Saturday, March 29, 2014

Blunt, strait forward and direct, yes I am. And most of the things I post here in Facebook are either form experience or learned from others whom I trust it's worthwhile spreading their knowledge. Many readers may find it offensive, others entertaining and others even useful. If you'd rather not be exposed to the material I write, please do ourselves a favor: Un-friend me. 

This is my entertainment business page and shall continue to write things that may or not may relate to you. To some people harsh reality, to others refreshing advice. Either way, if the shoe fits, either wear it or un-friend me; this is today's advise. Thank you for reading, Alvin Hysong - Actor: SAGAFTRA

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My First Motion Picture with Al Pacino!

AJ Manglehorn is an aging, ordinary guy in a small town. He nurses his sick cat, squeezes out a conversation with the local bank teller every Friday, and eats at the same place every day.
But there is more to Manglehorn than meets the eye: he’s an ex-con who, 40 years ago, gave up the woman of his dreams for a big ‘job’. He now obsesses daily over the choices he made. After a dramatic effort to start over, Manglehorn faces a terrifying moment and is unmasked as a guy with a very, very dark past.

Friday, February 7, 2014

DO you know What is your UCP?

One of the basic premises of all marketing (a fancy word for sales) is the USP. It stands for Unique Selling Proposition.  For instance Avis "Tries Harder," or Pepsi "Hits the Spot."  I like to promote an idea to actors, called the UCP or ... Unique Character Presentation. Beat the casting directors to the punch -- decide on your "type" yourself. Learn the basic types -- and how they are sold -- and then choose what fits you best.  Pay particular attention to that word "unique." It means that the product must be differentiated from other products. Here are the types -- and the components used to sell them - in hopes that this list will help you develop your own Unique Character Presentation.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Professional Actor - How to Use Your Self-Awareness to Get Ahead in the Business

As an actor you must understand the power of being self-aware in order to convince casting directors you are not only talented enough, but have a great head on your shoulders.
There is a fine line between being self-aware and self-absorbed, and I will try my hardest to define each so you may lean more toward awareness and less toward being self-absorbed.
What is Self-Awareness in the Scope of an Actor?
Being self-aware as an actor means having a solid understanding of your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your talent, which is easier said than done. We as actors like to think we can accomplish any acting goal - that any character is within our reach. Unfortunately, this is not true.
We all have a strong point when it comes to the type of characters we may portray, and in order to get ahead in this business you must hold a solid understanding of these characters.
Along with talent self-awareness, you must also have physical self-awareness. This refers to understanding how your body moves, what your ticks are and how you can adjust your bodily movement for a character.
When you're at an audition, casting directors will adore you if you showcase an acute awareness for your body and how it moves. Even if you're not moving in excess, your very stance can inform a casting director of your talent and ability/agility.
Avoiding the Self-Absorption Trap
It is far too easy for an actor to become self-absorbed within his own world. If you think about it, you'll be surprised all actors aren't self-absorbed. As an actor you must be extremely aware of your body and your abilities. You are continually having people judge you, and praise you when you do well. You are bombarded by materialistic phrases and judgments from your peers.
In order to avoid the self-absorption trap, and to keep your name in a good light when it comes to casting directors, producers and directors, you must understand that this awareness is vital for the success of your career, but the awareness must STOP when you are not performing. When you're off-script or just having a conversation with a casting director, be yourself. Relax and have fun. An actor that can laugh and make jokes about himself is a casting director's best friend.
Remember: if you take yourself too seriously, no one will take you seriously.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Real Cost of Free

You should know that when you work for free, you are establishing your price: free. Anyone who hires you for free is going to expect you to work for free in the future. Why wouldn’t they? You’ve done it before!
Additionally, any free project you’ve committed to performing with is a possible conflict for some other paid opportunity that can come up in the future. And since a responsible, caring performer doesn’t ditch on a show, it can lead to some very emotionally turbulent decisions. Talk to any performer who’s been in the business for some time and they can share a moment of having to choose between taking a paying gig, and hurting the feelings (or finances) of someone to whom they’ve promised a free gig.
So choose wisely.
When you expect Exposure, Experience, or to Get Ahead and what you get it Bupkis, it leads to feelings of frustration, anger, depression, and more.
But knowing what you will truly get out of donating your very valuable self to a project is not only empowering, it allows you to spend your Time, Energy, and Personal Resources on the things you want to see benefit from them.
An additional, personal rule of thumb: never work for free.
Even if you’re getting Exposure, Experience, or (God forbid) Getting Ahead, always request some kind of payment of value… even if it’s $5 that you turn right around to donate back.
You’re establishing that you do not work “for free”, but that you are willing to work at a discounted rate for the right project.
And who can’t respect that?

Should Actor Work for free

Most actors do free work because they’ll Get Exposure, Gain Experience, or in some undefined way Get Ahead. At least, that’s why we think we work for free.
The truth of the matter is that most of us perform for free because someone liked us enough to ask us to perform.
Part of being an actor is dealing with constant rejection (submissions for auditions, the audition itself, the callback, the lack of a callback, the reviews, the applause, etc). We put ourselves out there a lot, and most of the time, we get nothing for our efforts. So when someone asks us to work–even for free–we get a sense of reward and accomplishment, and we didn’t even have to do anything yet!
And that feeling is nice!
But a feeling is not enough reason to work “for free”.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Back Story

