In the Field

Matthew Alan

Guest Star on “LOST

“Making It”
by Matthew Alan

A friend of mine once told me, “Every time you give a great read, it means you’re that much closer to making it.”  As I continue down that road, trying to creep closer and closer to whatever “making it” is, there are moments that force you to step back and realize that, in some ways, you’ve already “made it.”

I auditioned on a Tuesday and found out on Thursday that I was “on hold” for two episodes on Lost. Friday came around and my nerves were shot, so I decided on a matinee with my buddies. Halfway through the film, my manager calls with more information.  They hadn’t decided and we would know Monday.  This meant two things: One, that I was that much closer to booking the role.  And two, that I had to sweat it out through the entire weekend.  Finally Monday rolls around and we hear absolutely nothing.  After five grueling days of anticipation, I had to let it go.  Then on Tuesday I got the call that I booked it!  I was leaving the very next day for a week in Hawaii!!!  Talk about a roller coaster of nerves. And then arriving on set, surrounded by a long list of actors whose work is so solid and complete, I knew this was going to be an amazing ride.  I was ready to absorb everything.

First day on set, I stood back and watched Terry O’Quinn run his lines over and over while throwing a machete against a tree in the jungle.  Then, as we began filming, I watched our entire scene unfold right in his eyes.  Every time he spoke I was drawn in because his eyes were saying everything, even when he didn’t say a word.  I didn’t think anything would top that afternoon, but it did.  The next day I spent the afternoon running lines in Latin with Elizabeth Mitchell.

In short, the vibe on set was encouraging.  The crew was immediately welcoming.  And the acting level of these artists went unparalleled.  Needless to say, I learned a lot about a lot.  I still don’t know what “making it” truly means.  I’m thinking it might be an arbitrary phrase that encapsulates the progress we all aspire for in this business.  However, I think the meaning of the phrase can – and should – constantly change throughout our journey.  During my experience on Lost, I felt that I had “made it”…if only for a week.

Paul Yoo

Guest Star on “Ghost Whisperer

“Why does this work taste so good in my body?”
by Paul Yoo

As a new actor I have questions that range from the commercial aspects of the business all the way to the existential.  I am learning like a two-year-old learns language – voraciously and a lot.  Despite all the heady questions remaining I come back to the basics, “Why does this work taste so good in my body?”

As I train, I learn continually that powerful acting is actually embodied, not manufactured in the maze of thought.

Acting, in all of its wisdom, challenges me in each moment to drop the tail-chasing, breathe, and sit with everything that makes me human. In the way that it gets me to side-step the madness, it invokes power.

Yes, there are commercial structures around the business that as a professional I acknowledge as significant, but when “action” is called I have license to integrate with myself, my body, my power and offer that.

There’s gotta be something “true” about this work too, because in a world of force, acting simply ASKS me to be a connected human. It could care less, really, whether I fall on my face, but at the end of the day, as an artist, can I say that I trained hard and connected with something authentic?
Working, training and training some more have allowed me to FEEL more.  I have felt the pleasure of being in the belly of acting while brushing my teeth as a different character as well as on the film set. If acting were climbing, both of which I revere… I have the choice to take my developing “ESSENCE”- my courage, my instincts, my “weaknesses,” tie into the rope of TECHNIQUE of this work, and step onto a powerful surface.
The wall stands there now and beyond me, offering the dignity of presence, company, play, and adventure.  Whether I answer that call to wholeness is my choice.  Simply a choice. 

 

Alex Querna

Role: Ricky Jones in “A Paradise of Bachelors”

June 3, 2010
Alex Querna

Alex Querna hadn’t been acting for very long when he saw the notice for “A Paradise of Bachelors” on BackStage.com. But when he went to audition for the lead role of Ricky, he brought two very important things: familiarity with the character and comfort in front of the camera.

“Ricky is an Iraq War veteran who’s coming back and trying to readjust in the States, and he’s a pretty mixed-up guy,” Querna explains. “I have a bit of experience with the military lifestyle, being the son of an Army colonel and growing up in the Army myself.” This familiarity was immediately clear to the film’s writer-director, James “Jimbo” Bretney.

“He’s got experience in some of the places I’ve been,” Bretney says of the actor. “I was stationed in Fort Benning, and he lived in Fort Benning; I was in the Ranger Regiment, and his friends were in the Ranger Regiment. What’s more, he looked like a soldier. With a lot of these actors, they look great, but I can’t sell them as a soldier. That’s one thing that Alex brings to the table. He’s got a dignity to his bearing.”

Querna was comfortable in front of the camera long before his first acting gig, having come to L.A. to work in sports television. “I started working in sports event production and broadcast, and I was able to eventually start hosting a sports show on the air,” he says. “That’s where I crossed over from behind the camera to in front of it. I was hosting a sports show that was broadcast on various cable networks across the country, and I went on from there to start hosting some other things outside of sports, some red carpet–type celebrity events. I hosted the behind-the-scenes on a music video, and I really enjoyed it.”

It wasn’t long before Querna was considering acting. “I started just casually looking for opportunities, and at my first audition ever, I landed a supporting role as a detective in a horror movie called ‘Broken Dolls,’ ” Querna recalls. Even with this early success, he knew he had a lot to learn, so he began seeking instruction.

“When I started this whole process, I knew that just being a good television host was not enough,” says Querna. “I didn’t know anything about acting, so I wanted to get educated in the craft. I took a 12-week class with Michael Holmes, a really great instructor. He did a great job of building the foundation, really teaching me the fundamentals, and I continue to work with him to this day. And then I’ve also worked with Kimberly Jensen, who’s fantastic, and it’s nice to get to work with a few different instructors and get different perspectives.”

This hard work has paid off, landing Querna a large number of roles in a short time. “I’ve shot five films in the last three months, and it’s kept me pretty busy,” he says. “I know it’s cyclical, it kind of goes up and down, but I was riding a little bit of a hot streak there, and you just do what you can to keep the momentum going.” He adds that his immediate goal is to land a role on a television series.

“I’m an AFTRA union actor, and there are a lot of great AFTRA projects out there right now,” he continues. “I’m also hoping to earn SAG eligibility as soon as possible, and a role on a union TV series would do it.” Another film role with Bretney may also be in his future.

“I’ve got a project I’m writing right now that I’m considering Alex for,” Bretney says. “Alex’s performances have always been strong and reliable. You need somebody with ballast; not everyone can be the high flyer. You need an anchor, and in a lot of ways, Alex is the anchor. He’s not flamboyant. He doesn’t have a lot of panache, but he is steady, he’s solid, and he’s really funny, too. Alex took on this role with an aggressiveness that I find admirable.”

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