The last two weeks have been simultaneously challenging and exhilarating for me as an artist. In February, I was accepted into the 2019 CSU Summer Arts Acting for the Camera:The Reel Experience. It came as a total surprise after I auditioned with a monologue I wrote and performed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Before I knew it, July had rounded the corner and I was off to Fresno to bare the heat of the Valley, and bare the heat of the acting industry.
From 9am-5pm every day, myself and 27 other students from all walks of life ate, breathed, and slept acting. After classes, we shoveled food into our mouths and then watched phenomenal guest artists perform from 7pm-9pm and then rehearse until the sun went down. These guest artists and performers ranged from the acrobatic styles of the Diavolo Dance Company in Los Angeles to the culturally significant Geisha narrative from USC Professor and professional actress— Natsuko Ohama, to the melodic sounds of Afro-Carribean Jazz by award-winning musicians from around the globe.
In the class, we were taught by three professional casting directors and coaches from LA who schooled us on everything we needed to know from how to self-tape, how to behave in a casting room, and how to read and analyze a scene. We were each assigned 2 acting coaches and 2 scene partners to perform scenes with. Next, we filmed in a studio and created our own individual demo reels at the end of the program.
Besides the incredible coaching and lessons learned in the classroom, we were surrounded by several other programs. From the theatre of the oppressed to animation, to drawing, memoir writing, I was immersed in a creative engine spinning a million miles an hour and it was exhilarating. I felt so inspired and alive that it truly made me excited to be in the modern era of arts and culture. And for each program, world-renowned teachers led their students, bestowing invaluable lessons.
I am also glad to say that I made an absolutely phenomenal group of friends. It can be very difficult from production to production to find a connection with your fellow actors, but this class of young adults made it easy. I made friendships and connections I am sure will last a lifetime. Beyond titles and professions, I got to get to know these beautiful people for their art and their minds. I am so grateful to CSU Summer Arts for such an immersive and informative experience.