Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Standup Comedians - Learning the Art of Comedy

There is little doubt that people love to laugh and this is actually something that many scientists from all over the world have recognized as being very beneficial to health. Of course, people laugh for a lot of reasons but you probably already knew that people sometimes pay to laugh. That's right - you can go buy a ticket to watch someone perform stand up comedy in front of you. There are certainly a lot of great comedians out there, and it can take some time to find a really good comedy club in your area to go out for the night to have a few drinks and maybe a few good laughs. Well, one way to find the right comedy club would be to make a quick localized online search in your area just to see what is out there. If it turns out that you live in a reasonably large city it will not be too difficult for you to find a group of stand up comedians and from there on all you have to do is find one you like, pick a night that this comedian is performing, and go pay for your ticket.
Standup comedy can be a lot of fun, but it is clear that some of the comedians you will find out there will be a lot better than others, so you may want to ask around or read reviews to find out who the funniest comedians are. If you do this it will help to ensure that you end up really happy with the results of your experience, and you would be surprised at all of the different great comedians out there that you can find if you go out of your way to do just a bit of online research. While they might not end up being as good as some of the very famous comedians that you may have seen on TV, they will definitely be able to get the laughter flowing inside of a club and there is a very good chance that you are going to end up enjoying all of that a lot.
God comedy is something that comes to people as a talent in the vast majority of cases, but you should remember that it is also a skill that can be learned. If you happen to be interested in the idea of learning comedy for yourself then you should know that there are a lot of great books out there and also instructional videos that you could read and watch to give you more information on how the process of stand up comedy is done. Over time you might start to develop some really good material and then who knows? Maybe one day you will end up being the one performing on stage.
As you can see, there are certainly a number of things that you will want to keep in mind when you are out there on the hunt for the best comedy club around.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Improve Your Fitness With Dance

Dancing is one of the best ways to improve your health and fitness. It improves your lifestyle in so many ways. More than just the choreography and the music, dance is a whole combination of physical work, social interactions and mental stimulation.
When you are engaged in dancing; be it ballroom, ballet, jazz, hip hop, belly dancing or tap dancing, you need to be physically robust. Dancing has a wide range of physical benefits as it strengthen your heart and muscles, develops your flexibility, increases your endurance and burns calories as if you have run for miles. Dancing is not the sort of activity wherein you can relax while in the middle of doing it. You need to exert yourself as well as always be concentrating. You're not in a relaxed position nor are you in a state of tension. Dancing may well be tiring and muscle straining at first, but it is always meant to be enjoyed. You will never learn a dance well unless you first learn to take pleasure in doing it.
When you start to enjoy dancing, it makes you feel like you're not exercising at all. With all the good music and encouraging atmosphere, dancing will soon become like second nature. If you're not naturally a dancer, dance workouts help you develop a sense of rhythm and that's one way to start moving like a pro. Dancing enhances your body's muscle memory, helping you keep up with all the choreography with even advanced moves and complicated routines.
Dancing is not just about improving your fitness, but it serves as a great workout for the brain as well. Many people don't realize it but dancing sharpens one's mind. Discover it yourself by engaging in a ballroom or jazz class and soon you will find out that you have to keep on focus all the time while still maintaining a great deal of effort on getting your moves right.
More than just a physical and mental regime, dancing can also boost your self esteem and improves your social skills. Dancing opens up new opportunities for friendships and may lead to a larger network that can be helpful to you in so many ways. Being in a dance class enables you to mingle with people from different backgrounds and the only thing that binds you altogether is your love and passion for dancing. You never know but you might meet a new business partner, or a potential employer who's in need of the like of you, or maybe a romantic liaison is just around the corner, no one can really tell but the world of dancing is so varied that there's no telling who you will meet.

Friday, October 25, 2013

What Is The Croydon Music Festival?

Croydon Music Festival is an annual performing arts festival, which aims to promote arts in all its form that includes music, speech, dance and drama. The festival seeks to promote the standard and quality of performing arts and increase awareness. One of the main vision of this festival is to provide a platform for performers to get the opportunity to enjoy and experience performing at the same time gain the motivation, encouragement and education necessary to stand on their own feet and take their talent to the next level.
Croydon Music Festival is a one of a kind event and a two way learning process where the younger generation gets the opportunity to listen and learn from the performers while the performers gain constructive feedback and guidance from professionals.
Participants from all over the UK come and demonstrate their various talents using musical instruments like the piano, guitar, strings, brass, woodwind, harp and handbells. Other categories include choral, organ, percussion, vocal, composition, rock, pop and jazz in the music section. Under the drama section there is speech and drama whilst in the dance section there is south Asian dance and general dance categories respectively.
The festival having gained popularity over the years has led the organisers to consider managing the event on a larger scale. With attendance increasing every year, more Croydon hotels have emerged since then to accommodate visitors. Hotels near Croydon in areas like Wallington, Purley, Thornton Heath and New Addington have also gained from this event with the demand for more accommodation facilities during the peak season.
The rich musical history and culture of Croydon can be traced back to the 18th century with the likes of famous music composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor. Croydon has witnessed many musical successes over the years with the latest musical development being the dub step genre, which is a mixture of Jamaican music, garage, drum and bass.
Notable international music venues include the Fairfield Halls, the Cartoon and The Greyhound where Croydon has played hosts to world renowned artists such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, the Who, A-HA, the Damned, the Boomtown Rats, the Banshees and many more.
Today the region is home to the famous London School for Performing Arts & Technology, otherwise more commonly known as The BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology. It has produced talents such as Adele, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Jessie J, Kate Nash, Katy B and many others.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dance Classes and the Power of Movement

