Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Back in the Saddle Again

It's been  two and a half years since I last wrote here, a year and a half since I took a break from acting and my career, and just shy of a year since I've reentered the industry. And now, finally, I find myself back here, writing to all of you!

Many of you may not even know that I had taken time off...to be honest, I wasn't even sure I was just taking time off - I was quite certain that I was quitting. Done. Bye bye. Of course, that wasn't the case. Anyone who knows me could have told me that from the beginning...and they probably did. But leaving and clearing my head was all a necessary part of my journey, and it's all the more thrilling to be returning again.

Now that Ginger Soup is back and running, you can look forward to hearing about what I learned during my break from the industry, the direction I find myself pushing my career now, and I how I continue to take care of myself in between it all. I'm really excited to share my journey from actor, to not-an-actor-anymore, back to an actor who's made room on her head for many different hats. And one in particular (for those who remember my little alter ego)...I'm putting my "cowboy hat" back on and I'm ready to take names and conquer the world!




Monday, 20 October 2014

Guest Post: CHELSEY MOORE

Chelsey Moore recounts an audition horror story for Ginger Soup for the Actor's Soul

The following short story, of which you are about to read, is based on an actual event that took place February 8, 2001. All places, and people are real, and names have not been changed.

It was a miserably dreary February morning in my small town of Black Creek, tucked away in the heart of Vancouver Island. The sun hadn’t even begun to rise and I was up brushing my teeth, combing my hair, and pulling on my favourite orange fuzzy top, anxious and excited for the day ahead. I was a na├»ve twelve-year-old girl heading for an audition, and I hadn’t the faintest idea what the day would bring. If I had any glimpse of what would transpire inside of that soundproof casting door, my life would have been different.

After a quick bowl of instant oatmeal, and an episode of my favourite cartoon, my mom began hustling me to the front door to get my shoes on. 2001 was an interesting time for footwear fashion. I had recently bought myself a pair of converse slip-ons that were all the rage at my middle school. Never one to miss out on a trend, I had made the purchase recently and hadn’t had time to grow accustomed to the fit and feel of these backless shoes, pictured here:


  
My mom and I started on our six-hour journey to Shoreline Studios, where my audition was being held. I spent the majority of the car-ride staring out the window, watching the crows flying overhead. I was feeling cautiously optimistic when I walked through the studio doors. I had the usual nerves, but I checked in with the casting assistant and then checked over the sides on the walls. The scene was set in the virtual world, where us kids had to fight bad guys and monsters, and save the universe. Easy.

They called six names, mine included, and I entered the room with my peers. We were told to line-up on the green line from shortest to tallest. We would be performing two at a time. After slating, profiles and holding our hands up for the camera, we all took a step back. The first two people were up! The casting director told them they were in a video game and they had to fight off a hundred monsters. Action. I watched as they punched and fought their way through the scene. Cut. Then the next two were up. Action. “Psht, amateurs,” I thought. I had just achieved my orange belt in Karate, so I knew a thing or two about throwing a punch. Cut. Then it was my turn. My time to shine, my time to prove that I had what it took to destroy those monsters and save the universe! Action. I begin punching as hard as I can, while turning and blocking and doing some really great martial arts. Block, punch, block, punch. I was a virtual superstar. And that’s when I had an idea, one that would change my life forever. I decided to kick. I punched the imaginary space monster, and then stepped back to plant myself to kick. Front knee bent, back leg straight, I swing my back leg up, bending at the knee. I kicked that space monster as hard as I could. Then I feel lightness, a breeze, where my shoe was supposed to be. I looked down and saw only a pink polka-dot sock. I had kicked my shoe at the casting director.  Cue my reaction-

                             




I left that casting room a different person; dejected, deflated, and plain embarrassed. I ran straight into my mom’s car, holding back tears. The world turned grey. I stopped speaking and eating. Upon my return home, I retreated to the woods to go live with the bears. I had been one with nature for a full two hours when my dad came and found me and told me I had a callback. Auditions are weird. 

