Archives for posts with tag: practice

NM4L9196 (2)Numerous times have others complimented how clearly I enunciate, and even the hard of hearing appreciate my vocal quality.  One more reason for auditioning to become an audiobook narrator. The four hour (each way) drive from University to my hometown each weekend began a journey as an avid audiobook listener.  “The Three Musketeers”, “Phantom of the Opera”, and “Fahrenheit 451” were a few of the first listens.  Ever since, ‘talking books’ have been a staple, devouring self-helps/spiritual in times needing guidance, Shakespeare whilst doing dishes, and financial investing books as I dye my hair.

In Los Angeles, I was honored to be a part of Tsunami Radio Theater, a group that recorded independently written stories, and was recognized with the “Rising Star: Hardest Working Actress” award.  Time in the studio with such an amazing crew of gifted voice actors will always remain a fond memory.  This month I focus toward the future, and hope to become a narrator for Audible.  On Tuesday 18 March, I audition in New Jersey and am immensely excited.  You as my WordPress family are consistently supportive and I truly hope to have marvelous news to report soon.

Last year I took a course with Audie (the audiobook equivalent of the Oscars) Award winning narrator Johnny Heller, which is where i learned of this amazing opportunity to audition to be a part of the Amazon team.  The path Life takes is rarely the one envisioned, but when we appreciate the journey and the divine route being guided through all the ‘wants’ and desires, sometimes it is good to realize the right here-right now is enough.  My wants list includes a dishwasher, washer/dryer, and a puppy- those are the items this little self feels would make her happy.  In truth, I am already happy, and thankful to have created this Freedom for myself to take a chance to say “Yes!” to a Life that allows me to work on a schedule that suits me.  Sometimes I wish to be a smidge more focused, but that is just another “want”.  Thank you all for your good vibrations from around the world.  Please accept my gratitude.

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Having heard, and believed to some extent, the harsh critique-Teacher Katrina E. Perkins “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” * – I shunned becoming a teacher.  The first acting classes I attended regularly for any length of time, at Playhouse West in Los Angeles, met twice weekly, with one teacher on Tuesdays, and a different one for Thursdays.  The Tuesday Teacher, Mark Pellegrino, was, and is, an actor in known movies and T.V., including ‘The Big Lebowski”, “The Number 23”, and “Dexter”.  Tony Savant, the Thursday counterpart, was the school’s artistic director.  Each teacher presented wonderful insight and guidance toward creating the strongest, most truthful, acting foundation.

Having never taken an acting class, aside from an ‘Introduction to Acting’ and ‘Accents & Dialects’ courses at L.A.C.C., this school became my Home for two years.  Spending so much time there, in more than the two classes a week I was a member, additionally a wonderful perk of this school/repertory theater was the option to also attend any other class at your current level or below.  That is, if one were in the beginner course, one had the ability to sit-in and watch any other beginner class; if you’re in the intermediate level the option was for any beginner and intermediate, you get it. Learning through watching other students and hearing another teacher’s vocabulary, provided great insight and excelled my progress.  Sometimes, as long as I arrived prepared, the teacher might even let me participate.  Granted, my main teachers were always the best, it was beneficial to hear different phrasings to repeat an idea.

Aside from the numerous classes attended, the course required a minimum of two rehearsals outside of class each week.  The appointed class secretary compiled a class roster including each student’s name, phone number, and email address, and distributed it; some even volunteered to open their home at a specified day/time each week for rehearsals.  Did that mean people actually rehearsed?  No, however, it was easy to discern who took the Art seriously.  Having one teacher working in the field, and another assiduously focusing us week after week, forged a determination toward living truthfully – and the truth is teachers are Gold.

*George Bernard Shaw Man and Superman

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For the first time, since quitting a full-time job two months ago, I have made enough money to cover the week’s expenses.  Though it is only one week, what a reassuring way to begin a full month of Autumn!  Through work on CBS T.V. shows ‘Blue Bloods’ on Monday and ‘Elementary’ (the new take on the classic Sherlock Holmes tale with Watson played by the lovely Lucy Liu) on Friday, combined with the regular Wednesday retained at the Retina Surgeon’s office- savings remain safe- or at least extended.  I am on the way toward supporting the monetary expenses of life through being an artist.

