".

It's entitled "Living a Life of Desperate Creativity (Take 1)" It's tertiarily about my recent move from my established acting scene in Austin and my trying to make inroads in North Carolina. What it's really about is how important this whole acting thing is to me and about personal accountability in my craft. Wonderful, scary stuff.

Check out the column, let me know what you think, and take advantage of all of the wonderful resources Bonnie provides across her myriad sites. She's one of those precious ones that loves the Biz and loves actors, and is busy in the industry six ways to Sunday -- but it's not in a "frantic, scattershot, undirected way"; rather, it's a focused, "I'd rather burn out than fade away" kind of way. Bonnie's a gift.

Enjoy ...

Labels: , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Other Side of Something Horrible

I haven't posted on the acting side in a while.

I've had good reason.

Here's the MP3 -- and remember, this is my "Ramblings" blog ...


Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Voice acting in Condemned 2

Video games and cartoons got me into voice acting.

Condemned was one of the best (and under-rated) launch games for the Xbox 360 (playing in the dark with surround sound almost made me soil myself).

Now, Condemned 2: Bloodshot is on its way, and SEGA's released a very cool VO session video.

Check it out to see VO Director Art Currim (Black Powder Media) work his magic with some talented folks.

Enjoy performances from André Sogliuzzo (protagonist Ethan Thomas), Dave Mitchell (Agent Dorland), Phil LaMarr (Lerue/Bum), Henry Dittman (SKX/Pilot), Keith Szarabajka (Inferi), Angel Parker (Agent Rosa), and Michael Bell (Magic Man/President).

Oh, and there are some interesting bits from Associate Producer Marty Caplan, Lead Designer Frank Rooke, Cinematics Director Rocky Newton, and heaven forbid we forget the ADR Group

Don't necessarily take technique tips from all of the performances. While they're all talented actors, voice over is a unique skill set, and some of these folks aren't necessarily experienced in voice acting -- but kudos to them for getting the chance to leverage their acting chops in new ways, and watch Art give concrete microphone technique and acting direction.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

On voice acting and pole dancing

A week ago, I was at the Game Developers Conference, which turned out to create multiple unexpected opportunities on the acting front.

Now that I'm formally in the video game industry, the weeks up to, during, and after GDC have been a new level of insane as I transition from outside-in hobbyist to lifestyle professional.

And it's been really, really good on the acting front.

A quick summary of acting-related events in and around GDC:

Voice Acting:

My company did a tech demo for this year's GDC that is, in essence, a mini level of an on-rails shooter game. There is a lot of voice over, which I stayed out of even though I'm (A) a professional voice actor, and (B) know the audio house in LA to whom we subcontracted for the voice over work.

This about drove me insane to not be involved. In some ways it should have been a lock for me to exploit the opportunity to get my voices all over the project. But I made a professional decision to stay out of the way, avoid any conflict of interest issues, and support the teams in my official capacities to make the project successful (which it was -- beyond expectations).

Soooo hard.

But, I was inadvertently rewarded when -- the Friday before GDC -- the team wanted a voice over intro for the game. With no time to ramp up the contract house, I grabbed my home recording equipment and put down a track (after spending way too much time trying to find an XLR cable, since mine are in storage, Chapel Hill is no Austin, and it took our phenomenal office admin Brady to save the day and chase down a cable).

The game is an homage to video games and 1950s B-movie horror flicks, titled "Forbidden Terror on Space Station Z!", so my voice over is cheese ball, AM-style schlock (I even compressed it a bit so it had the AM-radio crackle vibe), and a lot of fun. You'll be hearing it soon in various places, and I'll put a version on the site here, too.

I also was able to provide reference audio for a little boy audio clip that -- recorded by a voice actress and missing the creep factor -- was too bright and girlish, and didn't work for its place in the game. So I edited it closer to what we wanted, and our audio contract folks were able to take the original audio and match it more closely to my reference audio.

Theater Presentations:

Part of my job as a product manager for my company is to be a public face at events like GDC, so I did about ten theater presentations over the few days of the show. I totally dig emcee gigs, so I enjoyed the chance to present to the masses and do some carnival-style barking to fill our theater when attendance was low.

I also got the chance to practice my actor listening chops in a new way. I was co-presenting with a Swedish licensee for one of the presentations, and we did the presentation differently every time. I reacted well off of him, because I knew my part cold, but listened to what he had to say, and responded accordingly (and freshly) each time. That was an unexpected opportunity to practice my madd acting skilz.

Pole Dancing:

The GDC Microsoft XNA party started out far too slowly. When this kind of thing happens, I have a tendency to work to make something happen. Sometimes that manifests in different ways.

Turns out the party venue had mini stages with brass poles on the third floor (no, I don't know why).

Regardless, since things were moving slowly on the entertainment front, a co-worker turned to me at one point and said, "I bet you won't pole dance for twenty dollars."

He then proceeded to pull out $40, then $60, at which point I stopped the bidding war, pocketed the money, strode across the dance floor (after a brief hug with the technical director of a huge entertainment company), hopped up on the stage, and shook, shimmied, and spun around the pole like the pretty, pretty man I am.

I then hopped down, handed his money back to him, and ordered a drink.

Because, sober as I was (and as much as I like money), the truth is he had me at "I bet you won't" and "pole dance". I didn't feel good taking his money.

I'd already decided I'd do it without any additional incentive.

Over think it? No. Be scared or embarrassed? Why?

"I bet you won't" to me as an actor is like saying "don't" to a two-year-old -- it goads me into action.

I'm an actor. Bring on the pole.

Labels: , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

On faking it

I like the commercials for the new 2008 Cadillac CTS.

A man or the woman, calmly driving, talking about turning on their car, and being turned on, with subtle through-line undertones of power and sexiness that aren't overdone.

That is, I like most of the commercials. One is a horrible example of faking in acting, and it possibly damages the Cadillac brand subconsciously for viewers.

If you haven't seen the commercials, there are those with actors, and those with actresses.

One of the actresses is phenomenal. Poised, sophisticated, in control, and high-class sexy. Her commercials are fun to watch.

The other actress might be all of the same, but I can't get past the fact that she's faking. Horribly.

See, these people obviously aren't actually driving the CTS when they're filming the commercial. But this second actress -- you can tell she's not actaully driving.


Watch her hands. Watch her wiggle the steering wheel back and forth as she vaudeville mocks driving a stationary car. Which is faking in acting, and that irritates me as an actor that doesn't want to fake. But it also damages this high brand.

Think about it -- if the steering is that loose, and you have to work that hard to drive a CTS -- why would you pay that kind of money for that kind of car.

Faking. It's not just bad for actors who care about good acting -- it's bad for products those actors represent.


Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Another reason to be unafraid

I was at my brother-in-law's gymnasium the day after Christmas, and I watched various kids of various ages try various things, interested in what they were trying, when, and why.

Turns out the more comfortable a kiddo looked, the more likely she was to try something daring (hanging from the higher of the uneven bars, jumping from stacked mats into a foam pit, sliding on the big slide -- whatever).

The more secure they felt, the more gutsy stuff they tried.

This got me to thinking about adults in general, and me in particular, and the fact that the more secure I feel, the more gutsy stuff I'm comfortable trying.

And since everything comes back to living, and the more I learn about life the more I learn about in my acting, I was struck with some life/acting lessons from the observations.