ABOUT CHELSEY:
Chelsey Moore grew up on Vancouver Island, and moved to the mainland to pursue her career in acting, attending the Dramatic Arts Program at VADA. After graduating, she landed the role of Sarah in the web series, The Girls Guide, which went on to win Best Ensemble Cast and Outstanding Series in a Drama at the LA WebFest. Chelsey's creative endeavours also spread to include music when she joined as a vocalist in the funk band, The Maneuver.
You can find her at:
Facebook
Twitter - @chelsey_moore

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Go Forth and Get Haunted: Hamlet


"To be, or not to be: that is the question."

Or...for Kailey and Sam Spear of BlackSpear Productions, the question when creating their production of Hamlet, was less of an existential crisis and more of a gender identity one. This October, the two SFU grads will be sharing their version of the famous play, in which Hamlet will be played by a woman.

Ginger Soup for the Actor's Soul recommends Hamlet by BlackSpear Productions with Libby Osler.
Libby Osler as Hamlet

The Spears' twins reimagination of Shakespeare's work brings a new dynamic to the classic character that is relevant and exciting to anyone who remembers Britney's famous head-shaving debacle of 2007, or Miley Cyrus' public identity crisis and, more recently, the many ups and downs of Amanda Bynes. Hamlet is reintroduced to us in a similar light, as a young, female royal grappling with fame and other struggles one in her position might face in a modern world.



The casting is exquisite for this production, featuring Libby Osler as Hamlet, Greg Delmage as Claudius and Annette Reilly as Laertes, as well as many other talented Vancouver actors. Yeah...I may be friends with these guys, but I swear I'm not biased! I had the pleasure of watching Libby's work during our classes with Andrew McIlroy, and I'm telling you the truth that you are in for a treat to see her tackle a role like this.

Hamlet opens October 29th, and runs until November 9th at Renegade Studios. You can find out more information here and you can get tickets here. Go and see this show this Halloween - you won't regret it!


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Guest Post: Erika Babins

Kalamatea writer, Erika Babins, talks about her experience with Cinderella at Capilano with Ginger Soup for the Actor's Soul


A long time ago, in a faraway land, lived a beautiful young lady with her evil stepfamily....

Ok, so, it was 3 years ago, the faraway land was Capilano U and it only seemed as though we lived there becayse we spent 12+ hour days in the musical theatre program. But we really were doing Cinderella for our grad production; with lavish costumes, towering sets, and hats so big we had to alter choreography. We also lived through a theatre nightmare I didn’t even know I had.

Ginger Soup for the Actor's Soul remembers Cinderella at Capilano, with Erika Babins
Some serious hats.


One of the most enchanting elements of a musical production is hearing live singers perform with a live orchestra and this show was no exception. We were lucky enough to have 16 live musicians working with us. Unfortunately, because of the aforementioned huge set, they were unable to play in the orchestra pit at the front of the stage. Instead, they were set up in the scene shop backstage with their music feeding through house speakers and stage monitors and our mics feeding back to them.

And that worked just fine, until, the fateful Sunday matinee when Cinderella and her stepfamily (I played one of the stepsisters) were onstage, bouncing to the instrumental vamp before launching into the post-ball quartet. Suddenly the music stopped. Completely cut out in the middle of the beat. There was a moment when the girl playing Cinderella and I locked eyes that I’ll never forget. Pure fear. What were we suppose to do? We didn’t really have a choice. The Show Must Go On, and all that. And so, we started singing acapella. Halfway through the song, the music came back on. We were saved! Oh, no, it’s gone again. It was when it came in and out at least three times in that one song that we realized that the musicians didn’t know they were cutting out.  That meant, we had to stay perfectly in tempo even acapella or the music might come in at a totally different part of the song. At least, we thought, our musical director could still hear us. We could stay on track.

