Thursday, December 16, 2010

Antoine Dodson--Can teach us all a lesson on acting for the camera!

imgres.jpgLet me say that if Antoine Dodson can become world re-known by his realities, then the reality is there is absolutely no way we shouldn't be re-known from ours.... acting skills that is!

Probably the best way to become known from the craft of acting is by just being yourself! As actors we spend so much time trying to "be" a character, whom we know nothing about, that we get caught up in the "creative process". What we forget to do is bring ourselves to each role to humanize the character. Bringing yourself to the role, allows for your character to live through your natural essence. The character may be living through certain situations that you are unfamiliar with, but in these instances, you should draw from who you are. Asking yourself questions like, "what would I do in this situation", "If I lived in this environment, how would I talk, walk, dress?" or "how would I feel if this were to happen to me?" These are just a few ways to humanize your characters you play. Let's take Antoine Dodson for instance, his circumstances were that his sister had been attacked by a would-be rapist who tried to come through her window, but she was a fighter and fought off the attacker. Antoine and his sister lived in the projects, in Alabama. Now if we were to get a script with the the same exact circumstances that brought Antoine to speak to the news reporters, would we automatically assume this script was a comedy? Would we play the comedy in it? How would we talk, dress, or deliver his famous speech, "Hide your wife, Hide your kids...."! More importantly, what emotional state would we live in? Because in Antoine's world, he was 100% serious! For Antoine, the stakes were high and he didn't find this situation funny one bit. Although I'm sure now that he is in his new home and is looking back in retrospect, he finds some delight in what would seem a tragic situation, but still for him this was tragic at that time.
For me, watching Antoine was a reality check. We have to embrace characters the same way we would in our real world. The person watching your work should relate to the human side of you as they are watching your perform; how you endow your circumstances and personalize them. We shouldn't want to simply mimic what we "think" our character is feeling, but believe it or not, this happens way too often.
If you haven't seen the video, take a quick look at it below, (for those of you outside of the 60 million viewers who have already viewed it), and think on this: if you were playing a character, similar to Antoine's, with a similar situation and lifestyle, but without having a you-tube video to refer too- only a script, how would you prepare and play the role? My answer is we have to draw from our reality and what we woulda, coulda, and shoulda done if we were in this situation! Just for ish and giggles let's do Antoine's monologue! Personalize this for yourself. I wonder what it would change into. Ha! It might be a powerful monologue....imagine that!

Btw, I think it is amazing that he is on Wikipedia! Seriously Wikipedia! This guy has made history. And I will too!

Enjoy it and make it your own monologue! Ha!

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Here is the video:



Here is the song:




Friday, November 26, 2010

VOTE FOR ME TO ACT IN A FILM WITH NIA LONG!

Subject: I NEED YOUR HELP NOW!
VOTE FOR ME in this film competition to star opposite Nia Long. I am currently in 3rd place but you can help change this if you VOTE NOW. YOU CAN VOTE TWICE.

PLEASE DO NOT LOOK AT THIS AND DO NOTHING...YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN MY LIFE!!!! IT WILL TAKE 5 SECS OUT OF YOUR DAY.

YOU CAN vote for me by text (FREE)!

JUST TEXT: CFJ327 to: 53295 OR CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW:

OR CLICK ON THIS LINK BELOW:

http://www.facebook.com/l/9216cKuiZgnbk0TmAvTgqjW4vtQ;www.talenthouse.com/creativeinvites/preview/adfade8953c5a7afa664880e6655e745/153

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Who’s Got Next: J. Ivy

Who’s Got Next: J. IvyComments (0)

By Squeaky Moore of XI Magazine
http://www.ximagonline.com/whos-got-next-j-ivy/
Posted on 25 Oct 2010 at 11:56am

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XI Magazine is all about What’s New. What’s Now. What’s NEXT! This week, What’s Next is our Who’s Got Next artist, J. Ivy. Poet and word-smith, he is all about telling the truth in his work and keeping it all positive and powerful. Not just a bland poet or cliche spoken word artist, J. Ivy is bridging the gap between hip-hop and poetry and doing a phenomenal job of it with his up-coming release “Here I Am.” Recently I sat with him and got an in-depth look at who J. Ivy is and what he’s all about!

XI: Who is J. Ivy?

A person born with a talent to speak lyrical prose and verse melodically. One who stands in a league of his own. Plain and simple, a poet from Chicago, born James Ivy Richardson III. A simple dude blessed with a great talent that is certainly being used.

XI: Compare and contrast your music to Rap music.

