The corporate acting jobs: (the best workshop you’ll do)

I’ve had a few corporate jobs come up over the last few weeks. That’s great for a few reasons; one being that it’s been scarce on that particular front for a couple months (though filled by other acting work); two it’s with new clients which is great business wise; and three it’s the best emotional workshop you can possibly do AND you get paid for it.

I’ll talk a bit about #3 by going into some fuzzy details about the jobs.  With corporate work (Role play and Video) you are hired to show the good and bad of human interaction so that the people learning can see and practice what to do and what to avoid. What that essentially means for the actor (ie. me) is that I get to play the juicy parts of the human condition. Some times it’s the emotional journey of your favorite Shakespeare tragedy EVERY HALF HOUR

One job involved a character that was dying and the clients were training on getting information through to him. The tricky bit here was in a lot of the scenario’s my guy came in in a state of middle-of-the-road-happy but had to break down when confronted with the scary information.  This might seem a little obvious but for me as an actor I have been inclined to prep for the sad stuff and think about the rest of the scene as a chaff for that seed.  Here I was in a position to find it, or more accurately let it find me, in the scene. Now I’ve never been the cry-on-cue kind of actor but I was happily surprised to be able to pull it out of the bag very half hour for 8 hours a day for a week.  Big win.

This time I’ve been using Chubbuck (as taught by Anthony Wong so a little of a different flavour to what you might read) to get me over the line. He talks about setting up little land mines of emotion on words or gestures or concepts, in home time rehearsal and then setting them off (or letting them find you) in the scene.  I’ve been a little unsuccessful in the past doing this (at least for my own happiness) and I think that the main reason is the self judgement in the moment getting in the way of getting the action/objective. But in the immortal words of Bullwinkle Moose “This time for sure”.

Like any good magic there is a trick behind it and by trick I mean loads of tough training and constant practice, and I won’t go through it here.  If you need to know then get a hold of Anthony and do the dying exercise (or sexual chemistry or any of the amazing things he does).  The thing is it’s no different from being angry on cue; or being in love on cue; or what-have-you emotion.  The trick is focusing on yourself and the (sometimes sub-textural)  story that gets you there and making it about the dialogue between you and the person opposite you. I think that being in those 2 places at once makes it harder for the self judgement to be heard and get in the way of doing the job. Corporate jobs are great ways of training what you learn in class.

I’m in a glass case of emotion

So it’s been a big emotional couple weeks for me, both fake and RL (ironically real life stuff always happens at the same time doesn’t it?).  That’s a segue into looking after yourself emotionally.

We all know putting your hand in the fire is a bad thing. But the actors job is to metaphorically do that, and with glee and often.  Some of the reasons that actors (and all artists) are loved is that they are vicarious vehicles for emotional catharsis for the rest of us. The important actor trick here is to be very skilled at recovering from horror.  All the crying and anger and love is based on real feelings and (esp for my style of performance) very real events. After such a performance you get a couple hours of cathartic joy and relief in your body. It does (like the drugs that mimic it) come with a crash afterwards. So it is extremely important to have a good set of techniques to get you back to reality and back into yourself. Some might call this de-rolling but for me it’s just resetting. All the drinks at the pub and good reviews are poor substitutes for good de-rolling techniques. This is another thing that I’ve been thankful for – getting skilled up by Anthony. Actually he’s the only one whose taught this to me over the 15 years I’ve been going to his class. I never learnt this in acting school or any of the other classes I’ve been to which is sad.

Anyway that is some of the stuff I’ve been thinking about wrt corporate jobs. I’d love to hear some of your experiences.

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the MOViE ON story

Welcome back to heathwilder.com. I felt a little silly not adding something about MOViE ON to the page considering as it took up Xmas for Tristan Kenyon, Drew McCourt, Michael Walker and myself (and many others).

It started as an idea over the years for a TV dramedy (we don’t know what that means either) based in a small indy video store similar to the one we may have worked over the years for a little extra $ (depending on who asks). As anyone who has ever worked retail and customer service can tell you the show started writing itself. Odd customers and over qualified staff at the wrong end of the art form they loved.

"And I will always looove you"

After a particularly rough spot Tristan, Drew and I eventually sat down and came up with a concept for the looming Optus one80 comp.  It was a deadline we new could motivate us – a 3 minute trailer by New Year and one month to do it!!!!!

Video stores are dying for a number of reasons including piracy, the shift in marketplace to downloadable content and a GFC. All things that are boring as hell to read about but tough to live through, especially when you are a struggling artist 30 something artist who is at that particular time in their life when they need to work out if mom was right and they should have stuck with med school. We were all guilty as charged.

The face I made when they told me we didn't make the cut for Optus one80

The characters were a mix of ourselves, our immediate friends and enemies, and a distillation of the bizarre customers we had known throughout the years and wanted to celebrate on film.  Tristan wrote the initial script and he and I worked on subsequent drafts. That lead us to the trailer. We filmed this over a couple weeks like mad men after hours and juggling a schedual that looked mad. Our saving grace was our amazing crew (ie. friends) and especially our good pal and amazing camera genius Michael Walker. Click here to see his other recent stuff.

The cast were off the chart as well.  Often we gave a brief to the guys coming in (also great friends donating their talent and time) that set up the playground we wanted to work in and let them improv their way to success.  Bless you all for running with that. the results are GOLD!

Coupled with Tristans vast talent and experience as a director, editor and DOP we got this trailer together.

However Optus didn’t love it like we did (#sadface) so we were sad for about 5 minutes. NOW Tristan and I are putting together the whole story.  It’ll be all the stuff that was AWESOME but couldn’t make a 3min trailer and tells more of the story of MOViE ON.  With some luck a rich(er than us) network will give us some $ to make more of it and we’ll see how that goes.  Stay tuned for updates on MOViE ON.

I’m going to leave you with a gallery of the amazing cast (and crew as practically everyone doubled in classic Sam Raimi style).

A Divorce

No nothing to call Jerry Springer about. It’s an animated film that I narrated for Beini Huang a while ago. I did some talking and she did everything else. Well not surprisingly it won “Best Film at the Toronto Student Film Festival (2011)” which is definitely something to write home (and blog) about. Check out Beini.com.au for more of her amazing stuff. Really proud to be a part of such a great project.

A DIVORCE; BY BEINI HUANG

Welcome to heathwilder.com

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I’ve been an actor for more than 17 years now. I trained at the esteemed University of Western Sydney Nepean where I received my BA in performance. I’ve also studied a wide range of acting styles and techniques, and have skills raging through voice acting, physical and stand-up comedy and stage fighting making me a versatile actor with an eclectic career.

Sydney based actor I have performed on TV, film and theatre around the country. For more info check out the about me page above. For examples of my work have a look through the video and photo pages. For a bio and to get in touch see my contacts page.

Thanks for stopping by and stay classy. Hope to work with you soon.

The new diggs!

Hi all,  Looks like I might be starting (or restarting) a website and blog.  The idea is to link all the parts of my work life into one big happy website where employers, collaborators and appreciators can view and peruse.  a hair raising experience

Let me know what you think and where you’d like this to go.  It’s 2 days old at the moment so expect more growth soon.

You go Glenn Coco!