Butley – Simon Gray’s Classic Re-Imagined

It's been 40 years since Butley was first written by Simon Gray back in the early 1970's and it is safe to say that it's probably best known play to date. As a testament to that fact, an anniversary production of the award-winning play is now showing at the Duchess Theater in London, directed by…

It's been 40 years since Butley was first written by Simon Gray back in the early 1970's and it is safe to say that it's probably best known play to date. As a testament to that fact, an anniversary production of the award-winning play is now showing at the Duchess Theater in London, directed by Lindsay Posner and designed by Peter McKintosh. It's a superbly excellent and darkly humorous play with a fresh insight into the modern academic.

Dominic West, famed for his role in HBO's The Wire fills Butley's shoes with the same dark humor and vile tongue as his predecessors – delivering sharp one-liners and snide put-downs just as Simon Gray intended with the original character. It's always nice to see such a well-known star in the West End and it is no different this time. Some critics have said that West's performance is lacking and he plays too much on the one-line quips, but he certainly adds his own personal touch to the Butley character. Those that remember West from The Wire , will no doubt appreciate his acting skill, changing role so simply to create a believable character that you both love and hate.

For those not familiar with Butley, the story centers on Ben Butley – an alcoholic English University lecturer with problems; A rocky marriage, broken friendships and a never-ending disgust for his students. Butley is in full self-destruct mode and he's taking everyone with him. The story essentially follows Butley as he spirals into the abyss – losing everything and everyone he loves on the same day. Yet he is a thoroughly intelligent man and it is very rare that you'll see such a character lose it all. Which is where the magic of Butley lies.

“The extraordinary thing about Butley, it still seems to me, is that the play gives us a character who hurls itself towards the destruction while living, in the fever of his intellectual hell, with a vitality and brilliance known too few of us.” ( Harold Pinter )

Butley is a clever, witty, black comedy which the majority of people will enjoy, but academies and students will revel in. Dominic West adds his own spin to the character, adding a new edge and welcome style. You'll both love and hate Butley and in all likelihood will leave the theater feeling doubtful whether he'll ever get his life in order or maybe these demons become the weapons of Butley's own self-destruction? After all, with all the alcohol, his estranged wife having taken up with the most boring man in London and his friend leaving him, there's not much left in Butley's life.

The supporting cast gel well and the whole play comes together magnificently – a homage to Simon Gray's original work. Yet another thoroughly enjoyable night out at the theater. Butley is a typical British work, very dark in its humor and clever in its wit.

Find out more about Butley on Simon Gray's website, see the official Butley site or follow the play on Twitter – @ ButleyLondon. Butley is only showing for a strictly limited season at the Duchess Theater in London between 31 May – 27 August so be sure to book your tickets now so you do not miss out! You will not be disappointed

War Horse – Bringing WW1 Cavalry To Life On The West End Stage

War Horse, currently showing at the New London Theater in Drury Lane, is the re-imagining for stage of the classic children's book first penned by Michael Morpurgo in the 80s. Originally told from the perspective of the horse (Joey), but now re-told through objective means using puppets, the stage performance breathes new life into a…

War Horse, currently showing at the New London Theater in Drury Lane, is the re-imagining for stage of the classic children's book first penned by Michael Morpurgo in the 80s. Originally told from the perspective of the horse (Joey), but now re-told through objective means using puppets, the stage performance breathes new life into a horrific, yet moving story of love and war. Joey, is torn from his young owner and shipped off to help the fight against the Germans in the Great War.

The stage performance of War Horse sees Joey turn from trembling foal to full-grown adult before the audiences very eyes. The use of puppetry, adds a new and interesting dimension to the already harrowing story. The excellent work of the Handspring Puppet Company helps the audience forget that they are watching puppets and puppeteers and simply get lost in the story. The flick of a tail, the tilt of a head, the galloping charge of the cavalry horses – all work so well, you could almost believe there were live animals on the stage. It is a true magic of theater. The horse puppets add a new dimension to the play which is lacking in their human counterparts, but since Joey is the main star of the show this works perfectly.

When the play first opened in 2007, the puppetry had audiences and critics stunned – the effect is nowhere near less by the passing of time.

War Horse is a truly startling and moving play, re-telling the horrid realities of the First World War from a new perspective as Joey finds himself thrust into the fray; Forced to work for both sides, constantly thrust in harm's way and even lost in no man's land. The play soon has you attached for the inanimate puppet and his play. Soon enough, his young owner comes to his rescue, risking his own life to save his dear four legged friend.

The cast and the production team did an amazing job of turning the novel into a full-blown stage production – something even the original author did not think possible. And this is a play which has since been enjoyed by thousands of people and will continue to do so for some time to come. Yet, it is terribly moving. The play is both moving and harrowing, when you think of those poor boys and young men being needlessly gassed and maimed in the trenches. The puppet horses of War Horse only add to the misery. You'll soon find yourself holding Joey and his friends dear in your heart, forgetting the strings and puppeteers and simply getting lost in the story.

Book your War Horse Tickets now and save money using our theater ticket comparison tools. Save up to 50% on this fabulous West End show.

Will Smith Teaches You How To Have A Victorious Acting Career

Will Smith Has Knowledge To Help Your Acting Career Will Smith is in a class of his own. His ability to astound Hollywood with his amazing performances has reached a worldwide audience. He has starred as well as produced hit films with a consistency very few actors ever attain. Looking into his work every actor…

Will Smith Has Knowledge To Help Your Acting Career

Will Smith is in a class of his own. His ability to astound Hollywood with his amazing performances has reached a worldwide audience. He has starred as well as produced hit films with a consistency very few actors ever attain. Looking into his work every actor learn a great deal. Will's way of thinking makes it possible for him to have such great results. In his mind failure is not an option. Accomplishing your goal is always possible.

This mindset is the center of his achievement. Yes, he's invested thousands of hours into his craft. The man's intellect is like a machine. Numerous players can discover how to get started as an actor simply by modeling his attitude. If you pay close attention in this article you will discover a secret that lead you to new heights.

You too can accomplish success. However, if you are looking for a secret button to success, you'll find that it does not exist. Too many of us are led to believe there's some 'magic pill' that will instantly alter everything.

