I took part in the September session of Method with Mike. Again, some familiar and new faces among the students and my agent, Lisa Meuser, sat in on the session. Mike devoted most of the session to Method exercises designed to help the actor develop sense memory. He led the class in the coffee cup exercise. My experience as an actor informs me of the importance of ridding yourself of distractions when you perform. Sadly, throughout the coffee cup exercise, try as I might, I could not stop the Four sea interludes from the opera Peter Grimes playing in my head. Ah, well, practice makes perfect.
What I like about the Method with Mike sessions is the informality. It is a good space for novice and seasoned actors to loosen up and work on acting techniques. I appreciate Mike's honesty too. You will not hone your craft unless you are open to correction and criticism. The session concluded with an improv between a classmate and me, a new friend named Dimitri Abdul Nour, a fine and upcoming young actor. Mike praised my progress in the classes and told me to keep it up.
After several auditions and no callbacks, I landed my first screen role without having to audition. Instead, a director needed an actor to step in to replace someone who dropped out shortly before the shooting began. A cast member and another actor I know from my training at the Screen Acting Academy mentioned me to the director as a potential replacement in the role. I was asked to contact the director if I was interested in participating. I sent her a message expressing my interest in the role; she replied, sending a copy of the screenplay. I looked over the script and wrote back that I was interested. The part was in my character type, a just and wise paterfamilias. I asked where and when I should turn out for the shoot. Filming was scheduled and took place on Friday evening, September 16th. I had three days to get the lines down.
It was my first screen role, so I felt a mix of anticipation and jitters. However, I was confident in my experience as a stage actor and my training in screen acting techniques. It was not the first time a director asked me to step in to take over a role in a pinch. I wanted to give it my best and do a good job. I recalled what my grade seven industrial arts teacher, Mr. Balls, told the class: "there's always room for improvement." I applied what I learned about acting for the camera in my screen acting classes. The director told me my work was good, and we completed the shoot in an appreciable number of takes. The film will have its first screening at the next Kino Ottawa event on September 28th.
I look forward to attending the event and seeing how the finished product is received.