Discover the final horror from one of the genre’s unsung greats

Deadly Manor (1990)

After a prologue showing woods at night, and a car driving away from a pair of bloody, naked bodies lying besides a fallen motorcycle, Deadly Manor (aka Savage Lust) cuts to a truck driving in broad daylight with a giant statue of a burger-bearing ‘Big Boy’ mascot (from the popular American restaurant chain) as its haul.

This is a way for Spanish director José Ramón Larraz not just to offer a foretaste of the murderous perversion to come, but also to establish the setting of his film, like its predecessor Edge of the Axe, in an America that is – in more than one sense – generic. For, derivative and not a little dull, Deadly Manor is horror’s equivalent of fast food, delivering exactly what viewers expect in portion-controlled, bland form.

The film was actually shot in upstate New York, but Larraz might equally, as with his previous features, have filmed all or parts of it in his home country. After all, while the remote and spooky mansion house of the title may boast among its features, as one character absurdly puts it in a recap seemingly designed for the trailer, “a smashed car outside, coffins in the basement, and scalps in the closet,” the one thing it never accommodates is authenticity.

The sense of artifice that quickly settles in is essential to the film’s charm, as are some highly idiosyncratic touches in the over-the-top climax – although elsewhere, the poor acting and tone-deaf, nuance-free dialogue will have you dying for more red sauce just to make it seem less like an insipid, production-line offering.

Mysterious hitchhiker Jack (Clark Tufts) gets off the truck, and thumbs a ride with six passing co-eds who are hoping that he will help guide them to Lake Wapakonope where they intend to go camping. Savvy viewers will recognise two distinct directions that this opening appears to be taking: the hitchhiker hell from the beginning of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and the lakeside slashing of Friday the 13th. Before it can get to either of these destinations, Rod (Mark Irish) will turn off the highway looking for a place to rest for the night.

“Do you know where this roads leads to?” asks the group’s most nervous member Helen (Claudia Franjul), articulating the question that viewers may also be asking themselves. In a sense it is obviously leading to the manor house promised by the title, but even when it gets there, the characters keep suggesting established horror templates for a scenario that has not yet revealed its true identity.

So Peter (Jerry Kernion) – who wears a Godzilla T-shirt to signify his status as a horror fan – suggests jokingly that the figure whom only Helen saw at the upstairs window might be “a biohazard mutant zombie”; and when Helen insists that the house is “evil”, Peter again mocks her with an explicit reference to The Exorcist: “Maybe you’ll spit up peas soup and your head’ll turn around!” Peter expressly alludes to Dracula even before they discover the two coffins (marked ‘Amanda’ and ‘Alfred’) in the basement, and later wonders aloud: “What next? Uncle Fester on the patio?”

There are other elements of the manor that fit none of these prescribed genre models: the burnt-out car placed like a monument on a concrete pedestal outside the house; or the interior walls festooned with pictures of the same pretty (but “cruel” looking) woman; or the closet full of human scalps (which barely fazes anyone); or the crack that keeps visibly expanding along a plaster wall; or the masked woman who enters the sexual fantasies of sleeping Tony (Greg Rhodes), or appears at the window.

Amid all the characters’ speculative banter about the precise nature of the film that we are watching, what we do know (and they do not) is that their numbers are being rapidly reduced, slasher-style, by someone armed with a knife. Yet, in a sense, this is ultimately a sort of vampire film too. For its evil is not just a couple of deranged house owners (William Russell, Jennifer Delora), but also faded, decaying beauty vengefully preying upon the vitality of youth.

The problem, though, is in the execution – both literally, in the dreary repetition of the throat slittings, and more metaphorically, in the by-numbers plotting, non-existent characterisation, perfunctory lines and poor performances. An established maestro of mood in films like Symptoms and Vampyres, Larraz certainly squeezes all the gothic atmosphere that he can from his country-house location, and playfully misdirects viewers in a knowing manner with a range of subverted horror tropes. And if you get through the long, meandering middle section, the ending is insane.

Still, the feeling remains that this is far from Larraz’s best work, and that he too, along with the film’s antagonists, is struggling impossibly against aesthetic decline. Deadly Manor was to be Larraz’s final American film. He made just one more feature, the Spanish cop comedy Sevilla Connection, before retiring permanently from filmmaking.

Deadly Manor is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video in a brand new 2K restoration from the original film elements on 17 February.