Do you see the pattern?
If you look at those you really respect you'll see a pattern. They all put in hard work and trusted in themselves 100%. This is the secret to success. Try this activity to really drill this home. Create a list of the top 10 people who inspire you. Afterward go on the internet and do some research. Look into the reputation of these motivational leaders. You will begin to discover a pattern in each and every one of them. The pattern of persistent relentless action towards a big mission.

Award winning celebrities possess a strategy.
Lots of young players take off for the acting industry without a real strategy. Education is essential to develop your craft but like Will Smith you will also need a strategy which will get you through the challenging times.

Developing a powerful philosophy.
It's important to observe rejection and disappointment as learning lessons for a worthy career. It is unfortunate we are educated to look at disappointments as a negative idea. The most successful artist were the biggest failures. However, inside their minds they did not see themselves as failures but like a success. They understand that failing is only an opportunity to discover new things.

This frame of mind has created so many our great players and great leaders within the globe. The key to supporting your mindset is becoming very conscious of what you place into your mind. In today's culture, we are attacked with countless advertising, sales, and plenty of bad information.

The good information you read and the individuals you encircle yourself with will affect your philosophy. Do a mental inventory of the circle of associates in your life presently. If they are not 100% in support with your acting career, then sometimes it's time to you spend less time with them. It may appear tough at first, however the reward is a lot much more than your initial pain. Take it from Will Smith. If you are persistent and believe in the beauty of your dreams nothing is impossible.

Walkabout Entertainment With Juggling and Circus Skills Props at Carnivals, Parades and Festivals

What is Walkabout Entertainment? This is something similar to “the Wandering Minstrel” you may have seen at various fetes and carnivals. It is suitable for any type of event (such as Store Openings, Carnivals / Festivals, Parades, Fun Days, Shopping Centers, Pubs / Clubs) where you want to create a buzz or an enhanced “good…

What is Walkabout Entertainment?

This is something similar to “the Wandering Minstrel” you may have seen at various fetes and carnivals. It is suitable for any type of event (such as Store Openings, Carnivals / Festivals, Parades, Fun Days, Shopping Centers, Pubs / Clubs) where you want to create a buzz or an enhanced “good time” atmosphere without necessarily putting the performer up on a stage at a designated time for everyone to stop what they are doing and watch! They are also particularly useful in keeping crowds of “about to pay” customers in long queues waiting to see Santa or for a particular theme park ride. The organizers of events do not want these people getting bored and harassed by their children and deciding to leave the queue, so you can come to the rescue and keep everyone entertained and happy!

Walkabout Entertainers simply wander amongst the visitors to your event. They stop and entertain small crowds and individuals at random. There are Glow versions of most Circus Skills props such as balls, clubs, poi, devilstick & diabolo. This means that you can entertain whether it is day or night! Glow Jugggling Walkabout is ideal for bonfire night and Halloween themed events, as well as the switching on of Christmas lights.

How Do I Carry My Props?

You basically have only a few choices:

  1. Just carry one or two props with you for the entire event, or return occasionally to a secured area to switch over props.
  2. A suitcase on wheels. This will allow you to pack in lots of equipment but the downside is that you can not really wheel it along the ground while doing tricks, so you have to stop and start on a regular basis wherever you go.
  3. The best solution I have found is to wear a Jugglers Rucksack. There are some excellent ones available which have pockets and compartments in all the right places to help you store all different types of circus skills props securely and access them easily.

What props could I use?

If you have developed any short and snappy routines using props that fit nicely into your Jugglers rucksack, then carry these props with you for anytime you want to stop and do a quick performance. Remember that the idea is not to try to gather a huge crowd, so if you attract one, then it may be time to move on and entertain people everywhere! Your client has hired you to keep people happy, but not stop them from spending their money on all the attractions they have put on! If you only perform to tiny audiences everywhere, then you can use the same routines again and again as your new audience will not have seen it yet!

Costume:

An increasing amount of clients are asking performers not to look anything like clowns because kids are scared of them, so this will save you having to put on make-up and dress very brightly! I usually opt for a smart casual look. Brightly colored trousers, with a single color t-shirt, and a waistcoat. It's enough to make you stand out from the crowd, identify yourself as a performer, but still be approachable by a wide cross-section of people who are not going to be too embarrassed to stand next to you! If you end up spending your time as a walkabout entertainer dealing with heckles about what you are wearing, then it is time to consider finding a more suitable outfit!

Some Further Advice:

  1. Walkabout entertainment involves social interaction. It is about helping to enhance the event for every person you meet. It is OK to get into conversations with people and answering their questions about the world of entertainment (and anything else they wish to discuss) and not just be constantly juggling.
  2. This is a great chance to try out new short routines and tricks on people. If these routines go wrong, you may surprise yourself with coming up with an excellent ad-lib that you can write down later!
  3. In order to look approachable, it may be helpful to smile at people!
  4. Do not try to do the most technical tricks that scream “look at me, I am brilliant!”
  5. Do not focus on your own skills when you are wandering around the event, be on the look out for people who might be interested in seeing a few tricks or having a try at spinning a plate or learning to juggle. You will soon develop a useful radar for such people and also for knowing which people to avoid completely!
  6. Do not be worried about dropping or making mistakes. Develop the sort of character / personality that lets people see that you are enjoying being at this event and entertaining them, but that mistakes sometimes happen! Recover by doing an even more impressive trick.

A to Z Glossary of Circus Skills and Juggling Equipment Prop Definitions

This glossary contains simple descriptions of props you are likely to find if you attend a Juggling / Circus Skills Workshop. “Juggling” in a general sense can refer to all forms of object manipulation such as diabolo, devilsticks, spinning plates etc, so it is more than just the art of throwing multiple objects in the…

This glossary contains simple descriptions of props you are likely to find if you attend a Juggling / Circus Skills Workshop. “Juggling” in a general sense can refer to all forms of object manipulation such as diabolo, devilsticks, spinning plates etc, so it is more than just the art of throwing multiple objects in the air at the same time!

