Acting

Saturday

Howdy!

It’s 10 o’clock, and I’m in my room waiting for the cafeteria to open.. bah, only one more hour now, so hang in there! I woke up at 8, which probably had something to do with the fact that I went to bed at 10 p.m. yesterday. (6:30 a.m. workouts tend to do that to you)

Today I’ll move all my stuff into my new room. Oh, I think maybe I forgot to tell you why — there’s a water leak from the window in the one I have now. (Which shouldn’t be a huge problem, given that it only rains like four days each semester here — but I’d rather have a room without mold in it).

Last selfie in this room:

Yesterday I went to the movie theater to watch “Paper Towns.” I’m almost embarrassed I haven’t already seen that one — It’s getting kinda “old” now. Usually, I watch every movie that comes out within two days of its premiere… I don’t know which of the two are the most embarrassing actually… This past summer I was simply too busy, and the tickets were very expensive in Norway. So I better catch up now that I’m in the US! It was okay by the way, not as great as I had been hoping for, but ok.

Hmm… So what else is new?

I actually performed my monologue yesterday too! (It’s been pushed forward twice, but yesterday I finally got to do it). And it was great, I really loved it haha! Here comes a confession: I did actually want to become an actress when I was younger. And back in 2012 I was just a plane ticket away from moving to LA to study at Lee Strasberg Film and Theatre Institute… But when that didn’t work out, I almost forgot about everything that had to do with acting — up until now. So in case you wondered, this is not some newly discovered interest. But to any new readers, the real reason why I take acting classes this year is so that I can take the directing classes next year.

Since my last update I’ve had a meeting with the Athletic department at Augie about the video I’m going to do for TV in November. So the interviews and shoots for the next few weeks are all settled. I also took some headshots of my friend Charissa’s grad school applications. I’ve never really done “professional headshots” before, but I think they turned out pretty well.

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I should get dressed and head for brunch, so talk to ya later!

– Maria Lavelle

Acting and Laundry

What’s up folks?

I’m actually about to tuck in for the night, but figured I’d have time for a quick post first.

Since last time we spoke, I’ve done huge loads of homework, gone to classes and…oh wait, I suppose that’s not quite what you were hoping to read about? The truth is, that most of my time is spent on doing just that: homework and attending lectures. Which I don’t mind, because this year, I don’t have any science courses! I think I mentioned it sometime last semester, that I’m absolutely not a fan of anything that has to do with science.

This year it’s all journalism, English and now — acting as well. I had my first acting class on Friday, and as with most things at Augustana, there’s no starting slow. On Monday already, I’ll perform my first monologue in front of the whole class, wish me luck! I also had to catch up with the rest of the class (since I decided I’d minor in theater a week late) So I read through one of our books from beginning to end today. It’s really interesting, and I can already state that acting is clearly underrated — there’s so much more to it than you think.

I also spent a good few hours translating and adding subtitles to the Norwegian documentary I made this summer. I have a hectic schedule, but it’ll be done by mid-October. (I apologize to the people who’s been waiting)

Anyway, after dinner we went to do some shopping, and then I did my laundry with Karen. We both kinda hate it, but since we watched “Friends” while waiting for the washing machine to be done, it was pretty okay.

Not the most amusing Saturday night, but we sure had fun!

 

This “beautiful” alien wishes y’all a good night <3
Maria Lavelle

Theatre and such

Howdy!

Right now I’m just chiling in my room before I’ll head to the pool for a late night swim. 8:30 PM is not really that late, but compared to my usual 6:30 AM, it’s definitely not early!

Today I’ve been running back and forth between classes and meetings all day. I might not have mentioned it, but I have a job this year! My very fancy title is “Section Editor of the Arts” in the yearbook. So far, I know absolutely nothing about layouts or spread designs, but I’m surrounded by a bunch of talented people, so I’m sure it’ll be okay.

I also added a minor to my major today. So from now on, I’m officially majoring in Journalism and minoring in Theatre. Pretty awesome ha? Some of you might shake your head and ask” WHY theater???” Well, the reason is very simple. I want to be a movie director, but since I don’t go to film school, I’m using a different approach towards my dreams. The Augustana Theatre department offers directing classes, which of course is very useful, but I will also take a number of acting classes. I believe that in order to be a good director, you need to be able to see things from an actor’s perspective. So I’ll have my first class on this coming Friday.

 

As with everything, I’ll put it in the hands of God, and see where His path goes from here.

Portrait: Grant Elliott

A few posts ago I mentioned that I’ve been working on a “documentary” for one of my journalism classes. I was privileged enough to follow a bunch of extraordinary people from Augustana College Theatrical Society. There’s just something special about working around actors. They’re so refreshingly outgoing, free-spirited, focused and ambitious.

With all the footage I shot, I could probably make a full 90-minute feature story, but since this particular assignment only required four minutes, you’ll simply have to be okay with the “short version” for now.

This is Grant Elliott and his story:

(To watch in HD, press the pinion down to the right)

Raised in Captivity

I’m currently working on a short video documentary about the actors at Augustana, and spent some hours on Saturday following them around as they were preparing for their last show of “Raised in Captivity.” It’s truly fascinating to be able to visit someone’s world like that! I don’t need an excuse to be curious or ask questions, and the best of all: I don’t have anyone telling me what to do and what not to do. I can be my own boss, and let my own creativity flow.

Here are some sneak peeks from the first day of shooting.

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“The theater is a place to come and just… be” – Miranda Miller

 

Actor Grant Elliott backstage before the last show of “Raised In Captivity” at Augustana.
“Within the play, Grant and I kiss quite a few times… So we hung out a lot outside of rehearsal. To make it less awkward, I guess.” – Travis Clark
“I can’t believe it’s going to be over already, it’s ridiculous! – Director Teresa Preuss

In the past I’ve only done fictional short films, which allows you to “direct” the people in front of the camera, and tweak every single scene until it’s just the way you pictured it. In documentary filmmaking however, you’re not only a filmmaker, but also a journalist. And your task is to tell someone’s story just the way it is. There’s no room for directing, tweaking or enhancing of any kind.

Which is great of course, since you want to tell credible stories and let the audience see what you saw. But, it can also be a little frustrating at times, because you only get one shot. You can’t ask your subject to repeat everything they said, just because the lighting was a little off at that moment, for example. As the organized person I am, I prefer having a clear and structured plan ahead of me. But with this type of storytelling, I quickly realized that sometimes you have to trust your impulses, rather than the storyline and questions you planned beforehand. When you don’t have a script, and you’re dealing with real people, you can’t always predict the direction the story is going. Maybe that’s what makes documentaries so interesting? Either way, I enjoyed every minute of this first day’s shoot, and I’m excited to continue.

Bless y’all,
Maria

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