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Olivia Colman to Lead Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Directorial Debut The Lost Daughter

Olivia Colman to Lead Maggie Gyllenhaal's Directorial Debut The Lost Daughter

Olivia Colman to lead Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut The Lost Daughter

Deadline brings word that Academy Award-winning actress Olivia Colman (The Favourite, The Crown) has officially signed on to star in Oscar nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal’s upcoming directorial debut film titled The Lost Daughter, which will be an adaptation of author Elena Ferrante’s novel of the same name. In addition to Colman, Dakota Johnson (Peanut Butter Falcon), Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose) and Gyllenhaal’s husband, Golden Globe nominee Peter Sarsgaard (The Batman) have also joined the drama film.

“When I finished reading Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter, I felt that something secret and true had been said out loud. And I was both disturbed and comforted by that.” Gyllenhaal said in a statement. “I immediately thought how much more intense the experience would be in a movie theatre, with other people around. And I set to work on this adaptation. I find that the script has attracted other people interested in exploring these secret truths about motherhood, sexuality, femininity, desire. And I’m thrilled to continue my collaboration with such brave and exciting actors and filmmakers.” 

RELATED: Maggie Gyllenhaal To Play Elvis’ Mother in Baz Luhrmann Biopic

First published in 2006, Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter novel begins with Leda (Colman), a middle-aged divorcée and a college English professor who goes on a vacation on the Italian coast after her two daughters left her to visit their father in Canada. The story explores the conflicting emotions between a mother’s relationship toward her children.

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Its’ official synopsis reads: “When her daughters leave home, Leda anticipates a period of loneliness and longing. Instead, slightly embarassed by the sensation, she feels liberated, as if her life has become lighter, easier. She decides to take a holiday by the sea, in a small coastal town in southern Italy. But after a few days of calm and quiet, things begin to take a menacing turn. Leda encounters a family whose brash presence proves unsettling, at times even threatening. When a small, seemingly meaningless, event occurs, Leda is overwhelmed by memories of the difficult and unconventional choices she made as a mother and their consequences for herself and her family. The apparently serene tale of a woman’s pleasant rediscovery of herself soon becomes the story of a ferocious confrontation with an unsettled past.”

RELATED: Landscapers: Olivia Colman to Star in HBO’s New Crime Drama Miniseries

The Lost Daughter will be written and directed by Oscar nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal, who will also serve as a producer along with Talia Kleinhendler and Osnat Handelsman-Keren through their Pie Films banner. Samuel Marshall Productions’ Charlie Dorfman will also produced the film and finance it alongside Endeavor Content.

(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage via Getty Images)

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The post Olivia Colman to Lead Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Directorial Debut The Lost Daughter appeared first on ComingSoon.net.

6 Benefits of Watching Movies

Some people think that watching movies is a waste of time. This is not true. As a matter of fact, there are numerous benefits of watching movies. It’s fun to sit in the theater with your family or friends to watch your favorite movie and munch on popcorns at the same time. During the two and a half hours, you may feel emotional, happy, scared and excited. This will give you a way to get away from your stressful reality for a few hours. As you get out of the theater, you have no stress or worries. Let’s take a look at a few benefits of watching movies.

1. Awareness

Movies spread awareness especially those that are made around social issues. For instance, films made on social issues like honor killing, caste system, and dowry can raise awareness among the masses. In other words, films can help convey important messages for the betterment of society.

2. Thrilling Experience

You need some excitement but your boss is not willing to give a few days off. What would you do in this situation? Can you wait for your boss’s permission for an endless period of time? Of course, you would look for an alternative. Watching a movie is something that you can do from the comfort of your room once you get back home.

3. Good Laugh

When was the last time you had a good laugh? You don’t remember. Let’s remind you. It was in the movie theater when you were with your friends. Watching movies, especially those that are funny can give you a reason to laugh your heart out. That’s what comedy is all about.

Comedy can lighten your mood, which is good if you want to forget your worries for a while.

4. Inspiration

Good films are a great source of inspiration. For instance, titles that are based on historical figures can give you a deeper insight into the realities of life. They give you a way to see common people transform into heroes that people worship. This gives you the motivation to work hard to become something.

5. Time pass

At times, all of us are home alone. We have nothing to do. After all, we can’t chat on Facebook forever. There is a limit to it. In this situation, watching a movie is a great idea. In fact, this is the best way to pass time.