Astrojax – A toy that contains 3 balls on a string. One ball is fixed to each end of the string and the middle ball is free to slide between the two end balls. This skill toy allows you to do a combination of juggling, yo-yo and lasso tricks. It was invented in 1987.

Bar Flair – The practice of bartenders entertaining their guests while mixing drinks (such as cocktails) using bottles, cocktail shakers etc. “Flair” can include juggling and flipping the bottles, catching in the shaker cups etc. This skill became popular when seen on the 1988 film “Cocktail” starring Tom Cruise and on Britain's Got Talent where the Bar Wizards made it all the way to the Grand Final in 2007.

Beach Flingo – A game where you pass a small ball between yourself and a partner using a bib that is made of trampoline type fabric. Very addictive and you can use these bibs to play volleyball or for a massive group game of keepy-uppy's!

Bounce (Floor) Juggling – The art of bouncing balls off the floor in various juggling patterns.

Cigar Box Manipulation – Three rectangular shaped boxes which resemble cigar boxes but are much more solid. They are usually padded at the edges with a felt-like material. The basic tricks involve holding the two outer boxes, trapping one box in the middle (known as the “home position”) and then manipulating the middle box in various directions. WC Fields popularized this prop, and it gained popularity in the UK when Kris Kremo performed expertly with them on TV's The Generation Game Christmas Special in 1993.

Club (Juggling) – One of the main juggling props. It consist of a handle and a body. You throw from the handle so that the club completes one or more spins before you catch by the handle once again. Referred to as “pins” and “skittles” by our American buddies or “torches” if they are set alight!

Club Rolling – When you roll a club on the floor, it will roll in a perfect circle. This allows many fantastic and interesting patterns to be created with 3 or 6 clubs.

Club Swinging – The swinging of two clubs around the body, arms and legs. This is a form of Contact Juggling as the props stay in contact with the performer at all times.

Contact Juggling – a form of object manipulation where one or more objects stay in contact with the body (hands, feet etc.) at all times. The most common form of contact juggling is using a ball (usually an acrylic or stage ball). This was made popular in the film Labyrinth. Other props you can contact juggle with include Poi Spinning, Club Swinging & Pen Spinning.

Diabolo – A large hourglass shaped object which can be spun and caught on a string between two handsticks. The name is derived from a Greek verb meaning “'to throw across'. Multiple diabolo's can be spun on a string, and the possibilities for this prop keep on expanding every year with new people pushing the boundaries!

Devilststick (also known as devil stick, rhythm sticks, lunastix etc) – This consists of 2 handsticks (coated in rubber / silicone) and a larger stick in the middle which is manipulated in hundreds of different ways. Flowersticks have tassles on the end which allow it to move a bit slower in the air (making tricks easier to learn).

Feather Balancing – One of the easiest objects to balance as they move so slowly in the air. Peacock and Ostrich feathers are ideal. Try balancing on your hand, finger, chin, nose etc.

Fire Juggler / Juggling – Many of the Circus Skills props featured in this glossary have versions with wicks you can soak in fuel (such as paraffin) and light on fire. The main fire props include Fire Poi, Fire Staff, Fire Devilstick, Fire Diabolo, Fire Clubs and even Fire Balls (you may need kevlar gloves to be able to juggle these!)

Giraffe – Tall unicycle (usually between 5-6ft) where the pedals & wheel are connected by a chain. It can actually be easier to ride than a normal sized Unicycle as long as you are not scared of heights!

Glow Juggler / Juggling – Many of the Circus Skills props featured in this glossary have versions which you can light up. The more expensive glow props will even let you program light sequences! Most common glow props include Glow Poi, Glow Balls, Glow Diabolo, Glow Devilststick, Glow Rings, Glow Clubs & Glow Staff.

Hat Manipulation / Juggling – Throwing and catching one or more hats using hands, feet, body and head. Tricks usually finish with the hat being thrown or placed back on the performers head.

Jitter-Ring / Gyro Ring – The Jitter ring is really just 5 little tops of slightly unusual design which are strung onto a metal ring so that they can freely spin. The discs can spin up to 1000 rpm! Makes a very pleasant rattling spinning noise.

Kendama – Traditional Japanese toy which consists of a ball on a string, a spike and several different sized cups. It bears some resemblance to the classic cup and ball game but is much more difficult!

Parasol – The rolling of an object such as a ball, coin, juggling ring or box on an Oriental parasol (which looks like a very delicate umbrella).

Pedal Racers / Fun Wheels – Fun toys with wheels that are great for learning balance.

Pen Spinning – If you have ever been bored at work / school & started turning a pen (or pencil) between your fingers, then you have been pen spinning! Lots of skilful tricks can be learned. This is a form of contact juggling, as the object places in contact with your body at all times.

Plate Manipulation – the manipulation of plates all around the body with hands, arms, feet and body.

Plate Spinning – The art of spinning a plate (or bowl) on a stick (or pole).

Poi Spinning – Poi is a weighted object (such as a ball or beanbag) suspended from a rope or chain. You hold the other end of the rope / chain and can swing the poi in many different directions. This originates from the Maori people of New Zealand where “poi” simply means ball.

Rings (Juggling) – Flat circles of Plastic with a hole in the middle. A common item to juggle with and is considered easier than club juggling when it comes to learning with more than 3 as the rings are so thin that they are less likely to collide with each other and they are easier to stack / hold in your hands.

Rola Bola ( aka Balance Board, teeter board, bongo board, rolla-bolla etc ) – This consists of a round tube (such as a PVC pipe) and a board that is strong enough to hold your weight when placed on top of the tube for you to balance on. It is like a one man see-saw! Once you master the basics, then you can learn to juggle on top of the rola-bola to add a bit of danger and excitement to your performance!

Scarves (Juggling) – A square of fabric (such as chiffon). This can be the ideal way for a child / beginner to learn the basic tricks if they are having problems learning using juggling balls. This is because the scarves float nicely in the air, and you have more time to put your hands in the right place to catch them (and you can catch any part of the scarf)! Simple tricks include blowing the scarf back up in the air, letting the scarf land gently over your head!