Hip hop was born out of poetry- The Last Poets [A group of poets and musicians] were the God father’s of hip hop. So they were the one’s doing poetry in parts of Harlem, back in the 60’s, over a drum rhythm. So for me, it was a matter of bridging the gap, and trying to remind people that this [what I do] is one of the same; though they are different, they are definitely related. Poetry has been here since the beginning of time, you know, God created the world with the Word. So for me it was always important to try and remind people of the strenght of Poetry. On the other hand, I’m a hip hop baby, that’s the style of music that I grew up on, the style of music I was always drawn too. So when it came time to put music with my work, naturally it was going to be hip-hop because that’s what I listen to on a daily basis.

XI: I want to talk about your new album, “Here I Am.” When is the release date?

October 26, 2010!

XI: The music, the rhymes and the lyrics, how did it all come together? What was the creative process like for you?

It was important to me to have a strong musical bed with this album. Also, the concepts of this album were important. I wanted to put something out there that could keep people motivated. Like with personal battles that people go through, with self-esteem issues and self- doubt; I wanted to use my music to continue to build hope and wake something up in people and try and help people remember who they are. To me, it’s just a matter of doing that and remembering who you are. We all have the ability and power to make whatever it is we want happen. Sometimes we tend to forget we have those abilities.

XI: For those that have followed your work as an artist, they’d know your poetry has evolved, and your artistry has transitioned over time. Through all the years of writing poetry and performing, what have been your transitioning points that have helped you to evolve as a poet.

The one thing I’ve always wanted was to grow and get better. From the first time I was ever on stage, [in high-school], I received a standing ovation. I wanted to find that feeling again. I started doing open mics, and hosting at Rituals, which was the biggest poetry spot in Chicago and [to me] in the nation at one time. Then, I did the first season of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, which took things to the next level; being recognized in New York. I did a show in Jamaica [with Carl Thomas] and people were recognizing me from HBO. Then I did the recording with Kanye and Jay Z on “The College Dropout.” So it’s always been a contiuous process of one thing leading to the next. But the root of it has been me just striving to do better. Like when a year has passed, I definitely like to look back and say ‘okay, I am in a better place than I was a year ago.’ Even if it may not be on a mountain top and just shooting straight up, as long as I am gradually climbing and getting better, it pleases me because I know that I am going to continue to get better.

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XI: Your music is different than other music that is being done today; it’s trendsetting. Have you thought about the notion that your music can possibly alter the history of music.

Yes. Like I’ve always, for whatever reason, felt like I was appointed to do different things…. Not only different, but the first to do things. Like being the first poet out of Chicago to be on Def Poetry Jam, or the first to be on a rapper’s album [Kanye West’ “Never Let Me Down”]. When it comes to the music, even though there has been other extraodinary talent to put poetry to music, I am taking things to the next level. While creating this album,“Here I Am”, that thought was on my mind every step of the way. I didn’t want to rush the moment or cheapen it [just] to have something out there. I think, ‘how do I make this the best moment and not be selfish.’ I know that this [the message] is bigger than me. It’s important to be that vessel, that instrument. It’s not about the ears that it touches in this generation but generations to come. It’s important that people hear and receive healing from it, that it saves lives, and it helps people make right decisions about life.

XI: How is your music relevant today?

It is a positive and a much needed message that’s not heard from many artists today. My music fills a void and is a reminder of who we are or who we should set out to be. It will make people try to better themselves and that is what I want listeners to take from my album.

XI: You’ve said that your influences are greats such poets as Maya Angelou, and Langston Hughes. As well as, The Last Poets and your peers that you’ve had opportunities to work and travel with like Triple Black, Malik Yusef, Brenda Matthews, Jessica Care Moore, Black Ice, Abyss and recently Thea Monyee. How do they impact you and your work?

When you see the best, it inspires you; helps to bring the best out of you. I didn’t come up around poetry…I wasn’t conscious of poetry until later on. Dr. Martin Luther King was my hugest influence because of how he spoke and the way he touched people. When I was in Highschool, I started doing poetry that other people wrote. I always wanted to perform like Martin Luther King.

XI: You have already performed with Jay-Z, Kanye and John Legend. Who, if anyone, would you absolutely love to do music with in the future?

It’s sad because the one person I really want to perform with, I will never have an opportunity to…Michael Jackson. But I would love to do something with Jill Scott, The Roots—I really appreciate their music.

XI: Some of your early hip hop influences that helped shape your musicality were Big Daddy Kane, Tribe Call Quest, NWA, Public Enemy, Eric B and Rakim, Run DMC, and Slick Rick. Who do you look at now for that same inspiration musically?

