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Malini Singh McDonald

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  • We open in a week. As I was updating my FB status, it hit me that Ian and I have been talking about this show for 13 years. 13 YEARS! That’s a long time. It’s a long time to be with someone and it’s a long time to discuss a project.

    I was talking to a dear friend this morning whose husband is doing an open run show down in the Village. It just so happens that there is a 6 Degrees situation amongst us. That happens when you stay in a particular industry for a long time. It’s inevitable. It can be any industry. Once you hit, I would say, 10 year mark, you eventually start bumping into the same 7 people. I know this is true because my fight choreographer for Race told me that when he auditions for roles that require skilled fight choreography, he sees the same guys. They know each other now.

    That’s why it is important to maintain a sense of professionalism when working on a project. You never know who knows who. It has happened to me. Someone mentioned a person and I gave my two cents. And let me tell you that those who know me, know I love to give my two cents. There’s a soap box with my name engraved in Lucida Script. 72 Font.

    Anyway, hope to see you at the shows!

  • Publicity A-Go-Go

    We open in a month. A month. This has been an incredible rehearsal process. We have a great cast, director and production team. When all that good energy is around, it makes it easy to promote the project.

    And that’s just what I did this past weekend. I took the time to sit down at the computer and send our press releases to as many press websites my fingers would let me.

    I enjoy doing publicity. I ended up doing it when a group of us did Moose Murders. I always wanted to do it but didn’t know how to begin. So I taught myself. It took about a year and a half of doing the publicity for two groups in local theater to really get me up to speed. The one thing I learned about myself is that if I put my mind to something, I can achieve my goals. Interesting. That’s my life.

    I also made great contacts and met a lot of people who have followed me and Black Henna . A producer’s dream. I also am very lucky to have a Board who are amazing writers. They are better writers than me. I know this. So I build the press release and then turn to Cas, Ian and Michael for finalization. We do it as a team. Then I create my time frame and begin the emails and phone calls.

    It’s not an easy job. I have to focus on the task at hand and just do it. However, the payoff rocks. I learn more and more as I do each production. Each one has a slight variation but that keeps it alive. I can’t be complacent.

    The bottom line though is that a press release and the publicity you do is a representation of you, your company and the work you do.

    Why should you come see us? Look at the home page of this site.

  • Our two shows have officially overlapped. That means when Much Ado was rehearsing last week, we were also auditioning replacement actors for Race. I wanted to blog all about both processes but I couldn’t formulate how I was feeling about them. I couldn’t put the words together. The only four thoughts that continuously played in my head were (and still are) that I am an artist; I create; I have passion and I would die inside if I wasn’t creatively overwhelmed.

    Then I decided to look up the those 4 words. Thank you Merriam-webster.com. I live and die by you.

    Function: noun
    Date: circa 1507
    -one skilled or versed in learned arts
    -one who professes and practices an imaginative art
    -a person skilled in one of the fine arts
    -a skilled performer; especially : artiste
    - one who is adept at something

    Function: transitive verb
    Date: 14th century

    - to bring into existence
    - to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior
    - to produce through imaginative skill

    Function: noun
    Date: 13th century

    -the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces
    - emotion
    - intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction
    - an outbreak of anger
    - ardent affection : love
    - a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept
    -sexual desire
    -an object of desire or deep interest

    Function: noun
    Date: before 12th century

    -a permanent cessation of all vital functions : the end of life
    - an instance of dying
    - the passing or destruction of something inanimate

    I am one who professes and practices an imaginative art. I produce through imaginative skill. I have an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. The passing or destruction of something inanimate within me will occur of I don’t overproduce through my overimaginative skill.

    And scene.

  • I used to hate auditioning. Simply, I didn’t know how to audition. It wasn’t till grad school that I realized what a fun process it can be. When I graduated from The Actors Studio Drama School, I considered myself a full-fledged director and waved good-bye to the actress that was Malini. I became Malini Singh McDonald the director (well, I got married and added the name).

    However, a couple of audition notices came my way that made me go, ”Oooh”. The nervousness and anxiety of the THOUGHT of CONSIDERING to go to an audition completely overtook me. Then I realized that being a director also means understanding the audition process. I couldn’t go through life precasting my shows. Well, I could but at some point, we’ll need young people in our productions. So I decided to start auditioning again. I asked the actress who I had sat in the dressing room until I cued her to ”pull it together”. We were going to play.

    And play we did. I was able to play because I remembered my teachers telling us how to prepare for an audition, how to audition, and then how to feel after the process.

    It was completely liberating. I went to auditions not even worrying about getting cast. I was just so happy to audition for various roles. I auditioned for plays, short films, tv. I saw it as the only time that this director could be an actress. When I did get cast, the actress in me was psyched to tell the director in me to sit this one out. Sit there. Be quiet. And observe.

    My artistic life is complicated and completely schizophrenic.

    And with that, here are my tips for auditioning:

    If the play is already published, read it. If it isn’t, try to learn a little bit about the play and the role. With the advent of the internet, most of that information is at your fingertips.

    Have a repetoire of monologues to pick from: they should include Greek, Shakespeare, Moliere, Ibsen, Contemporary, etc.

    Pick a monologue that you love not what’s expected. Know that monologue like the back of your hand.

    Make sure your attire is clean and appropriate for the audtion.

    Be on time. You know the saying ”time is money?” Yes. It is.

    Walk into the audition as if you are going to a job interview. Be professional and warm. I can’t tell you how many auditions I have held where the audition went well but the actor was not friendly. This is the first time the panel is meeting you. Make it memorable.

    Give the panel your headshot and resume (Also, if you are AEA, there’s no need to make mention of that. We can see it on your resume).

    It is always okay to ask if you can use a chair or the space. You don’t have to stand CS and do the monologue fourth wall.

    After you have delivered your wonderful and passionate monologue, you may be asked to read sides – this is why you should dress for the audition and be prepared.

    Say thank you and leave.

    And as you walk to your next audition you ask yourself what did I learn from that last audition? What would I do differently?

    Usually you will hear a response within the week of your audition. If not, don’t despair, get ready for the next audition. An actor will never know what a director or casting director is thinking.

  • Much Ado has been cast, the parks have been booked, the rehearsal schedule has been constructed. Race will have auditions at the end of the month, is in its early marketing phase, is getting it’s name out to the public.

    I’ve been thinking a lot of the audition process as I’ve been living it. I am going to share how directors and producers view the initial step in the audition process: The sending of the cover letter, headshot and resume.

    We already have an idea of who we are looking for when we send out the audition notice. So when that letter/headshot/resume comes in, there’s a checklist that’s already engrained in our brains.

    - Does this picture accurately represent who you are in real life?
    - Are you really serious about auditioning for the part?
    - Did you proofread your cover letter? How is the grammar? Did you use spellcheck?
    - Is your resume well-designed? Is your resume in the same font?

    These may seem trivial but they’re not. Think about the blogs and sites you visit. Why are they your favorite? What makes them special? Why do you keep going back to them?

    Thank you. Point made.

    My advice is to have 2 other people look at your letter and resume. Auditioning for a part is not any different from interviewing for a job. The producer and director are serious about their show and want actors who are serious about their craft. Keep in mind that your letter/headshot/resume needs to shine through your competition.

    When it comes to your headshots, you should ask a trusted source who can objectively look at the picture and give you feedback. The worst people to ask are your parents and your significant other. Ian and I are able to look at each other’s headshots objectively but we still ask others for their advice. Inevitably, there’s one picture that captures a moment that brings back a special memory. See what I’m saying? Ask an objective party.

    NEXT: The Audition Process