Category Archives: acting

There is SO MUCH Going On!

I am currently on location in Harrisville, New Hampshire at Aldworth Manor shooting the new indie horror movie Squirrel. It’s been a lot of fun and you’re going to see a lot of it if you’re following me on social media.

Autumn is my favorite time of year and October is one of my favorite months. Rene and I got married in October, we LOVE Halloween, the weather is my preferred type with clouds and rain and chill, it’s our cup of tea. It’s really hard to be all the way across the country away from her and Frankie. They seem to be having a good time back in Portland and Frankie is super-cute in his outfits to keep him warm, as you can can see in these pictures:

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But it’s still hard. So I’ve been keeping myself busy in my downtime.

In the interest of Halloween, I’m telling spooky stories here at the manor. The first one you can see here:

I’ll be doing more all month and these stories are TRUE! Also, the manor house is apparently haunted so I’m going to be going through it with some of the cast and crew later this month to see if we can “catch” anything. Here’s a preview of that from Friday the 13th:

Of course, it wouldn’t be Halloween if I didn’t post Bloody Mary again – it’s a tradition:

And since we won’t be able to do LIVE Discussions for a while, here’s one that i think is still incredibly relevant on being a journeyman actor:

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we have COOL NEW MERCH NOW! You can see that HERE.

You can currently order these cool designs:

Of course, our patrons have first crack at all new material and at the higher levels of patronage you get discounts on your order! You can check that out HERE.

Please like, subscribe, click the links, share, follow – you know, do all the good social media stuff! We’ll see you soon!

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LIVE Discussions & Patreon – We’re doing things!

We have been hard at work on all of our new stuff and while we’re are still working on things like sketches:

And things like Rene’s music parodies:

The thing that seems to be taking off is our series of LIVE Discussions. These are weekly (Sundays at 11am Pacific Time) and recorded live on our YouTube Channel. We have a topic of discussion (usually arts or creativity related) and I assemble a panel of friends, co-workers, and contemporaries to talk about it for at least 20 mins (although lately we’ve been going longer). Once a month we do a Feature Discussion with a bigger panel. Feature Discussions last for at least an hour and I do a follow-up video of just the highlights after the fact. Below is a playlist of all the discussions so far:

Please check these out, feel free to click on any of the advertising (wink).

Rene and I have some big plans for the future, especially as we continue building our own content. We can do a lot on our own, but we could use some additional financial support to help raise the bar on our activities. Everything we’ve done thus far has been done on a shoestring where we beg, borrow and steal what we need to get a project done. This has worked pretty well, like with The Chili and Bloody Mary:

But with a little bit more money we can do a lot more!

Please consider joining our Patreon page. We’ve set-up some good starter rewards and I’m very pleased to announce that I got some of our art proofs back this morning for the merch that we will be releasing (actual release date TBD, but it’s coming!!!).

If Patreon isn’t an option, please don’t be afraid to click on the advertising links you see here and on the channel. I try to make sure that all of the ads presented are appropriate for the page and they should be set-up so that the items shown are things you, as the reader/watcher, would be interested in.

Thank you all for your support! We have seen the page jump in activity since we started – and we’re doing very well for only being about 4 weeks into this new effort! We’re really looking forward to what’s next!

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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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New Movie Trailer – East of Jesus

Last summer Rene and I shot a movie called East of Jesus.

It comes out this spring! Here’s the first trailer:

Like it, share it, enjoy.

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First Anniversary of Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen

Op TVs CA Explosion Opener

It is November 2nd, officially one year ago today I made the deliberate decision that I was going to get myself back on TV again. It was a re-energizing of my commitment to what has always been my primary career and it lit a fire under my ass to take the steps that I really should have taken a while ago.

A lot has happened this year, which I talk about more in the video, but these are the two big points that I came away with after I thought about the past year:

  1. I have not yet accomplished the goal.
  2. I really want to be on a genre show.

Check out the video for all the details!

If you want to see ALL of the year you can find the videos and blog posts here:

  1. The videos on YouTube.

  2. The blog posts.

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November 2, 2016 · 8:36 am

Day 244 Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen Day 1: East of Jesus

Op TVs CA Explosion Opener

Rene and I are here on the Oregon Coast filming East of Jesus and I actually have a free day today which means I can catch up on some of the stuff that you may have missed that I’d like to pimp out.

First off, here is the short I Hate Mondays from the folks over at Fun Size Horror. It’s a bizarre little tale where I’m an obnoxious office manager. I know, I’m really stretching my abilities #sarcasm.

And, my bad, I promised in my last video to post all of the updated playlists so people could catch-up. From the absence of people clamoring for those to be posted I’m probably fine not posting them, but I said I would do it so I’m going to. They are below.

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Actor 101: The Monkee’s Effect

Actor 101 Logo

TL;DR? No problem, watch this video:


One of the hyphenates that I place in my CV is that of consultant. Usually this takes form as an acting coach for my students, but on occasion I also do career and marketing consulting. No matter the topic I like to drive home the principal of the Authenticity Economy. If you are honest about yourself and your intentions people are attracted to that and are more inclined to want to work with you or buy from you. I like to say that people will buy you a lot quicker than they’ll buy what you’re selling.