Shaker Cups – Shaker cups are also called nesting cups, as they are cups that are designed in such a way so as you can catch (nest) them inside each other. They are designed in such a way as not to stick or wedge themselves together when done, so the inside cup is ready for release again. This is probably the noisiest prop in a jugglers performance bag, as they are made from metal and make a huge noise when they clatter together!

Speedcups ( aka Flashcups ) – 12 brightly colored cups which can be stacked in a variety of different patterns and sequences. There are Sport Stacking competitions where people compete against the clock or another person. The patterns are usually with pyramids of 3, 6 or 10 cups.

Toothbrush Twirling – Using a rubber / silicone devilstick handstick, you can hang the toothbrush from the stick and twirl it round. You can use multiple toothbrushes on one stick and have a stick in each hand. A fantastic & incredibly silly activity that is a great warm-up at the beginning of a Circus Skills workshop. A toothbrush with an angled head is best! Toothbrush can also be spun on the finger, but it is best to wet your finger and the toothbrush first to give it a bit extra grip!

Unicycle – Looks like a bike but with only one wheel and no handlebars! Most likely heckle if you are riding a unicycle will be “where's the other wheel”. You can always reply “it's on back order” unless you are two tyred of such puns!

Walking / Balancing Ladder – An extra wide ladder which you can balance on, and then learn to walk along the ground moving the feet of the ladder (one step at a time)! You can also balance on the top rung (one leg at each side of the ladder) and start juggling while walking along.

Walking Globe – Large ball that a performer balances on top of. Various gymnastic and juggling stunts can be performed while the ball is kept moving. You have to walk back to roll the ball forwards!

Yo-yo – Pocket-size toy that consist of a length of string attached to a flat spool. The spool moves up and down the string allowing you to attempt several well known tricks such as “walking the dog” and “cat's cradle”. The yo-yo has been around since the time of the Ancient Greeks.

Dirty Dancing – Bringing Baby Back to the Stage

Dirty Dancing the musical, currently playing at the Aldwych Theater in London, is based on the classic film originally released in 1987. Set in 1963, it's the coming-of-age tale of the young and innocent 'Baby' Houseman, who finds love (and lust) for the hotel dance instructor Johnny Castle. Originally, Dirty Dancing was such a low…

Dirty Dancing the musical, currently playing at the Aldwych Theater in London, is based on the classic film originally released in 1987. Set in 1963, it's the coming-of-age tale of the young and innocent 'Baby' Houseman, who finds love (and lust) for the hotel dance instructor Johnny Castle.

Originally, Dirty Dancing was such a low budget film that was intended to go straight to video after a short stint at the cinema, but proved so popular that it became a smash success and is still doing well today. In the years that followed, the film spawned a workout video, a Muppet's spoof, a video game and even a modern retelling in another outing to the big screen under the name 'Havana nights'. With the film alone getting over 10 million 'likes' on Facebook and a large follow worldwide, it only made sense that the story would make its way to the stage.

With the re-imagining for stage, the production team have attempted to recreate the Dirty Dancing magic in the theater. Some might think it would be impossible to top the acting quality, dancing and general performance of the original film, but the stage re-imaging adds an exciting new element – live performance. Live dancing has a completely different effect on the theater audience and is enough to whisk you away and wrap you up in the story.

The release of the stage version of Dirty Dancing so was eagerly anticipated that it sold out 6 months in advance before even opening in London – breaking records for the highest advance ticket sales ever. This record was simply smashed in Europe by the Germans.

Although based on the original film, the stage production is made up of around 40% new material – with 25 new songs and a similar number of scenes. So even if you have seen Dirty Dancing on the big (or small) screen, it's well worth catching it on stage as well, fans will not be disappointed and those that have not seen it will still have a thoroughly enjoyable night.

Of course, you will not see Patrick Swayze or Jennifer Gray gracing the stage, but Johnny Wright and Hannah Vassallo take over their parts with gusto. In fact, the entire cast are thoroughly professional and add their own individual touch to the performance. Even with the execution of the famous climactic lift – you can easily forget that they repeat the same performance time and time again. It's easy to get lost in the story and wrapped up in the romance of it all.

As you'd expect, all the famous Dirty Dancing lines make an appearance and the audience almost screamed when Johnny snatched baby away from her parents with the much quoted line – ' nobody puts baby in the corner' to take on the final dance. Johnny and Baby ooze sex appeal and the theater production is just as sexually charged as the original cinematic version, which is why they've given it a PG rating.

Seeing Dirty Dancing performing so well in the West End, decades after its originalception, is a testament to the heart-warming story and skill and dedication of the cast and crew.

Dreamboats and Petticoats – The Playhouse Theatre

West End musicals have spawned from many things over the years – novels, old movies, children's stories, modern blockbusters, even ABBA songs. But Dreamboats and Petticoats takes theaters in a new direction, by turning a compilation CD of music from the 50's and 60's into a full-blown musical. A simple story complemented by a classic…

West End musicals have spawned from many things over the years – novels, old movies, children's stories, modern blockbusters, even ABBA songs. But Dreamboats and Petticoats takes theaters in a new direction, by turning a compilation CD of music from the 50's and 60's into a full-blown musical.

A simple story complemented by a classic rock 'n' roll soundtrack and a group of professional actors – you could not get a much more perfect mixture for a musical on the stage.

The script to Dreamboats and Petticoats is a love-soaked teenage romance. The coming of age story of every young girls dreams (well, sometimes not so much in modern times) it follows heartthrobs Bobby and Norman as they compete for the affections and attention of sex-goddess Sue (ex-Hollyoaks star Jennifer Biddall), but as shy schoolgirl Laura (Daisy Wood Davis) comes of age she suddenly manages to get Bobby's attention and in the end, his heart. A predictable, yet heart-warming story supported by a wonderful cast and a classic track listing.

Playing on the success of the smash-hit compilation album (s), Dreamboats and Petticoats easily appeals to all those who grow up in that era, a time when things were simpler and pop songs were all about love. The non-stop hits keep coming, with 44 chart-toppers from the rock 'n' roll era.

