Memorization

(Source: Facebook.)

I just had a long talk with my friend and classmate about memorization. Namely, we’re memorizing too many different texts. Since we have 10 classes, each class offers something different:

•A scene from an Irish play for Monday’s class.

•A piece of text from “The Tell Tale Heart” for the Tuesday morning class.

•A Shakespeare monologue for the Tuesday afternoon class.

•A scene from an Irish television show for Wednesday’s class.

•2 songs off book for vocal rep.

And that’s only this week.

Memorization is incredibly helpful, and over time, with enough training, I can memorize quickly. However, with stress, a varied schedule, and too many texts to learn, I’m far too scattered. With the way my brain works, I need to dedicate more time to learn a show or a piece of text than maybe the average person.

I pray to survive the semester with all of my texts in place. But I wish I could dedicate myself to one piece of text at a time.

A Scam that Built a Community

(Source: Image Orca Pinterest.)

Is it possible for a scam to bring people together? In my case and many others, yes it did.

A “recruiter” messaged me a few weeks ago to tell of a a beauty campaign featuring diverse faces and body types for a campaign. I was wary of it at first, but I was also wary of a strange email sent to me about a film (MUDA) that turned out to be very real. So I asked for more information and they sent me an email regarding what the campaign is and what the contract looks like.

Before I agree to anything, I typically do research to find out more about the companies involved as well as the campaign. Shockingly these scammers did an incredible job at crossing their “T’s” and dotting their “I’s”. They provided real companies, real discount codes for their products, a genuine conference call with everyone that would be working on the shoot, as well as a real location as to where we would be staying. Unfortunately, but fortunately, the veil lifted for everyone soon after and it was revealed to be a scam.

The silver lining in all of it was that everyone scammed was on a group email and we all corresponded with each other after the big reveal to figure out how we can fight the scam and stay in touch. Now we are a community that follows each other on Instagram with the hopes that we will collaborate on projects in the future. It’s definitely possible: many of us are models, actors, recording artists, bloggers, and brand ambassadors. Movers and shakers in this industry that are making big things happen.

I’ve been fortunate enough to not be pulled into an elaborate scam that affects my safety or my finances. Those people are out there and it’s concerning that they would go to such lengths. Take this as a warning: do all of your research, ask questions, ask others that are involved, and if something doesn’t feel right in your gut, walk away.

The Bane of My Existence

(Source: Chappelle Show, Comedy Central.)

For me, singing is unquestionably painful and I’m beginning to butt heads with one of my professors. Yesterday’s class was the worst. I didn’t want to go up to sing, my voice broke down, and I was bored with my song.

It’s not a self-consciousness thing (which is something they talk about in class), it’s the fact that I don’t care. Yes, more professional actors need to be able to sing now. However, like I said in my previous post, it’s not my passion or priority. The reason why I performed in the musicals I’ve been in is that they allow me to be ensemble with minimal singing and I like that.

The biggest problem that I’m having with the program in general is the fact that they are not really listening when I previously said that my priority is acting and not song. I’d rather play to my strengths and not my weaknesses. I can project my voice loudly for a piece of text. Give me Tennessee Williams, give me Shakespeare, I got you covered. Give me a solo song in a musical and watch me bomb horribly.

So now all of this vocal coaching is becoming drudgery because I’m getting admonished by my professor for not singing well; when I didn’t want to be in the class in the first place. I’m only here to complete the credits. If you want beautiful singing, look to one of your Star Students who actually give a damn.

TrapStock

(Source: Patientce Foster and The Cream Agency Instagram.)

This Sunday, I’m attending a new music festival event that I am not working (what a shocker!) I’m going to listen to trap music and relax in my lawn chair with a book.

(Source: Facebook.)

I’ve been working pretty much every day this summer without reprieve. My gears are grinding down to a halt and I’m in need of some semblance of self-care.

(Taken at the end of June.)

I’m also trying to support this lovely lady featured above. For those who don’t know, her name is Patientce (this is the correct spelling for her name) and this is her first major music festival that she’s putting on in her hometown…which also happens to be my hometown. She is also the industry insider that I have auditioned for before.

Now before you think this is my way of jumping in favor of her, the answer is no. Yes, she works with high powered people, but meeting her was truly enough for me. Besides I’m not going to be here in Delaware for much longer so working with her is now an impossibility. At this point I’m supporting building something good in this city that is not gentrified. I’ll post pictures on Instagram so be sure to follow me: @shammacasson.

Pole Competition

(Taken yesterday at the Kleinlife Center in Northern Philadelphia.)

Yesterday, one of my students performed in the local pole dancing competition. She had wanted to compete for some time now so she took a brave step and signed up.