Dance is a form of communication and therefore an effective medium for therapy. The powerful use of body movements improves the emotional, physical, cognitive and social integration for dancers. Both children and adults can take dance lessons to learn how to perform various dance steps.
Dance classes for kids are great because they can be kept occupied after school. These classes offer many benefits such as improving self discipline, coordination, self confidence, self development as well as helping them to socialize. Children who are introduced to dance at an early age are able to develop a passion for rhythm and movement and a love for the arts.
Very young children such as toddlers and preschoolers can start out with creative movement classes. If your child is four or five years old, consider his or her maturity and personality before enrolling him or her into class. You should not force a shy child to take dance classes if he or she feels uncomfortable about taking them since this may discourage him or her from dancing altogether.
There are many dance genres to choose from and you should find out the genre that fits your child best. Ask your child which dancing style he or she would like to learn. Some of the dance genres that your child can learn include ballet, tap dancing, jazz or funk, hip hop, break dancing, ballroom dancing, folk dancing, lyrical and calisthenics among others.
When deciding which class your child should take, you should also consider the qualifications of the instructors and other factors like safety, travelling time and the available facilities at the dance training venue. You should also consider the cost of the classes, including accessories and costumes your child will have to purchase.
Dance therapy allows dancers to appreciate their bodies as a whole. According to studies, muscle tension often causes emotional and physiological ailments. Dance helps release tension through movement. If you have never danced before, you may find it difficult at the beginning. Dance therapy allows you to dance well without feeling pressurized to achieve flexibility. It offers many benefits including reducing anxiety and contributing to creativity and continuous physical development.
Children who struggle with conditions such as autism and others that affect communication skills can also benefit from dance therapy. The combination of music and dance helps the brain reorganize itself. Dance requires a number of stimulations including music processing, hearing and performing various movements. The repetition involved in learning dance and music enables the brain of a child to create new pathways. Children suffering from autism usually have problems with social interaction but when they engage in dance, they are able to mirror the experience of others and receive the satisfaction one gets from belonging to a group.
Hip hop is an energetic and popular form of dancing. It refers to the social or choreographed dance styles that people mainly dance to hip hop music or those that have developed as a part of the hip hop culture. This dance genre includes many dancing styles that were developed by Latino and African Americans in the 1970s. In order to master hip hop dance steps, it is essential for dancers to engage in lot of practice. The lessons covered in hip hop are designed to be a source of self improvement and entertainment.
Korean pop or K-pop in short is an up and coming musical style in South Korea. Its popularity is spreading to other regions of the world such as Turkey, Mexico, Northeast India and South America. The popularity of the K-pop music genre significantly increased after Psy, a South Korean musician released a single known as 'Gangnam Style'. K-pop lessons are fun and they are an excellent means of working your cardiovascular system and busting stress.
Children who have learning disabilities can benefit a lot from taking dance classes. For one, these classes allow them to have a sense of belonging. Enrolling in dance lessons also gives these children the opportunity to interact with others and helps them improve their focus as well as their reading and interaction skills.
Dancing gives an outlet for kids with development problems to express their feelings. The classes also play an important role in helping them heal because they are a non-verbal form of communication and therapy between children and their instructors. Some of the benefits that children with developmental problems like those associated with down syndrome gain from dancing include improved hearing, improved execution, improved concentration, enhanced processing, improvement in memory and speech and enhanced fine motor skills. After participating in dance classes, children with special needs can gain confidence and join normal children in dancing.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How to Get Discovered As an Actor

"How to get discovered as an actor," it sure is one hell of a question being asked here, isn't? Being discovered as an actor would mean a lot for a person; it could lead to fame, fortune and all kinds of great opportunities. For a true actor, however, these are not the primary goal. A real actor wants to be discovered so that their work would become recognized, valued and attract attention. Just like every writer wants to be read -- every actor wants to be watched.
The acting industry is one of the most competitive fields of the entertainment business in the world. Due to a very common belief that acting is one of the easiest occupations on the face of the planet -- which couldn't be further from the truth -- many young and older people are trying their luck by picking acting as their first or new career choice.
Some artists approach this subject with plenty of knowledge and common sense. These people know what they are getting themselves into and prepare in advance for what is to come during the years ahead. Others, however, have no idea how big of a struggle an actor's life could be, and most of these people are hoping to get accidentally discovered, which is something we'll talk about further down this article.
Being discovered is a "millions of dollars question", and a fantasy of many people. Unfortunately, this is the kind of fantasy that people who also dream of losing 60 pounds in one week hoping for. You should not be one of those people, but that is not to say that you cannot become a working actor and maybe even a major film star in a certain amount of years spent within the industry.
If you decide to pursue this career, it will take a lot of dedication, persistence and hard work to come a little closer to the top. This means that you should start working on your future career right this very moment! Make yourself available for being discovered, if this perception seems to motivate you more. You need to be ready for whenever that big moment of a known acting agent coming over and asking if you have representation happens.
Begin from finding an acting class in your local area. If you're living in one of the major theater and film cities like London, Los Angeles or New York, then this task will be very easy. Smaller cities might have fewer activities on this subject, but usually every town has their own community theaters and acting classes. Do enough research, find them and then apply. Start working on your craft as a first step towards being discovered and achieving success as an actor.
Second, get all the necessary tools an actor must have - headshots, show reel and acting resume. After these have been acquired, register yourself onto one of the popular casting websites where jobs for actors are being posted. Add your headshots, resume and show reel there and watch the offers come pouring in. Make sure to submit yourself to projects only within your area; do not apply for something that will take you a day of travel. It is absolutely not worth it in the beginning of your acting career.
So in short, by the time you're in the business for about 2-4 months, here is what you should already have:
  1. Fantastic headshots
  2. Professional resume
  3. Edited show reel
  4. Some acting training
  5. Some experience
Third step is all about learning how the business side of acting works. How casting directors are casting parts, how talent agents are signing actors and how actors are supposed to become successful. Avoiding coming off amateurish in the eyes of every single industry person you're going to meet later in the future, and that means educate yourself every minute when you have time for it.
Fourth step, after you've been in the business for at least 6 months and have done some actual acting work, is networking. By now you must definitely have a resume, show reel, headshots, a working casting profile online, and most importantly - experience and acting training under your belt. Now is the chance for you to get discovered. Network as much as possible; visit different actors gatherings, film festivals, parties, clubs and every other place where you believe entertainment people might hang out.
Meet people from the industry, develop relationships with them, and let them know that you're an actor but never push on asking for work from them. Make sure they know where to find your acting resume and headshots in case they need them, and move on. When the time is right, you'll receive one of those important calls that might change your life. At that point it's all about not screwing your audition and being ready for the discovery that you have dreamed about.
Never get discouraged, apply yourself and believe that you can make it. Just have some common sense and understand that there are no easy ways in life, everything is achieved through hard work, persistence and dedication. Work at your craft, market yourself, get to know people and you'll be at the Oscars or BAFTA in no time!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 Ways to Not Get the Part