6. Stress Buster

Are you looking for a way to get rid of your stress? If so, you don’t need to do anything special. All you need to do is head to the movie theater and watch your favorite title with your friends. This is a great way of refreshing your senses.

So, the next someone says that watching movies is a waste of time, just count these benefits in front of them. They won’t taunt you after that. In fact, they will be amazed to know that movies also have a lot of benefits that everyone can avail. Hope this article helps.

About The Hollywood Film Industry

The Hollywood film industry is an amalgamation of technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking. It generally consists of film production companies, film studios, cinematography, film production, screenwriting, pre-production, post production, film festivals, actors, directors, and film personnel.

Today the Hollywood film industry is positioned across the world. In this 21st century, the major business centers of filmmaking are concentrated in United States, India and China. Hollywood is a district in Los Angeles, California that is situated in west- northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Due to its fame and cultural individuality of movie studios and movie stars, the word Hollywood is often used as a connotation for the cinema of United States which is popularly known as the Hollywood film Industry.

The history of the Hollywood Film Industry probably started in the hands of D.W. Griffith when the Biograph Company sent him and his crew. They started filming on a vacant lot in downtown Los Angeles in early 1910. Soon the company decided to explore new territories to find that the region was quite friendly and enjoyable for shooting.

Therefore, Griffith filmed the first ever movie shot in Hollywood. The title of the film was “In Old California”. The movie company then stayed there for months to shoot several of their films and returned to New York.

Starting in 1913, this wonderful place came into the limelight when moviemakers started heading to the west. The first feature film made in Hollywood was called ‘The Squaw Man” This resulted in the birth of Hollywood Film Industry.

Nestor Studio, founded in 1911 was the first movie studio in Hollywood. Fifteen other small studios also settled in Hollywood. Gradually, Hollywood came to be so powerfully associated with the film industry that this term began to be used as a synonym for the entire industry.

During the time period of the first World War, Hollywood become the movie capital of the world. Previously mentioned, Nester studio became the Hollywood Digital Laboratory. By the year 1950, music recording studios and offices began moving to Hollywood, though much of the movie industry remained there.

The world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame was constructed in the year 1958 and the first star was placed in 1960. The Walk of Fame was placed as a tribute to the artists working in the entertainment industry. It is embedded with more than 2,000 five pointed stars featuring the names of celebrities, as well as fictional characters.

Self-financing Hollywood Historic Trust maintains this Walk of Fame. The first star to receive this honor was Joanne Woodward. The artist received a star based on career and lifetime achievements in motion pictures, live theatres, radio, television, and music.

The famous Hollywood symbol, originally read Hollywoodland, was constructed in the year 1923 as an advertisement of a new housing development. The sign was left to worsen until in 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce repaired and removed the last four letters.

The sign located at Mount Lee, is now a registered trademark hence cannot be used without the permission of the Chamber of Commerce.

The Hollywood Film Industry can be called the Mecca of film industries. Though geographically it is located in Hollywood, it resides in the hearts of millions of film lovers and film related personalities. Hollywood remains and will remain a king, without a scepter.

Actors – Can Social Media Help You Get Cast?

Social media is literally changing the way projects are cast. All other things being equal, if three actors are up for a role on a big project, chances are the actor with a substantial following will nab the role. This means that if you’re a savvy actor, you’ll start building your social media empire BEFORE you’re up for a series regular.

If you’re like some of my clients, the thought of using social media for your acting career can be completely overwhelming. I’m here to tell you – don’t panic! Here are four simple steps you can use to get your social media mojo started, giving you a leg up on the competition!

1. Start Small

There are many social media platforms to choose from, but my advice is to start with one and get really good at it. If you’re already using Facebook anyway, why not start there? Do you love taking photos? Try Instagram! Maybe Twitter is more your speed. No need to overload yourself right away. You can always add another once you’ve got the first one down.

2. Create a Plan

This is where you can get creative! Keeping your actor brand in mind, think about some themes that you would like to post about regularly. For example, do you have a charity that you work with? Do you like to make people laugh? Are you a foodie? You can also repost or retweet other people’s content, and give them a shout-out. Of course, don’t forget to post your acting successes, too!

3. Make a Schedule

Once you have some daily themes in mind, it’s time to schedule your posts for the week. I recommend using a free app like Bufferapp.com or Hootsuite.com. I’ve found that scheduling daily posts ahead of time (for the week or the month) is much more efficient than trying to post every single day.

