So, I head out to the somewhat artsy/bohemian/seedy/scuzzy section of downtown Dallas on Saturday morning to attend an all-day actor’s workshop.

Some people fish, some people bowl and some people just like taking classes. I like taking classes. Within the past few years, I have attended classes in party planning, computer software, acrylic painting, ‘taking’ tea, digital photography and whatever else was out there that interested me..

Feeling oh-so-out-of-place, I walked into the classroom like I belonged there and took my seat in class. The workshop consisted of mostly professional actors, a smattering of actor wannabees and a few clueless people (like me) scattered here and there. It was a relief to find out that I wasn’t the only newbie in the group and soon linked up with an outgoing forty-something woman who responded to my question “So, are you pursuing a career in acting?” with, “my husband is a workaholic, my boys are grown and my daughter died – I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life.” Whoa. Despite her response, I couldn’t help but see a spark of energy that reminded me of Gilda Radner. I hope she continues getting out there and trying new things.

Assigned to read lines with a partner, I was paired with Marjorie, a 79 year-old, white haired “Steel Magnolia” kind of actress with a very pronounced southern accent. Marjorie started her career in acting almost forty years ago by impersonating Minnie Pearl. She still does the nursing home circuit as Minnie and said, “I will be receiving Meals on Wheels in The Deep End – Thursday night on ABC. “ I’ll be watching for her.

Seated beside me in class was a young man named Dan, a recent college graduate with a degree in Fine Arts and represented by “The Campbell Agency.” Dan had to leave class promptly at six because of work. “Where do you work?” I asked, expecting him to tell me about the play that he was in… “I sold out for retail” he replied. I’m thinking Dan’s Mom and Dad really wished he had chosen another career path. But who knows? He is following his dream.

It was a good day. I had fun, learned some new jargon and met some very nice people. Who knows? Maybe they will be stars one day…

Terminology I was Unfamiliar With...

“Flat Read” – intentionally reading the script without emotion
“Cold Read” – reading your lines without seeing them before
“Flip Read” - reading lines with someone else during an audition. You ‘flip’ the paper to signal to the other actor that it’s their turn to read.

“A one-button” camera shot - top of your head to collar
“A two-button” camera shot - top of your head to mid chest
“A cowboy” camera shot – top of the head to mid thigh (named, to ensure the cowboy’s holsters are shown on film)

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Heather said...

That sounds like great fun! I did quite a bit of acting in high school and thought about doing it in college, but the desire to make money won out over fulfilling a dream. {sigh} Doesn't it always?

I completely agree about loving to take classes. I love knowing just enough about all kinds of subject to be dangerous.