In this article, I will look at 5 ways to send your next potential stage manager over the edge at the audition. Don't want to get the part? Then do these 5 things and you surely will have no problem getting cut for a random "type out." And by random "type out," I mean intentionally cut by the casting director at the earliest possible moment that won't make it seem like they were rushing to get rid of you! Hah!
1) Put no effort or thought into your resume, and I mean absolutely no stinking thought at all! When a stage manager glances over your resume, he or she is getting a first impression of you. Don't ruin the impression because you hand wrote your special skills in the margin or forgot to change the name of the person you copied the resume from!
2) Audition for something that you don't want. Guess what?! Not wanting it shows clearly, even on the best liar's face. Stage managers don't want their time wasted just as much as you don't want yours wasted! If you don't want it, don't audition.
3) Come to an audition that you know you can't fill the requirements for! "Hey, even though the breakdown explicitly indicates '10 pull-ups required at the audition,' I'm going to go even though I can't." Or... "I know this is an audition for a tap solo, but maybe they will look past the fact that I don't tap and hire me for my jazz skill." No... No... No. Again, refer to the second bullet point, don't waste their time!
4) Don't follow simple directions. Doing a backflip when they asked to see a back roll doesn't impress anyone. It just shows you SUCK at following directions and should NOT be hired.
5) Use your phone at the audition. In fact, why not just talk on your phone in the waiting room, text when they are speaking to the group, and let the phone ring when the stage manager is calling your number. They really love that! I don't believe any extra explanation is necessary here. Don't use your phone AT ALL!
And there you go... 5 ways to not get the part... OR, really piss off your direct boss for your next year contract. Good luck with that!
*All 5 ways to throw your stage manager over the edge were collected from actual stage managers. You wouldn't believe the stories they had!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mila Kunis

She's transformed from a TV Teen Star to a the HOTTEST vixen on the silver screen. Is she the sexiest woman alive? We think so.

Sofia Vergara

These outtakes were too hot for the magazines

Selena Gomez

Take a look at the private side of Selena's life with these ten fast facts.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

How to Become a Better Dancer - The Easy Way

If you love dancing (ballet, ballroom, modern, social, etc), you already know how to become a better dancer. For the most part. You take classes, have private lessons with an instructor or coach, and you practice, practice, practice. Consistency is key. You also get out there to perform in the public arena because you know that "eyes on you" build confidence.
Most importantly, you don't forget to have fun.
There are, however, certain areas in your dancing that seem to be difficult to handle. For example, the stage fright before ballroom dance competitions, ballet recitals, or any other shows in your genre of dance. You have worked on these issues, but you are not exactly where you want to be.
Let me ask you:
- Do you have stage fright every time you perform in public?
- Do you have negative beliefs that are in the way of you becoming a better dancer ("I am just not good enough", "I will never learn this")?
- Are you often flooded with painful, negative emotions, like frustration, anger, fear of being visible, disappointment?
- Do you have issues with your body image (weight, looks, shame)?
What if I told you that there is a completely natural method that can help you with all of this - and more. Because there is. It is called EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), also called "tapping", is an alternative body/mind healing and self-improvement method related to acupuncture. Instead of needles, it uses tapping with the fingertips on specific points of the energy meridians while being "tuned in" to body sensations, thoughts and feelings. In other words, it is a form of mindful acupressure. It allows to work with negative physical or emotional intensity - creating the space for positive shifts and wellbeing to occur.
This is the best part of EFT: You can learn quickly how to do it on your own (although there are practitioners who can help) and use it for everything that does not feel right in your life - including dancing! To learn where the "tapping points" are, go to Google or YouTube.
Here is a very simple little tapping exercise that can make you feel better instantly:
Bunch the fingers of one hand together and tap with your fingertips right on the top of your head. While you are doing this, say aloud:
I was born to dance
I am a great dancer in training
I am getting better and better every day
I pick up new patterns quickly
I love to shine on the dance floor (on the stage)
I have confidence, grace, and style
I am strong
People love to see me perform
... add whatever comes to your mind. At the end, say: "And so it is!" and take a deep breath.
Consistent dance practice and EFT are a winning combination when you want to become a better dancer.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Choreography in Indian Classical Dance

