In early October, St. Edward’s University theater students got a taste of life in the entertainment industry. Two successful St. Edward’s alumni, Tim Russ ’77 and Nate Thomas ’79, returned to the hilltop to present a Theater Alumni Workshop.
Russ, best known for his role as Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager, has played numerous roles on television and in feature films. Thomas, award-winning director of the film East of Hope Street, is professor of Cinema and Television Arts and head of the film production program at California State University, Northridge.
Student participants broke into two groups for master class sessions led by the guest instructors.
To simulate a cold reading audition, each student was assigned a brief scene and given a few minutes to prepare. Students auditioned one at a time in front of a camera and received personalized feedback.
Next, the marketing and business side of acting was explored with a look at real contracts and a critique of students' headshots and résumés.
“The entertainment industry is a difficult business, but if you’re passionate, you’re trained and you stick with it, you can make it. We wanted to give the students an edge like we had,“ Thomas says.
“The St. Edward’ theater program taught us about every aspect of theater, on and off stage. I was ahead of the game when I graduated,” Russ adds. “We’re giving students a crash-course on what’s happening right now in the industry.”
The final event, an “on-camera super session,” challenged students to learn, stage and perform scenes in front of the camera. Students were also able to mix and mingle with the professionals outside of the workshops and had the opportunity to meet other Theater Arts alumni at a reception held during the weekend.
“It was a great experience and had a huge impact on me and all the other students — it motivated us and gave us beneficial advice for the professional world,” says Tyler Mount ’12.
David Long, artistic director of Mary Moody Northen Theatre, praised the workshop. “It gave our students an outstanding opportunity to work on-camera for two television and film professionals and gather vital information about the entertainment industry. We hope it becomes a regular event.”
Parents, encourage your students to contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs to connect with alumni from their major.
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