Taking risks while comfy -- having supportive cast mates, coaches, directors, and so on -- is great, but it's kind of the low bar for me. I work to train myself to take risks when I'm not comfortable.

This means while I can do daring stuff in a comfortable place (supportive director, professional working environment, etc.), I don't need that comfortableness.

If I train myself to make gutsy choices and "tear it up" without the crutch of security, I'm much more useful in the industry (being an actor is a freaking uncomfortable gig).

And when I am working with a supportive director and professional cast and crew (which, frankly, is way more fun)?

Watch out for the fireworks.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Voice acting video game interviews

Since I'm a voice actor and a gamer, I look for interviews with actors on their techniques and processes for video game worlds.

A couple have popped up for one of my more anticipated games -- Mass Effect from Electronic Arts BioWare.

First up is an MTV Multiplayer interview with Seth Green, the wunderkind creative and voice actor behind things like Robot Chicken (but to me, he'll always be Oz from Buffy, with his leaving signifying a brief downturn in the watchability of the show).

Then there's this video interview with veteran actors Keith David, Lance Henriksen, and Marina Sirtis.

David has some good stuff to say (including the fact that "acting is acting -- it's either good acting or it's bad acting"), as does Henriksen (with nuggets highlighting some of the differences between voice acting and on-camera acting).

Labels: , , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Last night's showcase went phenomenally well.

Hectic and down to the wire, we of the Bohemian Theater Troupe got into the space (Beerland in Austin) for the first time at 5 p.m. -- for a 7 p.m. showcase.

Given seven scenes and three monologues, each of us only had time to run through the most problematic parts of our blocking quickly, as lights were being struck, microphones placed, and furniture and props positioned.

We also had the incomparable CK McFarland guest sitting in as we went through our craziness, and giving us last-minute blocking and set suggestions before she ducked out to teach her own class.

For my scene partner (Risa Schroder) and me, this was particularly tough, as we had added the Tango to our Angels in America scene (the shared dream sequence between Prior and Harper), and our space kept shrinking as furniture obstacles were added. Even after we'd "figured out" our blocking (and never having the chance to work through our full scene), we were told the couch for two scenes was going to stay onstage, and be moved to extreme upstage between those scenes. That meant we had to change our dancing from downstage to upstage (front to back) to stage left to stage right (side to side). And we were told we had to avoid going too far to stage right, as a permanently mounted ceiling speaker was creating a blind spot for the lights.

And we didn't get to try any of this blocking with the new directions.

Further cutting into our available time was me -- as the one guy with the truck -- picking up curtain stanchions, computer carts, couches, and so on.

Oh, and I had like 45 minutes of makeup to get into drag. And I had to get into costume, and we were second up (after a fantastic monologue from Levan Owens).

Our coach / The Bohemian Producer Steve Prince framed it pretty well for the audience at the outset, though.

He basically said the showcase was us putting scenes on under "extreme duress". Our doing the scenes for the audience was the first time we were doing the scenes. There was no tech rehearsal, there was no full-on walkthrough. If we can do this, in theory we can blow up auditions.

The goal is for us to just go up there and make things happen.

I feel really good about how our scene went.

First, I looked and felt fabulous. Lynn Burnor did an amazing job on my makeup, and I'm so grateful she shared her mad makeup skilz to drag queen me up -- which cut into her prep time (which didn't show at all in her and John O'Connel's scene -- funniest thing of the night).

I looked fabulous, with industry friend Tonya lending me a cute blue kimono, and me spending yesterday shopping for matching sexy women's underwear and frumpy house slippers.

And because the lead-up to actual performance was so crazy, we were incredibly free to do whatever. There was no "getting it right" in this context; we were there to make something happen.

No, it wasn't perfect. There a few "acty moments" as we tried to balance moving the scene forward with unexpected projection needed when the sound system came up a little short. But Risa (she is amazing) and I did a great job.

While Risa and I had memorized our lines (flat) separately, since we both knew what was happening in the scene, we agreed not to get tripped up if we missed or jumped lines.

That said, I don't think we missed a single line or exchange. And I wasn't thinking about acting; I was just amused by this conservative Mormon invading my gay dream, and then finding out I actually liked her and wanted her there.

And Jeff Carley generously stepped in at the nth hour to by our "angel", and fully bought into his role. Good guy, that.

The payoff?

People were incredibly generous and complimentary (and several gentlemen offered to buy me drinks).

But my favorite was a particular casting director shocked and amazed that I would do what I did, and pull it off. She wants me to be daring, and now there's a whole bunch of room between what I "normally" do and what I did last night. Bring on da work!

Man, I'm jazzed.

Then it was off to Fadó to hang out and enjoy time with fellow cast members and friends who came to watch the show. Great times.

Labels: , , , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Who says that?

One of the things I've been working on the last few months is -- at the core -- who I am as any given character. What I'm trying to do and how I do it may change throughout the project (or the scene, or the moment), but that should be layered on top of who I am as the character.

One of the things I don't like is watching a film and being struck with some version of, "She wouldn't do that."

So I started evaluating, trying to figure out what gets that reaction from me. Part of it is unrealistic circumstances created by the writing, direction, or editing, which arguably are outside the control of the actor. Other times, though, I'm realizing the disconnect occurs when the actor slips between why the character would do something, and why the actor would do something. In a couple of instances, it's because their was a switch between what the character in the current project would do, and what the actor had done as another character (or another character type) in a previous project that I suspect they were more connected to or comfortable with than the current moment's character.

So how do I avoid that? How do I find out that character core, that framework on which to hang my performance?

It's called a lot of things, but for me, it's come down to figuring out my character's "spine". Spine works so well for me as a metaphor, because it's the component of the body without which there isn't dynamic physical movement, it describes the moral character and attributes of a person, and it's the binding that holds a book -- the whole story -- together.

Early in my acting, I received a wealth of good coaching advice from my film coach Van Brooks. One of the pieces that stuck with me particularly was, "Don't judge your character". (The particular scene was me as a guy who may or may not have killed his ex-girlfriend.)

This came back to mind a few weeks ago when I was struggling with one line of dialog when getting ready for a cold read. My character said, "Darn" -- all by itself, in a cast-off way -- and it felt weird. The self-talk sequence that came to mind was bit like this:
  • "Darn"? He says "Darn"? Who says "darn"?
  • "Don't judge your character."
  • Who says, "Darn"? I do.

When I did the cold read, I nailed "darn". It wasn't punched, it was cast-off, I didn't think about it, and I sold it. My coach and peers called it out after the cold read as an example as to why selling the most insignificant word in a believable, organic way, creates good, unexpected moments.

Later in the evening (interestingly), my coach (Steve) had a discussion with all of us about weird dialog (someone else had some funky phrasing like "you're toast" that was causing similar trip-ups).

He actually even said, "Who says that kind of stuff? Your character does."

(Which was validating and freaky at the same time; he's in my head!)

So, one of my recent tools is I've stopped "judging" my character's dialog. That doesn't mean I don't try to figure out why he or she is saying what she's saying, and why it's being said at that time. But I shelf any useless judgements (like, "That sounds stupid", and so on). I can't replicate the "darn" by thinking about it, or trying to sell it. It works or it doesn't.

