Saturday, February 27, 2010

Memorizing Lines

I know I said that I would have a blog post up about my short film experience. I'm waiting for more production photos so you can have the total experience through words and pictures. Stay tuned - it is well worth the wait. Trust me.

Someone asked me yesterday what is the best way to memorize lines for a scene. I have heard many techniques - read over and over until you have the words, cover your lines with a sheet of paper or index card to help you remember, put your lines on index cards, put words on tape, etc. The list goes on and on. The trouble that I see here is that you are learning the lines by rote - you are memorizing them. The key is to have a connection to the words - do you understand the conversation? do you understand why you are in the conversation? do you understand why you are reacting the way you are? do you understand what you need from your partner? Answers to these questions will keep you grounded, in the moment and present to your partner.

So, what was my advice?

1. Read the conversation for understanding - are you clear on what the scene is about? are you clear in what you want?
2. Put yourself in your character's shoes, react how you would react if given those circumstances and create a back story so you are living in and experiencing the world as that character.
3. Read your scene and visualize images as you are reading. Then, add the words and wonder why are you saying what you are saying.

These techniques will help you stay present to and connect with your partner - the trust in who you are and focus on the relationship is your foundation and you will know exactly how you want to communicate -- No memorization required!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Blogger's Bulletin

I was asked to write a guest column for The Bloggers Bulletin. My latest post, entitled Social Media on the Set, can be found here. The takeaways? Be creative in your tweets, use care in how and what you tweet and be professional.

Let me know what you think.

Happy Fat Tuesday, y'all!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Susyn Is Back and Better Than Ever

Hi All:

I haven't written a post since February 5 because...I was busy prepping for and filming an independent short film I was in called "North Star". I was one of the leads and I was so grateful and excited to be cast. And I was so grateful to be in the film - it was a great script, cast, director and one of the most professional crews I have ever had the honor of working with. I will be posting more news about that in the near future!

I mentioned that I am now recurring in the web series (please check out the project) and I will be doing some ADR work soon and doing more filming in March.

I had a great workshop with Ani Avetyan (casting associate with The Closer) last week at the SAG Foundation as part of their Casting Access Project (CAP). The guests are great and the workshop is free to SAG members. Ani had so much positive energy and was spot on with her comments.

Did you watch the Super Bowl? I caught the last half because I was filming. Congrats to the Super Bowl Champs, New Orleans Saints, who I was hoping (crossing my fingers and toes) would win!!

Are you watching the 21st Winter Olympics? It has been bittersweet so far - it was so very sad that Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luge athlete, died in a training run on the luge course on Friday, February 12, but the opening ceremonies were fantastic (I was happy to see that Georgia got about as many cheers as the United States and Canada got!), Apollo Ohno, with his silver medal that he received on February 13, is the most decorated male athlete of the winter olympics (and he is on course to be the most decorated athlete of the winter olympics), Canada won their first ever gold medal on their soil, and the US won the gold medal in the nordic combined, the first medal the US has ever won in the event. Of course, there were many more highlights. I am so very proud of our country - we are currently leading the medal count!

I hope you had a great Valentines Day! Jeff gave me a card and great gift basket and took me out to dinner.

Last, I hope you have a great Presidents Day!!


Friday, February 5, 2010

How Not To Twitter

There are some great articles at Open Forum.

I like the articles because they are geared to small businesses and my actor business is a small business (Actors: if you think of yourself as the CEO of your business, you have made a giant step in your career).

This morning, there is an article called "Top 5 Ways Not To Be Annoying On Twitter" - the full article is here.

In the article, it states the 5 ways:

While these are common sense items, they deserve repeating, over and over.

1. Don't hide - Tell us about yourself - utilize your twitter bio and tell us who you are and where we can go to find out more.

2. Don't Ignore - Answer replies and questions timely! My, how we have forgotten that etiquette tells us to return calls, emails, etc. within 24 hours.

3. Don't Yell - it's ok to market on Twitter, but remember on Twitter, the soft sell is king.

4. Don't Disappear - Be consistent on Twitter - remember that regular activity generates results.

5. Don't Lie - since you are trying to establish trust, don't lie - just don't do it.

And, I propose a 6th way - Don't Be Irresponsible - be aware of what you say in your posts and replies because, with Twitter, as with other Internet outlets, what you put out online becomes a permanent record, so use caution in your communications.

Are you watching the Super Bowl this weekend? I feel lost without the Steelers in it. I think I will cheer for the New Orleans Saints - I like to see teams who have never won, win. Who are you rooting for? I'm rooting for our success as actors!!

Have a fabuloso weekend. Cheers!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Change Is In The Air

I've made some changes to my blog. What do you think? Let me know.

Phil saw his shadow, so there are 6 more weeks of winter. I still hope the weather is decent when I get off the plane in Pittsburgh next month!

My part in the web series is now a recurring one. I hope you will watch it - everyone who lives in CA should be in the know with what is happening with Prop 8.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

82nd Annual Academy Awards

The 82nd Annual Academy Award noms are in. They are listed (courtesy of Awards Daily) below:

Actor in a Leading Role

Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role

Matt Damon in “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role

Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role

Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated Feature Film

“Coraline” Henry Selick
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
“The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
“The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
“Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction

“Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
“Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
“Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray


“Avatar” Mauro Fiore
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
“The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
“Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
“The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design

“Bright Star” Janet Patterson
“Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
“Nine” Colleen Atwood
“The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell


“Avatar” James Cameron
“The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
“Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
“Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)

“Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
“The Cove” Nominees to be determined
“Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
“Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)

“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
“Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
“Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing

“Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
“District 9” Julian Clarke
“The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
“Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film

“Ajami” Israel
“El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
“The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
“Un Prophète” France
“The White Ribbon” Germany


“Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
“Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
“The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)

“Avatar” James Horner
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
“The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
“Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
“Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)

“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
“Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best Picture

“Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
“The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
“District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
“An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
“The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
“Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
“A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
“Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
“Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Short Film (Animated)

“French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
“Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
“A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)

“The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
“Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
“Kavi” Gregg Helvey
“Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
“The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
“Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
“Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
“Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
“Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
“Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects

“Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
“District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
“Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
“An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
“Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)

“The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
“Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
“The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
“A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Ok - so the 1st 3 people who send me their predictions get a $10 Starbucks card.

I'm still pulling for my gal, Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker; and Jeff Bridges.

What say you? I'd love to hear.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Something's In The Water

I was just remarking to my acting coach the other day that I was booking most things I was auditioning for in January- booking everything you audition for is very hard for many actors to do just because of the subjective nature of the entertainment industry - I booked the lead in a short film, booked a web series, performed in a staged reading last night and I got called back for another independent film. All and All, a very good January.

I also had a great workshop this past Saturday. Lauren Bass, one of my feature film CD targets, was the guest. I came up with a plan that serves me well in CD workshops:

1. I have come up with a dozen episodic CDs and a dozen feature film CDs. These are my targets and I workshop many times with only them.
2. I do my research on the CD - I research what they are currently casting, their background, and anything else about them I can find out. This humanizes the individual, which puts me more at ease with them.
3. During the workshop, I follow Bonnie Gillespie's great words - "Have Fun. Don't Suck." An excellent mantra, I might add. I focus on the conversation and being with my partner.
4. I send a hand-written thank-you note to the CD within 48 hours of the workshop.
5. I continue to strengthen the relationship by following up.

The workshop was a nice end to a very productive month.

Here we come February, here we come!!