Choreography in Western Dance may seem limited. But the fact remains that elements of choreography are the basic part of conception in any Western dance creation. But choreography in Indian Classical Dance has not evolved to the extent to which it has in the West. This is because classical dance began as an independent presentation. The purpose of the performance and with it the stage kept changing, and it is this that impacted the presentation.
Most classical dances were created to be performed in temples. Devotion was the sole essence and purpose behind the performance. Dance was a medium of prayer, and an intensely personal one at that. Naturally, the temple platform and the presence of devotees was enough for the presentation. No special thought was given to the aspect of how the presentation could be made more effective.
Later, during the 11th century AD, the dance moved into the courts of the kings. Instead of the temple platform, artists were to perform on a separate half-circular stage. The devotional undertones were replaced with tenets of pure entertainment. This expectation of 'entertainment' from the art form was perhaps the reason why the focus shifted towards the arena of presentation, and therefore, choreography in Kathak.
The shift from a Temple platform to a semi-circular stage brought all three dimensions of Space (i.e. height, length and depth) to the forefront. It opened up the option of using of three main directions and two sub directions on each side and elements like Utplawan, Challang etc. were also used to make better use of this Space. The aesthetic aspect of dance was slowly gaining more importance, because now the performance was for the audience, not for the 'self'.
Today, the stage is a lot more accommodating and, at the same time, demanding. There is a dual purpose to dance - artistic self-fulfillment through creativity as well as visual appeal for the audience. And it is innovation that has lead to the fulfillment of both.
In innovation, it is essential to essentially consider all aspects of choreography for enhancing its effectiveness. In the context of the contemporary stage, consideration for all three basic elements of choreography i.e. Space, Time and Energy must be studied correctly and implemented in a technically perfect manner.
Main aspects of choreography-
1. Theme:
The theme is a critical element for the success of any composition. In Kathak, the theme is represented in two ways - Nritta and Nritya.
a. Nritta
In a Nritta-based composition, the repetitive cycle of the Taal is the main theme. Within a cycle of the Taal various movements, rhythm patterns, compositions (which may be ad-lib i.e. Upaj or pre-fixed i.e. Bandish) are presented in a manner to come back to the first beat of the cycle (sum) at completion, using the artist's body as the medium. A musical composition equaling the cycle of the Taal (Nagma) is used as the measuring scale in this theme.
This theme is easy to understand and appreciate. However, the exact theme to be presented must be decided based on the audience. For instance, complex mathematically challenging patterns should be avoided in front of common public while they can be presented with aplomb in front of connoisseurs.
The Nritta theme, although used predominantly in solo performances, is equally effective for group presentations. A Taal-Mala ( a serial combination of more than two Taals to make it as one cycle) presentation, for example, is more effective in a group setting as it may be too long a cycle for a solo performance in terms of acceptance by the audience.
b. Nritya
In a traditional Kathak performance, Nritya comes in the form of Vandanas, Thumris, Bhajans and Gat-Bhavs. In all these, the theme is mostly based on various mythological situations and characters. Even Indian audiences often comment that the themes seem repetitive. The stories of Radha - Krishna, Yashoda - Krishna or Rakshas - Sanhar represent fundamental human emotions and feelings. And while these feelings are still relevant today, the context is not.
Radha & Krishna embody the emotion of love in the Indian Culture, but they may not be known universally. However, the relation between a man and a woman is more commonly understandable by persons of any nationality and culture.
In today's day & age, using a contemporary theme to represent these emotions is a good idea, because the audience can relate to them more easily and they will also be attracted to the novelty. E.g. A Vandana can be made more relevant if the feeling of devotion is represented by prayers to Nature instead of to a particular God. Even internationally known literature, used as the basis for themes for Indian classical dance, may appeal more to the foreign audience and make them aware of Indian classical dance.
The theme could be common issue of today or an anecdote from mythology. But, whether it is Nritta or Nritya, must be understandable, heart-warming and intellectually stimulating for the audience.
2. Music
Music is a very important element of an Indian classical dance performance. The selection of music to represent any Nritya-based theme must support the mood. Many times, just with the right music, the dancer is in a position to quickly establish the theme being presented.
An elaboration of some aspects of music:
Indian classical music is vast, comprehensive and well structured. The Raags are divided as per time zones and have their own personality i.e. they reflect a particular set of 'moods'. In Indian classical dance, various types of Malhars are used in compositions to represent Varsharutu because of the inherent mood they create, which complements the theme of the dance.
When it comes to the impact music can make on the overall composition of dance, it can be gauged from the fact that, many times, music inspires a composition itself. E.g. Guru Pt. Rohini Bhate's composition of TIME - the inspiring music was western but the composer had used 'Nagmas', which is a purely Indian concept. Another example of theme based music selection in choreography can be seen in another of Rohiniji's compositions - Kathputli (Puppet). The theme is based on a representative woman, who is entangled in daily chores to the extent that, for her, the entire process becomes mechanical. Unlike in the previous example, in this composition, the theme inspires the music. The music selected was pure 'Metronome beats', the monotonous notes of which effectively bring out the repetitive colorless nature of the woman's daily chores. In the theme, when one of the women tries to break this monotony, the metronome beats give way to melodious notes to represent change and when the woman successfully dis-entangles herself, the happiness is brought out through a 'Taraana'.
Many times fusion music can be used very effectively in choreography innovations. Such music can be fusion of instruments from East & West or can also be of these two different types.
In Nritta-based themes, several Indian classical music compositions have been used without any modifications in Kathak. These music compositions do not have any specific theme. Melodious music and suitable beautiful visualization itself are the points of appreciation. Such themes are universal and can appeal to large audience, taking Kathak closer to them.
3. Space:
According to Western concepts, the main elements of choreography are Space, Time and Energy. Let us analyse these aspects in the context of Indian dance.
The main elements of Space are directions, levels, planes and volume.
Directions: In the early times, Indian classical dance mainly used only very few directions. All 'Sam' used to be directed towards the right and entry used to be from the left. Hence, the vocabulary of directions as well as movements remained very limited. But through subsequent innovations by stalwarts, many new directions were added and today the Kathak vocabulary is very rich and provides great scope for creativity.
However, one element needs to be highlighted. In general, while considering a stage, the musicians sit on the left of the audience. Because of this, the center of the stage for the dancer gets shifted from the actual center of the stage. This poses significant challenge for the artist because, if the original center is taken for choreography, there is less space on one side. While if the center of available space is taken for choreography, this center does not align with the center from the audience's perspective. Therefore, there is a need to look at either the seating positions of the musicians on both sides, using the modern technology for maintaining the rapport or putting up an equivalent decoration on the opposite side to the musicians for maintaining the balance of the stage.
A lot of work has also happened in the area of use of levels and planes by many choreographers and Kathak has a good knowledge-base for the use of these elements.
4. Energy:
The requirement of energy in different elements of Kathak is different. For example, in a Paran the energy needs to be thrown out while the 'Thaat' is an example of contained energy. So, within the different elements of Kathak, different types of energy can be represented. Therefore, in a new creative presentation, different energy levels can be very effectively presented through known, established elements of Kathak.
Prerana Deshpande is a traditional Kathak Dancer of repute and a creative choreographer of rare calibre. She is one of the leading Kathak exponents and a complete solo Kathak dancer of her generation. Internationally acclaimed as a creative dancer, she is widely acknowledged for her mastery over various aspects of Kathak.
Prerana studied Kathak under Guru-Shishya Parampara (Master - Disciple tradition) from legendary Dr. Rohini Bhate, the doyen of Lucknow and Jaipur gharanas for over twenty years. She is regarded for her exquisite command over the fundamentals of Kathak - Rhythm, Grace, & Expression and for her creativity rooted in the tradition of this dance form. Greatly appreciated by all audiences for her expertise in Kathak, she is regularly invited to perform as a solo artist at all major venues and festivals in India and abroad.