The premise of the story is simple enough – the gang are involved in a song writing competition, the delivery of which appeals to the modern audience's obsession with The X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent style shows. Oddly, Dreamboats and Petticoats is set in Essex at St Mungo's Youth Club and not in a US setting, which brings the story closer to home.

It's a clear testimony to the skill of writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the producers Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield and the rest of the cast and crew that over a million people have been to see the production since its original release. A number of compilation CDs by the same name have appeared since.

The entire cast work well as an ensemble and bounce through the various scenes and well-designed sets with believable enthusiasm that can be appreciated and accredited. There are some obvious rising stars among the cast Daisy Wood-Davis who plays Laura makes a huge impression and has a wonderful voice. Ben Freeman does a wonderful job of playing an egomaniac heart-throb Norman, but we're all happy when Bobby finally gets his girl.

Dreamboats and Petticoats is a lively production, with a heart-warming (if simple) story and a foot-tapping soundtrack that will leave you with a smile on your face. With classic tracks from the likes of Del Shannon, Roy Orbison, Phil Spector, Eddie Cochran, Helen Shapiro – you'll surely have a rockin '' n 'rollin' time. The audience will actually be dancing in the aisles.

Performing International or Global Voice Overs

All hail the Interweb! (tee-hee!) With its global reach, the Internet gives us voiceover gurus the opportunity to branch out and communicate on a level never seen before in history. It's amazing to think that just 20 years ago, no one even knew what the Internet was or what it would mean to society. And…

All hail the Interweb! (tee-hee!) With its global reach, the Internet gives us voiceover gurus the opportunity to branch out and communicate on a level never seen before in history. It's amazing to think that just 20 years ago, no one even knew what the Internet was or what it would mean to society. And now look at us. What would we do without it? Well, one of the things we voice talents would not be able to do is promote ourselves internationally.

This technology allows us to show our voiceover skills to potential clients around the world, but be warned It can be tricky and it is not something you'll want to dive into unarmed. One of the things to consider upfront is, can you crank out voice over projects in different languages? If so, you have a big edge over the rest. Advertising for voice services in multiple languages ​​to multiple countries can expand your profits exponentially.

If standard American English is all you speak, however, there's a good chance you can snag a well-paying international voice over client. The reason is that English is spoken so broadly, many companies outside the United States regularly seek voiceover talents with American accents. That's great news, but how do you get to them?

Simple – consult the Interweb! Use the Internet to fish around for foreign businesses that may be looking or have use for an American accent. Think about it … there are tons of Americans and English-speaking people living or working in different places around the world. Whoever they're working for needs to reach out to them in mass communication style every so often. Retail and service outlets in these foreign lands need to reach them as well. Get the picture? There's money to be made outside the US for the courageous voiceover talent.

Once you find these companies, try this. Send your voice demo via e-mail and follow up with them to find out if they can use you. If they do not right then, you will have at least put the bug in their ear and when they do have a need for an American voice talent, guess who they'll call? Create websites for your international voice over services and optimize them accordingly. When you send them your demo, provide a link to your voiceover site so they know you're serious and professional (not just an amateur looking for more money).

One thing to watch out for, however, is that you must be careful and do your homework. Although English is well known and recognized, the same words can carry totally different meanings in other countries. As an example, where in America a talent might use the phrase, “voice over,” a customer in another sovereign country may say “voice actor” and “voice over” may not have much meaning to them. So, it's important to find out the proper industry terminology in that country, otherwise you may not get any clients … just confusion when they see your website. So as not to offend, you may also want to do a small amount of reading on the country you're aiming for. Simple things like a wave “hello” in America could be offensive to someone from another part of the world (be sensitive). Another task you'll need to complete is finding out what the going rate is for voiceover services in that region. Look up other voice talents and research their rates. You will not want to frighten prospective clients away by charging more than the home-grown talent. It's also a good idea to learn about the country's accepted technical specs, so you'll be familiar with the most prevalent audio files in that region.

The Internet is a vast and wonderful tool but like any other, research, cunning and patience are key to being profitable, particularly for voice over talents.

Tricks and Treats for the Eye

Whether you are five years young, watching the magic trick done by a clown, a teen waiting for David Blaine's next thrilling act on TV, or when you're in your forties watching a magician perform at curtain call – seeing exciting tricks and tricks for the eye can really make one feel gleeful. The beauty…

Whether you are five years young, watching the magic trick done by a clown, a teen waiting for David Blaine's next thrilling act on TV, or when you're in your forties watching a magician perform at curtain call – seeing exciting tricks and tricks for the eye can really make one feel gleeful. The beauty of magic appeals to all ages; even though some magic tricks are old stuff that people see time and time again, most of the watchers still feel awe upon seeing these tricks because the key behind them still make many wonder. The secrets behind magic tricks have been carefully kept locked in magicians' minds.

However, lucky for aspiring magicians, some unconscious mentalists, illusionists and television shows have helped leak out the mysteries behind the enchantment. Your first shot on becoming the next David Blaine, Criss Angel or David Copperfield is from learning from experts. Nope, you do not needlessly have to hire them to teach you and besides, that would cost an awful lot. Most of their simpler magic tricks nowdays are revealed in national TV for people to enjoy. You can start doing your own acts by learning from books, TV and other magicians.

Usually, the solution to most tricks fall on the props used. Gaming cards, trick coins, blankets, the magician's hat, cups, balls, flowers, umbrellas even animals – these are just some items that magicians commonly use. There are shops dedicated to these props that you can use in your act. Once you have the things and information you need, start practicing. And do practice regularly. Even skilled tricksters can fail if they lack practice.

After smocking and perfecting the old tricks, you might as well join magic conventions and groups. There you can discuss newer and bolder tricks. If you think you are skilled enough, you can start making your own acts. Combine both the new and old arts of illusion to give your audience a fresh viewing adventure. Perfect the skills and props you can do and use best to create your signature magician move. Lastly, great magicians do not only practice their hand tricks but the looks on their faces as well. Magic indeed is not just an act of the hands but an act of your whole body. It is more exciting to watch a performer than simply a trickster.

There are two types of magicians that seem to have gained much attention with the public – the mentalist and the illusionist. The first usually perform acts of mind control, guessing, telepathy and the likes. It is still a debate nowdays if this type of performers really does not have supernatural powers or are just experts when it comes to the human physique.