4. Be Social!

It’s called social media for a reason, so be sure to spend a little time every day responding to your likes, retweets, mentions, and other people’s posts. Reciprocation goes a long way, so keep the dialogue going with your peeps!

5. Watch the Clock

Be careful not to fall down the rabbit hole. Social media sites are made for you to kill time, so be mindful of how you’re spending yours. Fifteen minutes a day is all that’s needed to stay social.

Best Actor India

They act, they play the toughest roles, they play the most contradictory and the roles which require a lot more dedication and patience with the best possible expressions and a smile on their face. Such great artists can be none other than actors. They are the best in their profession and with their acting and performances, our Indian entertainment industry has come too far and there has been no looking back. Every year we see our film industry witnessing new and fresh talents with such good and exceptional skills. All of them get paid for the excellent work that they do but only one out of them breaks the records.

For the year 2019, Akshay Kumar has been announced as one of the best actor by Forbes. Also he is one of the highest paid actors in the industry. After having delivered the most successful films on Box office, Akshay is surely one absolute talent box. The scripts he chooses for his films are so unique and lately he has been making films on public awareness and crucial issues which will influence the public for some good. He is known for doing one film per year and every time he does a film, it’s a massive hit. The actor is known for his best and natural acting skills. He has earned 65 million from June 2018 – June 2019. He is one of the best entertainers in the world. From a cook to a martial arts trainer to one of the versatile actors around the globe, Akshay Kumar’s journey has been very exceptional and inspiring. The top brand endorsements that he does are also helping him earn enough money. He had lately involved himself in the advertisements which require more of public attention. The actor is known for his best acting talent and with his highest earning record, Akshay Kumar has beaten top celebrities like Rihanna, Bradley Cooper, and Scarlett Johansson.

India is proud of Akshay for his impressive performances on the row. With Mission Mangal, one of his recent films, he proved that more than entertainment, he always wanted to inspire young minds and the people of this society. The world needs more of such actors like Akshay Kumar.

Sundance 2020: The Last Shift, Dream Horse, Tesla

Richard Jenkins gives one of his most soulful performances in years in Andrew Cohn’s “The Last Shift,” a drama about one man’s devotion to his job, and the ways in which is employer takes advantage of his pride. From when we first see him—crafting a chicken specialty he calls the “Stanwich”—Jenkins’ everyman quality is put to great use as a worker of 38 years at Oscar’s Chicken & Fish. He moves slowly but precisely, and remains focused on taking care of Oscar’s at night, and all the customers who roll through. In one of its fine melancholy touches, the movie catches Stanley in the last week of his time at Oscar’s, as Stanley is set to leave at the end of the week and take care of his ailing mother down in Florida. With beautiful ease, Jenkins illustrates the kind of hard worker we often see in Ramin Bahrani films, and that includes his Sisyphean pursuit of making good fast food every night. 

Shane Paul McGhie enters the picture as Jevon, a young father newly out of jail, and a former columnist who stopped writing, who starts work at Oscar’s as part of his probation. As the two share some compelling scenes in the quiet restaurant, they gently clash over ideas of work that might be described as generational—Stanley’s pride in his work has left him unaware of how much money he is not being paid for his continuous labor, something that Jevon brings to his attention with an exhilarating clarity. Oscar’s kitchen proves to be a cinematic setting for these dialogue-driven scenes to take place, as condiments and other items on the shelves pop, as if they were all colors that jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none Stanley could use at any time. Jenkins and McGhie hold the film together through its ups and downs, and embody two characters who prove that they have a lot to offer the world. 

The excitement of seeing a movie stand up for people like Stanley and Jevon then clashes with the film’s dialogue about race, which amounts to little more than white noise. It’s hard to take “The Last Shift” in full sincerity when it starts to pit Stanley and Jevon against each other about race and privilege, since Jevon is written as one of the most stereotypical characters at the festival—does he need to be fresh out of jail to find his way into Stanley’s kitchen? The story goes even further in creating a deep bias within Stanley, which includes reckoning with a disturbing event from the past that he talks about with his friend Don (Ed O'Neill), but this narrative pursuit comes off as sloppy, and needless. 

