By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act November 15, 2012 at 2:00PM
In an effort to incorporate other types of media on the site, notably video, I'm going to slowly introduce some new features that I think readers will appreciate, given the content of your many comments over the years; these are ideas that I've always wanted to implement, but without the necessary resources to make them realities, they've remained just ideas; which is why I say that my approach will be slow and deliberate, and see where it all goes.
If something doesn't work, I'll kill it! If it does, then obviously, I won't, and will continue to invest resources into it, so as to grow and improve on it.
One of those ideas is a video diary series of sorts, although you could also call it a reality web series, which will feature the lives of real-life working black actors and actresses (in the NYC, USA to start). By working I mean any of the following:
- Those who are actively pursuing careers as actors - auditioning regularly (whether for film, TV, stage, etc), hopefully booking work from time to time.
- Those who are already attached to projects - again, whether film, TV, stage, etc; projects that are in production, soon-to-be in production, or, in the case of stage work, are in rehearsals, or are already running at a theater wherever you are.
- Or it could be a combination of the above 2; after all, just because you've booked a gig, doesn't mean that you stop looking for work.
Of course there's some range here; you don't have to fall exactly into one of the 2 (or 3 categories); I'm just looking for actors with full lives that are dedicated to the pursuit of earning a living with their craft. Naturally, you'd need to be OK with a camera following you around, especially when you're *on the move* or *on the job.* You'd also have to be open; meaning, sharing thoughts and feelings about your craft, the nature of the work, specific jobs, and more, all on camera.
Also, we'd capture you in your more personal moments, maybe in your apartment, or hanging with your friends, your family (we may even get them all involved, asking them for their thoughts on the career path you've chosen, etc), or a session with your acting coach, or voice coach, or meeting with your agent or manager (if you have either), etc, etc, etc...
I can't tell you what exactly the end product will look like, but the goal is to give readers a sense of what it's like for black actors in the entertainment business.
Black actors are heavily scrutinized by black audiences - criticism that I think all link back to the choices they make (or don't make). And as I've done in past posts about actors, I really want to try and demystify that world for the average audience member.
I took a quick survey of a few working actors that I know, to make sure that what I am proposing is essentially doable; I also asked for their feedback on how to best go about doing this. And thankfully, they all thought it was a good idea, and worth pursuing. So I'm really trying to do something of substance here, that everyone feels comfortable with.
To that end, I'm announcing a call for entries from actors who'd like to be featured in this upcoming series, which will start shooting and will debut some time in early 2013. Unfortunately, at the moment, I'm only opening it up to New York-based actors, because I live in New York, and it's likely that I'll be doing some, if not all of the shooting (at least initially, until I settle into some rhythm that I can pass onto someone else). Plus I want to be able to ask the actors questions as shooting happens, in a process that I'd describe as organic. A one-man crew with a camera with a microphone mounted, and nothing more. We'll adjust to each situation as necessary. I envision a weekly series, featuring a different actor each time; although, again, I'm not yet married to a single strategy, so anything could change, especially early on.
So if this is a journey you're willing to take, send me an email introducing yourself, with a little info on your background, what you're working on currently, what your average week is like, and anything else you think I should know about you that might help me get to know you a little. Include some photos of yourself (I assume most actors have professional head, medium or full shots); and if you have a reel of work, or clips of your performances online, send me a link to them.
You also have the option to record your introduction on video, instead of writing it all out. Your call.
But whether writing or recording, keep it short please! Maybe a couple of paragraphs, or, if recording, a 5-minute max video.
It's not meant to tell me your entire life-story. But I need to have some sense of where you've been, where you are, and where you're going. Your elevator pitch, you could say.
ALL entries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org; and please put "Actor Series" in the subject heading, so I can easily locate and sort your emails. Again, only New York City-based actors right now.
And if I've left out anything crucial in this post, or you have any further questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com.