How to Succeed at Acting Auditions

Getting the part in a show, commercial, or play means going to acting auditions. You need to prove that you have what it takes to become the character. The people behind the project want to see what you are capable of doing, and auditioning is the key. In order for you to be a success, you need to learn how this process works and what you should be doing. If you can make it through, you are going to be one step closer to being a professional actor.
Before you get into auditioning, you need to make sure that you are prepared. This means having your resume, photo, and monologue ready, along with anything else that you need to have for the specific audition. The photo should be current and attractive, the resume should include everything about your acting history along with the best contact information, and the monologue should show off your skills. Another important part of being prepared is confidence. When you walk in, you should do so confidently and with everything that you need. This is going to make a wonderful first impression, which will increase your chances of getting the part.
With acting auditions, you should get straight to the point and try to do your best. Choose what you know and can do then go with it. Do not try to simply appeal to what you think anyone else wants. This might cause you to choose something that you cannot do well, which could actually hurt your chances of getting the part more than it would help. Part of showing confidence is choosing something on your own and powering through it. Even if you mess up, continue what you are doing and show that you know how to manage these little mistakes. Remember that you are likely not as bad as you may think.
Do not let one bad experience ruin acting auditions for you. Continue to go and build up your skills. You never know when one will be successful, so try to find the motivation to go whenever you can. On top of increasing your chances of landing a job, it also helps you to improve your performance. Each time that you go, you will be able to make changes to see what works. This will give you both the confidence and ability you need. It also makes the experience as a whole much easier on you. When you have been through the process many times, the weight of the stress is lessened quite a bit.
If you want to do your best at acting auditions in general, consider going to classes. They will teach you what you need to know in order to do your best. You are going to be learning from professionals in the field, so you will receive inside information.You will also develop some confidence. This is a great first step to becoming an actor and getting the jobs that you really want.

Friday, September 27, 2013

6 Must Have Technologies For Every Event Planner

When you casually go up to an event planner to ask about the kind of technology they use in their events, their expected reply would be the use of big screens, or projectors during the events. Certainly, those things are important, but when it comes to the technology of event planning, they have just reached the 'tip of the iceberg'!
Sadly, several event planners (apart from those who are tech savvy) shy away at the mere mention of the word 'technology'. They may be aware of some new technologies, but they do not make use of them on a regular basis; thereby, missing out on some remarkable opportunities.
The downside being, if you do not embrace the current trends of technology for all your events and stage systems, your audience, or clients will dig for ways to use the technology on their own! So, the sooner you befriend technology; better chances of your event coming under the spotlight.
Let's look through the 6 technologies, which you need while planning your next event-
Before the start of your event, communicate with your speakers, via Google Hangout
It is important to communicate your goals to the speaker (s), before the start of the event. Gone are the days when you used to interact through telephones, or emails. Now, Google Hangout is the latest trend, where up to ten people can gather for a video conferencing. This medium helps in building a rapport between the speaker(s) and the entire team.
Make use of social media to promote your event
As soon as your event nears the date, start tweeting about it on Twitter, and add cool and interesting status updates about the event on Facebook and LinkedIn. Splash interactive videos on the social media and garner publicity. It will encourage people to register and show up for the event.
Make mobile friendly event materials
Printed event materials are passé! Introduce your program and handouts on a PDF format. This will make it convenient for the audience to get the materials on their tablets, or smartphones. You can even create a mobile app for the event- an easier and less expensive way to get noticed.
Internet access is a must during the event
Several hotels provide free internet access, but some of them do not provide it for free in the conference rooms. Due to this, several event planners avoid the use of internet altogether. Big mistake! If your audience can't get access to the internet to post a tweet, or check their emails; soon enough, they will leave the conference room to do it- and possibly, they may never return. The sign of a great event is when the audience can interact and communicate freely with each other.
Implement an audience response system
It is a whole different ballgame to want the audience to participate. Leave the boring interaction techniques behind like raising your hand, or talking to the person next to you. Instead, use the audience response system, or the voting keypad system. Turning the passive audience into an active audience is the best way to make an event hit.
Keep the phones switched on during the event
Yes, you heard it right! Allow the audience to keep their smart phones switched on and encourage them to interact with the speaker through text messages. This will make the event spontaneous and alive. They can ask questions and get replies right away during the event.
Technology for an event must not be used just because it is trending, or it is cool. It must rather be used wisely to upgrade your stage systems and event management business. With technology, you can carve your route to an enhanced and successful event.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Presenting the Best of Russian Ballet Performances

