Category Archives: actor 101

LIVE Discussions Permission to Fail

Getting into a doing creative work is an art, not a science. It take take several attempts to get it right. In order to keep yourself from going insane you need to give yourself permission to fail. I am joined by wife/actress Rene Bordelon and writer/comedian Jaime Jessup as we discuss not only how failure can help but some of our own failure stories.
Panelists:
Curtis Andersen: http://CurtisAndersen.com
Rene Bordelon: http://ReneBordelon.com
Jaime Jessup: http://calamityjay.blogspot.com/

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Storytelling Discussion Highlights

We had a great conversation on Sunday talking about storytelling, how we do it, and what it takes to make that your career. I’ve trimmed down the over hour long conversation into about twenty minutes of just the most advice dense parts. And there’s a little bit of Skelly in there too.

Below is the full discussion if you liked what you saw above and want to see a bit more:

Don’t forget to check out our panelists where they do their work:

Jeff Garvin at JeffGarvinBooks.com

Erin Stegeman at her Twitter

And Zeke Pinheiro at FunSizeHorror.com

And of course check out the Andelon Productions Patreon. You get exclusive access to content and material there and it only takes a dollar a month to be a patron!

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Filed under actor 101, Andelon, artist, business, career, creativity, Hollywood, how-to, insight, inspiration, internet, video, videos, YouTube

LIVE Discussion – Day Job vs. Dream Job

Being a performer, or any kind of creative, isn’t always the most lucrative job. Most creatives have some kind of day job to keep the lights on. In this LIVE Discussion we talk about balancing the two and how to decide when your Dream Job can replace your Day Job.

Panelists:
Curtis Andersen
Tony Robinette @TonyRobinette on Twitter and Instagram
Dean Ethington
Anne-Michael @AnneMichaelS on Twitter and Instagram
Books that we covered today:
The Hollywood Survival Guide for Actors: https://tinyurl.com/HollywoodSurvival
The War of Art: https://tinyurl.com/ybq85me9
Self-Management for Actors: Getting Down to (Show) Business: https://tinyurl.com/y73sqwla

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Imposter Syndrome – A Live Discussion

Yesterday I had a conversation with Author Jeff Garvin, Singer/Actress Rene Bordelon, Singer/Actress Jessica Hayes, and blogger Dan Zarzana about how feeling like we are imposters in our careers has actually helped to be a motivating force moving us forward. You can see the whole video down below:

If you would like to find our panelists online see the links down below:

https://www.patreon.com/andelonprod
http://jeffgarvinbooks.com/
insta: @jeffgarvinbooks
twitter: @jeffgarvinbooks
http://www.bookthump.com/
https://www.instagram.com/bookthump/
https://yoursaddragon.com/

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Improv workshop in Newport, Oregon!

If you happen to be in the Newport, Oregon area on Saturday August 5th come participate in my improv intensive put on by the Red Octopus Theater Company!

Here are the links:

CoastArts.org

OregonCoastToday.com 

And here are the details for the link disinclined:

FREE IMPROV WORKSHOP

presented by: Red Octopus Theatre Company

Starts:Saturday, August 05, 2017  12:00 PMEnds:Saturday, August 05, 2017  5:00 PM

Cost:

FREE ($5 Suggested Donation)

LOCATION:

NEWPORT PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

777 W. Olive Street
Newport, OR 97365

EVENT DESCRIPTION:

Those of all skill levels are invited to come experience the crazy, creative world of “Improv” in this fun-filled workshop, led by television’s Curtis Andersen. 

The event will include a broad range of topics, exercises, and games, including (but not limited to): building trust, warm-up games, how to listen, building a scene, ending a scene, comedy improv vs. dramatic improv, and more.

Curtis Andersen spent the last decade as a member of the nationally-acclaimed improv troupeImprov Shmimprov, performing live improvisational comedy on Friday and Saturday nights. He also conducts a seminar titled Think Fast, which trains business professionals to use improvisational techniques to increase their performance and solve problems creatively.

Andersen has guest starred on many television shows, including That 70’s ShowMalcolm in the MiddleParty of Five3rd Rock from the Sun,Veronica MarsThe Gilmore Girls, and Feud: Bette & Joan. He has had recurring roles on Saved by the Bell: The New Class7th Heaven, and is often recognized as Gordie from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

In addition to his television work, Andersen can also be seen in many films, including The Rules of Attraction, and Michael Bay’s Oscar-winning film,Pearl Harbor

Red Octopus Theatre Company is excited to welcome Andersen to Newport. For over a decade he has helped artists do the work that has lead them to network television shows and major feature films – in the form of private coaching, or in his role as head of faculty at the McCoy Rigby Conservatory of the Arts.

This event is appropriate for those aged 13 and up, and is free (however, there is a $5 suggested donation.) The Newport Performing Arts Center is located at 777 W Olive Street in Newport, Oregon.

 

The Red Octopus Workshop series allows established and/or new performers alike a creative outlet, and an opportunity to hone their current skills and/or learn new ones. Past workshops topics have included movement, performing Shakespeare, puppetry, audition skills, and short play writing. Those with questions about this workshop or future offerings are encouraged to visit the Red Octopus Workshop’s official Facebook page:www.facebook.com/RedOctopusWorkshop

For more information about Red Octopus Theatre Company, visit www.OctopusOnStage.com

READ MORE ABOUT:

EVENT LINK:

http://www.facebook.com/RedOctopusWorkshop

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Acting 101: Serve the Story

There are some fundamentals that are always worth revisiting. Film, television, theater, even commercials are all forms of storytelling. They all have a beginning, middle and end. They all have characters that go through changes. They all have a conflict and resolution. This applies to all consumed media and you notice if any of these things are missing – that’s when we call something a “bad movie” or show or book or whatever. Storytelling has been around for as long as humans have  smeared berry pulp on cave walls and not much has changed about the process except the technology and number of people telling the story.