Oh, and a side-effect of not judging my character is I make more dangerous, interesting choices, which come through on the audition or cold read. ("Did I kill my ex-girlfriend? Yes, yes I did.")

Mheh. The process was more interesting as I worked through it than it probably reads here.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Living a care-free life ...

I haven't written about class recently. I need to talk about last week's epiphany about my character spine. Later I need to talk about that.

I want to talk about last night's class, because I had another of those "life equals acting" epiphanies.

The discussion was around being care free in our acting. Studying under Steve has given me a bunch of tools and applications geared toward getting me to be care free when I perform. (And I've touched on some of them before, but you're not going to get them here; get in class with someone of Steve's caliber.)

Anyway, the hard part about practicing to be care free is it puts it on the fore-front of my mind -- "mind" being that cerebral/intellectual killer of acting/being.

Steve doesn't want his students hung up on these tools and techniques (and, to be fair, a lot of these acting process steps are things he's figured out, so he's got a leg up on applying them more organically to his own process), so we've been doing things in class to help us become more care free.

Last night was one of those nights. And it was fun and inspiring, both when I was on stage and when other people were.

And what made my time (and the drive home, and thinking through the night, and this morning before things got all life wonky) especially good was my epiphany just before we finished prepping to go on stage:
I already work to live a care-free life. Acting is part of my life. That means I'm already working to be a care-free actor.
I don't mean I'm care free in a dysfunctional, character-disordered, disconnected kind of way. I've very much a planner and an executor, which on the professional side makes me great at doing both strategic and tactical work.

But I don't -- at home or at work -- worry about stuff.

There are a bunch of reasons. From a religious perspective, worry is a sin, it doesn't add any time to my life, today has enough worries of its own, yadda yadda yadda.

From a pragmatic perspective, what's worry going to get me? Honestly, best I can figure is an ulcer. Maybe even a bleeding ulcer. Yippee.

Taken to professional application, what makes me a great manager is I don't worry about managing. I'm ridiculously proactive about management -- personnel, risk, project, customer relationship, business recovery, whatever.

I build out a number of contingencies. I understand the impacts. I know what's allowable, and what's not. I communicate that to everyone. And I don't worry.

I still have tough, aggressive conversations with folks. Stakes are still high. I know I could lose customers, projects, or my job through no fault of my own; I don't worry about that. I worry about what could be my fault. And then when stuff does happen that is my fault (because it will), I take ownership, I fall back on one of my contingencies (fixes) for the situation, and I move one.

I once worked a project where someone walked into my office and said, "If anyone thinks this project is getting done, they're insane."

I sat down with him, we worked through the project, found out the project manager had been miss-representing things, and yep, anyone still wanting the project on the original cost, scope, and schedule was probably certifiable. So I articulated options, scenarios, and new cost, feature, and timeline considerations. And ended up getting negatively tagged and penalized. And I didn't worry (doing the work and and doing the right thing are incredibly freeing activities).

Understand, I work wicked hard at my job and in life. People who know me know I will fill any available time with doing stuff. Productive challenging fun stuff. It's my strength and my weakness.

And while I'm working with high stakes (corporate international mega-million dollars or personal relationship issues), I have fun; I laugh.

I bring a game console in to work for my development team and we blow off steam for a couple of hours (because if you can't spare the couple of hours, your project's already beyond in trouble).

I go catch a move for lunch to get creatively fed and reset and clear my head and be more productive when I hit the office.

But I don't worry.

It pours rain off and on for months on end and I can't get my lawn mowed and my neighborhood association might fine me and I don't worry. I mow my lawn when the chance opens up because I care about my neighbor, and if that chance doesn't open up until after I get a fine, so what? So I couldn't mow my lawn and someone was doing their job or was bored or was on a power trip? Not my issue. Not my worry.

Don't read this wrong -- I haven't "arrived". And there's a balancing acting between not worrying and being character disordered. And there are times when I worry, and have to have self talk (or a close accountability friend) reset me.

Kind of like when I have to get out of my head as an actor.

The main reason I wanted to study as an actor with Steve is I know I'm too careful as a person. I tend to do things right. But until last night, I didn't connect that I don't worry about getting things right.

So, the epiphany for last night was all the "right" stuff in life? Taken care of.

The acting opportunities? Networking with the right folks to get me the gigs I'm passionate about? Already happening. If the opportunities don't happen, it's not my shortcoming.

Auditions? I already know I carry myself professionally, know my lines, have my headshots, know the etiquette. So the audition, the callback, the freaking on-set scene is play time.

Work is done. Nothing to worry about.

And when I say "play time", I don't mean bounce a beach ball inanely for hours at a time. I mean no inhibitions other than what's ingrained and subconscious and I can break loose and do something important.

Last night, I had seven minutes to read a monologue I'd never seen, make some whacked out choices, and go. There was no way for me to memorize perfectly, so that wasn't a worry (though I surprised myself by still getting 80% of it, by not thinking about it).

The monologue was from a drug dealer. I did it with a debilitating stutter on Ts, Ks, and Gs, and a constant nervous bicep-rubbing-the-ear physical tick that nearly gave me rug burn.

Would you buy X from that guy? Maybe not (though I was pretty desperate in my stuttering, spastic plea).

Will you remember that guy who tried to sell you X?

Oh yeah.

And I wasn't worried about getting it right at all. For that moment, I was a care free actor.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Free acting class in Austin

I've mentioned Van Brooks quite a few times. He's one of my film coaches, and he's doing a free one-night film and audition class for one night next week in Austin, TX.

So free up your Wednesday, September 5th 7:00 - 10pm if you want to "Work on-camera with a cold reading, get audition advice, and [attend a] Q&A about the business. It's also fine to just observe."

There's no obligation, and it's a good chance to check out the studio and Van's style and personality before his 12-week sessions start, and The Mastery workshop hits in October.

Shoot me a note if you need Van's contact info.

Labels: , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another PS3 "Making of" commercial

Here's another Sony PlayStation 3 commercial, with another "making of" featurette.

Unlike the last one, this is a super-short "making of" segment, but that's balanced out with the commercial itself being a truly beautiful little spot.

And while I don't get a lot of Sony's PS3 adverts (particularly the European campaign), somebody's getting to do art house films under the auspices of corporate advertising, so more power to them.


Labels: ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Additive, not reductive ...

Tonight in class was kind of a building night, as we prepare for the Bohemian Theatre Troupe's next public showcase on September 25.

So, there was a lot of picking through scenes, figuring out the number of monologues versus two-, three-, and (yay!) four-person scenes, playing with some scenes and monologues, and a little performing.

So not a big work-y kind of night, but there was something that struck me on the acting process side of things.

I'm always looking for ways to set myself apart as a person, and not get stuck on those things that are part of my acting preparation. I have four different worksheets I do for character and scene / audition / monologue / stand-up work. I do a lot of prep for auditions and callbacks and on-set or on-mic work.

But I'm always looking for ways to keep that process, and at the same time simplify it.

Leave it to my coach to boil it down. He basically said an actor's choice should be additive, not reductive. For example, you're not taking away intelligence; you're "adding stupid".

(And my coach may have said it well, but I summarized it way better. And more concisely.)

