Outtakes Online: Veteran actors to teach class

Jul. 9, 2014 | 0 Comments

BY MIKE GORDON / mgordon@staradvertiser.com

When it comes to the kinds of film and television roles newcomers receive, actress Amy Hill likens what they’ll experience to boarding a train — the hard way.

“It’s like a train that’s moving that you have to be able to jump on at the right place and jump off at the right place and the train keeps moving and there hasn’t been any disruption,” Hill said.

COURTESY UH-MANOAAmy Hill.

COURTESY UH-MANOA

Amy Hill.

Mastering that feat could be all the incentive an aspiring actor or actress needs to justify enrolling in Acting Core Intensive, a two-day class being offered this weekend by the Pacific New Media. Hill, along with veteran industry mentors Brian Mulligan and Yumi Iwama, will lead three workshops: Cold Reading, which focuses on the audition process; Acting for the Camera, which deals with life on set; and The Business of Acting, which is a primer for everything from acting schools to the quality of your resume and head shot.

Mulligan does a lot of work on episodic television, does private coaching in acting and is an adjunct professor of acting at California State University, Long Beach. Iwama is a state, television and screen actress who has worked off Broadway.

Hill brings solid experience in front of a camera to the weekend course. She’s had roles on television’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Office,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Friends” and “Seinfeld.”

That could prove valuable here in the islands, where the CBS TV show “Hawaii Five-0” is the only regular option for newcomers looking for speaking roles. Life on set, even for a veteran actor, can be a chaotic experience. For the uninitiated, it be intimidating, Hill said. And there’s a lot of touching going on, too.

“Unless you are really comfortable and know what’s going on it is really hard to act,” said Hill by phone from the kitchen of her Los Angeles home. “You have a lot of people around you with a lot of props and pieces of lighting There is someone putting a mic on you that you don’t know, who wants to go down the front of your blouse.”

And there are makeup and hair specialists touching you up and production crew telling you were to stand — where your “mark” is and where you have to stand.

“You’ve got people lighting you so you’ve got to be standing in the right place,” Hill said. “And you can’t talk. You have to shut up.”

When everything changes when the director shouts action and everyone around you falls silent instead of you, she said.

“When the director calls action you have to forget the crew exists,” Hill said. “It’s a tough thing to do. When they say action and tell you this is your mark, you need to be able to hit that mark. You have to be able to do it without the camera seeing you finding your mark.”

The workshops will cover that scenario, as well as what you might do if you forget your lines, Hill said.

“You never want to stop a scene if you forget your lines,” she said. “You have to be able to come up with something. I studied improv a lot so I’m good at coming up with something.”

Acting Core Intensive will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday in Krauss Hall on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. The cost is $135.

Participants can register by calling Pacific New Media at (808) 956-8400 or going online at outreach.hawaii.edu/pnm.
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Mike Gordon covers film and television in Hawaii for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Email him at mgordon@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter. Read his weekly “Outtakes” column Sundays in the Star-Advertiser.