Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Busy Castleberry

Last Sunday, I attended my first Actors Key workshop in a looooooooooooong while hosted by Kendra Castleberry of Donna Rosenstein Casting.  I see Kendra's name on workshops ALL over L.A. ALL the time - she is a busy, busy bee pollinating actors with her casting knowledge.  She is currently casting the 5th season of CASTLE (adore Nathan Fillion), the 2nd season of GRIMM, and the 1st season of a new half hour comedy starring Anne Heche entitled SAVE ME!.

Also - girl is from Louisville, Kentucky so she gets big brownie points from me, a native Campbellsvillian and honorary Louisvillian (mark one year of graduate school at U of L and a frequented condominium owned by the 'rents.)

Ms. Castleberry's approach is pleasantly succinct. She believes in getting it right the first time round when auditioning for television, specifically for shows that have already been running and are available for the actor to STUDY and RESEARCH (heaven forbid!).  I must say, I absolutely agree. Especially when an actor is given a list of sides preferred by the casting director prior to her workshop. Now...sometimes, when Eva is at a grocery store looking at a wall of grocery items - say, soup or cereal - rows and rows of the same thing in slightly different boxes or cans, she has a difficult time finding exactly what she needs. Visually, she can eventually focus on the brand she desires or the flavor she loves, but only after some frantic eyeballing. Look, all of this is the say that when I look at these damn workshop websites, I sometimes miss information that is CRUCIAL - like a link to the list of said preferred sides that Kendra Castleberry wanted her actors to prepare!!!  My mistake was seeing that the CD was using her own sides - and while missing that little link to all of my needed information, I thought she was giving them out for a cold read.

(Eva bangs head on wall here)

Fortunately, I arrived quite early to the workshop. I finessed the rather tense Actors Key manager into letting me view sides on their office computer and then printing them out for me. Well, they had no choice. This HAS to happen to actors every once in awhile - someone misreads or misunderstands the workshop description. Big surprise!  Judging from the healthy veins in the manager's neck, this had happened before.

Anyway, I saw some sides from a 2009 show called "Life on Mars" that I was already a bit familiar with. I printed, I studied, and I applied the Jack Plotnick ways.  Get the words down just enough, ingrain the circumstances in my head/body (or what I can deem them to be from the context), and authentically deliver the scene.

Without going into the details of the scene, I completely misinterpreted the role of my character, Annie. I thought she was a friend assisting a friend back home, but apparently she was a COP.  There is very personal dialogue and action within the scene and since I DID NOT SEE THE SHOW OR STUDY IT BEFOREHAND (ahem) I was not aware of this particular, yet essential, tone. So my first note from Kendra was "Good job, but WAY too casual." Um, YEeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. When Ms. Castleberry talked on about the show and the character and the time period, I understood completely.  But too late!  She doesn't give adjustments in her workshop, but she does give excellent feedback to use next time around and in future television auditions. Me learn good!

Regardless of the screw-up, I had fun with Kendra, with the scene, and I received very high scores on my "evaluation sheet" (part of Actors Key education).  I'll be tacking Castleberry again in the future, she is a very good egg to learn from.

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