Monday, May 9, 2011

The Acting bug Strikes again Part 1

Being an artist is all I’ve ever known. I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. My Mother always made sure that dance, music, art, and the theatre were in our lives. Being raised by a strong, independent, woman, who happened to be an artist, had a big influence on me, from a very early age. I began singing as soon as I could talk, dancing as soon as I could walk, drawing from the time I could hold a pencil, and writing songs and poetry as soon as I could form a sentence! All I’ve ever wanted to do is create, and all I ever wanted to be was who I am, an artist! 
 I can clearly recall my first performance on stage. I was four years old, doing the “Shuffle Step”, and the “Charleston”. There I was so comfortable in my element, right at home on that stage, tap dancing away for “Ms. Dorothy’s” dance school. I’ll never forget the feeling of being so happy and feeling connected to my creative spirit during my performance! I remember thinking as I walked off the stage, “I am an artist”. In Elementary school, I performed in a number of performances, dancing and singing, and in Junior High School, I performed as a violinist with selected students from my class. High School was where I was introduced to figure drawing classes, and performing as an actress. The 80's were such a fun time! I totally fell in love with acting during high school. I wanted to learn from the best. I did some research, and after a few interviews, I enrolled at “The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute” and at “The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Training Unit”.  I studied with some amazing teachers at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York City including: Janet Ward, Jeffrey Horne, Kirk Taylor,  and David Gideon. At The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, I studied with Manuel Martin, Wendy Dillon, and Dr. Angelo Cruz. I LOVED studying from different teachers because they had different perspectives, offering me different approaches to acting, which allowed me to take and use what worked for me...
 I also took some private classes here and there and discovered the more classes I took, the more confident I felt, the bigger my network, and the more opportunities I created for myself! I began auditioning a LOT! I LOVE auditioning, especially cold readings! I loved the challenge of making choices on the spot! And I learned so much from each audition. The more I auditioned, the better I got at it! I began getting callbacks & booking jobs! Music Videos, commercials, Film, TV, Educational films, Industrials, Theater, Improv Troupes...You name it, I wanted to do it all & so I did!
 Looking back, I had the pleasure of working on some INCREDIBLE projects with some AMAZING people! One of my favorite memories is working on "Carlito's Way"!
I auditioned & got cast as a Salsa dancer. My partner who I auditioned with, couldn't commit to the shoot dates, and LUCKILY they still cast me anyway! I can't remember if we had to commit one week or 2 weeks or more, but I would've quit my job if I had to! Fortunately that wasn't necessary! 
 Every day was a dream! Al Pacino, Sean Penn, John Leguizamo, Luis Guzman...I got to go to work every day and be around some of my favorite actors!!! (^.^) I noticed each one of them had their own way of preparing for each shot! Sean Penn kept to himself & stayed very focused! Al Pacino was soooo incredibly nice and talked to everyone in character, until it was time to shoot. John Leguizamo also walked around in character, he was a sweetheart & so was Luis Guzman! 
 Every day while I was not shooting my own scene, I stayed quiet, watched, listened & learned! I was a sponge soaking it all up and I learned so much while working on the set! The crew was amazing, meticulous & incredible! Everyone had a job to do! One day something happened...this girl was supposed to come into one of the scenes carrying a bottle of champagne & a couple of glasses...she couldn't do it! She couldn't carry the tray without something falling off of it...take after take, the same problem & she was laughing about it! I don't know if she was high, stupid or both...but to make a long story short, she ended up wasting time and money which led to her getting the boot! Bye! Now they needed to fill her spot...and believe me, there were plenty of professionals on that set ready to jump into her shoes! The found a great guy I think his name was Rene, he was already playing a bartender, he was SAG, professional & ready to do the job! He ended up carrying the tray and delivering the champagne in the scene...Now they wanted to find someone who fit into the girls cocktail waitress uniform...they needed a size 4...and they chose ME! I was approached and asked if I could do the part...Heck yes!!!
The most important lessons I learned from this experience were: ALWAYS be professional, NEVER lie about your skills or what you are capable of, AND be nice to everyone you talk to...they will remember you! (^.^)
 Stay tuned for more fun acting stories...

PeAcE LoVe aRt & sOuL
Denise Vasquez

1 comment:

  1. Very cool story! I love the excitement that pours out of this post!

    Glad to have found your blog!