Monday, March 16, 2015

Director Millicent Shelton Answers Questions from my TwinkSTARS

Greetings All,

We are Blessed. I say this all the time and its so true "My Network is my Net worth!"

Welp, this time it has lead to questions Answered from my FB Fan Page or my TwinkSTARS!

These Questions are answered by Award Winning Director (and friend) Millicent Shelton! Thank you Millicent for your attention to this.

We appreciate you!

1. Joseph Alvarez How was it going to school at Princeton University? Princeton

was where I discovered that I wanted a life in the creative arts.  I worked Props

for the Triangle Show and toured during winter break.  I loved it.   Does the

industry treat you differently when they find out that you’re from Princeton? Not

really.  It just lets people know that I am book smart.

2. Drea Wright Thompson What are the best things parents can do to prepare

children for this industry? I think all parents should support and help

their children achieve their dreams whatever those dreams are.  Tell them that

they can achieve anything if they work hard enough.  Nothing worth having

comes easy.  Encourage your children to believe in their dreams while they are

young so that when they are 11 &13 they will start actively taking steps in the

direction of achieving those dreams.

3. Sashani Nichole What is one piece of advice you can give other talented up and

coming female directors to help them break into Hollywood or work with

someone like yourself? You will be challenged, often and without remorse, so

stay strong, stay smart, stay cool and never give up.

4. Ellen Schoeters How did it feel when you got your first directing job? Scary and

exhilarating all at once.  I am always confident on the outside but inside I had to

remind myself “I can do this!”  Do you feel that amazing energy running through

your body when you are working? Yes, even on the toughest days, I am thankful

to be blessed to be able to make a living doing something I love.

5.  Love Rose: What keeps you inspired as a director even in between projects? My

goal is to be better, hone my craft, and do more exciting projects.  I always see

room for improvement that’s what inspires me.

6. Patricia McRae As an established Television Director would you consider having

Job Shadow opportunities on set for people interested in directing?  Yes, a lot of

people have shadowed me and gone on to do great work.  When I first started, I

was given an opportunity to shadow other directors and that opened doors for

me so I pay it forward.  If so, what would be the process for applying? The

producers of a show have to give their approval before I can allow someone to

shadow me.  I only have shadows on shows that I am returning on.  Send me a

resume and get on the list.  It’s a very long list.

7. Adrienne Renee Who is your most important mentor and why do you consider

him/her to be that? My mother is my most important mentor in life.  She dared

me to follow my dreams and gave me enough confidence to believe that I could

achieve them.  Paris Barclay is my mentor in career.  He allowed me to watch

him direct for 3 years.  It was like a Master class in Television direction!  He is

always there to support me no matter how busy his life has become.  I admire

his craft, his intelligence, and his lightness of making it all seem easy when it’s

not! I also wanted to know what you think will define the evolution of female

directors over the next few years?  We have an Oscar winning female director,

Kathryn Bigelow, and plenty of other Emmy award winning female directors in

comedy and dramatic television directing.  If that’s not evolution, I’m not sure

what is.  We have to continue to work and to do good work while pushing for

better hiring numbers.

8. Dolann M. Adams What draws you to your projects? I love projects that have

rich, complex characters. Do you prefer directing comedies or dramas and why? I

love both. Having experience in both dramatic and comedic shows has made me

stronger as a director.  I can give drama a little levity when necessary and all

great comedies must have heart. Have you found and directed the project that

made your heart sing?  One of my all time favorite shows that I directed was

MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE.  Working with Andre Braugher, Scott Bakula and Ray

Romano was truly special.  I loved working with John Ridley again on AMERICAN

CRIME.  The cast was amazing and John creates such deep characters that it

creatively challenged and inspired me.  How do you work with actors on set?  I

like to see what an actor gives first.  Based on that, I give notes to bring out what

is working and create subtle changes with them to shape a scene.  I embrace the

collaboration.  Do you prefer lots of one on one rehearsal or are table reads

sufficient?  When working on episodic television, there is not a lot of time for

rehearsals.  We run through it for blocking once or twice then quickly have to

find the pulse of the scene during filming.  The performance evolves take after

take.  The Producers determine whether or not there is a table read.  I find table

reads to be very useful.

9. How have you mentored the next generation of women directors? Directors

have mentored me and I believe in paying it forward by looking for up and

coming female directors to help.  Many female directors have shadowed me but

often it’s being a sounding board and offering advice that helps the most.  What

kind of projects would you refuse to direct? I don’t direct what I can’t get

creatively behind. What kind of projects are you dying to direct? I would kill to

direct Idris Elba in LUTHER on BBC.

10. Nicole De Do you think there will ever be more black sitcoms like the 90s era?

Shows like Empire and Black-ish are doing very well.  Viola Davis just won a SAG

Award for her performance on How to Get Away with Murder.  If people keep

watching, networks will make more of these types of shows.

11. Joshua R. Lamont TV moves so fast, what do you need the most from your

actors, crew and assistants on set?  Everyone has to be on his or her “A” game

including me.  We don’t have the luxury of time. The actors have to know their

lines, the crew has to work fast, my assistant needs to be supportive, and I need

to have my homework done. What is the one thing you’ve learned from actors

while being on set?  Actors have taught me to listen and watch openly. How do

you establish your own style while keeping within the tones of the show? In TV,

I’m a guest director.  I have to keep the established language of the show yet

work my vision in it.  I embrace their style and make it my own.  I begin by

watching lots of episodes of the shows that I direct prior to working then read

the scripts leading up to my episode so I know all the back story.  After that, I

relax and daydream my script.
Director Millicent Shelton 

Thank you again Millicent and Thank you TwinkSTARS for your Awesome Questions!! 

