Saturday, October 30, 2010

Alex O'Loughlin is Not Afraid of a Good Fight

By Pam

I’ve often heard Alex O’Loughlin say he performs most of his own stunts.  I wondered how he was able to master some of the stunts he has done, particularly in a fight scene.  How does one throw a punch and not hit someone, let alone take the punch and appear as though it hurts?  Is it just good acting?

Alex, as you may know, attended NIDA where he received a Bachelor in Acting.  The acting course is three years long and includes classes such as acting techniques, accents, movement and relaxation methods.  In addition, stage combat is offered as a several week course.  The Sydney Stage Combat School is called in for this purpose.  They instruct the acting students in unarmed combat and single sword combat.  Since Alex would have to be cast in a period film for us to see his swashbuckling skills, I will concentrate on unarmed stage combat for now.

Stage Combat is the practice of creating the illusion of physical combat for theater, film or television. 

 When a script calls for a physical fight stage combat is employed. The primary objective of stage combat is to create a visual and auditory picture which gives the illusion of ‘real fighting’, with the overriding concern being that no one gets hurt.  Stage combat can include any form of choreographed violence.  It all depends on the dramatic requirements of a script and the creative choices of the Director and Fight Director.  The combat phase of a rehearsal is referred to as a ‘fight rehearsal.’

Choreography is typically learned step by step and practiced at first very slowly before increasing to full speed. It is preferable for actors to have as much training and experience as possible. A ‘fight call,’ or a brief rehearsal before the fight is performed, is to increase muscle memory and produce more effective dramatic action.

Here are the common Stage Combat techniques actors are taught:*

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Celebrities and Charities

by carol

The best thing about celebrity-charity relationships is that they are mutually beneficial liaisons. There may be personal reasons for a celebrity’s support of a cause or a charity may solicit a star to become their representative.

A "ripple effect" occurs from celebrity involvement with a charity – people interested in the celebrity become interested in the charity. The idea behind that is our stored up appreciation, admiration, or affection for that celebrity will (subconsciously or consciously) lead us to donate to the cause they endorse.

Time, Talent, Fortune. Celebrities offer one or more of these to a charity. Angelina Jolie is an example of a star who offers all three. A goodwill ambassador for the United Nation’s refugee agency UNHCR since 2001, she has visited refugee camps in well over 20 countries and in one year alone personally donated more than $13 million to non-profit organizations, including $1 million to Human Rights Watch.

I am pleased to report that the stars of one of my favorite shows, Hawaii Five-0, are involved with a number of worthy causes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Behind the Scenes of Hawaii Five-0 with the Casting Director

By Pam

I often go to Hawai’i Actors Network forum and read what the background actors are saying about their experience working on the Hawaii Five-0 set. Most are grateful for the opportunity, but some have no clue that they should have kept the phone number to call if they got an email to show up for work and some complain that they haven’t been called yet after submitting their information to casting. I have read actual posts from some of these people who spread all kinds of rumors about how casting works, what hoops a background actor has to go through to get an opportunity. They also compare feature film casting to TV casting. 

Today I saw that the casting director for Hawaii Five-0, Rachel Sutton, addressed some of these issues. I found it very interesting and informative. Here’s her explanation from behind-the-scenes.
“ok address T*'s "issue" with my casting techniques i will take a few min. out of my insanely busy day to give my 2 cents!!
First let me start off with a bit of general information...Writers write scripts...we have concept meetings to discuss the script with the Director of that episode, the Writers and the producers...after the meeting i sit with them to discuss who THEY want to see in the roles they wrote..ages, ethnicities,male, female etc. I usually have about 5 roles to cast for the episode. Keep in mind we prep these episodes in 6 or 7 an ideal world (like in Feature Films where you have MONTHS to prep) i would see 50 actors for each role!! But that would mean reading 250 people. Then i'd still have to edit footage, get directors, producers, and writers to pick someone, then get the network/studio to approve them all, mind you in 6 days...Bottom line is, episodic is very fast paced and to compare my techniques with the casting director of a feature film is slightly ignorant...At any rate the main gripe of T*'s, and apparently of many others, is that i don't read actors with out agents...i could give a RATS A** if you have an agent or not... i do have to move quickly and sometimes don't physically have the time (i'm a one woman show, no assistant..again not like a feature where you have a staff to help you) to call/email/set up auditions with independants. BUT if you are right for a part you better believe i will call you!!! REMEMBER i don't create the roles i just cast them...train, be a good actor, and pray the writers write a role YOU ARE RIGHT FOR...then hope for a good audition and then really PRAY that the Network/Studio is in a good mood when they watch your audition..because i've had people that our Producer/Director read in a callback and loved, get denied the part because the Studio/Network didn't like the performance... ALOHA”(sic)


Friday, October 15, 2010

Tattoos No Longer Taboo

The Pew Research Center reported in 2010 that 36 percent of Americans ages 18-25 have at least one tattoo. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration reported in 2009 that 45 million Americans have tattoos.

Tattoos have gone in and out of the mainstream culture for centuries. In the 1960s, a modern tattoo Renaissance of sorts began. There could not have been a better time for tattoo and celebrity to come together. With ink, actors, musicians and athletes could identify themselves as individuals who live their lives outside the pale.