Acapella singing, ununderscored scenes and best of all, a completely silent danced montage of the prince searching with the glass slipper. With the help of the faint pounding of tympanies from the scene shop and the most intense eye contact I’ve ever experienced we made it through the rest of the show. Flinching whenever the sound came back in, hoping we were at the right spot, in the right key, and praying it wouldn’t cut out again. No luck.

It wasn’t until after the show that we found out that not only could we not hear the musicians, but they couldn’t hear us either. Like us, the musical director assumed we could hear and follow them and just played through the show as best they could without hearing our cues!


Despite the years it may have shaved off some of my life, it makes for a great “Hey, remember when this happened?” and truly helps to remind us “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” 

ABOUT ERIKA:

Erika is a lady of many job descriptions. With her diploma in Musical Theatre, she also writes, choreographs, directs and teaches. She is a producer and writer for KalamaTea, an online production company who's first project, The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, has become a cult favourite.
Find her at:
Twitter: @shmerikataylor
Website: http://theautobiographyofja.wix.com/jane-eyre



Monday, 6 October 2014

Go Forth and Get Haunted: CARRIE: The Musical

Ginger Soup for the Actor's Soul recommends Carrie the Musical by Fighting Chance Productions

Fun Fact: the name "Taylor" was not my mother's first choice for me. I was almost a "Karrington". Yeah. I think it's kind of cute, and it still made it's way in as one of my middle names...but imagine growing up as a ginger kid with a name that almost has the word carrot in it. No thank you! But that wasn't even what deterred my mom from using it in the end...she was more concerned that people would shorten it to Kerry and then pour pig blood on me at my prom. Nobody said that pregnant thinking was rational thinking...

So, while I made it out with a name that only makes people think about Taylor Swift and that one Jack Johnson song about a prostitute, I can finally go and see what was almost my fate unfold in real time, right before my eyes. This Halloween, Fighting Chance Productions is giving us our very first opportunity to see Carrie: The Musical this side of the border. In a town where you can see five different productions of Annie or Oklahoma in a year, FCP has always given a breath of fresh air with exciting new musicals and brave and different productions - and artistic director, Ryan Mooney, has done it again by spearheading the Canadian premier of Carrie.


Director Ryan Mooney discusses the process of putting together Carrie:The Musical

There has been an incredible amount of excitement around this production, landing the local company articles on both Broadway World and Playbill.com, as well as a few others. I can only imagine that it would be thrilling for the cast and crew to be a part of something so new and anticipated, but it is especially exciting as a Vancouver audience member to have the opportunity to witness the premier of a show like this in our city. And not only that, but this is looking like it is going to be a fantastic production...the star of the show, Ranae Miller, donned the ever-fashionable pig blood look for the show's promo photos.
Carrie: The Musical by Fighting Chance Productions, on Ginger Soup for the Actor's Soul
Ranae Miller as "Carrie White"
For any of you who haven't read the original novel by Stephen King, or seen the film with Sissy Spacek...or the remake with Chloe Grace Moretz (just a few options...), I won't give spoil anything for you. But know that there is a lot to look forward to in this show. Including a lot of blood. Quite a lot. Now, I'll admit, I'm not great around blood. In a real way. And I may be doing a bit of my viewing of this show through my fingers over my eyes...but I won't let my squeamishness keep me from going. This is a chance to see some of Vancouver's up and coming talent put on a brand new show, and though I've only heard one song so far, my understanding is the music is killer! Ha...killer.

Carrie: The Musical opens this week on Wednesday, October 8th, at the Jericho Arts Centre and you can get your tickets here.



















Wednesday, 1 October 2014

October Series: Halloweeneeneeneeneen

BOO!
...
Did I scare you?
...
No?
...
Watch out...I may steal your soul...so you should be scared!

