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Skådespelaren Kevin E. West

Skådespelaren Kevin E. West
I den första delen där vi intervjuar etablerade filmarbetare från Hollywood träffar vi skådespelaren Kevin E. West. Han har arbetat som skådespelare i Hollywood sedan 1990 och har en imponerande meritlista. Snart är han aktuell med ”A date with Hollywood” i Stockholm, men redan nu bjuder han på några värdefulla tips!

Imponerande meriter
Criminal Minds, Bones, CSI: Miami, Lost, 24, Desperate Housewives, NCIS, Alias, CSI, På spaning i New York och Arkiv X är bara ett axplock av Kevins många meriter, som även innefattar en två-årig karriär som stand-up artist och improvisations-skådespelare. Han kommer tillsammans med flera andra Hollywoodbaserade filmarbetare att besöka Stockholm 24-25 april för att delta i en inspirationspanel med workshop, “A date with Hollywood”.

Kevin E West är också skapare till online-showen, Dirty Laundry TV och en intervjuserie med några av Hollywoods stora namn som ger tips i branschen, ActorBizGuru. Vad kan han tänkas ha för tips till er medlemmar?
What would be your best advice to aspiring actors?
- Well for an actor, anywhere in the world, my advice would always be to reach a high-level of confidence in your talent first. Because it is Show Business, but you don’t have to make it a business, but it is always Show. So naturally your craft has to be top-notch based on your age/type and perceived marketplace.

But if you start talking about advice to actors beyond just performing then one has to do three things:

1) Emotionally understand that casting is about “being a product” whether it is a commercial, television show or film and it isn’t personal…so learn not to take not being cast as rejection. Very important.

2) Learn to understand that your physical attributes make you a product and understand how that product fits in the city of actors in which you live. Lastly.

3) Learn as much as you can about the “business” in your marketplace so that you can use a level of logic and intelligence when pursuing actual paid work.
What are your thoughts on auditioning and what should an actor focus on?
In the U.S., and certainly in Hollywood, the audition process is possibly different than in Sweden. However, from a pure artistic stand point, it is always incredibly important for you to have made (3) distinct and clear choices on how you’d like to perform this audition/scene but one of them has to be your number one choice. The other two are just other ways to “go” if you are possibly re-directred by the Casting Director or Director.

However, beyond that, if the audition IS for film or television (or a Theatrical audition as we call it in L.A.), it is truly imperative to not necessarily completely memorize the scene or “sides” as we call them but also very important to be able to walk into the audition room and position your physical self very quickly so that you’re comfortable with where you’re standing or sitting and where the camera is based on the physical set up of the room and where any of the producers or director may be positioned. If you don’t do this quickly, and feel comfortable, it is likely to cause a real issue in your mind and potentially distract your focus from your audition.
Can you give us your thoughts on training for actors?
I do think that training, on some and/or many levels, is vastly important… but only important to the point that you’re able to use it. What I mean by that is I know hundreds and hundreds of actors in Los Angeles who are sort of “teacher addicted” but they’ve studied so much with so many people that when they get an actual audition…they don’t really implement any one form of technique or have any “clear use and purpose” from their training that goes into their work…easily. So I do believe that one can overtrain or engage in “too many types” of instruction.

Again, success is a crazy word, because we all have different definitions of success…so it is hard for me to draw a direct line between training and success, so I’d rather draw a line between training and consistently going into auditions and being really terrific. If you are awesome 8 out of 10 a really good the other two then whatever methods you’re using and from wherever you got them…that is/was training that lead to your audition brilliance. My wonderful acting coach, David LeGrant (who has now passed on), used to say: “Training is like a diving board. You use it to get yourself into the pool, but if you strap it to your back, you’ll drown.” He is 1000% correct in my opinion. I only use as much technique from audition to audition to give me the confidence to do a great job…the rest is just me.
You are very passionate about helping actors in their career. What do think is the reason for that and why are you a part of ”A Date with Hollywood”?
This is the easiest answer of all and I will be discussing this much more when I’m in Stockholm. Acting, as a business to make money, is a very difficult choice and decision in any city. Acting, itself as an art, is very tough…but if or when you add to it that you’d like to make a living at it…it does become a very different profession. When you then add to that another layer of the emotion, self-esteem, self-confidence or rather deep insecurity issues that many artistic people face it can just become a mess in both our hearts and minds.

So for this reason, and I still don’t really know how I began getting into this niché, but helping folks attack, prepare, tackle and strategize about succeeding just became really important to me. Also, sometimes what became just as important, was making sure that my community of actors at least could “face reality” about making money as an actor. We all just watched the Oscars, or the Emmy’s, or the Golden Globes and we’re mesmerized by the dream of “winning” an award. Often times those dreams mask the real path to that level of recognition and success and before you even get close we get so knocked down, beaten up and depressed by perceived rejection that it ruins the dream.

My passion easily lies in using intelligence, logic and education to help one separate their art…from the truth of the business…and therefore, hopefully, keep enough gas in the tank of their soul, that they can continue to forge ahead and accomplish their dreams.
What is the worst thing that has happened to you on set?
I got punched in the jaw. True story. Doing a film years ago, back in the 90s, and while I had stage combat experience and was very comfortable with the fight scene we were shooting it went bad. Somehow, my fellow actor, misjudged our position and absolutely cold-cocked me in the jaw. The producer freaked out, and thought I was going to sue him, but I just told him that as long as none of my teeth were chipped…I’d be OK. We laughed after because I said: “That I’d never been hit that hard without hitting the person back, in my life.”

Kevin är närmast aktuell med en ny tv-serie på amerikanska kanalen NBC som heter Aquarius och har David Duchovny i huvudrollen (handlar om Manson-morden). Han är även aktuell med ”A date with Hollywood” den 24-25 april i Stockholm.

Vallentuna 2015-02-24

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