Sunday, November 25, 2012


The Actor's Workshop has joined the bandwagon with regard to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the concept of a "doorbuster."

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Take advantage of our very own


Extended through CYBER MONDAY!

Enroll in a Winter 2013 Term class on November 23-26 and receive a 50% BFS Discount:

INTRO WORKSHOP = $ 99.50 (either Session I or II)
ACTOR AS FILMMAKER = $175.00 (12 weeks)
ONGOING STUDY = $149.50 (12 weeks)

Actors may enroll in person, by phone, by email, or via PayPal.
Call (248) 398-7744 or email

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ann Hathaway

Ann Hathaway
The two movies I saw for Ann Hathaway were the Devil wears Prada (2006) and Alice in Wonderland (2010) these were to good films that I could watch over and over.
Devil Wears Prada Hathaway Plays Andrea  Sach the co Assistant to the Hard nose snobby Runway Magazine Editor Miranda Priestly. Andrea strive to live up to the expectations of her boss demands while at the same time trying to balances her life with friends and family.
Alice in Wonderland Hathaway plays Mariana of Marmoreal  The White Queen, the sister of the Evil Red Queen who awaits the Champion(Alice) who will slay the Jabberwocky, Hathaway calls her character Cute but psycho, and a punk rock vegan pacifist
The through line for the Devil wears Prada I feel Hathaway was committed too. Trying to find a sense of balance between career and family but mostly career mostly gets the hold of you but in the end you choose your family and friends and also yourself.
In Alice of wonderland playing the graceful yet spooky Mariana was the good queen dressed in all white in her own unique way hints to Alice that she is the champion, the one who must defeat the Jabberwocky so that Mariana can take her place as the True Queen.  Story of Good over Evil.
Both had a sense of truth, Alice in Wonderland Directed by Tim Burton most of the scene were animated and digital enhance so to see Hathaway give life to this character was very interesting.
I think that Mariana was the character that she had to prepare for the most. She had to develop a queen like/ballerina disposition and be able to blend in with the animation of varies characters and use more imaginary circumstances was the challenge that Hathaway had do deal with.
At the same time though for Hathaway to carry her own playing next to a heavy weight like three time Oscar winner Meryl Streep In The Devil Wears Prada was no easy task as well.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Leonardo DiCaprio

            This week I watched two films starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The two films that I watched were What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993) and The Departed (2006). The two characters (and films) are drastically different from each other, and they were made at very different stages of his career.
            What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? was one of DiCaprio’s first films, made when he was nineteen. In the film, he played Arnie, the mentally challenged little brother of the titular character. The performance (which required much physical and vocal transformation) was extremely impressive, especially for such a young actor. Arnie’s speech patterns, his facial ticks, his physical movement, everything about him was absolutely authentic as a portrayal of someone with autism. You could tell that DiCaprio definitely did his homework and respected the character. Regarding the role, DiCaprio stated, “I had to really research and get into the mind of somebody with a disability like that. So I spent a few days at a home for mentally retarded teens. We just talked and I watched their mannerisms. People have these expectations that mentally retarded children are really crazy, but it's not so. It's refreshing to see them because everything's so new to them." This research and preparation for the role proves that he was not only just a talented young actor but also a smart one, knowing what kind of work would be required to pull off an honest performance.
            In The Departed, DiCaprio played Billy Costigan, a state police graduate who goes undercover in the Irish mafia in Boston. By this time, DiCaprio had established himself as a leading man and gives a very powerful performance as the undercover cop. I think that part of the challenge of this role was a similar challenge he faced in Gangs of New York. Can the pretty boy from Titanic and Romeo + Juliet be convincing as a tough guy. That as well as developing an authentic accent. DiCaprio succeeding in meeting that challenge and then some. His performance as the emotionally unstable and paranoid young cop was one of the reasons the film was such a great success.
            Both of these performances earned DiCaprio Academy Award nominations, and I consider them to be probably his two finest performances. I feel that Arnie was the more physically and mentally challenging role, whereas Costigan may have been more emotionally challenging. That being said, Costigan had the physical challenges and Arnie had his emotional ones. The scene where Arnie discovers his mother near the end of the film is absolutely devastating and tugs at the heartstrings. All in all, I would say that tough to pick one performance over the other, but if I had to choose I would choose What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? simply due to the challenge of the role and the fact that at no point did you doubt the character was mentally challenge. The authenticity was impressive.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Christian Bale

Christian Bale

For this week the two movies I saw Harsh Times (2005) and The Fighter (2010) both were good movies and I think Christian Bale did very well in both of them.

In Harsh Times Bale plays Jim Davis an ex –army ranger who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) who has vivid flash backs of the military operations he was instructed to carry out. He struggles with the violent that he has witnessed and executed, while trying to find some normal life as a civilian.