Well now its Outkast, Nas, The Roots and Common has always been my all time favorite. Not sure if it is because we are both from Chicago, or that we are both Pisces, [He chuckles], but I’ve always related to him, the way he put words together and the way he tells stories.

XI: What are some of your biggest moments thus far, aside from winning a Grammy for your participation with “Never Let Me Down” on The College Dropout album and your standing ovation on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam?

[Reminiscing on his mom coming to the first show he hosted at Rituals] My mom is super-critical. It was major to impress her. A big moment has also come with the early reactions that I have been getting from my album. They love it! The reactions have been great.

XI: What has been the process for you as an independent artist? Would you like to remain independent?

I feel like it’s going to be hard no matter what situation im in. If you’re with a label, you have a lot of cooks in your kitchen. As an independent artist, I have to maintain my kitchen. But it’s run the way I want it to run; it has my voice. I have to build a team and things have to stay moving. My budget makes things happen a little slower, but my reward will be bigger because I’m not locked in. I don’t have to answer to anybody. I would rather be on this side of the fence. Though, I would consider the right situation if it came along.

XI: Can you give advice to upcoming independent artists? Poets?

Constantly work at getting better and never stop! Don’t get thrown off by the no’s, you will get a thousand of them, but that one yes…
Stay true to yourself.

J. Ivy’s music is positive and has a much need message that he feels isn’t heard from many artists today. The words in his poetry reminds us of who we are and who we should set out to be, and are very spiritual. To stay connected with J. Ivy you can visit his website at www.j-ivy.com. Also, click here to listen to his title track on his album“Here I Am”.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Forgiven-Starring Lawrence Saint-Victor-By Squeaky Moore of XI Magazine http://www.ximagonline.com


Many loyal fans may have wondered when they would see Lawrence Saint-Victor(Guiding Light’s, Remy) again. Recently, however, we learned that the good looking leading man from the day-time drama is keeping busy both on and off screen. Saint-Victor is not only capable of delivering great comedic and emotional scenes on television, but he is also adept at making films and can offer just as much behind the camera that he does in front of it.

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In his eleven-minute short film that recently aired during BET’s Urbanworld Film Festival, Saint-Victor offers a malicious, engrossing and contemplative story about forgiveness and fearlessness.

In the opening scene of “The Forgiven”, a man is discovered bound and gagged and is beaten profusely by a couple of assassins. Moments later, Gabriel (Saint-Victor), also a hitman, is given the assignment to kill a young girl, played by Taylor McIntyre. She’s being held captive, awaiting her fate. It’s obvious that Gabriel has a strong fondness for the girl from the moment he seees her. Once she learns that it is her turn to be killed, she prays
for Gabriel and asks God to forgive him. Afterwards, telling him that if he is going to kill her, he has to do it while looking her in her eyes. Conflicted, Gabriel must make a decision to kill his victim or be killed!

The short was entirely engaging from start to finish. Along with co-director,Teisha Hickman, the duo pays great attention to detail and the theme of this fictive plot. Lawrence Saint-Victor astutely teams up with his wife, Shay Saint-Victor, Executive Producer and Co-Director, Tiesha Hickman and Executive Producer, Editor and Director of Photography, Jamon Lewis (The Works Films), to create a world in this 11 minute film that would take some a feature length of time to produce.

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Saint-Victor gives a credible performance as a hitman, even with the many hats he wears as Writer, Editor and Director. The most astounding performance, however, was delivered from the 11-year old actress, Taylor McIntyre. McIntyre’s portrayal was honest and natural. She bore a truthfulness that compares to a young Dakota Fanning. I hope to see her in future films.

“The Forgiven” will also be featured in the Big Apple Film Festival during November 2nd- 6th @ Tribeca Cinema. So if you missed the premeire showing, you can still catch it there. In the meantime, check out the trailer below!





Article by Contributing Guest Squeaky Moore of XI Magazine
http://www.ximagonline.com/xi-in-focus-the-forgiven/

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Squeaky Moore reviews BCAM/Macbeth

Play: BCam Macbeth / Flamboyan Theatre / New York City, New York

Reviewed by Squeaky Moore for Riveting Riffs Magazine

What do you get when you stage Macbeth and combine it with live action, a mixture of live-feed and filmed projections?You get ambiguity.

Kevin Kittle’s production begins with a pre-show of a women reading a book on stage and occasionally citing bible quotes and other miscellaneous clich├ęs, such as, “Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall,” “Opportunity seldom knocks twice,” and “Christmas comes but once a year,” while at the same time having a young man sitting on the floor and searching it with a magnifying glass.

