MN Fringe Festival

 Brag Reel, Events  Comments Off on MN Fringe Festival
Jul 182012
 

MINNESOTA FRINGE FESTIVAL : 11 days, 165 shows, 15 Twin Cities venues.

There will be a TON of fresh new theater to feast your eyes on in the coming month. Get Ready!! August 2 – August 12 will be jam packed with 165 shows and over 1000 artists presenting their theatrical work. All shows run NO MORE than 60 minutes, seating is general admission and you must purchase a $4 FRINGE BUTTON to attend the shows. More details about ticketing can be found at : http://www.fringefestival.org/2012/tickets/

A great deal of the work at the Minnesota Fringe Festival is original work by Minnesota artists. At Talent Poole, we are lucky enough to represent AT LEAST two of the very talented writers and performers in this year’s festival. There are many more participating in the festival… check it out online for the full schedule.

Let me introduce you to Mike Fotis and Max Wojtanowicz

Mike Fotis, Creator of Billy Beechwood and The Mountain Of Terror!

Mike Fotis is one of the Twin Cities’ premiere comic performers. In improv circles, he’s known as an educator and member of Ferrari McSpeedy and Fingergun. Fotis also co-created such popular stage comedies as “Punk Rock Omaha” and “Speech!” and has written several storytelling shows for the Minnesota Fringe called “An Intimate Evening With Fotis” and “Billy Beechwood and the Mountain of Terror!”. Mike is also a mainstage cast member at the Brave New Workshop and serves as the co-director of the Student Union, which is the BNW’s School of Improvisation.

 

Billy Beechwood and The Mountain Of Terror!

Presented by: Ferrari McSpeedy

Mt. Terror has claimed the lives of everyone that has tried to scale it. Will Billy Beechwood reach the peak or will he be buried forever in an icy tomb? A comedy-adventure for the kid in all of us.

This show is funny. Mike, along with his buddies Joe Bozic and Aric McKweon (another Talent Poole Talent) play tons of characters in this fast paced trip through awesome town.

 Thursday, 8/2 7:00 pm
Saturday, 8/4 10:00 pm
Monday, 8/6  8:30 pm
Tuesday, 8/7 10:00 pm
Saturday, 8/11 7:00 pm

LOCATION: U of M Rarig Center Thrust 
330 21st Av S, Main Floor

Tickets and other info here: http://www.fringefestival.org/2012/show/?id=2257

 

Max Wojtanowicz creator of Fruit Fly: The Musical

Max Wojtanowicz makes faces for a living, including at the Children’s Theatre Company (Dr Seuss’ The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Romeo & Juliet, Mr McGee and the Biting Flea and the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz), The Strange Capers (Feste in Twelfth Night), Workhouse Theatre Company (Arnold inTorch Song Trilogy), Urban Samurai (Musical: The Musical! at the 2008 MN Fringe and Hunter in the regional premiere of [title of show]) and Frank Theatre (Cliff in Cabaret). Next up: Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at CTC! He could not be more thrilled to share the stage with Sheena and collaborate with all these wonderful chumps. Thanks to fruits and fruit flies everywhere!

PS: if you need more Max in your life, make sure to head over to Theatre in the Round where he is playing Benvolio in The Peanut Butter Factory’s world premiere of Joe Dowling’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet on the Moon, featuring Kate Mulgrew as Lady Capulet!

 

Fruit Fly: The Musical

 By The Jansonowicz Players

Created by Sheena Janson, Max Wojtanowicz, Michael Gruber and Nikki Swoboda

Can a gay man and a straight woman – a fruit and a fruit fly – “quit each other” to find true love? Find out in this brand new musical, developed and performed by local actors Sheena Janson and Max Wojtanowicz, who met as kids in community theater in the St. Cloud area.

Sheena and Max’s weird, wonderful friendship is told with music by Broadway veteran and recent Minneapolis transfer Michael Gruber. The piece will be directed by long-time collaborator and friend Nikki Swoboda, with musical direction by Jason Hansen, and performed at the Rarig Arena on the U of M campus!

In an election year, when same-sex marriage and GLBT rights are hot button issues, FRUIT FLY: THE MUSICAL reminds us that right now, as always, all any of us really wants is to feel safe, welcomed, loved… and fabulous!

LOCATION: U of M Rarig Arena
330 21st Av S, Second Floor

Sunday, 8/5   7:00 pm
Monday, 8/6   10:00 pm
Thursday, 8/9  5:30 pm
Friday, 8/10      7:00 pm
Saturday, 8/11 4:00 pm

Tickets and other info here: http://www.fringefestival.org/2012/show/?id=2262

And please donate what you can to our Kickstarter campaign — every little bit helps, and check out those great incentives! 🙂
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/458391060/fruit-fly-the-musical-the-2012-mn-fringe-festival
We know there are tons more (163 to be exact) show to get excited about… we wanted to brag a bit about two of our extremely talented artists who are working hard on these great projects!

Please go out and support local artists this August at the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

 

The Importance of Improv

 Classes, On Camera, Tips N Tricks  Comments Off on The Importance of Improv
Jul 132012
 

More and more we are getting requests for talent to have improv experience. They may not specifically say it – but read between the lines in the audition specs. Did the client ask for “something unique”, “facial reactions”, “fun personalities”, “good timing”, or a “comedy background”? They are really asking for someone to be comfortable with IMPROV!

In commercials, most of the content is said by the VO talent, that means the majority of ON-CAMERA talent is acting through facial expressions and reactions. The more comfortable you are with your body, face and movements… the more comfortable you will look on camera.

