It’s been three years since I sold everything and left Winnipeg for Vancouver, and then to Los Angeles to pursue acting and writing full time. It’s been pretty scary burning up my life savings going back to school, training, making my own films, and just surviving while hoping to get my break. I’m still struggling and running out of money fast, but I’m getting very close to making my first feature film, and I’m very hopeful that I’ll get cast for something big very soon….at least before I’m completely broke. Below is a video with some of the best clips from just some of the great films I’ve worked on. It would be a dream come true to be able to afford to keep doing this kind of work. I hope and pray every day that I’ll be able to keep going.
I’ve worked with so many great people and am grateful for the friends I’ve made in the industry and in every day life in all the places I’ve been. I’ve also had some great compliments from Studio Execs, Directors, Producers and fellow actors. Here are a couple:
Sheldon Charron is the real thing. Not only did he nail the audition and callback, he was extremely easy to work with – taking direction and accepting and appreciating ideas. Of all the actors we saw for the lead, he was the one guy who actually brought a living presence and genuine honesty to the role. It was thrilling to see him work.
- Harry Cason, Writer/Director, A Fireman’s Pledge
Sheldon’s acting first caught my attention because of his naturalism and spot on comedic timing…Sheldon is that rare breed of actor that possesses that extra something – call it charisma, star quality, whatever you want…he has it.
- David Gott, Director – Sushi Chef vs. iPad
Comm. Agent: Susan Havins, Sovereign Talent Group: 310.474.4000
Managed by: Drea Gamble, The Robb Co.: 323.377.4128
Sheldon is Currently Seeking a Theatrical Agent and A Literary Agent.
Last weekend, I had the chance to host an event for Fishermen’s Spot, a fly fishing store in Van Nuys that’s over 40 years young. And it just so happens that it’s located just blocks away from where I live. There were a ton of great vendors there and I talked with many of them, who had everything from custom made bamboo rods to hand made nets and hand tied lures. It was a great couple of days and I’ve since gone out fishing with Hardy Rep and guide, David Wratchford, and shot an episode of my, as yet untitled, fly fishing show that will be marketed as a tourism vehicle for the state of California.
Robert Bolt Custom Cane Poles:
Salty Fly Guide Service:
You can learn more about Fishermen’s Spot by visiting their website.
The video clip below is 5 minutes, cut from Kevin Spacey’s nearly one hour speech at the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival.
He spoke at length about the future of television and film, Pilot season, pitching, Netflix and his uber successful show, House of Cards which was a collbarotaion with David Fincher, director of Fightclub, Se7en and many others.
Clearly the success of the Netflix model — releasing the entire season of House Of Cards at once — has proved one thing: the audience wants control. They want freedom. If they want to binge — as they’ve been doing on House Of Cards — then we should let them binge.
If you’re a screenwriter, filmmaker or even an executive with a major studio or production company, you do not want to miss this video. Watch it. Watch it again. Then think about it long and hard.
A couple of months ago, I had the chance to work with director David Gott from Media District Productions, on a commercial for Sir Lancelot’s Armor iPad and iPhone Screen Protectors. I played the spokesperson for the commercial. Bryan Koss was the director of Photography. Please like the video and share it with your friends.
Acting is a tough business. You audition and audition in the hope of finally getting a role. But while auditions are considered harder than acting on set and can be stressful, they can also be fun and challenging if you do the work, and will help to hone your skills when your big break finally arrives.
I’ve been on both sides of the casting table, and I am amazed by how unprepared some actors are. But getting prepared, is more than half the fun of being an actor.
To prepare, you need to analyze your sides, and with limited information, try to create a back story on the characters in the scene. Then you need to make a choice about who your character is and what their goal is for that scene.
I’ve heard people call it detective work, and that’s a good description. Quite often I will try to find other sides and scenes on showfax, even if they don’t pertain to my character, to try to figure out what’s going on in my scene and what the film is really about. It’s rare to have a full script to read. Then we breakdown our sides. I use a very simple technique most of the time, called V-O-T-E, which stands for victory, obstacle, tactic and expectation.
What is it that the character wants in this scene? What is his goal? Is it something physical or emotional? For instance, the character could be trying to convince his wife to move their family to another city to take a promotion, or in another example, he tries to ease his son’s disappointment that he can’t come with him on a road trip. The wife’s victory in this case might be to talk her husband out of moving. The son’s victory might be to convince his father to take him along.
