March 30, 2016-
It has been another year, more films, lots of auditions, some TV commercials, table reads of plays, dry periods, everything a working actor can expect. Suzin has taken on another DP job for a woman making a film. On most shoot days I have been going along and serving as assistant director, talking with the director about camera placement, shots, and doing other stuff that needs doing on a indie film set including pulling focus.
I am always learning. At an audition yesterday I was called back to read for a different part in addition to the one I had prepared. A long scene, sight reading the lines. We ran it several times and after three or four times I found that my concentration was slipping. I learned that there is a need for mental endurance as well as the physical kind.
December 21, 2014-
It has been an eventful year, starting out with and ending with shooting Michael Babbitt's Endless Whispers series of shorts. In the spring my Improv Group shot a film for the 48 Hour Film Festival "Gertie's Story" which won three awards including Audience Choice. There were several commercials and industrials that gave me some acting income.
Family matters, aging parents took major attention throughout the summer and fall. Funny, if I was not 'retired' from my day job the amount of time I could spend with them would have been more limited by work, but since I am working for myself as an actor it turned out that the missed auditions and fewer parts that I submitted for through my agent translated into not working, not acting, most of the summer. Come Fall, I began to prioritize my acting work again and the gigs picked up. It is, after all, my job.
January 31, 2014-
It has been over a year now since I again started to devote full time to acting. There have been a good number of projects and a lot more auditions to keep me busy. I have completed well over a dozen projects and have a few more lined up, I am happy to be busy.
Now, one additional question has been answered, what to do during those inevitable periods on time when I am not acting? Two years ago I narrated a friends book. Between learning the equipment, my job, the farm and acting gigs, it ended up taking almost a year. But now, since I can devote full days to it, I can record and edit an average sized book in a few weeks. I have completed two so far, "Death Follows the Sheep Farmer" and "Sam's Place: Stories" both to be available on iTunes, Audible.com and Amazon.com. It's not as good as working with other actors on stage or in front of a camera, it is a welcome challenge to make the words of a story come alive.
January 19, 2014-
I am wrapped on Jim McQuaid's new film, "The First Kiss". I play a older husband who is losing his memory. Cheryl McConnell plays my wife and Eric Morales my son. I touches on the themes of memory and identity in a playful but heartfelt way. The challenge was to find the character of a person who has pretty much lost his mind. I let small random disconnected thoughts flow through my mind and found small physical tics to enliven my physical body.
The added pleasure was I knew almost everyone on the crew from previous productions, it was like a gathering of friends, coming together to create a story on film.
September 25, 2013-
Working on a SAG short film this week. I learn something every time I get the opportunity to act, but this one is special. Lee Godart, a pro from NYC who had major roles in several of the NY Soaps, and Christopher Rich who has a long list of credits including playing Reba's husband on "Reba" are in my scene. Their easy, utterly convincing way with dialog, their assurance that comes from long successful careers speaks volumes to me.
There is an easy camaraderie on the shoot. These very talented people, cast and crew, focusing their abilities in order to make a good film. Monica Tidwell who recently directed an Off Broadway play in NY is directing and playing a part. John Davenport is producing and playing a part in my scene. Lisa Masters, another accomplished NY actor, Nikolai Mynhardt, a fellow actor at Talent One are also in the cast.
Working with these pros reminds me that acting is an art and a craft. You get better at it by doing it. Some degree of talent along with training is a prerequisite, but not sufficient. Nothing substitutes for experience.
July 13, 2013-
We are in the middle of a three week run of the 10 By 10. During the performance Thursday I had one of those split second 'ah ha' moments. I was on stage and it was going well. In the back of my mind I realized that I was on stage, in front of an appreciative audience, and that this is not something that happens all the time. I was very happy to be there at that moment, performing for the crowd, bringing the playwrights words to life, making it work, doing something I do well.
I deeply appreciate the web of circumstances that allow me to do this work. And, it is a joy to work with and just be around the other actors in this ensemble and the staff and crew at the Carrboro Arts Center. They impress me with their talent and professionalism.
July 2, 2013-
We are in tech rehearsals for the 10 By 10 festival of 10 minute plays in Carrboro, ten plays, ten minutes each, staged by 10 directors acted by ten actors. This is only the third time I have been in a live production in the past 5 years (not counting monthly Improv shows with the Unintentionals), and it is amazing! I am cast in three of the plays. We have had four rehearsals for each of the plays over the past month and there will be 2 more tech/dress rehearsals before opening night on Friday.
It is a humbling experience. Like most artists, the picture in my head of my performance is not matched by the physical reality. On stage, in the moment I sometimes miss the feeling, gesture, intonation, or God forbid, the line as I planned or rehearsed it. Sometimes what comes out is 'better', sometimes not. It is both terrifying and liberating and it raises so many questions of craft and technique. Acting as a craft and as an art is an exhilarating challenge.
April 1, 2013-
I played a father in a flashback to 1963 last week in Perchance to Dream - shot out in Andy Griffith's home town of Mount Airy, NC. The most memorable moment was a nighttime shot where I carry a burning ham from the oven, out the front porch and throw it into the yard. The second best was driving a souped up 1957 Chevy.
Now I am working on inviting casting people to a private screening of Parlay, a film I am in that will be going around to film festivals this year.
March 11, 2013-
In a recent interview Tommy Lee Jones said that there comes a time at least once a year when an actor feels, no, completely believes that he will never work again. I know that feeling. Since January 1st I have had well over a dozen auditions and performed but one part in a short film. There have been a few quiet days with nothing happening at all.
But... except for those quiet days there has always been something. An audition to prepare for and do, a director calling about a new script, a DP friend coming over to use our farm for a music video shoot, a producer letting me know that a feature he wants me for is delayed, but still going to happen.
What I am aiming for is an openness that keeps time available for shoots that do come up, and letting go of that fear that it is over.
That way I can focus on having or making opportunities to practice my craft, on being ready.
January 1, 2013-
Okay, so this is the first day as a full time actor since 1978 when I was appearing in small roles in the NYC soap operas. I have wrapped up a career in computers as of yesterday. It is not a sudden jump. Since 2008 I have been fitting auditions and bookings into my day job at the local electric company. Today I am officially 'retired' from that job and I am free to return to doing what I trained for in college and what I love doing.
Acting is a magical challenge, to create a new reality, a new person, breathe life into a character on the page and bring it alive. It is a humbling endeavor demanding absolute confidence.
It is an art and a craft. Read Michael Caine on the craft of film acting, look to Stanislavsky and Grotowski for the art.
On a film set an actor must create a reality irrespective of the compete un-reality surrounding him. It is there, in the midst of that impossible challenge that I feel alive and at home.
-Owen G. Daly