She choreographed her own routine and did not ask us for any input. The result was a marvelous! She also placed 4th in her division. Not bad for a first-timer huh?!

More so than that, I was inspired. For years I was a competition cheerleader and loved the thrill of preparing for a competition whether we won or not. It’s the same thrill I get when preparing for a show…which is also why I’m feeling a little empty about my career right now.

I have done pole comps in the past, but they were significantly smaller in comparison to yesterday’s, and that isn’t even the largest.

My goal is to compete as a way of getting out of my rut. I think focusing on my career too much can actually be detrimental rather than helpful.

Hopefully there is a small comp in Europe that would allow me to perform.

Second Chance

(Source: Sailor Moon, Toei Animation. Creator Naoko Takeuchi.)

Remember two weeks ago when I submitted my information to a high level mover and shaker in the industry? That gig they advertised has come and gone with me not working on it, but they advertised another casting call scheduled for this week.

As always, I strike while the iron is hot with this strike leading to some success! I got a call back for a live audition.

This gig may also not be for me, however, I will definitely be on their radar for any future project.

The other rumor about this individual…they may be able to represent talent. Ultimately that is my goal: to get representation, bigger parts, and more work. Wish me luck!

Sound

(Source: whatspopping-sugar Tumblr and Pinterest.)

In 2015, I attended my first screening party as an actress. I was there due to appearing as a featured extra in a small independent project. While there, I overheard one of the other guests in attendance, answering a question asked of him:

What makes a good film?

Interestingly enough, his answer had nothing to do with the script, the actors, or the direction. His answer was purely technical….

“The film has to have good sound. If the sound is bad, it ruins the entire film.”

Sound advice if you ask me (pardon the pun.)

Having previously studied film and television production, along with currently working at an art house movie theatre, sound really can make or break the film!

I’m in a constant battle with the volume knob of the sound board every time I’m working as a projectionist. A couple of issues that I have with the films are, 1) too loud music but too low speaking volume. Or 2) too low/too loud altogether.

The second one seems simple enough. Just turn the volume up or down. It’s a little trickier than that. Too low volume is a combination of both low music and mumble acting (actors who speak with poor enunciation. It drives me up a wall.) If the volume is too high, the sound has a weird blown out effect to it, which also makes it hard to hear the actors even when the volume is at a reasonable level.

How can a filmmaker combat this?

Part of me suspects that low speaking volume, but high music volume, may be to mask a shit story. In which case the filmmakers are just going to have to own it and make the sound level across the the board. Special effects sounds should be louder, but only by a few decibels (we are not trying to destroy our patrons’ ear drums.) And please tell the actors to stop mumbling!

So What’s Up With Diss Tracks?

(Source: Facebook.)

Of course the news from the past 24 hours is the release of an extreme diss track from one recording artist to another. It seems like a silly concept to me, given that I’m old school, when someone talks trash on you…you meet them outside to fight.

I consider diss tracks to be the equivalent of a keyboard gangster posting on social media: All words and no action.

That’s not to say creating art isn’t a good way of expressing hurt or frustration. I mean, hell, I do it all the time. But in the effort to keep people talking or in this case, to promote an album, it’s petty for no reason.

On a side note: while the actions of one of the recording artists using blackface and what they have done in their personal life is abhorrent; isn’t it kind of hypocritical of the creator of the diss track to call that out, but gloss over their employer’s allegiance to white supremacy? Where’s the outrage there? Oh yeah, I forgot…they’re being paid a princely sum.

A Very Obvious Publicity Stunt

(Source: memegenerator.net and Facebook.)

Black Slaves did opt out of slavery…it was called The Underground Railroad, and that mission for freedom was fraught with danger.

But that is beside the point.

This is a publicity stunt performed by, what many call, a malignant narcissist. I’ve been talking about publicity stunts for the last few posts and I find the act to be fascinating. Mainly because it begs the question:

What depth is a celebrity willing to go, to make money?

In my “expert” opinion, as someone who takes many odd jobs for a quick buck, I would say this particular depth is somewhere near the Earth’s core.

However, I don’t have it in me to throw my ancestors under the bus. My elders raised me on the stories of our family’s past. It’s too horrific for me to deny or diminish what happened to them for a dollar. That’s plain evil.

Rocktopia

(Source: Broadway.com)

I’m heading to Broadway tomorrow! This weekend, I’m required to register with Tribeca to complete my paperwork and pick up my credentials for access to the festival. At the same time, my friend and former castmate from ‘Orange Is The New Musical’, Yvette, is performing in the show ‘Rocktopia’ on Broadway. She has been posting pictures of her experience left and right, and I’m super happy for her. To lend my support, I bought a ticket to see the show and let her know I’m going. I’ll post pictures on Instagram after the show.