Then, suddenly, there is a shift in the lighting and fourteen actors and actresses spill onto the stage at various times and from different directions. One is dressed in a tutu and carrying a pig nose, while another is barely clothed and is holding a mirror and that individual is accompanied by a crossdresser. With so much happening on stage, one can only assume that by now the play had begun, as there was nothing definitive to indicated to the audience that was in fact the case.

The set, designed by Doug Durlacher was simple, yet artful, with four white partitions that served well for location changes. Long, white fabric was used to add a classical feel and it aided with the film projection as well. The media design, created by Jared Mezzocchi and Theo Macabeo was also impressive. One of the best stage pictures of the night, (not sure if the credit goes to Kittle, Mezzocchi or Macabeo), is at the end of the play when the cast takes off their shirts and their backs are used to show images of faces.

The material added by Don Nigro and the ensemble bordered for the most part on themes of evil and forced their way into the play, without transitioning smoothly. Then there was the man walking on metal stilts and a school age boy playing with a dead pigeon, which offered no discernable perspective.

Kittle brought together an adequate company of actors, however there were positive exceptions such as the honest and strong portrayal of Banquo by actor Lawrence Ballard. Ballard’s commitment to the other three characters he played was also believable. Danielle Liccardo as Lady Macbeth delivers a solid sleepwalking scene in Act 2.

All and all, if the production of Bcam/Macbeth’s intentions were to show the repercussions and responses to the primary and primal acts of evil, then some of the material was just enough to evoke those ideas, while other ideas were lost in translation.

September 2010

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Squeaky Moore is an actress and acting coach whose website The Coaching Corner with Squeaky Moore provides advice and tips for young actors. She also wrote, produced and directed the improve-based variety show Act Like You Know and Guud Timez, a hilarious send up of the 70s sitcom Good Times. Squeaky appears in the film Gang Girls. Please visit the Squeaky Moore blog

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tasha Smith Teaches During UWFF...By Squeaky Moore of XI Magazine http://www.ximagonline.com


When thinking of Tasha Smith, the first few thoughts that come to mind are around-the-way-girl, real, cut-throat, loud and tell-it-like-it-is! These are just a few attributes that come to me, solely based on the type of characters I have watched her play in movies like Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married” (1 and Too) and “Daddy’s Little Girls.” But personally, experiencing Tasha Smith during her workshop, has shed a whole new light on who this driven, passionate, spiritual and funny woman that I met at TSAW (Tasha Smith Actor’s Workshop) during the Urban World Film Festival2010 is.

We first learned of Tasha’s spirituality as she began the workshop with a prayer. She declared blessings and understanding over the class and prayed for our instruments (what we use to act/perform). She rebuked fear and prayed that our faith was released…then her tutelage officially began.

Tasha showed her humility by stating “I may not be the best actress in the world, but my passion for what I do and teaching you what I know about this technique is strong!” In Ms. Smith’s workshop she provided a no holds barred, multi-level instructional session for actors based on her mentor, Ivana Chubbuck’s technique, which can be found in her book The Power of the Actor.

Tasha’s passion for acting and her love for teaching indeed spews from her every word. What she teaches is simple – use what’s in yourself to build your character; apply your experiences and circumstances to your role and to each scene you’re in. The training she provided helped to strip away all of the layers of ’stuff’ - the pretentiousness, self-consciousness, the desire to push and/or mimic, etc. – so that you are finally left with something simple and pure…a human being having a sincere experience and living in a moment of truth.

Tasha led class along with her two Los Angeles instructors, Zenja Ricks andBrooklyn McLinn, who were equally as knowledgeable and passionate about the craft. Their combined expertise aided us in digging deep for the emotional preparation for our respective scenes. All I can say is that I was blown away and honored to be a part!

The most exciting part of the two day, intensive workshop was on the second day, towards the end of the class. Tasha reached into her purse and pulled out some bills, then she asked, “who in here is struggling and has no money?” After a few participants raised their hands, she explained that she likes to bless actors because she remembered what it was like when she was broke and could hardly pay her own bills. She also explained that she believed in planting seeds to reap a harvest and this was just another seed that she was ready to sew. The moment was so touching, so profound and so sincere that it started a phenomenon. One by one people who were a part of the workshop were going into their wallets to help other starving artists. It wasn’t about the money, it was a movement of passion and love. And in the end, the real lesson was not just about the craft of acting, but about being humble and planting the right seeds, so that your harvest is great!

For more information on TSAW, go to Tasha’s websiteand if you are an actor or want to pursue the craft, check out her listing of classes and also Ivana Chubbuck’s book,“The Power of the Actor.”

Article by Guest Contributor for XI Magazine-Squeaky Moore

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