The emotional journey of “The Last Shift” eventually reverts back to putting the audience’s emotions into Stanley’s unfair treatment as a hard worker, and that’s where its storytelling passions most resonate. Cohn’s script is especially poignant, and my audience’s reaction was tellingly vocal, when Stanley sees the restaurant’s parting gift. 

Do you want scenes of crowds cheering? Do you want underdogs? Do you want different members of a small town coming together, and finding a new passion in life? “Dream Horse” offers these cheap but timeless thrills and more, so much that the image used to promote the movie (posted above) could have been its sole piece on a vision board. On top of that, if you keep it in mind while watching this film from director Euros Lyn, it’s a considerable spoiler. 

And yet—this is the kind of unabashed crowd-pleaser that was made with care, down to a Toni Collette performance that sells every up and down experienced by her character Jan, who decides to the breed a race horse. The movie also has plenty of gorgeous establishing shots for the small Welsh village that she lives in, creating a sense that this movie can be as concerned with composition as much as having fun with a story that was told in the 2015 documentary “Dark Horse” (which also played at Sundance). 

Jan is a grocery store employee who decides to breed the horse as a way to make some money, but also to find a new passion to care about. Joined by her husband Brian (Owen Teale), she rallies a batch of people from the town to throw in, making for broad humor and rag-tag team-building scenes. Jan also receives a lot of help from a former racehorse syndicate leader named Howard (Damian Lewis), who guides them and their horse Dream Alliance into the high-stakes world of horse racing. 

Lyn has a sturdy vision for such a movie that balances feel-good highs and expected lows, and also when it comes to sprucing things up a bit—attaching a camera to the side of Dream Alliance during a race is a nice little jolt of energy, and the race scenes as a whole garner some significant momentum. It’s more that the story always feels like it’s on automatic. “Dream Horse” also goes for the easy laughs, like Karl Johnson playing the town drunk whose antics are constant but actually very lonely and sad. And then there’s Lewis’ Howard, who is given a subplot about a gambling problem, of which the movie more or less carelessly supports by the end for the sake of a flat-out victory. 

One of the more baffling movies that I saw in Park City was Michael Almereyda’s “Tesla,” a type of philosophical celebration of perhaps the most overlooked inventor in history. Ethan Hawke stars in the movie as Nikola Tesla, eschewing any Serbian accent and free-wheeling through a movie that starts off with gliding around on roller skates. 

Premiering just months after Alejandro Gomez-Rejon’s similarly focused “The Current War,” “Tesla” escapes the shadow of focusing on different time periods by leaning entirely into the artifice. It’s not uncommon for the movie to break into a slide show of Google searches, and it’s not all that surprising when Kyle MacLachlan’s interpretation of Thomas Edison whips out his iPhone, or that Jim Gaffigan seems to have just walked on set to play George Westinghouse. Scenes are created using painted backdrops, and often take place in bars, or modern bistro spots, as if parodying one’s expectation for how such historical scenes should be recreated. This looseness provides a strong contrast to the dialogue-driven script, which is meticulous all the way through Eve Hewson’s professorial narration. 

Seemingly inspired by a lot of Tesla knowledge, depressants, and a desire to break free from period piece constraints, “Tesla” is for people who don’t want biopics to take us from a cradle to grave, but instead work through different life sequences as if it were a musical. It’s a tricky movie, and one that did not hold my amusement the further into its historical abyss it went, but it does have memorable moments borne from its lack of giving any care to playing by the rules. Its greatest might be when Ethan Hawke, in full Tesla costume, does a dive bar karaoke version of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Rules the World,” off-key baritone singing and all. But with this baffling choice among others, “Tesla” proves to be a completely liberated biopic, so much so that it’s out of reach. 

Future of Global Movie Industry

Capturing and holding audiences from all the continents isn’t easy. Many have tried.

Modern mass entertainment often serves as a deeper and more important global language than English. That is because present day Hollywood industry inadvertently created a process that increasingly touches upon basic physiological human needs and aspirations. Profit driven use of visuals, characters, and themes (that were scientifically researched to be as marketable and appealing to widest possible multi-ethnic audience) is steadily pushing towards a universal formula. Although we’re still at a point where the appealing “supranational” characteristics of mainstream Hollywood involve the usual (explosions, special effects, sex appeal, mental escape through hyperindividualistic protagonists, etc), we will begin to see deeper basic cinematic themes emerge that cut across all cultures in the near future. The basic reasons will be:

1) Same corporate profit motive that gave us the rise of neuromarketing will push for figuring out physiological substrata that makes simultaneous global release movies more emotionally appealing. Digital piracy will make physical movie spaces ever more important for revenue generation. Conversion of movie theaters into expensive 3D/concert/theater type spectacles will need research to be successful. You WILL be satisfied with the global release whether you’re in Nigeria, Japan, Ecuador, Texas, etc.

