An afternoon of listening
SAG-AFTRA Foundation has a series of terrific workshops that are offered on a regular basis at the main building on Wilshire Boulevard. On Saturday Mark Fincannon was giving a lecture on locals casting. His name rang a bell but I couldn't place him. Since I arrived in Los Angeles, I've been concentrating on honing my voiceover skills: classes, webinars, you name it. I've been blessed with a great agent and when I found a place to live, the first thing I did was have Dan Lenard build my studio in the walk-in closet. For the past ten years, voiceover has been my bread and butter. However, I haven't forgotten my theatre training and telenovela work in Colombia. My tooth fairy wish is to be a series regular in LA; I figured going to hear a veteran casting director give suggestions could only help.
My first thought when he mentioned how he got started was, "This doesn't apply to me. He's talking about work for actors in the Southeastern region." And then I remembered driving many years ago from Miami to Orlando to audition for him for the series One Tree Hill. I decided to stick around. I got a lot more than I expected and wanted to share some things he said:
They hire you to fill time and space with your imagination. You jump off the precipice. It's your essence, who you are and all your ticks.
Acting is not a performance; it's a 'transformance'. Coming into a moment to be lived in.
Acting is not a proving ground; it's a playground. Be willing to play.
There is nothing better in all of life than to give.
Be more interested than interesting.
Go do everything you can to give to the other actor by listening and being engaged.
Someone asked a question at the end: what makes an actor stand out?
His answer? Heart. Instead of approaching it externally, allow the heart of the character to come through.
It's not about words, it's about transformation.
Allow your heart to be touched. Feel what other people feel. It is a divine encounter. Bring it into your life every day. It's all about giving.
The love and compassion this man displayed toward us, the actors, was beyond anything I have ever experienced. At the end of the lecture Mark invited everyone to come up and say hello. When I got to the front of the line, the tears started welling up. All I could say was how much his words affected me and wish him many blessings. He ended up giving me a bear hug. I cried harder.
A tune popped into my head just now; I tend to associate great moments in my life with song lyrics:
Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But because I knew you I have been changed for good
--Stephen Schwartz, Wicked