The second week of October, to balance, proved less exciting.  Casting rang and asked me to hold Tuesday directly following Labor Day for a show in its first season: ‘Next Caller’ with Dane Cook.  I was thankful, and declined a subsequent request from ‘Law & Order: SVU’ for the same date.  However, the holiday was cause for a rearrange of scheduling and a cancelation for my booking.  Naturally, the spot had been filled for the other show.  Although, I ended up being asked to work an extra day in the doctor’s office due to staff absences for vacations and illnesses.  No show biz work or paychecks for week two, though the additional day in the office coupled with an evening modeling for a two hour art class- again the week’s bills were made.  

All’s well.  Truthfully, I strive to consistently put the sunny-side of things out there, but for some reason, though I rationally know I am making progress and am scheduled for work on shows Monday (‘Smash’) and Tuesday- ahead of the weekly budget- emotion has me downtrodden.  Perhaps it is the impending birthday, once excited for, at the end of the week.  Or the focus on where I want to be over what I am doing to get there in a successive manner of small accomplishments.  Realizing it IS only a funk for the moment, grown into this day, I pledge to funnel the feelings into creative motivation andconquer the real issue- my need for an agent.

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The average yearly income for an actor in the state of California is $60,000….a median number I would will be happy to earn next year.  This fact was delivered to my attention in the form of a notice stating $4030.50 was due by me before September 15th. Thankfully, a pleasant and knowledgable Jack in Sacramento made this simple mistake, via the city of Los Angeles, disappear.  Some individuals might have become worked-up over a scary expensive notice with no validity, but because I knew there was zero truth to the claim- it was easy to laugh.

I love how we are tested to practice what we preach.  This bill arrived the day I signed up to become a member of SAG-AFTRA, the union for professional film, television, and radio artists.  A weighty decision- admittedly not contained in the budgetary savings- with a price tag of $3,000.  Being eligible to join from time studying/pursuing acting in Los Angeles, I committed to the currency of this endeavor after taking a step back and re-evaluating the ultimate goal: to be working as an actress professionally.  Naturally, at some point, to achieve this ambition I would eventually be paying the initiation fee to be a part of this organization.  So why now?

Because, one company (utilized by ‘Boardwalk Empire’) supplying background actors for television and films shot in New York, where it pleases me to reside, allows union members to register with them on the first Wednesday of each month.  Non-union actors are invited to mail a headshot/resume, and submit themselves for occasionally updated casting notices listed on the website.  This option seemed to present a lower opportunity for success.  The intention is in pursuit to live the life of my dreams: to be paid as an artist, therefore, I consider this a necessary investment moving me toward my professional career!  In spite of the monetary magnitude, I am grateful for the skill alluded to with this status.  When approaching agents and casting directors one less obstacle, that may or may not have been preventing progress, is removed.  I was already behaving as a professional and now I made it official!

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Yesterday was the first day for me employing myself full-time as managing director of my dreams.  Two weeks ago, notice was provided to a (by some standards) well-paying, career oriented, “secure” paycheck employer.  Now I am available to show up with all the best energy to devote toward acting, and the prime time required for auditioning, which a day job was monopolizing.  For over six months, I have been saving and following (with what drive remains after a 45 minute commute) a well devised list of monthly goals toward this moment.

How determined I was to be the best employee I could be for someone else: this month’s goal now rests on working diligently for the artistic career of my dreams, and bringing them into waking reality.  In a quantitative manner, that means three auditions a week, propagating more than one paying gig weekly before the end of August. Yesterday, I appealed to casting directors using a smart, focused submission for their current casting projects- which included a three paragraph letter demonstrating my knowledge and interest in their prior and future work.  Today, I e-mailed newspaper editors I already established a relationship with through the goals of the last few months [Networking].   The hope is for a review/interview [Marketing] of the play I am currently performing in at the Vanderbilt Museum on Long Island ( http://www.vanderbiltmuseum.org/home.php?section=events#twelfth-night ).

These two elements of a successful business, Networking and Marketing, are the key requirements I most need to Practice– which is the third ingredient key to achieve.  Acting, for me is the easy part because I know at the end it comes down to working hard and then letting go of it all.  The letting go can be the challenge, but one can only get to a safe point of surrendering ‘it’ to the Fates when one has worked hard enough to trust, knowing all has been done.  Nothing comes through force.  Patience, perseverance, and precision regularly return rewards.  I realize this is a marathon, rather than a sprint.  Today is but day two, and while I envision the future, today I advance my cause and submit for more auditions!