2) Emerging Internet culture finding its way to the mainstream as globe trotting generation Y takes charge of the industry.

3) Dawning realization by Western elites that globalization has stalled. Their scramble to rethink and proactively improve globalization and its integrative forces. Goal of preventing a major and rapid slide into mercantilist (potentially even hostile!) continental economic blocks will see elite efforts to create stronger intercontinental “glue”. Efforts towards discovery of media/art/Internet driven truly global culture should be part of the effort. Most states currently subsidize their movie industries behind the scenes as national propaganda PR moves. This practice can be turned on its head if applied towards supranational themes and purposes.

The spread of this Hollywood lingua franca is a microcosm of globalization itself. When analyzing integrative processes of globalization, special attention should be given to the film industry in particular.

Until relatively recently, Hollywood released its mega movies domestically first and abroad only months later. Then, to combat immediate digital piracy from places like China it became a more common practice to have simultaneous global openings for very big budget titles. The preparation and logistical coordination of this represented stage three in the emergence of a truly globalized film industry.

Lets briefly go through the stages:

1) 1950s-1980s: Mass cultural exports of the post-war period. Influx of Hollywood products into occupied territories and satellite states. Increasing cooperation between West European studios/agencies and Hollywood resulting in an international entertainment business sphere. Some partial work done on “universal” values within the ideological framing context of the cold war. Both Western and Soviet intelligence have a heavy role in informational shaping of entertainment to influence perceptions of the present world and prime expectations of how the world’s future will develop (the dystopian-utopian spectrum of how the 21st century was popularly portrayed in movies is an interesting example of this). Genuine attempt at discovering universal values is hidden and distorted by individual private and corporate interests behind the militaries of the NATO pact.

2) 1980s-1990s: Hollywood studios rapidly expand beyond NATO’s sphere of influence and become truly global as most markets are now accessible. Majority of key studio revenue now comes from abroad. Consolidation in number of transnational media corporations that own the studios. Streamlining of their operations along lines of fellow tangible good producing transnational companies. Rapid horizontal creation of international links to reduce costs and create an immediate global reservoir of cheaper talent, locations, and equipment. Actors and actresses become supranational super celebrities recognized anywhere. Global businesses are increasingly synchronized in space and time.

3) 2000- present: Merging of dozens of national and regional markets into one planetary market that allows rapid global penetration and hype generation (via local auxiliaries). Simultaneous global cinema and disc openings. “Epic” large cash infusion Hollywood movie making style is rapidly emulated by other players like Beijing and Moscow. Besides profit, this is partially done to increase their soft power and control domestically. For non-Western (particularly BRIC) powers to be successful with their mass media projects, they need to absorb/buy Hollywood’s cutting edge technical, CGI, and art talent. That is already happening and is currently causing peripheral cooperation/merging between movie studios of all key regional political powers on earth.

For Actors, There Are Many Pathways to Success

Many young actors entering the entertainment industry have the mindset that there are only a few ways of pursuing a career. They get stuck on well-trodden pathways and they wonder why they don’t succeed. Their strategy is to follow the herd instead of seeking out what they need to know, how to implement this knowledge, and how to do it brilliantly so people will hire them. Instead of being pragmatic, they follow a culture of mediocrity doing just enough to get by.

This singular mindset is the result of several forces, forces such as pie-in-the-sky thinking, an archaic educational system, misleading claims from instructors and acting schools, plus reluctance to seek out alternative pathways. It is very easy to get stuck with tunnel vision when pursuing an entertainment career, especially among new comers. They follow those around them becoming stranded in a quagmire of indecision.

The pie-in-the sky thinking is most prevalent among young actors. They come to entertainment centers like Los Angeles and New York with a feeling of entitlement, that they have to do very little to be discovered and find work. Rather than improving ones craft, they become obsessed with getting an agent, getting into the union, or getting into top-level workshops. Another obsession is marketing; producing pictures, resumes, and demo reels. Such goals have little to do with learning one’s craft.