Russian ballet is well loved especially by the English and Europeans. Many interesting performances have been produced across the world through professional concert organizers. There are event agencies that specialize in presenting the best of Russian as well as Russian Opera and Folklore.
Russian theatres
Professional theatre organizers present the best of Russian ballet to ensure that the audience is truly entertained at each show. There must be the meticulous attention to details with a careful selection of stories to be presented at some of the best theatres across the globe. The professional collaboration between these organizers and the intense talents found in the Russian Federation allows the most exquisite of Russian Ballet to be showcased to British and German audiences.
A successful Russian ballet theatre depends heavily on the professionalism of the concert organizer. The best of shows must be chosen with a skilled and passionate cast besides having the best resources to make the concert a runaway success.
The audience contributes greatly to the success of Russian theatres and ballet. The feedback from the audience allows the concert organizer to improve in their story selection, services and presentation of the shows.
The Russian State Ballet was established to offer the best of musical entertainment through an intense passion and high quality in its ballet and opera performances. There is a plethora of Russian artists for some of the best ballet concerts but a successful theatre organizer must work only with the best.
There are different companies or theatre organizers that travel around Europe to present their selected ballet and opera productions but others prefer to focus on a tight collaboration with established Russian Federation theatres as these enjoy vast experiences through their long establishment with strong concert directors and artists.
The production quality of any Russian Ballet is crucial to entertain the audience. However, different audiences may require different settings and stories. Hence, the professional theatre company would perform shows that would be attractive to the local audience. It is not surprising that different artists are considered to perform the same Russian Ballet show but in a different setting with different costumes and choreography that makes the show enlightening.
Performance schedule
It should not be surprising if there are repeats of popular Russian Ballet concerts particularly with the best of classic stories such as Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet.
Russian Ballet concerts can be performed throughout the year at different theatre houses by different event organizers on Ballet and Opera performances.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dirty Dancing Returns to the West End

You've had the time of your life, and now it's time to have it again. Every woman and most men alive today in the English speaking world has heard of Dirty Dancing. Women swoon over Patrick Swayze on the big screen, and the movie comes together to be an absolute classic that can't go unwatched by any sane soul.
To demonstrate just how popular the movie is, it was the first film to sell over a million copies and the soundtrack itself was such a hit that it generated two platinum albums and received several music awards. That's certainly nothing to sniff at, and this success translated to what all our hearts beat for: musical stage performances.
In 2004, the Dirty Dancing movie was converted to a stage performance in Australia. A raving success, it went on to go on tour around all of Australia and New Zealand, gaining traction with the masses and receiving thousands of requests from around the world to perform in locations such as the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and more.
It was two years later that London was blessed with a tour of performances, with the theatre being sold out for six months every time Dirty Dancing was meant to be performed. And where, you might ask, was this performed? The West End, of course! Aldwych Theatre has been the London host for Dirty Dancing since it arrived, and to this date it holds all the records for theatre performances in the region. One could say that's impressive, and they'd certainly be correct.
Since then, Dirty Dancing had done a UK-wide tour in 2011, with thousands of people begging for it to return in 2012 and now 2013. You guessed it, the 2011 tour broke records too! But if we're on the subject of begging for Dirty Dancing to come back to the stage, let me break some news for you.
It is coming back. In fact, it has come back since the beginning of July and it'll stick around until the beginning of 2014, and you can certainly find your way to the West End of London and have the experience again if you were there in 2006, or have it for the first time in your life and be utterly amazed by the performance, the cast, and the wonderful soundtrack.
Think it'll be at Aldwych Theatre this time around? Nope! The performance is being held at Piccadilly Theatre for the foreseeable future, and the current statistic of "over a million people" is expected to grow quite a bit over the next few months! So what are you waiting for? Be like the wind and get a ticket before they're all gone and have an experience that you'll look back on as, well... the time of your life.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ballet Is An Art Not A Contest

