Wednesday, April 2, 2014

HOLAwave: The Craft of Acting

[HOLAwave represents a series of guest blogs by industry insiders giving informative and educational tidbits for the Latino performer. They can range from acting and auditioning advice, tech tips, legal advice, marketing, producing tips, and so on. Get caught up in the wave– the HOLAwave.]

The first thing I want to tell you is know your craft. In other words, be prepared with all your might. When I first started, I had very little training, some here and there but I made it my business to sponge everything up and get around people with experience and knowledge. I wanted to learn so much that it hurt. You have to have passion for real acting.  Not just for getting noticed or being in the limelight. Those are very weak, superficial reasons to get into acting. There are so many people who display poor acting skills over this.  Yes, your drive should want you to be rewarded someday or noticed– nothing wrong with that– but it must be for the right reasons or your work will be crappy. 

Study real actors and performances, study the best. Think about them deeply for months, for years if needed, until you know the answers to all your questions. Is it possible for actors to know how to play any role? Yes, but you have to be a deep thinker. Consider all the circumstances, know yourself to a T and apply serious consideration and every step in developing your character. The portrayal is a combination of facets– the depths of your spirit, the physicality of the character from head to toe. You have to have considered and filled in every blank about the role. 

Now, getting to the point as an actor of being able to play any kind of person or motif takes time but there are actors out there that can really do it because it's part God-given talent and serious work ethic/drive. If you can afford to study, do so and with a reputable school or experienced coach with real credits. Acting is much more involved than what it looks, respect it. Harness yourself, really find out what this is... what the sensation of real acting feels like. Don't avoid it and fear it, if you really dream of being great... be brave and step into the fire of discovery and come out like the phoenix. Be ready for inner battle in learning and discovering your craft, it's a jungle in there.

Renoly Santiago was born in Lajas, Puerto Rico and he spent his childhood in Union City, New Jersey. He currently resides in New York City. He made his film debut co-starring in the blockbuster hit Dangerous Minds alongside Michelle Pfeiffer. Other rfilm credits include Hackers with Angelina Jolie, Daylight with Sylvester Stallone, and Con Air with Nicolas Cage and John Malkovich; and the indie films Punks (Sundance Film Festival selection), The Street King, Just Another Romantic Wrestling Comedy and Lavoe: The Untold Story (where he played Latin music legend Johnny Pacheco). Among his episodic television appearances are guest leads in "Law & Order: Criminal Intent", "Touched by an Angel", "Big Apple" and "Stand Up".

He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award by the press as Outstanding Featured Performer in a Musical in his Broadway debut The Capeman, composed by Paul Simon, and in which he starred alongside Marc Anthony, Ednita Nazario and Rubén Blades. He has appeared in many off-Broadway productions under such notable directors as Liz Swados in Lincoln Center and in workshops with Graciela Daniele in Blood Wedding and Gabriel Barre in the Kander & Ebb musical Skin of Our Teeth with Audra McDonald and Sara Ramirez. 

His writing credits include the Emmy-nominated television series "City Kids", in which he was also a lead character and the book to the musical Bring in the Morning… A Wake-Up Call at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York starring Lauryn Hill.

As a singer, he can be heard singing backup for recording artist India on her album Latin Songbird, duetting with Danny Rivera and Marc Anthony amongst others, having performed with many artists of international renown.  He is currently developing new acting, writing and production ventures across some exciting genres at home and abroad, also community arts projects. He is writing new songs in English and Spanish and is presently recording music for his debut album. His next feature film is Grand Street with Kelly McGillis, currently in post-production. 

For more information about Renoly Santiago, click here.

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