Others become involved in an archaic educational system that benefits instructors more so than the students. This is especially true in scene workshops, which perpetuate the myth that one learns best by doing. For the beginners and intermediate students such workshops are not very effective learning venues. Why is this? More time and energy are expended in putting up scenes than on learning the fundamental skills of acting. Memorizing a scene, rehearsals, performances and the instructor’s critique, they take up valuable time. This time could be better spent on learning and perfecting specific techniques.

In such scene workshops, students may receive only snippets of advice, as time restraints do not allow in-depth coaching. Moreover, of those snippets, most apply to that specific scene rather than to acting in general. In addition, students usually become overwhelmed by the many requirements of performing a scene, working on everything and mastering none. Without specific guidelines, the student is confronted with too many decisions, which leads to bad choices or to no choices. Likewise, struggling through a long workshop scene usually perpetuates more faults than fixes. Another caveat is that uncorrected flaws soon become part of the student’s skill set, flaws that can seriously impede advancement.

Another force affecting pathways is the hype of acting schools, workshops, and instructors. Many of these venues prey on the actor’s quest for stardom and hold those carrots dangling just out of reach. Prospective students thus select fame and fortune over craft. When offered platitudes and compliments, the drug of choice, students becomes addicted to stay in these classes. Another dangling carrot is the guru like status of certain instructors. They are the celebrity instructors who are known more for their credits than for their teaching abilities. At universities, weighty curriculums, testimonials and inviting photos are used to entice students to a school where instructors have reach the safety of tenure. As such, these instructors teach the same stuff they were taught leaving student’s performances years behind current acting standards.

Do you prefer a lengthy curriculum or do you want to learn what makes you a professional actor, one that can sustain a long working career. Having a diploma does not make you an actor, but having the knowledge, the means to implement it and the experience to implement it brilliantly gets you close to professional status.

Many new actors are reluctant to seek out alternative pathways to knowledge, create a system that accumulates craft. Some may plead ignorance in not knowing there are other learning venues. When you don’t know what you don’t know, how could you possibly know? How would you correct that problem? How would you approach finding this elusive knowledge?

You begin by looking at the criteria for a professional actor. What are the things that make them acclaimed and award-winning actors? One of the most prominent attributes is internalization, the ability to relate what’s going on within the mind and body. Another is the ability to build credible and compelling characters. When you look at requirements for being a professional actor, these questions lead you to resources, to answers, and finally to competence. What do you need to know? What are the things you must do and do well? When you find areas, you know little about, research them and learn more about them? Great actors are continually reaching out and learning new things.

Still other beginning actors are too lazy to pursue anything outside of their comfort zone. They fall into a set routine that does little to challenge their creative powers. A weekly workshop doesn’t cut it. Soon, their careers stall out, as there is no improvement. They continue to do more of the same.

This stuck in the mud scenario happens with more and more actors, as they become incapacitated by failures. How can one get out and move on toward success? What are some of the venues and ways to seek knowledge and obtain craft?

Let’s go back to the basic principles of advancing your career. Namely, seek out what you need to know, then learn how to implement this knowledge, and finally learn how to implement this knowledge brilliantly so people will hire you. Alexander Payne, the director of the movie “Nebraska” said the same thing, “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it, and if you can do it well.”

The venues and pathways to greatness are mostly ones of exploration and discovery. It most cases they are not expensive when compared to establish training. However, they do demand a rigorous discipline and the obsession to improve. Acting is a profession where the skills and techniques are self-initiated; you learned them because you want to.

Read, and read anything you can lay your hands on, scripts, plays, and novels. People who read fiction have a better social demeanor and better understand the problems we humans face. It also acquaints you with story structure, character development and dialogue patterns. It creates those what-if-moments and allows your mind to internalize the thoughts and feelings of the characters. A good training platform as it activates the actor’s brain.

Read books and publications on the craft of acting, the techniques of internalizations, the building of compelling characters and the styles of acting. As an actor, you need to learn the language of performing so you can communicate with directors and other actors. Things such as definitions, the dramatic choices and equations, and how changing one facet can change everything else. Acting is a collaborate art and one must learn to work skillfully within an ensemble environment. SamuelFrench.com is a solid resource in this area.

