Today has been an amazing experience for me. It started out with me waking up at approximately 3am to leave my house by 4am with my mom and a peer I met in doing some acting work. This was the third time I got to have an experience like this. For so long I couldn’t talk about it and I still can’t now, technically. However, by the time this is actually posted, I will get to be free, I think and hope, to be able to discuss it. I have been doing Background/Extra work for one of my favorite online TV shows, House of Cards. I got to work as a Staffer for the Washington Herald on the 5th Season of HOC. If you look around in those scenes, you might see me sitting at a desk or standing in the background of a meeting. This experience has been one that I will never forget. Especially after the last day I was on set because two dope things happened. The first and biggest thing is that the Director of the scene/episode we were doing was Robin Wright who plays Claire Underwood. It was funny when I saw and realized who she was because I was not paying attention. Normally, I don’t get star struck but as soon as I realized who she was, I lost my calm and collected self and started going crazy on the inside. This experience made my day!
I didn’t think my day could have gotten any better, but somehow it did. When I went to my acting class with Coach Mark McKinnon we were scheduled to do scene work in front of the camera. Earlier this week, when we got the email from Coach Mark to select a scene to perform in class, and we had to be off book, I was nervous. I was nervous that I wouldn’t find a scene I was willing to put the effort into learning in a short turn around time and be ready for the camera. Well I found four scenes that I felt were manageable with the time frame I had to work on them, because I knew my schedule wasn’t going to permit a lot of time to work on them. Therefore, when I made my selection I knew I would be able to study and or cram it all in, in one day. That’s exactly what I did too. So when we got to class, I was confident that I was ready 85% of the way. I wanted to volunteer to go first, but then Coach Mark selected someone else to start us off. I waited my time as went through and kept picking people. Finally, I got the chance to volunteer. Well I didn’t mention that for this class we had a guest teacher, Deborah Ayorinde. She is an Alumna of Howard who has been busy as a working actress and was recently seen in Luke Cage as Candice. Back to my scene work, I went in front of the camera and moved the chair that was there. We were given the option to sit or stand. I wanted to stand because that changed the energy of the room, it is part of what the screen/staging directions said, and my scene was a comedy. I found it extremely interesting that so many people did drama. Don’t get me wrong I like to act out my dramatic pieces, but I feel that is my norm. Also, lately most of the type of work I have done on stage has been comedy style work, so I want to build and kind of see how far I can take the comedy chops.
When I delivered my scene the first time I was loud, thinking I had to use my stage voice like in the theater. I don’t know why I did this because I had just come off a set where the actors did not raise their voices above normal to talk. Well I took the feedback they gave me and acted like I was sharing a secret. I could feel the difference and so did the guest teacher and our Coach.
I got a lot of tidbits and lessons during class that I plan to put to use. The bigger ones for me were to be relaxed and comfortable in auditions. In previous theater auditions my nerves take over me more than I expect. That typically comes when I am not prepared with a monologue or song rehearsed to sing. If it is a cold read, I am less nervous. I just do my best and keep it moving. Also, I need to remember no matter how many auditions I go on, they are all part of my job as an actor.