Working in the modern entertainment industry, both old and new media, requires collaboration. The story needs a writer. The director is there to interpret the writing. The actor is there to give life to the story’s characters. None of these jobs can tell the story alone, they all need to work together to create the final product. Yes, there may be differences in status between the roles during the course of creation, but in the end all participants at all levels have one job: to serve the story.

Speaking on actors specifically, we end up being the primary face (literally) of this process and therefore we are the focus of a lot of the scrutiny of a final product. When we do our job well even the most ridiculous stories can seem “good” and be enjoyed by the audience. And if we don’t do our job well even the best material can suffer. Serving the story is the most fundamental requirement of all entertainment professionals. Yes, technique is important but those who can serve the story will always win against those who only focus on technique.

And I guess “serving the story” for many would be considered part of some people’s technique, but I think you get what I’m saying so let’s not quibble on technicalities.

To serve the story it is important to realize what your character’s place is within the story. While in the real world we are all heroes of our own stories, in a script each role is laid out clearly and deliberately. There are our leads, the protagonist and antagonist. There are the supporting players, their friends and associates. And there are the atmosphere, the extras that make the scenes feel “real.” Just as there may be differences between the status of a writer, director and actor there are also different strata for the actors with leads on top and extras at the bottom. It’s important to remember that while their status may be different on set all of them are required to effectively tell the story. Each one is a cog that must work with the rest to make the machine operate correctly.

In that working together it is important to maintain the function of your place in that story. It’s an issue that I see most often with actors that are new to the business. Often that are coming to it with stars in eyes and visions of fame in their heads. For them any role they portray is a chance to be the star of the show, even to the detriment of the show itself. Here’s a good rule of thumb, if you are doing a show to perpetuate your own glory then you are working against the show and you are not serving the story. Worst of all, your attempt to shine actually draws the wrong kind of attention to you and will tarnish your reputation making it harder for you to achieve your initial goal in the first place.

What the naive actor does not realize is that the best way to shine is to do your specific part the best that you can within the parameters of the role. This is demonstrated regularly in the characters that we fall in love with who may not be the overall “star” of a piece. Characters like Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday in Tombstone or Jennifer Coolidge’s Paulette in Legally Blonde. These were supporting characters that stood out, in a very strong way, in films that were not missing plenty of star power in general. They did not make an effort to steal the show, they were just doing what they were hired to do so well that the quality of the work could not be denied.

In my personal opinion, and I’m confident that I’m not alone in this, this is what we as actors and performers should strive to do. All stories are bigger than the single performer. We all have our place, some larger than others, but when everything works together, when the collaboration is effective, then we get the kind of art and entertainment that people not only enjoy but return to over and over again – a classic!

What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments.

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This, this, all the this!

If you are a creative, this video will sounds very familiar – but it’s a universal message. Lord knows I’ve been down this road a few times. Determination, persistence and touch of naivete is usually enough to win the day – it’s just the “day” in question usually lasts for years.

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Day 430 Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen – Phase 2 & Your Headshots

Happy New Year!

If you didn’t see my last video, I was able to achieve the primary goal of booking a job on TV at the end of the year! In case you missed it, here it is:

The show is a new show that has an NDA the length of my arm so I can’t say a bloody thing about it, but I promise I won’t shut up about it once I can. So now that I can unironically call myself “Television’s Curtis Andersen” again it’s time to move on to Phase 2 – getting on a genre show! What’s a genre show? Watch the new video to find out.

Also, to add a little actual advice to this blog after a long stretch of just me talking about myself and auditions, I talk a little bit about the importance of getting a good headshot – because I’ve seen a lot of BAD headshots lately.

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Actor 101 – Get the Suck Out

Actor 101 Logo

There is a phrase that is a big part of my personal philosophy:

Get the suck out.

I stand by it, I practice it, and I throw it around freely regardless of situation or the people involved. It’s a relatively simple principal – if you are doing something allow yourself the time and space to get the suck out before you expect to be good at it. There’s an older phrase that essentially means the same thing, practice makes perfect, but get the suck out is more immediate.

I tried to make a video about it:

I’m still actually having trouble articulating exactly why this is so important – so maybe I’ll try to do a follow-up?

Still, my advice remains the same – give yourself permission to get the suck out. It doesn’t hurt to have to try something more than once.

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Actor 101: A Problem Solving Exercise for You

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Yesterday I posted this video for Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen:

Today I would like to present the exercise I mentioned in that video to you as a way to help tackle any hurdles you might be facing in your career. You can use this technique for anything, not just entertainment. Sometimes everyone needs a way to find a solution.

The idea is based on the thought that we are able to find solutions to other people’s problems easier than we can for our own. There are a few different reasons for this, but I find that there’s a lot less at stake for me when I’m giving advice to someone. It’s a simple equation of A+B=Result. We know that for ourselves, but often times allow our insecurities and fear to get in the way of actually implementing the things required to achieve the result. So here’s an exercise designed to help bridge that gap:

  1. Write down your problem, in detail.
  2. Write down the things that you predict will interfere with achieving the desired result.
  3. Hand this to a trusted friend or family member.
  4. Have them read back the problem as if it is their own.
  5. Offer solutions and have them write them down.

Deep down you probably know exactly what you need to do to get what you want, so use this trick to access the part of your brain that has the information.

Tell me in the comments if you give it a try and how it goes.

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