The obstacle is what gets in the character’s way of getting what he wants. Maybe the wife has close family here and they are very controlling? Maybe she has a career here herself she worked hard to develop? You’ll have to overcome that obstacle in the scene, but how? Maybe you PROMISED your son you would take him on the next road trip.
The wife’s obstacle might be that if she stays, the marriage will be over. Another might be that she would have to leave her career behind to follow you. The son’s might be that he has school. Find the Obstacle I the scene or if there is no obvious Obstacle, and you cannot find the backstory, make one up and run with it. That’s your job.
This is the tactic the characters use to attain their victory. For instance, the father might threaten to leave his wife, or he might show her pictures of the beautiful new house they could afford if they moved and got a big raise. trip. His tactic for the son might be to give him some gift (buy him off) or some new responsibility to make him feel important. Your choices depend on how the scene plays out, but there are reasons the writer wrote those words down. We all know that written words can sometimes be interpreted several different ways. Just think back on an email that someone took the wrong way. It’s your job to interpret the words and choose the direction and TACTIC.
Now don’t forget that words are just words. The emotional state of the characters and the Victory and Obstacle you choose determine how you exercise your tactic. Do you get angry, threaten, belittle, comfort, use seduction, guilt, or humor? And what about the other characters? The emotions drive the scene.
This is pretty straight forward. Does your character expect they they will attain victory, and get what they want? This could be a yes or a no. That does not mean that if they don’t expect to win, that they will give in. Many people fight tooth and nail for things they know they will never get. Then again, maybe they cave… Again, do this for each character.
With the character and scene study complete, you need to read your lines again keeping the V-O-T-E in mind. Then write it all out, including all the characters’ dialog in the scene – not just your own. As visual creatures, we are better at remembering what we write down.
Next, you need to find things in your life that help you relate to your character and allow you to feel what they might feel. Find a trigger that you can draw from and then put aside while you do the scene.
Now study the lines again with a scene partner if possible. Ask your scene partner not to do characters or change voices and such. Just listen and respond. The way they read could drive the scene away from the V-O-T-E since thy have not studied it. This can reinforce the wrong performance. Also, quite often, your reader will be dry and monotone. It’s rare to have a reader get into the role, and that’s for good reason. Good CD’s and directors know it can take the scene off track and they probably won’t get the unique performance the actor prepared. I’ve also had live scenes where my reader was a guy. You have to be prepared for that and possibly for an enthusiastic reader, but hopefully you get a good one. Inexperienced actors might tell you a good reader is one that gets into it. Don’t listen to them.
Another technique I use is to read the sides into my iPhone voice recorder, but remain silent for my character’s dialog. Then I play this back, LISTEN and RESPOND. i time it so by the time i finish, the next line is delivered. I can even block the scene out and place the iPhone on speaker where I think the reader might be. Since I have Bluetooth in my car, I can even practice while driving to my audition, playing the scene through my vehicle’s speakers.
NOW FORGET EVERYTHING
The important thing to remember is, that once you have memorized the words, you need to FORGET them. The moment you have to recall from memory, you will go out of character and it is very obvious in the room. If you’ve done your homework, listen to the reader, stay in the scene and use the emotional trigger to relate to the character, the words will come naturally and be REAL.
You do not NOT need to be word for word in the room. If you have done your homework, the CD and director won’t even notice you were not word for word, as long as you get the gist across. It’s HOW you PERFORM that counts. Yes the writer should be respected, but that can come later, and quite often, writing is tweaked after casting when they discover some lines don’t roll off the tongue naturally.
Many times, a director will see a performance that depicts a character they hadn’t thought of for that role, and fall in love with it. I once had a guy come in for a masculine role, but his performance seemed a bit feminine. We thought, “Hmmmm. Maybe this guy guy is Gay?” We got pretty excited about it for bit. We chose not to go there, but if we had, that guy would have booked it. One might say that he made the wrong choice, but I doubt he would have been considered at all for the character we had in mind originally. We ALMOST changed the character to fit this guy’s version though. Powerful stuff. Find that character, be confident in your choice, do the work, have fun and you will book.
Remember that auditions can be fun too. Actors love to pretend. That’s what this is all about. So embrace the process of using your imagination to create a character and go nail it! Auditions are performing too, and the most important performances you will have. They get you the work that pays the bills and help you show your skills to the world. We all want to be seen.
Now go have fun preparing for your next audition.