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Acting: Conversations on Craft

Danielle Tarmey

A series of conversations with industry professionals about the craft of acting for film and television. I sit down with experts in the field and ask questions that help actors better understand what it takes to hone your craft and ultimatley book roles.

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Robin and Kate are both passionate about the need for actors to work on their voices. They teach their students that it is an integral part of being free as an actor. Robin states, “Free breath allows for free thought.”
Kate believes working on her voice has made her a better actor because, “...it makes me more present, makes me more able to receive and be affected by my partner, and makes me more malleable.”
Robin Christian-McNair teaches voice full time at UNCSA's School of Drama. Before coming to the school she taught at the Actors Studio, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Purchase College Conservatory. In her teaching, Robin focuses on freedom of breath, body and self expression.
Kate Udall is a visiting professor at UNCSA's school of Drama where she is teaching voice. She has worked in many regional theatre productions around the country and performed in several off Broadway shows. On screen she has appeared in Blue Bloods, Law & Order, and had a recurring role on Daredevil.
Both have studied voice under Kristin Linklater who states, "If you’re holding your breath in any way, part of you is absent."
If you want to chat or ask questions about the episode go to FB: https://www.facebook.com/tarmeydanielle/
Follow me on IG @tarmeydanielle
Twitter @TarmeyDanielle
Find out more about Actors Group: https://www.actorsgroup.net/
Connect with Robin Christian McNair:
https://www.uncsa.edu/faculty-staff/robin-christian-mcnair.aspx
on IG at: @profrobinjo
Connect with Kate Udall:
http://www.kateudall.com/
Find out more about Kristin Linklater:
https://www.linklatervoice.com/linklater-voice/who-is-kristin-linklater
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These are interesting times we are living. In March all of our lives were disrupted. As states open up and the film/tv industry tries to find a new normal, I wanted to know what fellow creatives had been doing to stay creative during quarantine. In the next several episodes you will hear from actors, a school receptionist, a poet, and a teen. Each of them giving some insight into how they dealt with quarantine and the loss of their normal routines.
In today’s episode I talk to my friend and fellow actor, June Dare. She has always been involved in artistic endeavors, whether it is singing in choirs or with her sisters, acting in and co-producing theater productions, as well as appearing in several film, TV, and commercial works. With in-person events being shuttered June turned back to writing and singing with her sister in Nashville.
My second guest is actor and friend, Rodney Williams who used his downtime to study films more closely and try his own hand at writing, specifically in the thriller genre.
My last guest on this episode is a familiar one, Burgess Jenkins. Instead of imparting pearls of wisdom about the craft of acting he talks about trying his hand at a completely new creative endeavor: cutting hair.
Enjoy part II of Creativity in the time of COVID.
If you want to chat or ask questions about the episode go to FB: https://www.facebook.com/tarmeydanielle/ and visit the group page.
Follow me on IG @tarmeydanielle, on Twitter @TarmeyDanielle
Find out more about June Dare
@actorjunedare on IG
Actor June Dare on FB
IMDB https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3993982/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Find out more about Rodney Williams
@_noexcuses_begreat on IG
Rodney Williams on FB
IMDB https://www.imdb.com/name/nm10257800/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Find out more about Burgess Jenkins
@bjenkins34 on IG
IMDB https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0420792/
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These are interesting times we are living. In March all of our lives were disrupted. Now as states open up and the film/tv industry tries to find a new normal, I wanted to know what fellow creatives had been doing to stay creative during quarantine. In the next several episodes you will hear from actors, a school receptionist, a poet, and a teen. Each of them giving some insight into how they dealt with quarantine and the loss of their normal routines.
In today’s episode I talk to Alison Haselden, who is an actor, a marketing consultant, and host of the podcast It’s a Slate of Mind. She has found that during this time she has had to adjust her thinking and be OK with her reduced list of things to do. Alison has found that she is having to “fight less with herself.” She also has fallen back on trusting her intuition more on a daily basis.
My second guest Laurin Christian, an actor and mental health advocate, has watched movies ranging from Midsommar to Ghostbusters and listened to music while dancing in her kitchen. Through these activities she has found herself often inspired by the acting, the stories, and/or the music.
My last guest on this episode is Donna Brown who works at the front desk of a charter school. She has used her downtime at home to forge lasting friendships through TikTok. Her favorite thing to do is duet with someone and, she says, she has found the TikTok community to be incredibly supportive of her creative endeavors. For her, it isn’t about the number of followers that she can get, it’s about making someone smile.
Enjoy this first episode of Creativity in the time of COVID.
If you want to chat or ask questions about the episode go to FB: https://www.facebook.com/tarmeydanielle/ and visit the group page.