Some of the key principles of improv are:

Be Prepared, Warm Up: Even in commercial work, it is important to take a minute to prepare for your audition. Make sure you have read all the information well in advance, have memorized your lines if need be, have your headshot and resume printed in advance, and have your wardrobe ready to go. Once in the audition space – take a few deep breaths – shed the stress of the drive in traffic and don’t think about the rest of the crowded room. Only think about what is needed for YOU.

Listen: Listen when the director/casting director gives you a suggestion. Take a minute, process it, and react. Listen when your partner is speaking – actually speak back to them, don’t just recite lines to them.

Action Beats Inaction: Don’t just stand there and say/do nothing!! Act and react. Make specific choices for your character.

Be Honest: Don’t censor your initial thoughts. If you have a gut reaction, it is likely the most natural reaction for you… try it!

Trust: Trust your impulses and your choices. Also – trust those of your scene partner. Build off them, weave them together… make up a great story!

YES AND… The most commonly known principle in improv is “yes, and…”. You never say no. Accept what is happening and make it part of your reality and create around it.

Improv doesn’t mean you are a stand up comedian or the guy with the best one-liners. The talent who are great with improv can see comedic timing in a script and they can feel the places where a reaction can be placed.

If you are interested in learning more about improv – we are lucky to have some AMAZING improv theater groups in town that offer classes. Take a peek at:

Brave New Workshop Student Unionhttp://studentunion.bravenewworkshop.com/

Huge Improvhttp://www.hugetheater.com/classes/

Stevie Ray’s Improvhttp://www.stevierays.org/improv_comedy_classes.html

Comedy Sportzhttp://www.comedysportztc.com/classes.php

 

 

Jul 022012
 

Happy 4th of July week everyone!

I thought I would take this holiday week to post a little something personal and let ya’ll get to know me and how I got here! Hope you enjoy it (and if you don’t – come back next week… we’ll try another topic then!).

So – My name is Suzanne Roberts. I am 1/2 of the team at Talent Poole and I am so thankful that I get to come to work everyday with Geanette and all of our talent. I couldn’t be happier!

As many in this business, I started out in theater – no, let’s rephrase that. I started out wanting to be Bernadette Peters. I went to the University of MN, Duluth to study Musical Theater and to become a STAR. Well, I learned very quickly that I worked very hard, but I wasn’t as competitive or as naturally talented at Bernadette – or even most of my class mates. So I switched my focus to stage management – now that’s where I became the STAR! I really excelled at organizing and scheduling and finding how all the pieces of the show fit together.

After I graduated from UMD, I spent a summer as a production coordinator intern at the Ordway. I worked on productions like Rent, Les Mis and Anything Goes. I also spent my time doing informational meetings with people in the biz around town and that is where I discovered tv/film production. I met with  a producer in the Yellow Tag Productions division at Best Buy and I wanted to know if my stage management skills could transfer into production. I asked her what she did on a typical day – and she said “why don’t you come work for me and you’ll see.” I spent the next few months as her assistant in the office and then I got a taste of being on set and I loved it. I  loved that everyday was different, that I would be doing wardrobe  prep one day and then planning a schedule the next and then on set or location the following. I became a freelance coordinator at the age of 21 and worked non-stop until I decided to move to NYC in the spring of 2005.

I had always dreamed on living in New York. I thought it was the best place in the whole wide world! I moved there without a job – but I interviewed non-stop for the first month at every production company, agency and casting office I could get to answer my call. Finally, I got a frantic call from a casting agency asking me to come in for an interview. They had just fired the last person they hired and their main agent was going on a 3 week vacation the next day… they needed help. NOW. I landed the job, mostly because they were desperate, but they asked me to stay because I was awesome! I became the background casting agent for 6 films and 1 major network show over the next 6 months – we worked on projects with Richard Gere, Jason Priestley,Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, Judy Greer, Tom Cavanagh, Hayden Christensen, and Ivan Reitman. We didn’t do any of our work electronically yet – so we just had piles of headshots all over the place. There was a stack of blond 20 year old women in the left hand corner of the room, the 40 year old men with grey hair were in the right corner. They were stacked to my knees… and we would spend our days flipping through pics and making calls. It was exhausting! After 6 months, I was worn out and I missed MN and my family. I was ready to come home.

After coming home from NY, I needed a break from production. I found a job that used all my organizational skills, but was still fun and creative. I became an event planner. I worked for several different companies over the next few years helping plan all types of events and meetings. But – I always found I missed production. I am so happy being back in the mix here at Talent Poole – I love working with actors and producers daily… this is my comfort zone!

As for me personally:  I like to laugh. A lot. I sing random songs throughout the day. I dance when I am happy or when we book a job. I can do a totally believable southern accent, mildly believable British accent and a terrible Russian accent – I love getting in the VO booth and being a goof ball! I am kinda girly, love the color pink, all things that sparkle and dark chocolate. I am terrible at telling jokes, but I love puns. I hate killing spiders (afraid of the karma or mass spider retribution), air conditioning (would rather it just be 70 and breezy), doing dishes and dust bunnies. I don’t believe that “everything happens for a reason” or there is some master plan written…. We have more control than we give ourselves credit for.  I have a passport that has never been stamped, but I am dying to go to Paris, Fiji, Italy and Australia.

So – there is a bit of history on your agent, Suzanne. Can’t wait to learn more about all of you! 🙂