Saturday, November 26, 2005

November 24, 2005
Last night at four I met a drama coach named Mike Lawler who taught me "cold read techniques." These are tricks to get past cold copy, in my case reading scripts for True West Moments to be run on the Westerns Channel. How do you communicate in the best way without all the sabotage, such as "actor talk" ("Is my hair okay?" and "I wonder if I sound authoritatively enough?"). These are ways that take you out of communicating what you want to say, on camera. There are many more, but here's some of the tricks Mike taught me

• The Monotone Read: with a monotone voice read the script eight times. Don't even try to make it sexy or modulate your voice for emphasis.

• Jaba Jaba Read: When you have the script memorized, now exchange actual words with jibberish, so that "The O.K. Corral sounds so good. Maybe it's all those Ks, as in O.K. Corral." becomes, "Jaba Jab Jab Jaba jaba jaba jaba jaba. Jaba jaba jaba jaba Ja, Ja Ja jabab jabe jaba." This really helps you to get the emphasis off the actual words, and it sounds damn funny to boot.

• Talk to someone you love: forget the script, talk to someone you love (that would be Kathy) and actually say, "Hey, Kathy, did you hear about the O.K. Corral?" Convert the entire speech into a conversation in your breakfast nook.

• Never look at the camera lense as a camera lense. Always put a person there. So in the final read, when the director says, "Action!" say to yourself, "Hey Kathy," then start the speech, but keep her face in the lense.

Powerful stuff. It cost me $65. Well worth the price for valuable knowledge.

I met Kathy afterwards at El Conquistador for dinner. I said, "Hey, Kathy, jaba jaba jaba, jaba, jaba jaba jaba jaba jab jab jaba."

And she said, "And I'll take a lime."

I had the menudo (trying to watch my cholesterol) and she had the pollo consado ($25 cash, includes tip)

Today wwe went over to Mother Radina's for Thanksgiving dinner. Full house. James Radina drove over from San Diego. Justine was there (she's 86 and still driving!) and Lee with his big Dodge Dualie. E.J. and Cedes, Carol and Brad, Debbie and Kenny. Big feed. Lots of laughs. E.J. recited an 11 minute Weird Al Yankovich bit verboten. Funny stuff.

"Talk happiness. The world is sad enough without your jaba. Jaba jaba jaba wholly rough."
—Ella Wilcoxx

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