The epiphany for me as an actor is the personal prep on which I often get stuck -- that knocks me back into my head, and out of the moment -- is the laundry list of stuff I've prepared. And tonight I realized it's usually the stuff I've "taken away" from the character.

As an example, I might hiccup in a moment, because Mr. Intellectual is intruding on my moment with a barely muffled, "Your character wouldn't do that!"

I get stuck on the "nots" in my preparation. I hit each of these things, and they're like speed bumps in my performance.

So, I need to flip those "nots" into additional attributes.

The other epiphany is this "additive, not reductive" mentality is an extension of the rules of improvisation: "Love your partner, and believe everything they say" (sometimes reduced to "yes, and ..."). And my acting is a partnership with myself, so I need to love me and believe everything I say ("Love your neighbor as yourself" means loving yourself).

This has the extra benefit of removing judgements from my character (I as my character do not acknowledge myself as the bad guy, or being less intelligent, or whatever).

I'm hoping tonight's little realizations flip my acting speed bumps to water wings. Or something.

Labels: ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back in class

So, acting class started in July, then a session was cancelled, then I was in Cali, then I was sick flat on my back for two weeks, so tonight I was back in class. After a month out.

I enjoy class. Even when it's hard. I like to be on set, on mic, or in class all of the time. For me, acting's not like riding a bike. It goes away. And there are slumps. And my acting skills need constant use.

Tonight was kind of a "soft-in", which was good, because my voice is still shot.

Cold read stuff was what I was appropriately thrown into. Which I enjoy, and which I got kudos on, and I take encouragement from. But not for the obvious reason.

I'm a voice actor. Pretty much every voice over audition I do is a cold read. Plus mic technique. Plus creating the character with nothing but a voice.

I'm encouraged the skill showed up on camera tonight, and that I didn't stilt the physicality, the connection with the reader. Doesn't mean I won't have off cold reads later. But tonight, I didn't.

And it was so good to see my Meisner peeps again. I really care about those folks.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On convictions and acting

I've been having some important discussions lately with actors. These discussions center around convictions -- what they "will" and "won't" do -- and how it impacts their acting and auditioning.

The discussion has been ongoing, but started anew when someone recounted to me an anecdotal instance, and it grew from there. In this particular instance, an actress in a mock audition scenario asked if she could substitute something else in a line of dialog that used "God" as a verbalized sigh. It was against her personal convictions to use "God" in what she considered a flippant manner.

Let the contention begin.

And while the scenario was recounted to me anecdotally, I'm sure every actor has experience with this. I know I've got direct experience, and the ensuing discussions were not anecdotal. ;-)

First, by way of background, let's go with at least two working principles:
  1. There's a separation between the actor as person (and their convictions), and the actor in a role (and what is true / authentic / organic for that character).

  2. I don't have this figured out, and struggle with it all of the time.

Let's start with the first issue, that of separation between the actor as person actor in a role as character.

There's one school of thought that says my movie role as a megalomaniac world conqueror is not likely to bridge into the "real" world.

There's another school of thought that says anything I do in a role is OK, because it's not "me" doing it -- it's the character.

One of my favorite tools for figuring things out reductio ad absurdum -- "reduction to the point of absurdity". As an apagogical argument, this is a great way for me to find the ludicrous in a debate, discard it, and find out what holds up. Put more simply, it's "finding the stupid". (An analogy in marketing or sales is "getting to a 'no', so we can start discussing the 'yes'.")

In practicality, I use reductio ad absurdum to assume something (for the purpose of discussion), get an an absurd or ridiculous outcome, and figure out the hole(s) in the original assumption (because the result is wonky).

That's your logic lesson for the day.

And I would say applying it this disussion, to posit "anything I do in a role is OK" is bullsh***.

(See I deftly mix high-brow intellectualism with low-brow boorishness?)

In all seriousness, I'm irritated with the arrogance of Biz folks who espouse this philosophy, because we know it's false. If I'm in the role of serial killer, I don't literally get to get away with murder. If I'm portraying a rapist, I can't actually violate my co-actor victim (just like hopefully no one argues it's OK for him / her to be violated by me, because "they're just playing a part").

These same folks might say this differently: "You need to get rid of your inhibitions."

Really? Because then I probably would kill (think road rage), violate (horniness without inhibitions is a frightening thought), and probably sleep with any person, animal, vegetable, or fruit (kumquats come to mind, for no obvious reason).

In short, I'd be an animal.

I watched an Inside the Actors Studio with James Gandolfini, where he said the same thing after recounting tearing apart a stage during a Meisner class, and the importance of being -- and controlling that being -- is what makes him an actor, and not an animal. So, we should learn from James.

(As an aside, it was this Gandolfini interview that motivated me to take my acting to the next level, and seek out a Meisner coach, and connect with my current coach and training).

How does this play out in practicality?

There was a monologue I gave where I'd been unjustly imprisoned, was out, and was going to attack a girl. I delivered my monologue directly to a girl, and I was so ramped up and angry and screaming I wanted to lunge across the tape line that was my mark and grab this girl. And I didn't cross the tape line. And in that moment, there was no intellectual ("non-being") interruptive acknowledgement that it even was a tape line.

Now, make no mistake, the cost is high. Like Gandolfini, scenes with violence toward women (verbal violence included) messes me up. I hate it. Because it's still me physically acting out this scene.

Which brings us back (in a roundabout way) to the struggle between me as individual and me as actor -- it's still me doing the stuff. If, as a person, I believe there is an all-powerful being called "God", and I believe one of his "big rules" is "thou shalt not take my name in vain", and I have a conviction to obey that, then I have to wrestle with whether I say it in an audition or scene.

Of course, it's all more complicated than that, as there are other factors like "is there something redemptive that happens to my character?"; "Is there something that happens to this character that serves as a warning to the audience?"; "Does art have a 'higher' purpose?"; "Is there something cathartic for me in doing this role?"; and on and on.

So we've had a nice, brief little dialectical jaunt around this topic -- So what was the advice given for the originating scenario?

It ranged (obviously). One person I know and respect deeply basically said, "Do what you're going to do and don't ask about it ahead of time."

Another industry vet (who I don't know personally, but admire his work and career in around 150 memorable supporting roles, so I won't mention his name), in essence gave the following advice:

"If you're unwilling to say lines as written, you shouldn't even audition.... It should be okay to speak privately to the director afterward and discuss it, but the audition room is not the place to do that."

I actually practice the former advice. To be honest, I think if I totally sell an audition -- it's believable -- they're not going to care if I leave out a word.

I disagree with the second bit of advice (admitting I'm responding to it in a vacuum). The way I see it, if I don't audition, I already don't have the part, so why not audition, leave out the contentious words, see if I get the part, then have the discussion?

More importantly, I feel like if I'm violating my convictions to nail an audition, I'm in essence prostituting my beliefs to get a gig. But that's just me.

And I've had bigger gigs -- like one 15-page scene where I told the director I couldn't do it as written, and asked permission to re-write it to where I could. To his credit, he let do whatever I wanted "to make it mine". But I was ready to be done with the project if push came to shove.

Circling back to that second working principle with which I started the discussion ("I don't have this figured out"), don't misinterpret this as inconsistency or waffling on my part. I consider my struggle with this the nature of the importance of the conflict, the strength of my convictions, and my being a thinking person who challenges, tests, and reassesses personal conviction (which is to say I feel "blind faith" isn't faith; or something).