Welcome to the wickedly spooky, scary, screamy (screamy?) October! I love this time of year, and I go crazy for Halloween! I'm not necessarily ever successful at Halloween - I usually figure out a really great costume on November 3rd, think about it all year, cloud my brain with a thousand other equally creative plans, manage to forget all of them by October 29th, and then claim to be any redheaded character from any movie ever (I leave it up to you to choose who I'm "dressed up" as). Total cop out. The great thing about Halloween, though, is that your candy consumption is not dictated by your costume cleverness. I still eat all the candy. All. The. Candy.

Ginger Soup for the Actor's Soul does Halloween, and Taylor Hastings shows off her best Halloween costumes.
I was a lot more successful with costumes when my mom was in charge...

Last Halloween, I was living almost directly on a graveyard. Prior to moving in, I had started watching The Walking Dead...big mistake. It stopped me from leaving my house a few times, and I haven't been able to revisit that show in a while. Then, in a burst of Joss Whedon fandom, I started watching Buffy...also a big mistake for a low-tolerance-for-scary-things-girl living on a graveyard. Needless to say, I was a little jumpy and not delving into anything haunting last season. But!! I have moved! Into a very wholesome neighbourhood, where there are no dead people hanging out in the "park". So this year, I'm all in!

So on Ginger Soup this month, you can expect to find everything from actor "horror stories", to favourite scary moments on TV and in movies, to where to catch the best Halloween related local shows and events...it's going to be a - wait for it - MOoOoOoNSTER MASH! (It's so hard to type in scary voices...but I think you can work that one out!).

Join us for a verrrry, spoooooky and fun-filled month at Ginger Soup for the Actor's Soul - and get ready for one helluva Halloween!!!
MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Freshman 15: Running Off The Summer Pounds

Ginger Soup for the Actor's Soul loves 5k Runner App for staying fit as an actor


So, while I spent the entirety of last year preparing for a busy summer of auditions, I was unpleasantly surprised to attend a meek total of two auditions between June and August. Yep. That was it! Goes to show, a one time successful season is sometimes just that: just because you did well and booked last summer, doesn't mean a pattern is forming. Lesson learned.

Now, instead of deciding that the good season is over...I'm just holding on to the hope that it is only delayed. Perhaps fall will be my sweet spot this year. After all. auditioning doesn't end in the summer, there will be opportunities available for the rest of the year - and I want to be ready. Ready mentally, and physically.

This summer saw a lot of boredom and emotional eating...I may have eaten an entire tub of ice cream in one sitting. And not a cute little pint of Ben and Jerry's...like, a full carton of Bryer's. Once I had decided that I had eaten enough of it to warrant finishing it off, I even fried some peaches with rum and brown sugar - so delicious, but I'll get back to that in a post that isn't fitness related. The point is, I need a little work to get back in shape before I try to fit into my audition pants.

Since it is only September, we've still got a bit of time to get outside and enjoy the tail end of a beautiful summer. This is why I'm focusing on my new favourite app of all time: 5K Runner. This has been an incredibly helpful tool for me. It is exactly what it sounds like: it takes you from being somebody who maybe owns a pair of running shoes but has never used them, to somebody who can tackle (with confidence) a 5k jog.



The app works by taking you step by step through your run, telling you when to walk and when to pick up the speed to a light run. Working through small alternating segments like this, you comfortably ease your way into longer running times and more athletic stamina! It is very exciting for someone like me, who has always wanted to be a runner, but never knew how to tackle it.

Their 8 week program (recommends 3 runs a week, so that you  have a chance to rest in between) is a perfect way to get into shape, get outside and get running. For more advanced runners, or runners who have finished the first 8 week program, they now offer a 10K Runner option as well! It could even be the most convenient training package to get you ready for the Vancouver Sun Run! And once the rain starts, take it inside and get on the treadmill.

I hope you'll join me! I've been loving this program, and I even have the little line that fit people get in there stomach that implies some sort of athletic prowess...so, that's a win right there. Remember, any physical activity you partake in and anything you can do for your health, will only benefit you later in your acting career!