For some years now there has been gathering attention, publicity and even some degree of notoriety surrounding the biggest ballet competitions such as Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) and the International Ballet Competition (IBC) which at first might seem like a good thing - to coin a Hollywood phrase, 'the only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity'. But there is something else at stake here and it is no small thing.
Along with this seeming upward trend of publicity for ballet because of YAGP and IBC and other competitive dance shows and contests, there has been a precipitous decline and even removal of arts education from public and even many private schools. On the face of it these two seem unrelated except that the average age of a competitor at the major ballet competitions - 14 - is precisely the same age as the students in middle school and high school who are stepping off into the void of no education as to what the arts are, no application of how to practice any of them for their original intent (which is the creative exploration of existence not prize winning) and this comes on the heels of an elementary experience which for nearly all students, including anyone participating in YAGP or IBC, etc., has shown a scary fall off in creative thinking and imagination development during the elementary education process.
Those of us who are priviledged to work in the arts and ballet are all aware of these trends among beginner through intermediate aged students. Unfortunately, there has been a major move to turn the arts into some kind of contest sport for the sake of ratings by the people who run YAGP and the IBC and all those TV dance competition shows and so forth rather than helping to do something about the decline of imagination and creatvity among beginner to intermediate age students. Exactly what this is contest sport ballet stuff is supposed to do or who it is supposed to benefit is very unclear because other than the TV channels who earn ad revenue and the organizational bodies of the YAGP and the IBC making money off of the very high fees charged for these events, the performers involved and the art form of ballet receive practically nothing in return. Who wants to grow up and train for 10+ years as an artist to be a profitable property for a TV station to sell ads through - with none of that money coming to you? Who wants to grow up and train for 10+ years as an artist to spend $4,000 or more each year in competition fees to the YAGP for the sake of possibly getting a professional contract when you can still accomplish that by first becoming a good dancer in a competent ballet program then auditioning directly for a professional company?
Professional companies still do almost all their hiring by the live audition. So, for any student wishing to be employed by Boston Ballet or Houston Ballet or Pacific Northwest Ballet, the YAGP and IBC are utterly NOT essential. Somehow a hood has been pulled over everyone's eyes such that people think if they spend thousands and thousands of extra dollars doing YAGP, IBC or other competitions that their student will somehow be put in a great position to be hired by a professional company - that is just flat out wrong. What has happened is a distortion of the art form of ballet into somekind of contest sport where the end-all-be-all is the quest for awesome technique. That sort of pursuit is neat but nearly useless should you wish to make a compelling Juliet or a tragic Giselle. Especially considering that nearly all of those 14 year olds who achieve robotic perfection in their technique will burn out and be done with Ballet before they even graduate high school rendering all that effort useless to the future of ballet, but very lucrative to the organizers of the YAGP, the IBC, and so forth.
Ballet has always been an art form where a longer career span can be possible - women can viably perform into their early 40's, men into their mid-30's - as opposed to many other sports and especially Competitive Gymnastics wherein there is almost no such thing as a 20 year old competitor, usually not even an 18 year old competitor due to the ultra high, severely traumatic injury rate. But now, as more and more of these YAGP type competition circles run on, a nearly equivalent and equally bothersome attrition among young dancers occurs only instead of lifelong crippling injuries they simply quit the art form due to burnout. But not before shelling out tons of cash.
Obviously competition itself is a healthy thing and for sure ballet is VERY competitive already simply because you have thousands of dancers all over the world constantly seeking to get into the best dozen or so ballet companies and from there that level of competition continues right on down to regional professional ballet companies Milwaukee Ballet or Tulsa Ballet. So there never was any lack of competitiveness in ballet to begin with - in fact, far from it. But now, over and above that type of healthy competition that makes people want to improve their technique in order to get into the company they like as a professional dancer, the contest sport type of competition has been wedged into ballet the only purpose of which can be to make money for the organizers - those types of competitions do not help the art form advance at all (due to that high burn out rate among young contestants), and they are utterly unnecessary for anyone who wants to pursue professional dance work.
It would be truly helpful to ballet and the arts if the organizers of the YAGP, the IBC, and the other competitions and TV competition shows, would realize the golden opportunity they have to reinvigorate the sensibility and enjoyment of the performing arts as something other than a mere vehicle for someone else's judgement as to who wins blue ribbons, something more intuitive than a contest sport, and as something other than a means for the organizers to score very large sums of money through endless types of competition fees. Or, let's put it in another way: a ballet dancer is someone who must first enjoy the artistic, creative process because that is what the art is still built upon, and is someone who also enjoys pursuing their own technique not just for mechanical perfection like 7 pirouettes, but emotional conveyance, story telling, and being interesting to watch while working on stage. These competitions do exactly what George Lucas so prophetically warned about concerning his own work with Star Wars: "... a special effect by itself is uninteresting without a compelling story to go with it."
Pirouettes and saut de basques are awesome special effects but they are not nearly enough by themselves to make ballet compelling as an art form. If this focus on contest sport continues unabated then we will have lots of Jedi-like 14 year olds in ballet who burn out and quit long before they are mature enough to tell compelling stories, and that would be a real, profound shame and a stunning waste of money, time and effort.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Five Guidelines to Make Your Newsletter More Effective

