Category Archives: actor 101

The Creative Storm: Prioritizing the Mess In a Creative Brain

Since Rene and I have moved to Portland we have been so excited to follow all the creative endeavors we felt we could not pursue while living in California. And we have been! The things that have been made public, like the current projects on the YouTube channel, are the easiest things to make and get out but only scratch the surface of what we’re hoping to do.

There are lists.

Normally I like lists. They help me keep track of things. You can check stuff off of a list. But when your list gets too long it gets hard to keep up with everything, so you have to prioritize. This is where I break. I’ve been accused of having a “yes” disease where I will say yes to doing things because they sound fun and exciting. I can’t deny that. I’m an enthusiastic person. If I am pitched an idea and I like it then I will want to do it and really commit to it. This can lead to a lack of focus and overcommitment and I’m feeling that right now.

The reason I write about this stuff is to help other creatives and people who are starting out by talking about how I solve problems common to creative people, but this is a tough one for me. So rather than being able to rely on my multiple decades of experience to help figure this out, you’ll actually be on the journey with me as I go – warts and all.

When problem solving the first thing to do, and one of the most important steps, is to figure out what the problem is. Fortunately for us I have already spend time figuring this out:

Lack of Focus.

That’s pretty broad. That’s not going to help. As with acting and performing, specifics are key; so what am I not focused on?

I am not focused on what creative endeavors I want to pursue.

Better. Probably not specific enough, but it’s better. So next step, if I am not focused on the endeavors I want to pursue then the next logical question is what are the those endeavors?

I want to make a living as just an actor again.

Woof! OK, tall order. This is not the easiest time to want to do that and now that we live outside of a major market, like L.A. or NYC, it’s even tougher. Also, this requires a few different steps to do efficiently and effectively:

  • Getting a local agent in the PNW.
  • Probably time for new headshots.
  • Regularly check the breakdowns and submit myself (currently happening)

So, that being said, even though there is some progress on that front I will need to drop this goal down the priority scale…

OK, wait a minute! Why is this – the giant overall goal – getting dropped down the priority scale?!?!?!?

Good question, here’s the answer: Paying Bills

I hate this answer. I hate it sooooooo much. If I didn’t have to pay bills I’d have so much money (#sarcasm). But rent, electricity, food, internet, etc. all of it requires paying someone and it is impossible to stay focused on your craft and your goals if you are constantly worried about whether or not things are going to be ok at the end of the month.

Thus thusly and therefore, since I cannot rely on acting money to cover said bills at this time, since I am in progress on that goal in a way continues to move it forward even if it is at a slower pace than I would like, I can move it down a few positions and still feel confident that I am not abandoning the goal. #justification (This can be debated in the comments.)

OK, so what’s next…?

I want to generate more content for the YouTube Channel.

OK, again not quite specific enough. I am generating content for the channel. We do LIVE Discussions every week (#shamelessplug) so I need to drill down deeper.

I want to do more sketches and scripted videos for the YouTube channel.

There we go, that’s something that can be a goal! When I look at the channel analytics the things that do best are things that are funny and either scripted or follow a narrative of some kind. Even though I’d love to be a creative person’s guru (I want to share knowledge!) or be able to do “talking-head” pundit style stuff (they are soooo much easier to make) that is not what people come to the channel for they want me discussing Pokemon Battles, Rene singing about the fall, and our niece using Bloody Mary to murder her brother. I want to provide more of these things, but they have been a little tougher to get done. So what do I need to do to make this happen? I need:

  • Ideas – We have a bunch of these, a bunch! So what I really need to do is focus on which ones to do first. (Check)
  • Time – This is the resource that is completely under my control and I don’t know that I’m parsing out very well. If I really want to do it I can make the time. I find time to do other things and so I know I can do it – I just need to really hanker down and commit. (Check)
  • Money – For some of the ideas I need to get stuff:
    • Music Rights
    • Props
    • Specific Equipment
    • Crew

Money is rough to discuss because that needs to be prioritized too. Let’s not forget the “Need to Pay Bills” part – so that’s in first position priority-wise. And that takes up most of the funds. Rent, food, car (payment & insurance), health insurance, Frankie (food & meds),… It all adds up, there ain’t much left after that. So when it comes to making these things that do cost we need to find a way to pay for them. YouTube Adpocolypse  really affected small channels like ours so we can’t rely on that. Rene and I have started a Patreon account but I understand that in order to grow that we need to have more of the content people really like to watch (see links above). So, if one of the big things holding me back from creating is funding for these projects then I need to raise those funds.

So, in order to do more sketches and scripted content for YouTube I need to raise funds.

There we go, that’s now in a top priority slot.

I’m not going to write about next steps on this in here (I gotta’ keep some mystery about things) but this does help point me in a direction. If you’d like to help get things moving a bit faster don’t hesitate to sign up on our Patreaon #shamelessplug. Or click on the ads, that always helps too!

Is there something you’re working on? Things that you need to prioritize? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

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Filed under actor 101, actor stuff, business, career, commentary, Curtis Andersen, day in the life, Hollywood, in real life, Operation: Television's Curtis Andersen

Tough Times for the Journeyman Actor

Last night Rene and I had a great conversation with fellow actor Tony Robinette about the shrinking actor middle class and things you can do to stay on your hustle while you keep clawing at a professional acting career. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and check out our Patreon to help fund the other videos that we are in the process of creating. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Filed under actor 101, business, career, The Business, video, YouTube

Changes Coming to LIVE Discussions

We are moving the popular LIVE Discussions to Tuesday nights in order to make it easier for the panelists we want to be able to participate. I also go over two of my favorite bits of direction I’ve ever received in my performing history.

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Filed under actor 101, artist, video, YouTube

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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Filed under actor 101, creativity, video, YouTube

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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Filed under actor 101, money, video, YouTube

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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Filed under actor 101, actor stuff, improv

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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Filed under acting, actor 101, actor stuff, behind the scenes, career

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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Filed under actor 101, actor stuff, art, artist, behind the scenes, commentary, doing new things, education, fail, failure, filmmaking, friends, fund raising, general, getting fit, getting started, happiness, how-to, inspiration, jobs, learning experience, making movies, productivity, projects, REVOLUTION, social commentary, video, videos, YouTube