And there are lots of folks thinking about this, and most of them are more studied and articulate than me. People like Barbara Nicolosi, who I don't know, but know of. They probably have more informative discussions.

Labels: ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Monday, July 23, 2007

New voice demo! Studio "wring-out" session!

The voice demo:

Big things are afoot on the acting front!

Besides last week's headshots (the number-one calling card for on-camera talent), I recently cut and mastered my new character / animation voice demo (the number-one calling card for voice talent)!

I'm very happy with this demo, and it showcases how my range and technique have grown since my original voice demos.

I've did a decent amount of pre-production on this, because there were specific things I wanted to accomplish.

Besides obviously showcasing my range and diversity, I wanted a demo that translated my recent film training intensity. The "Luke Cage" piece (from New Avengers #22, yo!) does this nicely (and that's the amazing Howard Shore / Lord of the Rings "Journey in the Dark" swell underneath my vocals).

I also wanted to do a bit of a tribute to inspirational voice actor Peter Cullen, who is the voice of the original (and Michael Bay movie) Optimus Prime.

Finally, as I've grown in my craft, I'm well past the point of creating voices -- I create characters. This adds a depth and authenticity to my performances that isn't commonly found in untrained voice talent. I think that's apparent in the demo, and I hope you think so, too.

So, head over to my Demos page to meet Luke, Eeyore, Optimus, True Brit, GhollimEsque, Panic Boy, and's Hedojo and Fae. Plus a nice little industry button (all in fun).

The Studio "wring-out" session:

I've mentioned Jason Young before, who handled the audio for the Pray with Thanksgiving film.

I'm not sure how to articulate that there's probably not a better example of a modern-day Renaissance man than Jason. Musician, sound designer, sound engineer, composer, conductor, singer, wood worker, and technical geek. And not just dabbling in each -- accomplished in each.

We were "wringing out" his new sound booth -- which he designed and built. It's an amazing, solid, sound-dampened (but not sound "dead" or "sterile"), incredibly well-engineered piece of work.

The wring out session itself revolved around the technical and the physical aspects.

On the former, this involved chasing down sound leaks, buzzes, and the like; adjusting levels, and making sure the studio is ready for professional work, without interruption.

The physical side of the wring out involved figuring out the range of the booth, angles for delivery (clean, muddy, echo-ey), allowable space for physicality (it's a cozy booth, but with plenty of room for work -- and even guitar performance, if it comes to that), sit / stand mechanics, and producer / engineer interaction (both for VO and ADR direction).

I really like Jason's new booth and studio (and not just because I get along so well with Jason). It's on par with studio booths in which I've recorded, and is one of the nicest home studios in which I've every had the pleasure to record. It's certainly got some of the best sound.

The pict below is snapshot after a pretty intense "Luke Cage" read (hence, "the shiny"). For this take, we were also checking the sound on my own MXL-990 mic (pictured) -- which turns out to be a pretty hot mic, compared to Jason's studio setup.

Adam Creighton during a studio wring-out session with Jason Young.

After the wring-out session, I went away, focused on headshots, pulled music and sound effects together, then Jason and I spent yesterday afternoon mixing / mastering / finalizing the demo.

Jason was adept at maximizing the sound (without losing the fidelity), and appropriately prioritized the vocals over the music and sound effects (without making the latter two sound like they were just "slapped underneath" the former).

Like I said, I feel great about this demo. Not just for the finished product, but because I ostensibly self-produced this project (with Jason's spot-on collaboration) -- I feel great about the product and the result -- and it's the demo I'm talking to Comic-Con this week.

Jason's available to do this for you. You should contact him. Or me, if you prefer an introduction.

And there's more to come, because we also recorded clips for my new commercial voice demo. But that'll have to wait until after I shake things up in San Diego.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The "Wire in the Blood" Brits ...

Last night I went to a event, where the speakers were two of the blokes from the Wire In The Blood BBC television series -- director Declan O'Dwyer and producer Bill Boyes.

Bill and Declan are in Austin, because they're filming an episode of Wire in Austin, with Texas actors and crew. this is a big deal, as a BBC television episode is feature-length, so this is a movie, shot with Texas talent.

The two of them were phenomenally forthcoming with insight into their history in the Biz, British differences (surprising number of parallels to us across the pond), and advice for actors and other Biz folks.

And they were absolutely hilarious. We're talking an updated British Amos 'n Andy vibe, with meaty content for an actor hungry to get better and meet new people.

The two were also pleasantly self-deprecating, which is ironic considering they're really big guns in the industry (Boyes is a lifetime journalist / producer who was a one-time exec for the BBC, and O'Dwyer is one of the most sought-after directors in the UK, working non-stop across multiple projects (including the British Robin Hood series, which I love) for the last five years straight.

One of the things that struck me about the evening was the almost spot-on parallels (in particular) between Declan's advice for actors, and my current coach's (Steve Prince) philosophy (which, while Meisner-based, is supplemented with things he's learned over the years in the Biz).

What stuff in particular?

Declan said acting is weird, because "You're telling lies. But you still have to be truthful about it." This is a akin to Steve's definition of acting as "Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances."

There was also a lot of talk about making a break into the industry via authentic relationship building (longtime followers know how this strikes a chord with me).

And there was a breakdown of the difference between knowing the mechanics of acting, and the danger of making those a bigger priority than being in the scene. It's about being connected to the people in the room, in the scene, or in your head (depending on the situation) in a real, "organic" (overused industry buzzword) way. And you'll see that in folks' eyes. When it's off, it's what my coach calls, "Dead shark eyes." And you need both the connection at the mechanics.

Afterwards, I hung out and chatted ("bunnied", "rabbited") with Bill and Declan to say thanks for the gift of sharing their insight with around a hundred Austin actors and industry folks, and to wish them well on the shoot. They're both very pleasant, very approachable, and very funny. Good folks.

I also really like the premise underneath Coastal Productions, the company behind Wire In The Blood, and co-founded by series star Robson Green. It's a successful company, with at least one of its goals being "supporting local young people who want to get into the industry."

And I ran into a ton of acting friends and acquaintances last night, which I love. I so enjoy getting my hug on with these amazingly talented folks with which my life has been blessed.

Good times ...

Labels: , , , , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Monday, July 16, 2007

New headshots today ...

Today, I had a session for new headshots from the incomparable Rhea Willis.

Rhea was my original headshot photog, and we've both gotten even better since that first set, when I was starting out in the Biz.

She's now doing all-digital and color, and I'm a lot more authentic and good at taking notes while working, which made for a great, painless, and even fun (imagine!) afternoon.

We ran the gamut, from serious to goofy, blue to white collar, approachable to intense, and commercial to theatrical.

Rhea's great, because besides being such a pleasant person, she's super talented, and does everything from the shots, to makeup, to touch-up of the final selections. And she's a partner in the whole effort -- giving great feedback on everything from wardrobe to poses, which makes the whole effort more collaborative, and more productive.

I'm totally stoked for the CD and proofs this Wednesday, and should have new headshots in the next couple of weeks (I'm in San Diego next week for Comic-Con, so there's at least a week's delay).

Check out the picts on her Website -- she does great work.

Labels: , , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Making a video game commercial ...

Folks who know me know I'm a big fan of the acting process -- mine and other folks'.