Hello My Savvy Children! It's time for a little e-lovin' from me to you and today we're going to lift up the e-newsletter.
So, good news! Savvy actors are sharing their successes through e-blasts, letting the world know about the great projects they're helping to bring into the world.
In fact, MANY of them are.
Okay, so many of them are that my inbox is wading a bit in the tide of "Just wanted to let you know what I'm up to"s.
I'm feeling like they're coming at me. I want to feel like they're inviting me in.
Hey, I'm a newsletter guy too. In fact, EVERY time I send out a newsletter, I book work from it. Every. Time.
And when I lapse, I get e-mails from friends asking if they've been dropped from the list.
Because e-newsletters are more effective when they're done right. And now Papa Doug's gonna show you how through five guidelines.
1. Start with your brand
Most e-newsletters I receive are big exclamation points where every experience was just the best!!!!
Being positive is a beautiful thing, but we are not all drawn that way. Return to those adjectives that describe what you sell as a performer and then WRITE WITH YOUR OWN VOICE.
Are you a geek? Revel in delicious detail.
Are you ethereal? Choose breathy language that comes from feeling.
Are you blunt? Choose percussive language and short sentences.
Gossipy? Political? Bone-dry? Curmudgeonly?
Speak from your brand... and then format your newsletter with colors and a font to match.
2. Get to the point.
Hey, your e-newsletter is a marketing tool.
Get to the point.
That's why I'm going to use really efficient bullet points in this section.
  • Bullet points will direct the eye to where you want it to go.
  • Keep it brief.
  • Challenge yourself to keep it to one pane (so they don't have to scroll down.)
  • Make your subject line useful. "Doug Shapiro starting his 13th season with The Barnstormers" is stronger than "update."
  • Provide contact information so they know how to find you for work leads.
  • Provide a picture to make associating your face with your name easier.
  • Provide links to your shows that make ticket purchasing easier.
3. Be considerate
You want everyone who receives your newsletter to be glad about it, right? Well, you can assure that with some basic consideration for their needs.
Make it easy for people to unsubscribe ( MailChimp is great for sending bulk mail and makes it easy to unsubscribe.)
Only send to Industry folks who are very familiar with and enjoy you. Agents and casting directors receive hundreds, even thousands of e-mails per day and it's highly unlikely that they'll open anything from someone of whom they're not a big fan already.
Give credit to others who made your successes possible. (I'd like to thank Rebecca Soler who gave the great subject line and window pane advice in her fantastic seminar.)
Also, make sure that every picture or video you provide is linked through a website rather than in the body of the e-mail. You don't want to clog up their inbox!
4. Be consistent
My FOD's get a little antsy now if they haven't heard from me every two or three months. So, keep those e-newsletters coming on whatever consistent basis you choose.
That said, save up your successes. No need to barrage people with your glorious successes every time something happens. It's exhausting for them and for you. Spread out your e-lovin' to your fans over a consistent time frame.
5. Be a good host
You can either choose to shout information at people or invite them into the life party you're throwing. Make them feel like they're a part of something.
Just like an effective audition or job interview, choose to set an environment that welcomes your fans into an experience. I refer to my audience as FOD's. (Friends/Family of Doug) and start by inviting them to kick, back, relax, and enjoy the e-journey.
How do you create a welcoming environment? By keeping your e-newsletter about your readers and not about yourself. When you send out information dumps of all your accomplishments, it projects desperation.
Become sensitive to the difference between "I played the lead in this show" and "Joe Director [with link to director's website] brought the best work out of our entire ensemble." Both say you're working, but only the latter shows you're enrolling other great people on your journey. So, use the opportunity to hold up your colleagues. I choose to list the actors and design crew for every project I do, with links to their websites. It increases my readers' involvement because they recognize their colleagues and e-mail me back with "Hey! You know Alexandra de Suze! I love Alexandra de Suze!"
While you're at it, be the go-to person for whatever it is you love.
Are you passionate about new music theatre work? Feature a music theatre writing team like Carner & Gregor. Crazy about baby animals? Link to zooborns.com. Old time radio comedy? Link to a Jack Benny video on YouTube. Connect with your readers about something other than the shows in which you're performing.
So, Savvy Actors, be your own Marketing Director and create an e-newsletter that sings with your essence without just crowing about your successes. Effective marketers choose information that is useful to their audience over information they just really want to share. Now get busy and share it!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Youth Acting: How To Get Started The Right Way

So you want to get your child started as a little actor or actress in the entertainment industry, but you're not sure where to start? No worries - we've got you covered.
First things first, in any hobby or extracurricular activity, it's best to get an early start if you want to become great at it. So the sooner you get your little one started, the better their chances for success are.
Second, decide what their 'niche' is going to be. Do they want to perform in live stage plays and musicals? Do they want to wow Broadway? Maybe they even want a leading role in a television show or feature film. Whatever their goal is, write it down, and embed it.
Third, get some sort of training. Whether it's paid professional training from a one on one coach, or if your child participates in an after school drama or theater club offered by their school or a local organization like the YMCA. Whatever training and experience they can get, take it. Some schools even begin offering a drama class as early as grade 5. Take advantage of opportunities like that.
Fourth, put together a resume. It doesn't matter if your child has little or even no experience at all, what matters is that they have a resume in hand that they can hand to casting directors that tells them a little bit about themselves, what their goals are, what their strengths are, and why they should be chosen to audition for certain parts.
Fifth, search for auditions and open casting calls that match your child's profile. Many times a casting director will post these auditions and write very specific requests for what they are looking for. Make a large list of auditions and casting calls that match your child as closely as possible. Now, you don't have to go overboard and skip a listing just because your child's height may be a little off, or maybe your child doesn't have the exact color hair that the director is looking for, but as long as your child is an 80% match to the description, it's worth writing down.
Lastly, help your child write up a very professional audition request and attach it to your audition application. It shouldn't sound like the parent wrote it, you should have a sit down with your child and ask them why they want the part, and simply help them get it written down and formatted correctly. One you have done this, send off your audition application and wait for a response for the director. If you do not hear anything within 3-5 business days, a follow-up email or phone call could help.
Final thoughts. Little ones tend to have sensitive feelings, and the last thing you want is to see disappointment on your child's face. Prepare them for the competitive world of acting and let them know that it's completely normal for them to not get an audition request every time they apply, and also they may not even get a role that they audition for. That's not to say you should prepare them to fail at everything they try, but simply remind them that they will eventually get their time to shine and sometimes the director is just looking for something else.