Follow me on IG @tarmeydanielle, on Twitter @TarmeyDanielle
Find out more about Alison Haselden: on IG @alison_haselden, @itsaslateofmind
IMDB https://www.imdb.com/name/nm11027488/
Follow Laurin Christian: on IG @laurinchristian
Follow Donna Brown: on TikTok @lynndahand
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Actors often have preconceived notions of what the bad guy “acts” like and Burgess Jenkins says it is always a trap. Our character becomes two dimensional. As an actor who has played several bad guy roles, he says actors should say to themselves: “I’m the bad guy and there are no limits. It is candy land. I can do whatever I want.” The key, of course, is to figure out why the character is doing it. What motivates them? What has led to this? How can you justify what he/she is doing? Burgess says justification is one of the most important words for acting. “If, as an actor, you don’t embrace the concept of justification at every turn, then you’re missing out on all the fun.” The justification unlocks “your freedom to go forward with whatever you want to do.”
Burgess has been in a myriad of projects ranging from arthouse independents to blockbuster films. He is best known for his role as Ray Budds, in Remember the Titans, opposite Denzel Washington. He was Hilary Swank’s husband in The Reaping and most recently worked with Shirley McClean and Mira Sorvino. He’s had several recurring roles on such shows as the Young and the Restless, Army Wives, and One Tree Hill.
When he is not acting, he is an instructor at the Actors Group studio in Winston-Salem, which is a training ground for film and television actors.
If you want to chat or ask questions about the episode go to FB: https://www.facebook.com/tarmeydanielle/ and visit the group page.
Follow me on IG @tarmeydanielle, on Twitter @TarmeyDanielle
Find out more about Actors Group: https://www.actorsgroup.net/
Find out more about Burgess Jenkins: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0420792/
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“Quit trying to hit someone else’s target.” This is something that we hear again and again in class. Burgess Jenkins, actor and founder of Actors Group studio, explains how actors must start doing the work for themselves. When we constantly try to please the teacher, or get applause from the audience, or do exactly what we think the casting director wants, then our work becomes forgettable.
He says what you should be seeking when you are acting, “...it’s the experience, it’s the creativity that you should be after.” If that’s what you crave or seek, then “by default the viewing audience will be drawn to you.”
Burgess has been in a myriad of projects ranging from arthouse independents to blockbuster films. He is best known for his role as Ray Budds, in Remember the Titans, opposite Denzel Washington. He was Hilary Swank’s husband in The Reaping and most recently worked with Shirley McClean and Mira Sorvino. He’s had several recurring roles on such shows as the Young and the Restless, Army Wives, and One Tree Hill.
When he is not acting, he is an instructor at the Actors Group studio in Winston-Salem, which is a training ground for film and television actors.
If you want to chat or ask questions about the episode go to FB: https://www.facebook.com/tarmeydanielle/ and visit the group site.
Follow me on IG @tarmeydanielle, on Twitter @TarmeyDanielle
Find out more about Actors Group: https://www.actorsgroup.net/
Find out more about Burgess Jenkins: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0420792/
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Dialects, Accents, and the Politics of Speech: A conversation with Robin Christian McNair and Kate Udall (Part II)
Robin and Kate are both passionate about the need for actors to work on their voices. In this episode our conversation centered around accents and dialects. They talk about how stereotypes and cultural norms/expectations affect how we talk and how that impacts us as actors. Advice from Robin includes, “I’m more interested in you speaking the truth than having a pretty voice. Leave out the judgement.” While Kate adds, “Shame is the great destroyer of talent.”
Robin Christian-McNair teaches voice full time at UNCSA's School of Drama. Before coming to the school she taught at the Actors Studio, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Purchase College Conservatory. In her teaching, Robin focuses on freedom of breath, body and self expression. She trains actors to always acknowledge and honor their cultural heritage.
Kate Udall is a visiting professor at UNCSA's school of Drama where she is teaching voice. She has worked in many regional theatre productions around the country and performed in several off Broadway shows. On screen she has appeared in Blue Bloods, Law & Order, and had a recurring role on Daredevil.
Both have studied voice under Kristin Linklater who states, "If you’re holding your breath in any way, part of you is absent."
If you want to chat or ask questions about the episode go to FB: https://www.facebook.com/tarmeydanielle/
Follow me on IG @tarmeydanielle
Twitter @TarmeyDanielle
Find out more about Actors Group: https://www.actorsgroup.net/
Connect with Robin Christian McNair:
https://www.uncsa.edu/faculty-staff/robin-christian-mcnair.aspx
on IG at: @profrobinjo
Connect with Kate Udall:
http://www.kateudall.com/
Find out more about Kristin Linklater:
https://www.linklatervoice.com/linklater-voice/who-is-kristin-linklater
Resources for accent and dialect work:
International Dialects of English: https://www.dialectsarchive.com/
Paul Meier: https://www.paulmeier.com/
Gillian Lane-Plescia http://www.dialectresource.com/
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