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The hardest part in acting is learning the lines.  At least, so goes the opinion of consensus.  Some actors go “off-book” before truly being so, regularly calling out “line”- slowing rehearsal- or continually toting and repeatedly pulls out from her (literal) back pocket a stack of notecards with all her lines- also causing delay. Others have photographic memories, and hence remember rapidly. However, he takes time picturing the page in his mind’s eye to recall and then read the line, therefore, are lines memorized? Occasionally actors have played the part before, recollecting lines previously secured in long term memory from that long-last performance.

For those committing lines to memory for the first time, Playhouse West School in Hollywood, California, teaches students to write all the character’s lines- sans any punctuation- and know it as you would the spelling of your name- forwards/backwards without a stress on any one letter/word in particular.  Taking this one step further, I write all the lines half a dozen times, akin to grade school rote learning of spelling words. When recording lines for auditory memorization, the school instructs only record your lines and be conscious to do it in a monotone voice to prevent an ingrained line-read.  The reason to ignore the other character when memorizing is to promote a LISTEN and respond reactiveness.  Should the other actor not have his line, you must not be waiting for a ‘cue’.  Our duty is to respond to what we hear, as if for the very first time, if a scene partner uses a word ‘desire’ when the script actually says ‘demand’ but your line is throwing the same phrase back at him – Listening and repeating the word actually used creates consistency.

If the other actor jumps ahead in the scene, or the play, you may become flustered, if you only know your cues.  Conversely, Listening (and knowing your lines by heart) gifts one with the ability to remain in character and continue flawlessly.  Remember your character’s life.  It is called ‘Play’ for good reason and we all get there, in front of an audience, via our own path.  We collaborate in love of art.

The healthy choice, be it eating or exercising or even thinking, can seem unsavory.  “I don’t wanna eat a salad.  I want eight-layer chocolate cake.”  That is how I felt earlier today anyway.  ‘Nothing tastes so good as skinny’ may be true, but what is confirmed is feeling healthy feels good.  Hollywood appears to desire the majority of the female leads to look like Holocaust survivors.  When I lived in Los Angeles, I knew women who literally consumed practically nothing (except for copious carb-free! alcohol; OR promptly barfed anything they did eat) and ran on the treadmill a minimum of an hour each day.

The art of making healthy choices is one which requires practice and becomes easier with Time.  Moderation, when it comes to processed food I crave, is a word I live by.  I admit to a mental block when free food is present causing me to think I have to take advantage because it’s “free”.  One tool I utilize is telling myself a few facts: “Katrina, there will always be more croissants in the world.  When you have earned a croissant the French bakery will have it and the quality will undoubtably be superior to this random, probably half-stale, non-flakey undesirable version.”  When I choose to not remind myself of these facts, most often I am disappointed and wish I had not consumed the good looking, though tasteless, treat.

Rather than spending the now $8.05 at the Factory which makes Cakes of Cheese, I did delight in a homemade spinach salad with sliced Vidalia onion, green/red peppers, topped with a simple dressing and half of a perfectly creamy avocado.  I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon sitting on the grass admiring the trees feeling good about my choice.  The truth is, I usually feel guilty after eating a 1,200 calorie piece of a B-E-A-U-tiful cake late at night.  On the other hand, the serene peace I embraced today in the company of a lovely butterfly with orange tipped wings feels like a win.  And tomorrow it will still feel like a win because I won’t feel compelled toward self criticism when I do not take an hour run.

During eight years living in Los Angeles, I had the great pleasure to perform voices for a prolific writer of radio plays.  Once every month or two he would schedule a read through and studio time to record.  A gathering of about eight artists with rich vocal instruments and the vivid imaginations required of good actors would unite.  There is a freedom bestowed upon one performing in a room full of wonderfully gifted voice actors, each with their own mic and music stand before them, which electrifies.  One arrives wearing comfortable clothing and clean non-camera ready faces, preparations focusing more on the voice(s) and active energy infused into a character whose sole life resides in your ability to create through a spoken voice.