The latter includes famous artists Angel, Blaine and Copperfield. Illusions are much easier to chalk to science than mentalism. Illusions are much more like real explainable actions where the mystery borders on visual delusion. Because illusionists are sleek and skilled when it comes to hand gestures, most feats and strokes go unnoticed and thus, people blame magic for the mystery.

Jazz, Tap and Hip Hop Ruin Your Posture and Your Chances

Perhaps the most disingenuous and misleading idea – an idea that I personally think is nothing more than a pure attempt at taking your money regardless of any results or consequences – is the notice that children can learn multiple forms of dance at the same time or still still , that students can spend…

Perhaps the most disingenuous and misleading idea – an idea that I personally think is nothing more than a pure attempt at taking your money regardless of any results or consequences – is the notice that children can learn multiple forms of dance at the same time or still still , that students can spend a year or two dabbling with jazz, a year or two doing hip hop, and a year or two doing tap, and then attempt ballet and have any chance at keeping up with even a basic ballet class. This may seem like a very strong and opinionated statement, but I can back it up with twenty years of direct experience. I am writing this article to save you time and money by avoiding this mistake.

Reasons to avoid jazz, tap and hip hop multi-classes or combo classes as a child:

1) No center and no centering of the body.

Students who “study” these dance forms and then attempt ballet are always confronted with the hard reality that they have no idea where their balance center is. Hip hop, jazz and tap are always in motion or are in poses not requiring anything but basic pedestrian balance – no better than what a 4 year old can do naturally. Ballet trains and teachers to a very specific balance center that will let the dancer suspend themselves over the ball of the foot for extended periods of time wherever spinning around or in a pose. This suspended balance also makes the ballet dancer have that “floating” or “etherial” look where the hip hop, jazz or tap dancer always looks released, heavy into the floor, or drifting around and vague. I have seen so many jazz and hip hop students try ballet at 10 or 11 or 12 years of age after years of combo class training and they have no idea where their bodies are, they can not hold still in any of the standard positions of ballet, and they are inevitably extremely frustrated at this. I would be very upset if I spent good money and a lot of time on something and got that type of result.

2) Extremely poor posture.

The child's body does not want to naturally pull up and stand in a straight, heightened position – hence all those colloquialisms of a grandmother or nanny always reminding their children to stand up straight from yesteryear. Hip hop, jazz and tap do absolutely nothing to teach or train how to pull up the posture, these dance forms simply do not have a method or system to do this – rather they are only interested in rhythmic motions that are essentially pedestrian or found in the normal, random sorts of motions a human body might do in day-to-day life. When students who have learned this type of non-filled up or vague positioning attempt ballet, they are not only fighting the bad habits of being released and slumped in the spine but many times they can not find the muscles with which to make any pull up because because they simply never used them before in that way.

3) Vague, heavy arms.

Use of the arms in a smooth, light and effortless way that draws the line of the body out through the hands must be learned, it is not something that can be figured out at home. Hip hop, jazz and tap let the arms move in very basic ways or just hang off the body letting the hands do whatever – which means the student has no idea where their arms are. Upon the very first attempt at anything like ballet it becomes immediately apparent that the dancer has no idea what to do with their arms and their arms are just in the way of the motion being done which further adds to the hampered, off-balance look being caused by reasons 1 and 2 above.

4) Zero articulation of the feet.

The absolute, most critical thing a ballet dancer has to be able to do – and which benefits all other dance forms and even athletics to a very great extent – is control what the feet are doing and learn how to extend power through the ends of the toes for pushing off the ground, shaping the foot in the air, and also keeping the foot angled correctly. The wrong angle of the foot leads directly to sprained or broken ankles and improperly training the foot builds up all the wrong muscle memory and makes the lower lower leg solidify to where it becomes almost impossible to bend or extend in the correct way. For any young dancer this is a non-starter for ballet and for girls in particular this sort of bad, sloppy “anti-training”, if you will, makes it impossible for them to attempt pointe work. If you set about sabotaging someone so that they've never been able to do anything else, training the feet in the wrong way is the perfect way to go about this. I have seen so many students come to a ballet class as a pre-teen or teenager with “years and years” of previous combo-class training and they simply can not make their feet do anything. The teenage students in particular recognize this and then see what sort of tremendous road blocks that they are facing to undo all this useless training and bad habits and usually decide to stop dancing altogether – and for that result, after years of time and money and effort at the combo class or competition dance approach, the student and parent end up with zero. What a shame and what a waste.

Conclusion:

Train incorrectly as a young dancer and the ability to dance well – to say nothing of trying ballet – is severely impaired unless you are sufficient enough to have access to a very good ballet program nearby and take full advantage of it to fix the damage. This means you will have spent twice the money and wasted years of your time, but all is not lost in the end; learn ballet correctly in the first place and you will dance anything beautifully plus not waste your time and money learning bad habits and, it must be said, learning things you can figure out on your own at home in front of the TV. Take actually any professional ballet dancer or fully trained pre-professional ballet dancer and just look at how they move, then compare that to the lumbering, sloppy dancing and mute upper body of the combo-class or competition dance trained student of any age or level and the difference is substantial. You can not learn or figure out ballet by yourself at home which is why it is worth spending money and time to learn; hip hop, jazz and tap can be made into video games because they do not have a specific technique in them. Avoid wasting your money and time, have your child learn ballet first so that problems 1 through 4 do not plague them for the rest of their lives, then let them try whatever dance fascinates them after that.

How to Get Into Acting With Out Slamming Your Head On The Wall

If you are wondering how to get into acting without losing your mind you're not alone. Many actors want the life of fame and fortune. Yet, very few aspiring players know what it takes to be a working actor. Listed below are the acting tips I'd personally abide by if I had to start all…

If you are wondering how to get into acting without losing your mind you're not alone. Many actors want the life of fame and fortune. Yet, very few aspiring players know what it takes to be a working actor. Listed below are the acting tips I'd personally abide by if I had to start all over again.