See movies by great actors and fully comprehend their techniques. Replay these movies numerous times until you see and understand what the actor is doing. DVD’s are most helpful in this regard because when you see and hear it, you comprehend the technique and you know what to replicate. In addition, if you don’t get it the first time, you can replay the scene over and over until you fully understand the technique and can effectively duplicate it. Award-winning work should be dissected, analyzed, emulated, and done so for the purpose of improving ones dramatic awareness and agility as well as expanding one’s dynamic range. DVD rental services, such as Netflix and Blockbuster, charge as low as $8 a month and often the extras on the disk offer additional insight into acting and directing.

Attending live performances of plays and musicals provide another dimension to acting. In smaller theatres, the performances approach that of film and TV. Attend community theatre, high school plays as well as professional outings. You will learn much by noting the things done well as well as those that were not. See what works and what does not.

Look to science to find ways of improving your craft. For instance, the research studies by psychologist Paul Ekman and Robert B Zajonc provide insights into facial expressions and physiological changes in the body. Great information when trying to articulate various emotions. Author and instructor John Sudol expands on this phenomenon in his book “Acting: Face to face.” Research studies on body language can likewise provide enormous information about a character’s physical presence. Another important resource is the area of psychiatry, especially when related to personality, temperament types and abnormal behaviors. In drama, almost every character is built upon flaws and abnormalities. Few characters are normal, at least not all the time.

You can also gain considerable knowledge by listening to establish professionals. These could be mentors or casual encounters at industry functions. These people have valuable insights and you can connect with them at panel discussions, industry expos, conferences, and film festivals. Take advantage of these opportunities by asking specific questions that show you are eager to learn. Asking intelligent questions is a great networking tool as it fosters mutual respect. There are also specialist and consultants that can help you with things like voice training, accent reduction, and audition preparation. However, these services come at a price.

Your fellow actors, your peers, are likewise a great resource for improving your craft. Working with them, rehearsing scenes, or just hanging out, these encounters offer opportunities to exchange ideas and techniques. A great many times these encounters provide new perspectives on the many facets of acting. However, these meetings can easily turn into gripping session where little progress is attained. So stay on target and focus on improving your craft.

It’s very easy to get so caught in ones own career pursuits that we forget about the people that help and support us. Take a step back and find ways return the favor. It could be a referral to a low-cost photographer, or an offer to proofread their bio. These gestures mean a lot and cost little in time and effort. They also help build lasting relationships and studies show such good deeds make us feel better about our own lives. A sincere note of gratitude is likewise a good gesture.

One of the major obstacles in seeking alternative pathways is the personality of the actor. Some actors have a know-it-all attitude, that they are superior in the craft of acting. No one is going is teach them anything. Such an attitude limits their growth because they have reached the pinnacle of their career. Other personality types include the spent-thrift and bargain hunters. Money issues determine their career choices and they settle for what they can afford rather than seeking a process that fulfills their goals. This article points out numerous career pathways that cost little or nothing. Another personality type is the one that believes in serendipitous fulfillment, believing that good things will happen, a pleasant surprise, or a fortuitous happenstance. You will find this personality type lingering hopefully outside the gates of commitment, waiting to be discovered.

The Internet is a wonderful resource for actors. There are numerous sites displaying blogs and articles on the techniques of acting. Most will be associated with acting schools and the business/marketing aspects of acting. Try sites such as actortips.com and backstage.com. Also, look at the many videos available on YouTube Acting. While you will find conflicting advice, as you become more knowledgeable, you will be able to sort out which techniques best serve your immediate needs, your character type and persona.

Listen to your own heartbeat, how you react to things in your own life. What are your wants and feelings, your dreams and aspirations? How do you take on the agony of defeat or the triumph of victory? Life studies are an integral part of ones dramatic training and watching what others go through, whether it is hardships or moments of elation, provide an enormous wealth of character material. And the best part, it doesn’t cost you a dime.

This article has covered some of the pathways one can use to supplement ones formal training. It has also covered ways to attain acting techniques, many using effective cost-saving ways. The supplemental training shown here can greatly expand ones range of techniques. However, they require strong will power and the initiative to put them into practice.

Acting is not something you easily attain in a classroom. The skills, techniques, and principles of drama come about by understanding humanity, and the many choices people face in life. In many cases, you need to discover this process for yourself. There are reactions and consequences to our choices in acting as in life, and seeking out the many pathways available can make ones journey more rewarding. For these pathways will reveal what you need to know, how to implement this knowledge, and how to do it brilliantly so people will hire you. The choice is yours.