This is not a new concept, people like Gary Vaynerchuk and Jeffrey Gitomer have been selling books and producing videos and live events based around this idea for years. It’s a simple idea, but one that people don’t necessarily come to on their own. In my experience people try very hard to please others. They look for expectations and then follow them to what they hope will be success. This can work, if it didn’t people wouldn’t do it, but it isn’t what sets people apart. Giving people what they want seems like a good idea, but here’s a fun fact: people (read: your audience) rarely know what they actually want. They have expectations, but rarely know what they truly desire. When you try to deliver “what the people want” you don’t necessarily share you or what you’re good at. There are times that these crossover, but that is rare – otherwise you’d see nothing but superstar office workers in every workplace. Shockingly people tend to be very nervous about sharing themselves, even though that is typically a powerful source of success.

This is where The Monkees come in. Just in case you didn’t know, The Monkees was a very popular television show in the 60’s that was designed to be an American version of the Beatles – something the network figured the audience wanted. They made the show, played it, and it FAILED! According to a documentary about the show, it was one of the lowest testing shows of all time. Normally this would spell the end of a television show, but the producers and network really felt they had something special. They had a great deal of confidence in the talent they had cast and felt that if the audience knew them as well as the production team knew them that they’d warm up to the show. All four Monkees were featured in screen tests that showcased their personalities, you can still see these on YouTube. These were played before the pilot for a new test audience and the change was immediate – the show was a success! People were ready to connect to these guys who they felt they knew as opposed to some mad capped actors that were being put upon them.

Connection is a major goal for actors. We need to connect to our audiences and to our fellow actors. In an esoteric way we need to connect to the the characters that we play. Connection cannot be made by “faking it” it needs to be genuine. It’s the difference between being just an actor and being a good actor.

The posts that I’m making on YouTube, my Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen vlogs, are part of my effort to make a genuine connection to my audience. It’s the secret to YouTuber success that networks and old model entertainment professionals fail to recognize. Audiences are created and drawn to YouTubers because they connect to their authenticity, and likewise turn on those YouTubers that lie to them, even if it’s just the appearance of a lie.

I’ve watched a lot of people in Hollywood do their best to try and “give them what they want,” I’ve done it myself, and it never gets you where you want to be. I see this way too often with starlets who think their way into the industry is bikini photos and playing “the sexy baby” (30 Rock did a great episode on that). Can it work? Sure, but the shelf life is very short and the chance of you being able to leverage that into a different career is small.

That doesn’t mean authenticity is a golden ticket to success, people might not connect with you at all. Not much you can do about that. But if they do then it is much easier to maintain.

Do you have questions about The Monkees Effect? Ask them in the comments.

See you next time!

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Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen

Picture by Molly Hawkey

Picture by Molly Hawkey

Hi.

My name is Curtis Andersen and I have been an entertainment professional for over 30 years.

I started working professionally when I was 8 years old and haven’t ever stopped, but some years were definitely better than others.

From eight through my mid-twenties I made my primary living as an actor, you can see a list of most of what I did at IMDb. But then in 2005 I thought I’d have more control over my career if I tried producing. It went fine, made some movies; sold some TV shows; and made a lot of music videos, but something was always missing. It was not creatively satisfying, at least not in the way acting is for me, and a majority of the job was hunting for financing. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried independent film financing, but I don’t recommend it. It takes a lot of time to get a “yes” and then there are a thousand ways that are beyond your control where that “yes” can suddenly turn into a “no.” In 2012 I lost the funding for three projects on the same day – it was the next six months worth of work – and I started thinking that being a producer was probably not the path I wanted to follow.

At the end of 2014 I was ready to be done with producing. I was very pleased to be a part of the first year of Fun Size Horror, but found myself having a lot more fun being in the shorts than being behind the scenes. That’s when the final decision was made – I needed to be a working actor again!

That being said, becoming a working actor in Hollywood, even when you were one for over 20 years, is not easy. It takes dedication and persistence and a lot of hard work. I’ve decided to chronicle my path back both here and on my YouTube channel. I’ve created a playlist of the videos I’m shooting, you can see it down below:

I’d love to hear your comments as this keeps going either here on the blog or on the videos.

Let’s see if we can make the nickname “Television’s Curtis Andersen” a reference to me in the present instead of the past.

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Do You Have Your High School Diploma?!

Diploma PSA

Ad Council wants you to know that getting your high school diploma or GED is important, so they made a series of PSAs on the subject, including one featuring your truly! Directed by Matt Piedmont, see what drama can unfold in a barber shop:

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Fun Video Friday – Bye Felicia: The Music Video

Rene and Curtis Bye Felicia Costume Shot

 

Early in the year Rene and I were invited to participate in a secret music video shoot.

It was for a new television show whose first season was just ending.

The video was for the special features on the DVD.

We were sworn to secrecy…

UNTIL NOW!

Above – an image of our costumes for the shoot.

Below- the video itself.

Side note: This is the only thing in history where I purposely have facial hair and might be the only thing that ever does.

Also, my wife’s dance moves are pretty slick.

And yes, that’s her in bed with Matt McGorry.

And I was in the room… watching.

Special shout out to director Charlie Visnic for including us!

Here’s the video:

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