Six years ago, a tattooist flew from the UK to ink a new winged cross tattoo on the back of David Beckham’s neck during the soccer championship games. Angelina Jolie is probably the most tattooed Academy Award winning actress. She has tribal dragons, a Thai tiger, and various Latin sayings across her shoulders and arms. Johnny Depp is almost as well known for his tattoos as his acting, which include the names of his kids and mother.

Alex O’Loughlin, celebrity actor in CBS’s hot new show Hawaii Five-0, has seven tattoos, most of which he obtained before his career began. He has a faded tattoo on each forearm, large tattoos on each shoulder, two small tattoos on his chest, and finally, an enormous tattoo on his lower back (referred to as “arse antlers” in his Australian homeland). And if you can believe it, faux tattoos were added in two of his films. Alex has admitted his tattoos have meaning for him but has not shared that personal information with fans. We can only speculate why he chose H.R. Geiger’s work Illuminatus.

A genuine tattoo.... tells a story. I like stories and tattoos, no matter how well done, if they don't tell a story that involves you emotionally, then they're just there for decoration, then they're not a valid tattoo. There has to be some emotional appeal or they're not, to my way of thinking, a real tattoo. It tells people what you are and what you believe in, so there's no mistakes.
~Leo, tattooist, 1993, quoted in Margo DeMello, Bodies of Inscription, 2000
It used to be that celebs didn't get tattooed. Their agents and managers advised that such actions could alter audience perceptions or hurt their chances for certain roles. However, with tattoos now a fashionable part of the mainstream, it seems that having a bit of skin art doesn't have any effect on one's acting career.

It’s an interesting turn of events that celebrities can now find their likenesses indelibly inked on their most ardent fans.

Tattoos and body piercings in the United States: A national data set by Anne E. Laumann, MBChB, MRCP(UK), and Amy J. Derick, MD (Chicago, Illinois)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Taryn Manning Not "Wasting Time"

By Pam
OLaughing @tarynmanning Must admit I never saw you act until tonight on #H50. You did a wonderful job as Steve's sister. Congratulations.
TarynManning @OLaughing Thank u so much:) u can blog about it too!! Would b awesome of you
We like to think we're awesome, so this is as much for Taryn as it is for our readers.

How much ambition can a 32 year old woman have?  In researching Taryn Manning I have to say I am floored by her achievements.  She is the kind of woman we should teach our daughters to aspire to.  She is certainly one to be admired.

Taryn’s accomplishments include:
Singer/Songwriter – Along with her brother, Kellin, formed the band Boomkat in 2003. She plays the guitar and is the vocalist.  Boomkat's record company, Little Vanilla Records is owned by Manning. They are presently working on another album.

Actress – She has appeared in television shows such as The Practice, Sons of Anarchy and Boston Public.  Her feature film credits include Crossroads, Cold Mountain and the highly acclaimed Hustle and Flow.  She recently tweeted she auditioned for a Ron Howard film.

DJ – She’s a lover of music and is asked to DJ at clubs she attends.  She was the DJ at World on Wheels, which hosted an 80’s themed benefit for HOW (Helping Others Worldwide).

Fashion Designer – Taryn is co-owner of the clothing line Born Uniqorn with her best friend, Tara Jane, which they founded in 2005.   Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Jaime Pressly and Tori Spelling are just a few of the celebrities that have worn the brand.

Last night I watched Taryn’s acting for the first time in her debut as Maryann McGarrett, Steve’s sister, in Hawaii Five-0.  Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised.  She pulled off the indifference Maryann must feel because of being sent to a mainland boarding school at a young age after her mother died, and her father’s inability to show affection for either child.  I am excited to see where the depth of the character goes.  

"They are establishing her with a skill set," Manning told PopcornBiz. "We're starting to see that she's really good on computers."
“She's off on her own Nancy Drew little mission to figure out stuff about her own family."

Mahalo, Taryn.  I think you’ve made Hawaii Five-0 a little edgier, a little more intriguing and have confirmed that it’s not my father’s Hawaii Five-0.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A funny thing didn't happen...

by carol
Drama + Comedy = Dramedy

Dramedy has become a television genre that many shows aspire to. But it ain’t easy.
To be successful and entertaining, a dramedy must have a superb cast working as an ensemble, excellent writing, and a director to pull it all together. If the “click” among the actors is not there, the best lines will not ring true and fall flat. Dialogue has been written that could not be saved even if emoted by Sir Anthony Hopkins. And although the dramedy is often very funny, a good director knows the laughs and jokes should not be the point. The TV series M*A*S*H* may be the best example of a dramedy. Entourage is considered a current dramedy.

The light side and the dark are two elements integral to the human experience and bringing both to the small screen requires a keen sense of balance and skill of craft from the writer, the director, and actors.

New Zealand writer Paula Boock (The Insiders Guide, Until Proven Innocent, Time Trackers):  “The whole area of comedy drama is very delicate and can go horribly wrong. The writer should not call the shots but there must be a respectful relationship between the writer and the director. Sometimes actors sell lines and scenes that were not at all funny on the page – they do such brilliant work. This is the ideal model requiring everyone to be experienced enough to know when to pull back and trust when necessary.”

Of course, we all know what you get when the elements don’t jell:  the “dramedy” becomes a “coma.”