I'm also a big fan of video games, so when the two intersect, I'm going to let you know.

This brief clip below has a cute behind-the-scenes romp with Japanese actress Yuri Ebihara, as she hocks SEGA's 15th anniversary of Puyo Puyo!

I enjoy seeing the "non-acty" side of actors (on- and off-screen).

Labels: , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fantastic Industrial gig ...

I just finished two days of shooting for an industrial gig, and it was a fantastic experience.

Stereotypically, industrials can be dry affairs, sacrificing entertainment for information.

Not this one.

This thing was the unholy child of an "Friends" episode(ish) indie short and useful marketing collateral. In a good way.

Best part? Top to bottom, folks were phenomenal -- skill-wise and chemistry-wise. I'm talking Advertising agency, writer / director, DP, sound guy, clients, and content providers. Top-notch, good folks good at their craft.

And my fellow star Mikel McCurdy, totally steals it. Mikel and I have known each other for a while and done class, Samurai, and workshop intensives like Leadership & Creativity together. But this was the first time we were able to do a creative project together -- and we had a blast.

Great, witty banter, physical comedy, great crew, and a great scene partner makes for a great couple of days.

The finished product will be done this week, and show to a large trade-show crowd this year, so I'm pretty stoked to see how it all turns out.

This is one of those great-to-be-an-actor kind of weeks.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Making of PS3 adverts ...

OK, I seriously don't get Sony's EU "This is living" campaign for the PlayStation 3, but this brief "making of" clip is kind of interesting to me from a creative process perspective:
How To Make Confusing PS3 Ads (via
No official word on whether the ads are working; current sales numbers would seem to indicate "not so much" ...

Labels: ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Acting vocabulary ...

Pretty much once a year for the last three years, I've done Will Wallace's workshop when he's in Austin.

And though it was a kick in the teeth to not be with loved ones on my B-Day evening, I am an actor, and doing Will's workshop was a really good thing for me to do.

At the very least, tonight was a chance to meet new actors, watch them work, watch Will direct, and get a good workout myself. And it was more than that.

Something Steve Prince's Meisner class has given me is vocabulary. Vocabulary for acting words and concepts learned from previous coaches and methods. New vocabulary for new words and techniques he's teaching. And exercises for maintaining a discipline for all of that vocabulary.

Because as anyone who knows the power of words knows, vocabulary is not just about words and definitions. Vocabulary is about concepts. About the denotation (stated definition) and connotation (inferred, vernacular, or visceral definition). About the application of those definitions to change life.

Steve's also given me a sensitivity to vocabulary in my acting. Like tonight.

Tonight's word was "opportunity".

In cold read auditions -- screw it -- in any scene, there are "opportunities" to be taken. It's kind of like my note from last week's class: "Where am I playing it safe, and where can I make it harder?"

Will did a great warm-up exercise where we paired up and did mirror exercises to take turns "leading" and "mimicking", with the goal being for Will to not be able to tell who was leading and who was mimicking. That played into recognizing opportunities on the fly from our partner in our scenes.

In a sitcom cold read, where is the gimmick that sets me and your scene-partner apart?

In a comedic film scene, what is everyone else going to do, and what is the over-the-top, ballsy risk that will get the laugh because it's so out there and outrageous, and may be funny?

In a dramatic piece, what's the hook, that piece that turns an expected inward-facing pity party to more painful, this-is-what life-deals-so-it's-OK-I-lost-the-baby that's more poignant, more tragic, more engaging than the former (and caveat: this is in "Stoicism" or "Being an enigma", which are big actor deaths).



Come to think of it, Steve gave us a bunch of specifics about taking big risks after class last week.

Good night. And it all builds on previous stuff and is a massive feedback loop.

And I finally met (and got to do a scene with) Mylinda Royer, in one of those crazy, "You're that Adam / Mylinda" epiphanies.

I feel great about our scene. It was a comedic bedroom scene, and took my overshirt off (I was wearing a T, relax, ladies), mussed my hair, took off my shoes, and we laid out a sheet and put up couch cushions to denote a bed. Really simple, really quick way to set the stage and commit to the role. And Will gave great direction and Mylinda is amazing, so we blew it up the second round. Good times.

Plus I just like Will as a guy. Seeing him warms the cockles of my heart. And reminds me my heart has cockles. They're prickly. But in a good way.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Self-portrait ...

Conceptual self-portrait of actor Adam Creighton.This is a self-portrait I did as part of my weekend "Into the Abyss" workshop.

I chose to go a wee bit conceptual. Think of it what you will.

And let me know your thoughts.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Last night's Meisner class ...

Last night's class was good.

Started out weird, with me seeing my scene mate off to the side of the road with a blowout as I was heading to class, so I fixed the flat, we left her car at 24-hour Starbucks, then drove to class.
(As an aside, I and another guy stopped to help her, and she knew him, too. I'm thinking getting a flat and getting help from two people you know is a little coincidental.)

Our scene itself -- a nice, 10-page overlapping dialogue piece -- was more of a technical read, and we did it from two chairs (for those familiar with that concept).

I think this was the first time I was critiqued for making strong, definable choices for my character. Not in a negative way, per se, since it's what we're supposed to do in this process where I don't know my partner's lines. My coach's caveat was I need to explore other equally strong choices and see if I end up at the same place, or somewhere else. Which I totally get.

I was two shakes to the wind ill yesterday, though, so changing the flat, doing a scene, and driving home in freaky weather (which I normally love, but my tires currently suck), really left me spent when I hit home. I got an hour or so of late-night Biz follow-up in before cratering.

Now, a week of improv / paraphrasing practice with my scene before we do it again -- on our feet and full on...

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Class tonight ...

Tonight's class was going to be a hefty night, and we all knew that going in.

We all survived it.

And I get my notes.

Notes are, for me, way more than about just that moment -- they're for all of my acting. Heck, they're for all of my life.

So, broadly, here's how I interpret my two notes from tonight:
"Where am I playing it safe? How can I make it harder?"
Two questions I will now ask myself for every creative project. God willing.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Into the Abyss": My monologue ...

Sunday, the third day of last weekend's "Into the Abyss" acting / emotional deconstruction (I say, only half kidding) weekend, was the day we did monologues.

I had goals for doing my monologue. I had a lot of goals. I had intellectual and business and process things I wanted to do with the monologue, and then once I started, I wanted to forget all of it.

I feel fantastic about how it went, and here's a walk through of my process on this particular item.

I've decided I don't care about being careful or doing a good job or getting it right in class anymore. Class is where I can try things I've never tried before, and see if they work, or if they don't. Nothing that happens in class can take away from who I am, so I want to be daring and stretch myself and not give a damn if I fall on my face. I want to stretch, and I want to see what to hold onto and of what to let go.

  1. Make choices
  2. Rehearse monologue
  3. Stand up when ready
  4. Pick my focus
  5. Introduce myself
  6. Give my monologue
  7. Get feedback
  8. Give my monologue again
  9. Get feedback again

1. Make choices:

I'd done my homework, had it memorized, and knew my choices. I was going to do a relatively new monologue in a scary way. It's a dark piece ("Harold", from Glenn Altermann's 2 Minutes and Under: Character Monologues for Actors Volume 2). I was going to have two separate goals, and two ways of getting them at two different points during the monologues. At first, I wanted to sleep with the girl, and I was penitent and forgiving until I snapped on a phrase. Then I was going to attack her.