More to come... Stay Tuned!! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Twinkie takes New Orleans by STORM

Casting Locally in New Orleans

So Thankful!!

I'm Blessed to have the opportunity to Cast a film locally in New Orleans, this winter. WOW!! What a Wonderful Experience.  While in New Orleans running in Audubon park, I had an epiphany.. Okay well my Actor friend Lance Nichols with his beautiful wife Zardis helped me put it together. They are wonderful!

Running in Audubon Park
So we put the word out there to get the ball rolling. Lance and Zardis are Awesome!! While getting the word out I received an email regarding my workshop and a interview for WGNO News With A Twist!! Yay!! Seriously!! My Actors B.S. Workshop is hapening in New Orleans!! The Big easy!! Hollywood has come to Hollywood South!

The Interview was Awesome. Shout out to Jabari Thomas for his Audacity and Tenacity! (my two favorite words)  GREAT JOB!

After my interview, I donated my time to speak to High School students at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). WOW I was completed taken aback by their wonderful reception and turnout!! It was Awesome!! The Students are very Bright and articulate. I loved listening to their questions and point of view.
 I figured I would start off wiht who I was and what I was doing there. Welp, they stopped me with Ms. Twinkie, we already know who you are. We did our research. Oh My.. Okay lets get into it then..

We moved on to the Q&A portion of the afternoon. My first question floored me.. Yes, I said, whats is your question. This adorable young lady asked "What have you sacrificed to be in this business and to get where you are today?" WOW!! Gulp.. I was speechless.. What have I sacrificed... well, to be honest, marriage, children, funerals, weddings, Thanksgivings, Christmases, Easter, quality family time, friends, baby showers etc. you name it and I have probably missed it, therefore sacrificed it. Its challenging and I try not to give it too much thought.  Casting is my Gift from God, so I'm sure there is someone very special in store for me. From there the questions become even more on point and insightful.

These kids are no joke but I loved it. We discussed Type Casting, Attitudes, Likability, Lack of Actors of Color, TV versus Film etc. We discussed the industry in general and then some very real specifics. Such a Great speaking engagement. Thank you to Ashley Nicole Williams for utilizing your network for me. I was so full after leaving that school, my feel didnt touch the ground.

A Day at NOCCA

Thank you NOCCA!! You were Awesome!! 

Next was a Radio Interview with Samantha Beaulieu at WBOK in Nawlins!! Thank you Samantha!! 

Last but definitely not least was my workshop!! Actors B.S. happened in New Orleans and Special Thanks goes to LaZardis Productions!! Lance and Zardis made sure to assist me in any way they could, which included putting the good word out there for my workshop!!

Guess who stopped by, Director Oz Scott!!! LEGENDARY!! I ran into Oz while at the Valet waiting for my car. I saw a Production Van and wondered "Who is here and getting into that Production Van?" None other than Oz Scott and his producer. Oz was in town Directing an Episode of NCIS New Orleans. After a Big Ol HUG!! Oz asked what I was doing there.. I shared I was Casting a Feature Film and decided to do a workshop to impart some valuable information to Actors. Oz said.. IM IN.. I said wait.. what?? He said.. I will come by if you want. I was Floored!! Totally Floored!! This is Oz Scott!! He IS "For Colored Girls who have considered suicide when the Rainbow is Enuff! I was speechless.. I said Yes Sir!! Thank you Sir.. Thank you!! 

I just cant believe he is here!! Ladies and Gentlemen, OZ SCOTT!! 

Thank you Sir! Thank you.. Lets Chat...

MY NETWORK IS MY NET WORTH!! New Orleans was so Good to me!!  Thank you James Lopez, Lance Nichols, Zardis Nichols,  Janee Tucker (Mama Gee), Robert Doqui and the City of New Orleans!!

Its all about Nawlins Beybee!! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Our Obsession with "THE LEAD"

It's time to have the discussion. Maybe we should start with a question...

Are we obsessed with being THE LEAD??

If so, what is this about?

Please allow me to elaborate.I've been teaching a class on Actors B.S. (to be discussed later) and I'm learning so much.

During my class, I work on Type. The Typing process made some actors "feel" some type of way about how they are being typed. So we discuss it.  I learn that many actors want to be Leading Men/Ladies. When you say they are character actors or types, their faces got all scrunched up and eyes rolled around in their heads. Truly not happy about being typed as a character actor, the question is asked.. Why cant I be the "Lead"?? I see myself as a Lead and I want to do Lead work.

I wonder..what are we equating with the word or term  "Lead"?

My questions then become..How do you feel about yourself? Do you need to be the Center of Attention? What does Lead mean to you? Does being the Lead, validate you in some way?
Denzel dreams? Halle Berry wishes?
Do you have a Passion for this Industry? Do you truly have a passion for The Craft? Does the Lead make more money? If yes, are you sure?

You reveal alot about your Ego when LEAD roles are your obsession. One young lady compared herself to Paula Patton saying she is "mixed" so therefore she should be a Lead. (SERIOUSLY!!!)

For this particular Blog, I'm truly interested in Comments from the Acting community.  Can you guys answer some questions for me please? Post others as well.

Looking forward to your thoughts and Feelings!

Update: Lets be clear that it should NOT be about proving yourself as
worthy, able or talented. That should exist in your spirit already. The Craft is the Craft. work towards being the Best you can be. Lead does NOT mean Best.