James C. Stewart
G'day from a New Zealand actor now living in Seattle! A dual United States and NZ citizen with a great New Zealand accent. Bringing Kiwi to the US!
I'm Okay... is now online!
"Quirky and memorable with a hilarious performance from the lead" - One-Reeler Short Film Competition
I'm Okay... was finally released online for the world to see. To visit the video page itself, you can go to https://youtu.be/5A9ZzYkeKIk. Please feel free to share the video anywhere and with anyone. For more information on the film, check out the official website at https://www.im-okay-film.com/. All the Jameses would love the attention, as would Kiwi & Woolly - not to mention Red, who is already preparing his Oscar speech!
I had forgotten when I entered my short film I'm Okay... into the Close: Up San Francisco Short Film Festival, that the entry fee included a review of my film. I had entered over a year ago, and forgot about it after my film was not selected for the festival. Then suddenly just before the end of July this lovely review showed up in my inbox. I absolutely agree with their final statements, because I had never initially intended it to be for film festival viewing, so am the first to admit the film quality was low, but that was also part of the point for me. I wanted it to be a simple story, that didn't provide the meaning of life. It was a fun escape for me, and I made it to simply entertain the audience in the few minutes that it ran, so that everyone could have as much fun as possible during that time. And I am SO happy their review seems to indicate that was the case!
In July, David at Mighty Tripod Acting Studio reached out and asked if anyone would be interested in doing small group intensives on a semi-regular basis to work with him on monologues, scenes, audition material etc. Four of us signed up for the first group, and I ended up getting an audition just minutes before leaving for the intensive, so took that in and worked on that. That small intensive later became a larger group in August, for what is now The Actor's Gym. Such a hugely beneficial little Gym it is! Some work on scenes together. Some work on upcoming auditions. For the next one, I worked on a scene from the short film I am currently shooting. These will be ongoing, and I will be attending whenever I am available!
When David at Mighty Tripod Acting Studio sent out a notification that they were holding a workshop with Paul Weber, the casting director for such tv series as Spartacus (shot in my homeland!), Stargate, and The Outer Limits, I didn't hesitate in booking myself a spot! We all learned so much about the nature of the business in general, and the nature of the business in L.A. on that day. Not to mention some of the amazing behind the scenes stories we got to hear, from someone who has been in the casting business for many years, who came into it as an actor in the beginning, like many of us.
Nike Imoru (PSoA) continues to offer amazing one-off sessions as part of The Actor's Way platform. At the start of August she presented one on headshots, and prior to presenting the session, she had reached out to a few of us, and asked if we were ok with our headshots being utilized possibly. To my happy surprise, one of my headshots, as you can see above, popped up during the session as an example of a good one, while she was talking through the psychology of headshots. It's always nice to know when the resources you have are at least working in your favor, with the people who need to utilize them in the industry. Nike is an unbelievably generous casting director in this industry, who has decided to give her time every month to some of the people she loves to work with the most - us actors! And I always continue to learn just as much from watching her coach others, as I do from any coaching she may give to me. These monthly sessions are invaluable!
One of my improv classmates, Angel, asked if I wanted to perform in the Duos Comedy Showcase with her. