Monday, October 28, 2013

Networking Tips for Actors

Until you explode in the entertainment industry, a little bit of self publicity can help move things along. Religious leaders encourage Christians to "wait on God" but waiting on God does not suggest that we do nothing. The Bible is full of examples where people networked within their community to advance their causes and/or help friends. Paul wrote letters, friends told friends when Jesus was in town, etc. Additionally, since we are the light our responsibility is to shine that light. Matthew 5:15-16 puts it this way:

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.Here are some of the best ways to get your face out there.
Here are a few tips on shining your light as an actor.

Postcards: Send a casting director or agent a follow up post-card with your head shot on the front and a unique design as a followup. This really helps if you did not book the job. The postcard should include as much information as possible.

Websites: Many electronic breakdowns will request that actors submit a website link if one is available, so make one available! Anyone can have their own website. With the entertainment industry quickly advancing into the digital age, all actors should make their resume, headshots, and demo reel readily available on a professional website along with a biography and contact information. A website can increase a casting director's interest in your work when they see that you have taken time to organize your body of work in an easily accessible format!

Mixers: Keep an eye out for monthly mixers and seminars for actors. This will help you keep updated with the local entertainment scene and meet your competition. This will also give you an opportunity to hone your "elevator pitch" and put your personality n the best light. You never know who will attend these events; a meeting at a mixer may lead you to your next job!

Showcases: Every now and then, local theatre groups or networking companies such as The Houston Film Commission hold showcases that agents attend to meet new actors. If you are shopping around for an agent, this is your chance to meet directly with them and show off your skills. Even if you aren't approached by an agent, you have an opportunity to introduce yourself.

Business Cards: Similar to a postcard, your headshot will be on the front of your business card along with your agency, contact number, and your union affiliations. This will help at the aforementioned mixers and showcases; business cards also come in handy for day-to-day life.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tim Chey on Faith in Movies

Writer/Director Timothy Chey took the stage at Lakewood Church just days before the Houston Premier of his movie, Final, to impart wisdom on the actors, writers, and directors of the Lakewood Players. Tim Chey has been in the industry for about 20 years now and his love of Christ guides his career everyday. This was apparent as Tim shared information about his background, his movies, his choices, and his faith.

Born and raised in Englewood California, Chey didn't accept Christ until he attended USC Film School. Chey says that he agrees with the scripture that talks about a sinful woman who anointed Jesus in Luke 7:36-50; verse 47 says whoever has been forgiven little loves little. He likens his salvation to this woman's experience. While at USC, Chey produced His first acclaimed movie which did not have a Christian theme. As a tribute to his childhood, Chey wrote and directed Fakin' Da Funk about a Chinese boy growing up in an African-American neighborhood, starring Pam Grier, Bo Jackson, and Nell Carter. The film was nominated for the Golden Starfish Award at the 1997 Hamptons International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the 1997 Urbanworld Film Festival. After this success, Chey decided to devote his film career to God, literally. After discussing his salvation and first film, Tim was moved to offer advice an encouragement. 

Tim Chey encouraged the Christian thespians to act in secular, even R-rated movies citing Acts 18 where Paul ended up staying with a couple because he had a similar profession, not because of his faith. During this time in the Bible all Jews were ordered to leave Rome, but they needed people with desirable skills, so he was able to use his profession to preach the Gospel. By acting in a secular movie with non-believers, a Christian actor is in a position to preach the Gospel to the lost!

Mr Chey warned that each person must know thyself; if you aren't ready to enter that space wait until God prepares you but don't fight it. This is the way a Christian actor can use his or her freedom to glorify God but to do that we must become all things to all people (v. 22b). By using your talents in a secular movie, you enter that world and experience things from the point of view of a non-Christian actor. Chey warned that it's imperative to keep your bearings in Christ and not to enter that world until the Lord prepares you because he will make a way because as Matthew 6:33 says, seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all your human needs will be met. From this encouragement, Tim moved on to a little advice before he took open questions.

Tim advised that writers and producers not only know their purpose but be sure to surround their projects with people who are on board with that purpose. This advice came from an experience Chey had with a movie that he wrote starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Mr. Chey penned the movie as a story about redemption but the director portrayed the story  as a vengeful thriller. This movie like many of Chey's movies is focused on multiple protagonists which Wendell Burton says is a smart way to tell a story. Though Wendell and may others herald Tim's writing there are those who are not fans.

Tim says that he faces criticism because people want Christian movies not to be "too preachy".  Quoting 1 Corinthians 9:16, woe to me if i don't preach the gospel, Mr. Chey finds this criticism in direct conflict with his mission as a Christian. He refutes the idea that our actions should draw people to want to know about Jesus because that's not what usually happens. In his film, Sung the the devil, Tim's wife led Malcolm McDowell to accept Christ. Ironically, Mr. McDonald blatantly asked Tim to "take some of the Jesus out" to which Mr. Chey obviously refused.

Tim Chey's encouraging transparent words motivated us to no avail. You can meet him too on Friday 13th in Houston Texas at the premier of Final: The Rapture! Click here to purchase tickets! To view more pictures from TIm Chey's appearance click here to visit our Facebook page!

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Lakewood Players Welcome Timothy A. Chey

We would like to invite you to attend the next Lakewood Players meeting because we will be welcoming Producer/Director Timothy A. Chey. Mr. Chey is in Houston debuting his film, "FINAL-The Rapture" in Houston next week September 13th (Friday the 13th) Edwards Houston Marq'E Stadium 23 and Premiere Renaissance at Greenspoint Mall. Final-The Rapture is being reported as the scariest Christian movie of the decade, according to the Christian Post  .

Mr. Chey has produced other Christian films, including "Impact: The Passion of the Christ" (a documentary) and "Suing the Devil" starring Malcom McDowell.

He will be our special guest at Drama rehearsal Monday September 9, 2013 at 7:00p in the Warehouse (4th Floor) @ Lakewood Church. Come out and join us and bring a friend. You all can check out the trailer on their website

Hope to see you there.!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Play With Hitch Hikers

In Drama Ministry we typically follow a routine: prayer, play, practice, then prayer! Prayer and practice may seem like obvious sessions included in a Christian drama ministry, but many people do not see play as important.  Albert Einstein said that “play is the highest form of research.” When we play in theater, we research ourselves and the infinite possibilities of our minds. 

Games help fortify acting skills for stage performers because the games increase performance and creative skills. Most theatre games have no winners or losers they simply present a chance for thespians to strengthen creativity. The participants work individually or with others to accomplish the goal of the game, and if the goal is not accomplished at the first try, the participants have still learned something from the experience. One of our leaders, Jesse Adams, often directs us in playing "Hitch Hiker" which we played this week.

In Hitch Hiker 4-6 chairs to build the interior of a car or van. One player starts driving the car, and another player becomes a hitch hiker, hiking a ride. The hitch hiker character has a particular character tick or particular emotion, which everyone in the car take on. Other hitch hikers join in, each with their own characteristics or emotions, taken over by the driver and the passengers in the car as the hiker joins. When the car is full, one of the players leaves the car to make room for the new guest. When the passenger leaves, he or she justifies leaving the car.

This game combines improvisation with careful observation, and so makes a great rehearsal tool for serious performers because an actor you need to be able to see and imitate easily. Fred Rogers said play is serious learning and though he was referring specifically to children adults should take time to play as well. Until next time, be sure to visit the Lakewood Players Facebook page to keep updated about ministry events to come.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Resolution Dilemma

Our team boasts several strong writers so when the Married Life team approached our leaders wishing to include
dramatic presentations in their Monday Night Class, Love Your Marriage we effortlessly presented old pieces from our repertoire such as "In-Fligh Entertainment" and "Wedding Wows" as well as new pieces including "What's For Dinner" and "Social Media". Though we smoothed out these performances, it started off a bit rocky. Our writers thought our pieces were to supplement the teaching in that the teachers would help those in attendance figure out how to resolve the conflicts presented, however, our audience needed more than an ending, they needed a resolution!

Oftentimes, a narrative may resolve most of the issues faced without providing closure because the author wants to allow his or her audience to create an ending or speculate possible outcomes. Life is a journey, not a destination and Marriage is a part of life. Our writers chose to highlight the journey that stresses feelings and emotions forgoing a destination. In many cases, the couple remained in conflict. In the end, the root cause of the conflict was revealed, but no steps were taken to bring closure to the situation. Unfortunately, this structure was not conducive to the needs of the Love Your Marriage Class so the team set out to edit the pieces.

Now, with the conflict softened and resolutions apparent the team continues to cultivate a solid repertoire of original pieces that can now suit the needs of varying audiences just by adding a resolution. Without the resolution the pieces mimic soap operas and with the resolutions the pieces mimic sit-coms. We successfully turned a problem into an asset and can consider our resolution dilemma destroyed! 

This represented a valuable life lesson: 1) creativity must suit the audience and 2) if your creativity doesn't suit the audience a few MINOR edits can save the day. Always be open to outside views and incorporate those views into your future projects when appropriate. We have had the pleasure of ministering several groups of married couples at Lakewood Church for nearly a year now and had we been close-minded we would have missed out on blessing others with our blessings!

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Little Drama in Marriage

With all of the responsibilities that married couples have you can expect a little drama. That drama can push nurturing their marriage down on the list of priorities. Lakewood Church offers an excellent tool in taking your marriage from surviving to thriving and we provide the drama to help you get rid of yours! This all happens at the weekly Love Your Marriage classes at Lakewood church.
Dozens of couples get together every Monday night at 7pm in the Chapel to learn in small groups, watch creative videos, and hear a practical message. Every other week these couples enjoy a live stage play by the Lakewood Players. We have been so blessed to join these couples on their way to a better marriage; we see them eager to learn and watch them grow. We notice couples who in a few weeks go from sitting far apart to holding hands. It's a beautiful transformation to watch. They say that "many people have good marriages, a few people have great marriages, but everyone can have a better marriage. So, whether you are struggling in your marriage, rejoicing in your marriage, or about to embark upon marriage, this class is for you"!

  • All classes are free. No registration is required; just show up.
  • Parking is free.
  • Classes are open to the public.
  • Free childcare for children 12 and under. Check children in at Underwater Quest (1st floor) after 6:30pm.
  • Parking in B-1 garage after 6:00pm.
  • For more information, contact or 713-491-1114.

The Married Life staff at Lakewood put this together to help you have a healthier and more successful marriage. There is no registration and they even provide refreshments sometimes! We are so honored to join the Married Life team in it's mission to make Lakewood Church a divorce-free zone. We hope to see you on your journey to a better marriage.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Understudies "Break Their Legs"

In theater, an understudy is a performer who learns the lines and blocking/choreography of a regular actor or actress in a play. Should the regular actor or actress be unable to appear on stage because of illness or emergencies, the understudy takes over the part. This week in children's ministry (Kidslife at Lakewood) two "regular actors" fell ill and were unable to appear on stage causing 2 understudies to take center stage.
Under the direction of the multi-talented David Bowman, our task was to help ministry leaders teach the kids about determination: determination is deciding it's worth it to finish what you started. Specifically this presentation was about showing determination when sticking by someone in need.
The characters included a prim and proper credible host, Grace, and her comical assistant "The Grace Whisperer" . They warmed up the audience for the sketch which included a nervous Gordo, played by Javier Frutos, too scared to show determination in the "Science Fair Dance-Off" and his friend, played by David Pineda, determined to stick with him in his time of need. The final character in the sketch was the chameleon, Marlaina Smith as the Science Fair master of ceremonies!
Breaking up the sketch was the Good Book Look which focused on the story of Ruth. Ruth is interviewed by “Fancy Grace”, played by understudy Jeanicia Elder. Just like Nancy Grace, Fancy discusses issues from what she calls a victims' rights standpoint, with an outspoken style. The victim according to  Fancy is Naomi but Boaz, played by understudy David Bowman, arrives on the scene to debunk the accusation.
In the end the kids responded well to the presentation. They were engaged, entertained, and enlightened. The understudies and everyone involved broke their legs FIGURATIVELY of course! Until next blog, follow the Backstage Pass to see where we are ministering next!