Occasionally there were more than one character to distinctly articulate. !AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY WITH AN ACCENT!  I absolutely LOVE to speak with a different sound in my mouth- imagining I have traveled and lived in all the worldly destinations I aspire!  Often, my standard voice evokes praise for clarity of elocution from multiple professionals, teachers, and even near deaf people with hearing aides who appreciate the intelligibility, pitch, and tone of my speech.  This is a grand starting point for incorporating a dialect- which I am equally applauded for an ability to voice numerous accents realistically.  Some are more challenging than others, notably Italian and Scottish, and these be the tests I revel!

As with everything, “practice makes perfect”.  Utilizing worksheets, accent/dialect instruction CDs, and recordings of native speakers, I practice in my home and car, repeating or talking to myself and any family who thankfully endure hearing.  Graduating to speak with confidence in public to strangers, I regularly pass as a foreigner and delight in the same attention lavished upon others when I detect a little something different in their utterance.  It takes more bravery to speak around people you know in an altered cadence, because they are the ones that will giggle and mock.  However, when you live with a voice in your everyday speaking, rather than merely exercising through the dialogue written, it becomes a part of you – therefore strengthening.

When you have a target, and the aim is true, you will hit the mark.  The director of the play I just finished performing in offered me parts in both ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘MacBeth’, without my needing to audition.  After first working with him last summer in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ I took the time to send a Thank You card following the final show.  Since then, in addition to his recent offers, he has cast me as a lead role and a few supporting roles in his productions.  By recognizing an opportunity to express gratitude, I strengthened a relationship and established myself as an appreciative actress interested in working with him again.

My ambition has been to achieve larger roles and work regularly while getting paid within the field of acting, in turn generating favorable circumstances to practice marketing and networking.  A few weeks ago I invited three newspapers to the most recent play.  This was the first step (after researching and calling to generate contact information) in establishing a relationship. Whether they showed-up this time or not, I have taken steps, with follow through, to grow a friendly working rapport.  In the near future I will compose another e-mail welcoming their attendance at each of the Shakespeare month long runs in July and August, with an extra line or two expressing interest in their current work, moving me one more notch above a ‘never heard of’.  Expanding the list to include three additional newspapers with each production, to make a total of nine writers I consistently contact professionally, will surely increase my chances of a favorable review in at least one periodical.

Truly, I admire writers, anyone living creatively really.  Having written and loved poetry since childhood, to be paid to write- songs, articles, greeting cards- is a chance I would hop on in a heartbeat.  Life can be perceived as random and less than envisioned.  However, each moment prepares us to live more fully, each day presents a chance to create the destined dream.  Make a S.M.A.R.T. plan, devoting one hour everyday to your objective, for, with perseverance passion can be made a paid reality.

 

I went to my first comic book convention today where the man himself STAN LEE was in attendance.  Comic book movies are some of my favorites, especially ‘Captain America’,’Thor’, and ‘The Incredible Hulk’.  I admit, I was a little daunted by what to expect.  A bunch of comic nerds talking about characters of which I have no clue?  Would I spy super-fans dressed as their favorite super-hero?  What about the many sexy ladies giving away free swag…  actually I was looking forward to all the fun- the expected and the coincidentally unexpected!

Yet still I pondered- what is appropriate attire?  For the answer, I queried Blackle.com to find out.  Everyone wants to makes a good impression.  I was prepared to use today for the OPPORTUNITY  it was: a chance to market myself as an actress in New York City.  Earlier this month I ordered postcards from OverNightPrints.com with my headshot/website address on one side and a watermark on the back.  They arrived Tuesday: the quality is great and the price could not be beat.  I was quite excited to have a new tool for marketing just in time for this event!  As for an acceptable comic book/marketing outfit: one can only go right with skintight black head to toe.  So, donning vice-like black Under Armor shirt and pants belted with a thick patent leather belt, kick-ass five inch boots, and my lovely titian tendrils I terrifically rocked the comic-con!

Upon arriving early to set up, a marketing gentleman with Pixar’s newest movie ‘Brave’ had to take a picture of me holding up their poster because I “look like the main character, Merida, brought to life”!  I was asked repeatedly after to pose with the poster for a picture.  Craig, the marketing guy, is passing the photo he took on to his boss, and thanks to the new postcards with my website address, KatrinaPerkins.com , I will be going to the premiere screening!  In addition to handing out half of my new postcards, and even being asked for autographs, tons of people wanted their picture taken with me.  Everyone thought I was dressed as ‘Black Widow’ and I enthusiastically agreed.   All in all, I had a very productive day practicing self promotion as an actress.  !KA-POW!