The Acting Foundation
Acting training is essential when you start as an actor. You first step is to develop the basic fundamentals in a university or college program or individual acting class. When starting out you want to select the program which will match your specific goals. There are many colleges and universities offering reliable acting training. You can choose a 2 yr or 4 year program. The type of diploma you end up with is not as important as the level of training you get along with the opportunity to meet industry agents and casting managers.

An Industry Showcase
Which ever program you decide, be sure they have an industry showcase. Typically, this is the final production that you will perform for casting managers and agents. This is exactly how I accepted my initial agent. You have a great opportunity to hit the ground running right out of the gate. I believe if the program does not offer this then I will not spend invest my time or money. Acting without an agent will certainly make building an acting career very difficult.

Networking With The Right Community
In this business it's who you know. Yet, numerous actors struggle to get to know the right individuals. Primarily simply because they get lost in mixing with the wrong people. Other actors, merely do not know how to correctly network. As soon as your out making brand-new contacts show much more interest in the other individual. Avoid being a desperate actor. We are all looking for ways to get the next job. In this industry, I have picked up jobs via other buddies simply because I maintained a continuous rapport.

Look for a network of like minded people. The very first place to consider is other acting communities on the internet. There are lots of groups that help each other. You should encircle yourself with individuals who are moving in the same direction as you. You can also find organizations by signing up for a nearby acting class.

Nasty Dream Stealers
When you are creating your career as an actor it's very important you do an “inventory check” with your network. Your association of friends should be a supportive team. If you have anyone that does not believe in your acting goals cut them out loose! This industry is extremely cut-throat and it is loaded with up's and down's. The last thing you need is someone getting in your mind talking you out of the dream.

Decide in your mind that you will be a successful actor. Then takes daily actions to get you closer to your acting dream!

Historical Recreation – Experimental Archeology

When we look at historical re-creation what are we really trying to do? What are the objectives and how do we go about achieving them? I can only answer for myself, but I have spent the last 18 years participating in various historical reenacting groups and have come to some conclusions based on my experience…

When we look at historical re-creation what are we really trying to do? What are the objectives and how do we go about achieving them? I can only answer for myself, but I have spent the last 18 years participating in various historical reenacting groups and have come to some conclusions based on my experience and outlook.

Historical re-creation, to me, invites striving to re-create and understand the trappings, motives, stresses and environment of another time and place for the dual purpose of my own personal enrichment and, since I work with historical societies, for educational purposes . I believe that before we can move ahead that we must first know where we've been.

Fewer people these days take the time to really look at our collective experiences and history as a species. At every moment we are prompted to move faster and faster and like a car going down the highway, the faster you go the more you miss. Historical re-creation is an attempt to get to know that past on a level level, to slow the car down as it was. By using multiple sensory stimulation we are better able to assimilate and comprehend history so much further beyond a collection of reliably meaningless dates.

To me, historical re-creation and what is called experimental archaeology go hand in hand. Experimental archaeology entails not just using some of the tools and equipment of a bygone era, but by actually living and surviving using only what would have existed in shape, material and construction to gain a deeper understanding of the conditions and lifestyle. You can not gain this understanding by putting on an outfit and parading around for a day or two at a rendezvous or similar event. For better or for worse, we generally can not just decide to ignore the modern world and choose to live in the 15th century. What we can do is isolate ourselves from it for a little while and get a feel for the 15th century or 18th century.

Through careful and scholarly research it is possible to learn a great number of details about daily life in earlier times. From these small pieces we begin to put together the larger picture. Experience and research can allow some reasonable and carefully considered theories to be constructed to fill in the blanks, at least until further investigation fills those blanks with reality. By eschewing the trappings and attitudes of the modern world we can get an inkling of what it was like to live in a world before cell phones, video games, combustion engines and electric lights. I have found that there is a profound peace to be had once of the various electromagnetic fields that surround us every day.

As a historical re-creator and interpreter that works with historical societies, I have found that by taking those opportunities to “live” the life of ages gone by, even for a weekend, that my understanding of history and the period I am depicting is that much clearer. It allows me to bring a level of clarity from experience to my presentations and workshops. It facilitates an accurate and educational interpretation for my audience. In my opinion this allows me to reach my goal of providing an enriching and more meaningful experience. But this requires a dedicated and constant search for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

The Catch-22 of Oscars

The problem with the Oscars is everyone has an opinion, yet no one is surprised when they announce the winners. Oscar ratings have been steadily dwindling every year. People are losing interest in the value of such an honor ceremony where it's created its own market for film so that “serious” movies are geared towards…

The problem with the Oscars is everyone has an opinion, yet no one is surprised when they announce the winners. Oscar ratings have been steadily dwindling every year. People are losing interest in the value of such an honor ceremony where it's created its own market for film so that “serious” movies are geared towards winning an Oscar nomination.

The year 2010 has been a shake-up of texts to correct that narrow Oscar-tunneled vision focus by opening up the nominations to include ten movies instead of five. This allowed for unconventional but well-received films like “District 9” and “A Serious Man” to be nominated and have a fighting chance of winning.

However, when the nominations opened up so much, everyone was left wondering the same thing: does a nomination even matter if as many as ten films can contend for best picture? Are there even ten films worthy of being nominated? Therein lies the catch-22 with the Oscars. They open up the nominations to expand their view of potential winners, but at the risk of diminishing their value in the public eye as valid sentences of film by being too loose.

The Oscars have the difficult task of juggling two images. One on hand, they should stand for some sort of artistic legitimacy as a mark of excellence characterized by authority and therefore a superior opinion on the subject of film from the perspective of true filmmaking skill irrespective of public opinion. On the other hand, they need to be in line with the general public opinion or risk losing legitimate legitimacy by being seen as pandering to specific genres and styles of filmmaking.

Last year, “Avatar” was by far the highest grossing and most popular film. It was recognized by the Oscars by winning all kinds of nominations across the board of categories. However, “The Hurt Locker,” a successful but far less popular film, took the winning spot for best picture and best screenplay. Taking the less popular opinion does in some way legitimize the film from an artistic perspective because it creates a reality of sophistication around the film that the masses seemly can not appreciate. This is beginning to unravel for the Oscars as film critics are slowly coming around to appreciating more popular sci-fi and genre films that are seen as simultaneously entertaining and artistic. If the Oscars fail to embrace this fact, they risk losing any value in the public eye beyond indicating the opinions of snobs that have a bias to works with more “serious” subject matter.