2. Rehearse monologue:

Dan Fauci broke us into groups of 3 and we practice our monologues together. I was resistant to this, because I haven't had great "actor-teaching-actor" experiences.

But because of the way Dan had structured the weekend (and without wanting to sound too hokey for folks who haven't experienced either "Leadership & Creativity" or "Into the Abyss"), we were in a whole new place of being able to see stuff in each other, give germane feedback, and be open to take it.

Because of how I do my process, I was the odd man out. I don't rehearse monologues or scenes now in the traditional sense. I bullet through text flat, with no inflection, or I do it slowly (still with no inflection). This is something I learned in voice over, and my current Meisner training has really enforced it.

I also paraphrased my monologue, and had a conversation with my fellow actors. I tried a "whisper exercise" from my Meisner coach.

But I never rehearsed the monologue the way I intended to do it. I didn't want to get a way of doing it stuck in my head.

And my "practice mates" (Corina Calderon and Stacey Glazer) were so supportive of and patient with my practicing my way. I'm grateful.

3. Stand up when ready:

I'm a "go first" kind of guy. So, throughout this weekend, I chose not to go first. I wanted to shove my preparation out of my head and just enjoy the amazing things being done by folks at the front of the room.

So I was nearly last. But when we got to the last handful of actors and no one was standing right away I launched myself over the first row and to the front of the room. I was so ready.

4. Pick my focus:

If I'm allowed, I like to give my monologue to a person, not the one-legged cyclops vying for my attention. I mean, she's hot and all, but ...

So I picked a fellow actor I met this weekend, Irish Petree, and asked, "My I talk with you?"

The language of the request --for me -- is really important. I was asking a favor, and acknowledging the favor she was hopefully going to do for me. And I was initiating a conversation I wanted to have with her. Which is different than trying to orate myself into greatness.

And Irish was a great listener. I've talked to vapid readers before. Not her. Again. Me. Grateful.

5. Introduce myself:

Van Brooks was running the camera. When he asked if I was ready, I said, "Yes", then looked at the feet of the tripod. From my top peripheral vision, I could see him give the "go" sign, and I looked up and, with smile and power, said,
"I am Adam Creighton. This is 'Harold', by Glenn Altermann."
No "Hi, my name is ...". No "I'm doing a piece from ...". Just an acknowledgement of who I am and what this is.

And the looking up keeps the look and smile new and fresh for the slate. I have no idea how any of this looks on camera. Seems to work for me as a person, though.

6. Give my monologue:

I'm a head up, shoulders back, chest out kind of guy. So I started the monologue head down, let all of the air out of my body, slumped my shoulders, and became that guy who desperately wants the girl, and is unsure if he even knows how.

And in my head I heard her words that pull me out of my self loathing and lead me into my first line:
"So, are you bitter?"
And confused, scared, sick, I started:

"Bitter? No. Resentful? Why should I be? I'm free ..."
I don't remember much after that. I remember the rage welling up as I hit the phrase I'd loaded it with ("No doubt about it, I'm definitely different."), and my intention change as I wanted to lunge across the tape line and grab this girl. And me not crossing that tape line. And not even knowing it was a tape line in the moment.

7. Get feedback:

And then applause. Long, generous, surprised, supportive applause from my coaches and fellow actors. And I stood there and took it, and was OK with it. It's hard for me to take acknowledgement, so that's a big deal.

And I knew Dan was going to give me feedback. But rather than turn directly to him after my monologue, I acknowledged my fellow actor's acknowledgement. How rude would it be for me to disregard their kindness?

And Dan gave feedback. And it was spot on. It was encouraging, and I took the notes. There are no negative notes. There are things that are working and things that aren't and how to fix them.

And he asked me to do it again. He asked me to use the rage and purpose from the end of my first run as the start of the second.

8. Give my monologue again:

So I started again, and I took notes from Dan and made corrections while doing the monologue. I never broke the monologue, I never acknowledged the notes outside of the monologue. But I acknowledged them through it.

9. Get feedback again:

Again, generous, generous feedback from my fellow actors and friends. And humbling acknowledgement from my film coach Van.

And additional feedback from Dan. It wasn't about being louder or angrier. It was about me not holding myself back.

Anything I did well is also about something else. A phrase my Meisner coach keeps using:
"You see how great they were? That's because of everyone that went before them."
True, dat ...

Labels: , , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

"Into the Abyss": Day 2

Today was Day #2 for the "Into the Abyss" workshop.

The day started with a brief, amazingly encouraging and generous conversation with Dan Fauci.

Today was about listening and seeing. And I got to apply leadership skills and new and important ways.

There are still way too many people in a single workshop for me, but one of the small group breakouts was rewarding and surprising and inspiring.

Tomorrow, we do "the work" ...

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

"Into the Abyss": Day 1

Just finished day one of the "Into the Abyss" weekend workshop. This is kind of the third in a series of workshops I've done over 4 years (first, "The Mastery"; then, "Leadership and Creativity"; now this).

Yeah, something called "Into the Abyss" isn't going to be dabbling. I feel pretty prepped because I'm knocking my teeth every week with Meisner training, but I am bound and determined to get observations and tools out of this weekend.

And I'm class with people I know and care about, and a bunch of folks who are new to me. Nice.

Labels: , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Comments to "Networking for actors ..."

I received a number of comments on my "Networking for actors ..." post.

Evidently, I struck a chord with folks, and I've received a bunch of positive (and not negative) Emails. That never happens.

Like this nugget from Peter K. O'Connell, President of audio'connell Voice Over Talent, and a top-notch professional voice actor (Peter gave me permission to reprint his note in its entirety):

Usually, those folks who assume someone "giving" to another business person has an "angle" express such behavior because that indeed is how they think. THEY approach a networking opportunity with their angle and assume that's how everyone does it; that of course, is not true.

These "anglers" are also lousy listeners; networking is about receiving and transmitting in equal parts for both parties. Anglers don't get that. Networking is also about forming lasting relationships (the business kind, not lovey-dovey, mushy-mushy).

Years ago I belonged to a networking/lead generation group called BNI whose premise was "givers gain". While it seemed to fall on deaf ears to many in the group making the chapter I was in not as successful as it might have been (hence the term “premise”), the concept was spot on. Those giving leads, those supporting others in the network would receive leads because people want to do business with and refer business to people they like and trust. To a point, a giver is both likeable and trustworthy.

Finally, supporting again what you've said, asking about the other person a lot in a networking conversation and talking about your business not as much will have a more positive impact on the budding relationship. This is because of your demonstrated selflessness AND the fact that when you DO speak, chances are the other person is more interested in what you have to say and also in actually helping you. By listening, you've formed an early trust, appeared likeable and become someone they want to do business with or refer business to.

The best news is even if an “angler” reads this, it won’t ring true to them. Its not how they’re wired. More leads and better business relationships, then, for the rest of us.

Nice post.

Best always,

As an aside, the reason I don't allow automatic comments on my blogs is because it can be such a can of worms (same reason I don't currently do MySpace). I'm rethinking that, based on recent feedback and dialog I've been getting from folks I like a respect.

Maybe I'll turn comments on and approve or moderate them? We'll see.