In The Fighter Bale Play ex -Boxer Dick Eklund who is the half brother of Mikey Ward (The Fighter) who is addicted to crack and struggles to help train his brother while at the same time dealing with his addiction.

Both were unique characters and both a sense of truth these were both complex roles and Bale met the challenges with precision.
I still am contemplating on which role the most was challenging. Each had the the same amount of energy to play I think.  The one that I like him in the most was Harsh Times the ending was very powerful to me. I have seen Bale in several films and I like his dark side the best. To see Bale’s character to show anger to remorse within seconds was very appealing to me and was key moments in the film. To know how a person response to PTSD and to know how and when to executed with extreme rage when he gets upset with his best friend, to show the love in his eyes and in his calm demeanor when he is Mexico with his girlfriend and then and  was Bales biggest challenge. And also how does someone response to the day to day live as a civilian in South Central with drugs is everywhere an is like a warzone.
The Fighter , since this is base on a true story, Bale had to get into the mind of Dick Eklund and understand his thought process and his energy.  I think in the title of the movie that maybe the fighter isn’t Mark Walberg’s character but Christian Bales character. He is the one that is reborn in a sense from being a crack addict and a mess up ex boxer reminiscing of past glories of how he knocked out Sugar Ray Lenard and struggles to get clean from drugs and makes amends with family and in the end helping his brother in his boxing career.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The actress I picked for this week saw Katherine Hepburn and the two movies I saw was The Glass Menagerie (1973) and The Trojan Women (1971). In The Glass Menagerie, Katherine plays the character Amanda Wingfield a southern women who husband has left her and she reminisce of past glories and strive for her child to have a better life.
In The Trojan Women she plays Hecuba the Queen of the Trojans, the Mother of Hector. Who looks at the ruins of Troy,  weeps for her son Hector, and witness the women of troy and her daughter be carried was to be slave and be wives
Both character was committed to the throughline and both presented a sense of truth and both were mothers.  Amanda’s through line was that her wanted to her daughter to be happy and taken care of and tries to find a husband and for her son to life his dream  to be a writer but first he must first, he must hand  and man for his sister before she will let him go. Hecuba weeps for her land, her kingdom, her children and the women with lamantations and despair. The constrast wasn’t  that much different . one character was in acient time and the other more modern times and both lost their children in a sense. The accent and the energy of their roles was different, Amanda was a fast talking southern women who can talk on and on about anything it seems  and Hecuba in a dark tone voice  looks over the post war land in misery. I really enjoyed Hepburn role as Amanda Wingfield, she plays that role very well right down to the southern accent and the how she moved in the dress, I think the it was little more challenging to play Hecuba, to make this character real was Hepburn’s to bring this ancient women of Troy to our eyes was may a bit more difficult, Hepburn playing Amanda seem natural, like Tennessee William wrote the play just for her. For The Trojan Women, I did not care for this film and I had to struggle to watch it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Daniel Day-Lewis

This week I watched two films starring Daniel Day-Lewis. The first film was Gangs of New York (2002) directed by Martin Scorsese. In this film, Daniel Day-Lewis plays Bill the Butcher, a seemingly unbeatable and unforgiving gang leader fighting for control of the 5 Points area of New York City in the late 1800’s. His gang is made up of the “native” white people of New York who aren’t pleased by the influx of immigrants making their way into the area. Bill holds tightly to the reigns of his control even keeping the politicians and police under his thumb. Everyone in 5 Points fears him. Daniel Day-Lewis made this character larger than life and even made it possible to have some sympathy toward the character.
The second film was My Left Foot (1989) directed by Jim Sheridan. A far cry from Bill the Butcher, Daniel Day-Lewis plays Christy Brown, a man born with cerebral palsy to a working class Irish family in 1932. Christy Brown struggles all his life just to be able to do the things that everyone else can do and to be able to express himself. He is bound to a wheelchair (though he didn’t even have that until he reached adulthood) and has no ability to use his limbs with the exception of his left foot. Eventually Christy is able to use his left foot to write, type, and paint. As a person with much experience with people having cerebral palsy, I would say that Daniel Day-Lewis was spot on with his physicality. He did an amazing job of capturing the thoughts and emotions of the character as well.
Knowing Daniel Day-Lewis, preparation for both of these roles was incredibly intense. I think that the role of Christy Brown was probably a little harder because it was a real life person and because he had to learn to deal with the physical challenges of cerebral palsy. I would also guess that he probably did learn to write, type, and paint with his foot which would be a feat (no pun intended) in itself. I did see something however that said that most of the shots of him using his foot were done through a mirror because he could only manipulate his right foot. I’m sure he was upset about that. He stayed in character throughout the entire process of filming – refusing to leave his wheelchair. At one point even his agent stormed off the set when he wouldn’t break character. His Oscar was well deserved. Bill the Butcher was also a challenging role that required knowledge of the history of New York, immigration to the United States, and the people that the characters were inspired by. However, I think it may have been a little easier because of how much was left for him to come up with purely by imagination. Both roles were executed flawlessly. 

