Sunday, September 23, 2007

Scenes from a workshop, and seven tips from Kevin Rahm

Kevin Rahm (left) and Winston Hall.

Today, actor Kevin Rahm ("Judging Amy") taught a scene-study workshop for film and TV acting. Rahm returned home between shoots on "Desperate Housewives." (On the ABC series he's a new gay neighbor, but more about that later.)

I dropped by the workshop for a couple hours to learn more about people spending weekends working on craft. They're all hoping to land speaking roles in local film or TV productions.

As experienced local stage actor Stan McDonald (pictured right) said succinctly, "What's good about working with a working actor is that they're doing what you're trying to do."

McDonald has also worked on local film productions ("The Pardon" and a local amateur film "A Stranger Within"). The actor was looking to gain practical tips from Rahm about auditioning and creating a memorable character from just a page or two of the script: "To me, it's getting the thought process down, going to an audition and putting it to use."

Here are a seven tips Rahm shared with the actors:

1) On creating strong characters in a workshop: "The best way to learn is to fail miserably. ... There are no wrong choices here. We can find better ones later."

2) On focusing on friction between characters: "Any time we find conflicts that are in direct opposition to each other, that's the perfect scene."

3) On rehearsing, generally: "As a rule, you're always better standing. You get more energy. You tend to relax when you're in a chair."

4) On sticking to the script: "Be careful about assumptions. When you start creating a character, start with what is absolutely true. ... Make a bold choice with what you have."

5) On getting small speaking roles: "It's the hardest thing in the world to book a day-player role. You can't think about what they are looking for. ... Figure out as much information as you can from the scene, and go with it."

6) On conveying emotion: "If you forget the words, start making it up. If you're in that emotional of a place, they won't care." (He laughed and then said, "But they will care on the day" you shoot.)

7) On acting for the camera: "The camera knows everything. If you think it, the camera sees it."

Jessica McDaniel (left) and Sarah Taylor.

Sarah Taylor (left) and Tyler Krieg.

David Miller (left) and Jamie Baremore.

PHOTO CREDITS: Alexandyr Kent/The Times.

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