Labels: , , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Class tonight ...

Tonight (last night?) was a wicked good class, continuing to apply the stuff we've been working on for months to scenes. Finally to scenes.

I don't know if it's because Steve's such a good coach (he is), or I'm so desperate to learn and grow (I am), or the fact he's fully committed to teaching and I'm fully committed to absorbing, but this stuff's been clicking for me over the last few weeks.

Tonight was about a bunch of things. About me learning to separate what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. Separating people and situations. Giving weight and focus to people and objects in the room.

And there's a goal we're starting to see, that I don't think would have had weight or input or import 9 months ago -- We're not just doing what we're told, we're making sense of what we're told, and we're doing something with it.

That's all from Steve, as is the encouragement that because we're doing something with what we're given, we're eminently direct able.

That's not hubris, and I'm still learning. Nine months of immersion and I'm having moments that work. And they get longer with fewer actor interruptions.

And the technique stuff he's showing us for scenes, besides being ridiculously useful (and nicely for me, on the work side are an extension of my personal process), are fun. The techniques alternate really hard work with play, and they feed off each other and create great preparation before and great moments during.

Feeling good about this class. Despite next week's impending suckage ...

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Good class tonight ...

I'm at the stage in my Meisner training where we're starting to apply the tools and techniques we've been honing over several months to scene work.

And it really opens things up for me.

There's the work, and there's the fun. And if I do the work, the fun is more so, because I'm not worrying about the work I didn't do.

Those who know me know it's not like I'm lazy as an actor. But acting takes a ton of hard work. Constantly.

And I figured some stuff out for me tonight as far as identifying exercises that are exercises, and being done with those, and exercises that are useful tools for my craft, that I need to hold onto, hone, and use to explode my craft and myself.

And I had an epiphany about me tonight -- my need to be right, and my need to get it right.

Both are seriously overrated.

Getting it done is where it's at. And in the past where I did pages and pages of work for every page of script, I'm going to winnow that down, use what helps, and toss the cumbersome stuff.

And that's for more than just me as an actor; that's about me.

Good night ...

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Thoughts on my acting process ...

I've been thinking about class last week, and figuring some stuff out about my process.

When it was my time up, I got stopped twice, so I had to start getting emotionally ramped three separate times (initially, and two restarts).

I'd prepared a new emotional catalyst for class, and starting out the gate, I had to get ramped up differently than I'd intended for that night. Midway through prep, I was feeling seriously dry with the particular scenario I'd worked up, so I switched to a preparation I know works for me (but which I hate using).

Due to switching, I wasn't fully ramped up within my "ready window", but I didn't want to make my scene partner wait, so I started the scene.

I got lucky, because my coach stopped us, saying he could see my partner wasn't ready.

Like I said, this emotional prep works really well for me, and I felt myself starting to get out of control on the emotional side. So I throttled it down, and started the scene for the second time.

My coach stopped me on that second run, because he could see I was being a bit too intellectual (not totally authentic). He gave me some heavy notes, which I took, and got ready again.

Third time, I let the emotion be what it was, started the scene, and just focused on my partner.

Much better the third time around.

I mentioned last week it wasn't perfect, because "I left things undone" (mainly on the consequence and holding my partner accountable sides of things). It was still a good run, and I survived using a brutal emotional prep that's draining to me -- three freaking times.

And my coach gave me some additional encouragement in his being pleased with my being able to start three times with the notes he gave, and not shut down

"That shows me your directable."

That's a very encouraging thing for me as an actor to hear.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Class tonight ...

Tiring night tonight. Not a bad night for me, I guess, but I definitely left stuff undone, which is a bummer.

But, I get my notes, know what I didn't act on, and what to do next time.

I also have an emotional catalyst worked out for me that that is a "fast on" and raws me up quickly. And I'm really motivated to find a replacement, because I so hate using it. And it's not a "fast off" ...

Then it was down for a quick pint with a few folks from class, meeting up with an acting buddy (it's his birthday, whoot!), and now home to make some copies of scripts and write them out in prep for memorizing for next week.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Acting is hard ...

Wicked hard. The emotional cost of doing it right is unexpectedly high.

I'm glad I'm doing this whole Meisner thing with such great, loving, supportive, talented people...

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's "Good tough" ...

Tonight was one of those "good tough" nights in Meisner.

Small group, tight sessions, and for me, some encouragement in important places.

I haven't arrived yet (never going to happen), but one of my big fear / growth areas as a person (so, as an actor, too) is emotional authenticity.

And lately, I'm able to build scenarios and buy into them and get places emotionally in a matter of minutes. I honestly never thought I would live here. Ever.

This isn't something to crow about, because it's brutal and costly. But I feel it's necessary as an actor, and as a human being.

Tonight ended with me crying and gagging from emotion.

But, like I said, I haven't arrived yet. So, I pretty much literally ran from the conflict, because I was so overwhelmed with my emotion that I made it all about me, and didn't regard my partner.

But that's another area of work identified, understood, and tagged to deal with.

So it was a good night.

And I'm so freaking proud of class campadre Megan. Chica seriously rocks ...

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thoughts on Meisner thoughts ...

I have lot of interest in and heavy traffic through my blogs.

A lot of that traffic is centered on my various thoughts about my personal acting process. I get encouraging comments and feedback from folks who sympathize, empathize, want to dialog, or criticize the stuff I post. I have regular readers who read my stuff just to see what I'm struggling with, on what I'm moving forward, and what I'm experiencing on the personal acting process side.

I also have folks interested in the posts related specifically to my current, intense Meisner training. Which made me look at recent posts I've been doing on the subject.

I imagine they make no sense.

There are folks are who are long-time Meisner graduates who know what I'm talking about in these posts. There are folks currently doing Meisner training and are more advanced than me, who understand what I'm talking about. There are my current classmates, who are experiencing it with me (so, obviously, they get it).

And the stuff I mention is understandable to them, because Meisner -- and I suspect each coach's slight "flavor" of Meisner -- has a language all its own. This is not workout training. This is acting process training.

Folks not familiar with the Meisner process probably don't get a lot of what I'm talking about, or the same depth of it that folks with a Meisner background get.

More importantly, no one should look at my blog posts about Meisner and think, "Oh, so that's Meisner".

Meisner isn't something to be read about, especially not in a drive-by Web log fashion. It's something in which to be immersed and experienced whole heartedly in a committed fashion, with people who are also immersed and committed whole heartedly. And all this should be under the tutelage of a knowledgeable, experienced coach.

I may end up being more vague about some of the specifics of the training I'm doing. I figure it won't make sense to non-Meisner folks, anyway, and I don't want to "talk out of school" about the stuff my coach is taking great pains to impress upon us. Plus, there's a session he's currently teaching that's more junior than my group, and I don't want to spoil the stages for them before he introduces them -- and thereby undermine my coach -- by sharing specifics.

I figure folks will still get me talking about what I'm going through, where I'm stuck, and where I'm growing. Or not.

Besides, those Austin, LA, and NY folks who have Meisner experience and are keeping tabs on my progress talk to me, anyway. So they'll know.

This Meisner stuff is tough, important, growing stuff. You want to experience it? Commit to it, like we did...

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! | Add to! | Add to Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

Adam Creighton: Headshot

Powered by Blogger