The Oscars in 2011 have a tough task ahead of them: standing for and representing sophisticated artistry in filmmaking while maintaining legitimacy in the eyes of the general public. How do they balance the two? It's simple: choose the best film irrespective of its genre and subject matter. This is still different from choosing the most popular film, as box office numbers do not directly translate to superior in filmmaking. But there is a correlation and the academy of motion pictures arts and sciences would do well to figure out just what it is. This controversy is just one of the reasons that the Oscars stand out as the premiere awards ceremony in the United States. Private industries nationwide have taken a cue from the Oscars, presenting corporate and crystal awards to their respective top performers

Franco and Hathaway to Host Oscars

The 2011 Oscars will be hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway. This is a surprising turn, as last year they were hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Previous hosts in recent history include Hugh Jackman, Jon Stewart, and Billy Crystal. Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars for several years at a time. Now, the…

The 2011 Oscars will be hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway. This is a surprising turn, as last year they were hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Previous hosts in recent history include Hugh Jackman, Jon Stewart, and Billy Crystal.

Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars for several years at a time. Now, the Oscars seem to be hosted by dramatically different kinds of hosts every year. Some might call this an indication of the Oscars ceremony having an identity crisis. The inclusion of Hugh Jackman tried to make the Oscar ceremony a more musical endeavor. Considering the fact that he was not invited to host again, this experiment was a failure. Then last year's inclusion of Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin as co-hosts tried a different formula with familiar roots: a comedic act from two people instead of one person to keep the action moving. Clearly, to some extent this was a success because they're repeating the two-host formula again.

This year's choice of co-hosts is hugely different for two reasons, marking a major change for the Oscars in an important way. The first major significance of having James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts is their age. These are young actors, appealing to a demographic far younger than the demographic that would enjoy Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin as hosts. This is likely a push to make the Oscars relevant to younger audiences.

The most common demographic of television viewers is people from age eighteen to forty, and making the hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway is a large step in securing that demographic in a way that the Oscars have not appeared to for quite some time. In the new age where young people spread word of mouth about popular items through twitter and facebook, among other popular sites like reddit and digg, securing this demographic of viewers can cause a trickle effect of snowball marketing that can spread to other demographics, leading to high ratings. In terms of boosting ratings, this is a very intelligent move.

The second reason these choices of host are a significant change is even more interesting. James Franco and Anne Hathaway are both likely to be contenders for Oscar nominations. James Franco's performance in “127 Hours” is being raved about by critics, many of whom believe that not only will he get a nomination but a win as well. Anne Hathaway, while not being quite as well received as James Franco, is still generating a lot of buzz with her performance in “Love & Other Drugs” and very well could garner an Oscar nomination for it. This would work wonders for hyping the whole event, as it really rests on discussion from criticisms and the general public on one question: who do they think is going to win? The inclusion of some of the nominees in major categories as the hosts would certainly help to drive that discussion and build more buzz about handing out the coveted award. Of course crystal awards are also given out by private companies who would like to generate their industry buzz of their own.

While there is no guarantee that James Franco and Anne Hathaway will be the most entertaining hosts (considering the fact that they are not singers, dancers, or comedians), their inclusion in the Oscar ceremony will certainly get people talking, and that's exactly what is needed right now to keep the Oscars important and get people to watch the ceremony again.

Voice-Overs in a Troubled Economy

Wow! What a rough and tumble past couple of years it's been! Economies all over the world continue to flail about. The housing market continues to slump, unemployment and inflation keep rising, and the almighty dollar will most likely not be so mighty in the near future. Keeping your head above water in a down…

Wow! What a rough and tumble past couple of years it's been! Economies all over the world continue to flail about. The housing market continues to slump, unemployment and inflation keep rising, and the almighty dollar will most likely not be so mighty in the near future. Keeping your head above water in a down economy is a struggle to say the least –ask your parents or grandparents and they'll tell you the horror stories – and it often changes the way everything is done. That includes the world of voiceovers.

Voice talents everywhere are fighting right now to get as many gigs as they can just to stay liquid. Discounted rates and special packages are being offered more and more in an effort to bring on new potential customers.

Not unlike nature itself, we historically see economics go in big cycles from good to bad and historically back to good. If a particular area becomes too populous, Mother Nature has its own merciless method of “thinning the herd” with fires, floods, disease, etc. Most likely (and this might actually be a good thing), the same can be said for the world of voice-overs. An overly-saturated marketplace can be just as harmful to sections of the economy as over-population is to nature. Ultimately, the advantage will go to voice over talents that are able to stick with it through the bad times.

As the unemployment factor continues to raise its ugly head, we voice over talents should consider ourselves lucky that we're in the industry we are in. If you take a look at the Great Depression for example, you'll find that a handful of industries still did well. Or, at least alright. The entertainment industry was one of these. Even when things are at their worst, the masses still want to be entertained. In fact, people will want it even more when times are tough, because it's an escape from their dreadful reality.

In addition, some of the smart businesses will actually ramp up their marketing to bring in new customers in a messy economy, rather than conserve. What that means to us is, of course, more business for the working voice over artist. At the same time, however, conducting business during financial upheaval also usually means lower rates. Companies and organizations may still need voice over work, but they'll be less likely to offer you the same monies you received for your services when times were better. So what's the key to staying alive? Be flexible. Bend with the wind.

With this economy, the savvy voice talent might look at expanding their usual services to include production of the spots / promos they're asked to voice. They may also want to include items of entertainment value, such as humorous character voices and parodies, comedy copy writing or even even fully produced “radio theater” bits. The savvy talent should also consider posting more competitive rates and increasing what is included with those rates. So what if you're only getting $ 25 for a: 30 voice over rather than $ 50 or $ 100 like you used to. Something's better than nothing, is not it?

To survive in the end, you must bend. Adapt your voiceover business to fit the current environment and stay working!