Christian Bale

This week I watched two films starring Christian Bale. The two films I watched are of two roles which required much physical transformation from the actor, The Machinist (2004) and The Fighter (2010). Both films were drastically different in style, as well as the characters. One thing the roles had in common was Bale had to lose weight to play the role. Usually known for his impressive physique (like in such films as American Psycho and Christopher Nolan’s Batman films), Bale’s physical transformation for both of these films is extremely impressive.
In The Machinist, Bale played an insomniac machine worker, who gradually loses his grip on reality and sanity. Bale literally starved himself in order to play the sickly thin Trevor. He lost over 60 lbs to play the role. He went down to 120 lbs from 180 lbs. It has been reported that he wanted to go under 100 lbs, but the producers would not let him. I am not sure if Bale’s preparation for this role would be considered dedication or insanity. Either way, it’s impressive. In addition to the challenge of the weight loss, the role required him to play an insomniac who loses his mind. So he was faced with physical, mental, and emotional challenges. Even though he takes these extreme method approaches, I doubt that Bale actually became an insomniac. Not only would that be unhealthy (especially with the weight loss) but he would need the energy for long days on the set.
In The Fighter, Bale played real-life boxing trainer Dicky Eklund. The role required the physical challenge for Bale to (one again) lose weight and play a crack addict. One thing that impressed me about Bale’s portrayal of Dicky is that he perfectly captured the physical mannerisms and personality of the real man. In the end of the film, the real Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund are shown talking. It was uncanny to see how similar Bale’s portrayal was to the actual person. Knowing Bale’s propensity for insane preparation, I would have to think that he spent a lot of time with Dicky, as well as researching the sport and crack addition.
Both of these performances I consider to be great. Both are challenging and the preparation and risk the actor takes are rewarded in the end result. Trevor seems to be the most challenging role on the surface, but you could argue that playing a real-life personality (especially someone with such a distinctive personality) could be more challenging. Even though I loved both performances, Bale in The Fighter is absolutely amazing. He is pure Dicky. He is the character completely. I think that Christian Bale is still probably underrated by a lot of people, mostly due to the fact that he likes to do action films. But I believe him to be an inspiring actor who will take risks that no one else is willing to take. He will give everything that he has to a role. I consider him to be one of the best actor’s of his generation.

Monday, June 4, 2012

From the Pastor's Desk...

For those of you who were not able to attend my Sunday service,
a summary of the homily (inspired by Brian's Hamlet exercise) is given below.




There is a point in every man's life--and in evey woman's--it turns out that
the agency of existential crisis is firmly committed to equal opportunity!

A point in your life where you will come to a dark place.
A real dark place.
So dark, in fact, that you will question everything--
every single assumption that you've ever made about
the world, about the social order, and about your own existence.

You will come to understand in a most profound and intimate
way Shakespeare's great lines:

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them

My friends, these are thoughts most grave, because the outcome
of this contemplation is a matter of life and death. Your life.
Or your death.

Shakespeare's metaphor is beautiful here: Life as a sea of troubles.
In this sense, there's no such thing as a land lubber! We are all at sea.
And we all navigate the waters we find ourselves in.

At times, the sea is calm. And naturally, you feel strong
when you can set your own course. 

At other times, the water is rough enough to where you sense some danger.
But you make it through ok, and maybe the experience makes you
feel a sense of hubris--as if you are the sea's master.

And then there are the dark times of which we speak--the time that Hamlet
finds himself in--the time where the water rises up in a ferocious
violence as if the universe itself has conspired against you.

And you will realize that you are not the master of the sea
that you thought you were. You will see yourself for what you are:
a small, scared, trembling, and completely vunerable being--vunerable to
forces completely beyond your ability not just to control,
but to even comprehend.

It's moments like these where we ask: Does life have meaning?
Is life worth living?

As Christians, of course, we are blessed with a source of strength.
We have someone on our side--a man who can tame the seas.
And the beauty of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ has the
power to tame not only the physical world, but more importantly,
he can tame the chaos and the despair and the guilt of our
inner life.

As Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew : “Come to me, all you who are
weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

If we understand that message and that promise from Jesus, then our life
will always have meaning.

But it doesn't stop there, my friends. By being a witness
to the power of Christ's love, we can bring meaning to other people's
lives--people who are struggling right now and asking themselves
in the midst of a great storm: To be, or not to be.