The BACK STORY initiates the creative process of the actor (all creativity starts with impulse.) 
ü “Imagination and creativity are guests that do not like to visit lazy people.”
ü “Until the Actor loses all Awareness of the ‘Self’, the Character will never come to Life.”
v “The Kiersey Temperament and Character web site”, (
v “The Little Giant Encyclopedia Of The Zodiac”
The actor creates (in writing) a complete biography of the character from birth up to the time the story takes place as well as a psychological profile.  Primarily the actor should be interested in what the character is like or what makes him tick.  What are his goals, what are his desires, wants and needs in his life.  What are his mores, habits, manners, lifestyle and values?  What interesting things have happened to him in his life that makes him unique?  How does he respond and deal with conflict, crisis, fear and love and why.  (Commonplace is not interesting)  He must even create anticipation or dread of future events for the character; what is the character looking forward to (or dreading), what goals (specifically) has he set for himself in his life, what does he anticipate is going to happen to him.  “Always give the character a secret that only he knows.”  Always give your character a secret he knows about the other character(s) that the other character(s) doesn’t know he knows.
The study of character should be from the inside, not from the outside!  “Always work from the inside out; if you work from the outside in, all you have is a dry husk.”  A character is a blank canvas upon which the actor paints all of the emotions, details, fantasy memories and characteristics at his command.  The actor is the brush: emotions are the colors; the character is the canvas.
In order to create a complete character, you must research and look for or create new habit patterns for the character; even if it is only seeking out and talking to the type of character you have to create.
A BACK STORY can easily (and should) exceed 50 pages because the actor must create, as part of and in addition to Research, memories; 
v Assumed Fantasy Memories for the character that have nothing at all to do with his own memories except for some physical memories. 
v Knowledge Memories.   Knowledge memories are anything the character knows or has learned in his life and even what he wants to learn.
v Emotional memories are absolutely vital to the character in the development of the BACK STORY.  Weak or shallow emotional memories set the stage for the actor to “break character” and use his own memories.  Emotional memories (causal stimuli), must be painstakingly created if the actor is to avoid “breaking character”.  The actor must realize that his character needs a balance of memories, using the “Yin and Yang” principle, creating good or happy memories as well as sad or traumatic memories for the character to utilize in playing each moment and it is the strength and clarity of the memories that keeps him in character and in the moment.  Emotional memories create the basis of the character’s personality;  how he responds to crisis, to conflict, fear, to love and to what automatic choices he will make when playing the moment (A character’s choices will always naturally flow from the character traits you establish in his BACK STORY).  Personality defining memories usually have occurred by the age of twelve.  “The response of the character to any given situation within the context of a scene comes from the preparation of the BACK STORY.”
v Anticipation or dread of Future events is the final section of “Memories”.  Your character not only has a life (the BACK STORY) that precedes the story, but also that life must and will continue after the story.
Everything the character has done in his life or anticipates doing, the actor must know and therefore has to create; the actor must decide what skeletons the character has in his closet, what things the character is most proud/ashamed of, etc.  Once adhering to the given circumstances, the actor can basically play God, he can create any memory or thought for the character he chooses, there is no right or wrong, (there is only too little) so long as he begins with the given circumstances supplied by the writer.  In order to become and be the character, the actor must know everything about the character and the beauty is that the actor gets to create it.  You must know the character better than you know yourself.  It is a wise person who knows others, but it is an enlightened person who knows himself.
It is the character’s lifestyle that dictates what the character’s personality is like and what choices he will make and this is where the character becomes unique and original.  Don’t create a unique or original character for its own sake, the character must fit and flow with the story and the other characters.
The actors should make JOINT BACK STORIES for the length of time the characters have been together in the story.  “PEAK” memories.  Physical, Emotional, Anticipation and Knowledge.  JOINT BACK STORIES are absolutely vital to the emotional base between characters.
Audience Apathy:  The thing an actor should hate and fear most is audience apathy.  When his audience doesn’t care about his character; love your character, hate your character or at least find your character interesting, then the actor has failed in his creation.
Emotional Characteristics Outline:
·       Strengths/Weaknesses
·       Introvert or Extrovert (Personality category or type)
·       How does the character deal with anger?
Ø With Sadness?
Ø With Conflict?
Ø With change?
Ø With Loss?
Ø With Love?
Ø With Fear?
Ø With Confrontation?
·       What does the character want out of life? (Goals)
·       What would the character like to change about himself or in his life?
·       What motivates this character?
·       What frightens this character?
·       What makes this character happy/sad?
·       Is the character judgmental of others?
·       Is the character generous or stingy?
·       Is the character compassionate, cruel or indifferent?
·       Is there character generally polite or rude?
·       Is the character easy-going or irritable/grouchy?
·       Is the character self-conscious?
·       Is the character confident or insecure?

Extra Notes:

1) When speaking to an actor off-camera, look into one eye and stick with it.

2) Film acting is, in large part, reacting and listening.

3) While rehearsing something with a fellow actor, if a crew member can come up and recognize you’re rehearsing vs. having a real conversation, then you aren’t doing it right.

4) An actor relaxes in front of the camera by concentrating, and knowing that you have no enemies on set, everyone’s on your side and doing their best to make you look your best for the movie.

5) The camera catches everything you do, so don’t be afraid to play things subtly.

6) If you’re going to smoke on-screen, you must plan it absolutely perfectly, don’t mess up the continuity.

7) All actors steal certain gestures and behaviors from other actors — but the best actors make these gestures their own. Steal from the best, and make it your own.

8) You can make four pictures as an actor in the time it takes a director to make one — so if you’re an actor planning on becoming a director, consider the financial aspect.

9) A majority of movie acting is relaxation. If you’re knocking yourself out, you’re doing it wrong.

10) Theater acting is an operation with a scalpel; movie acting is an operation with a laser.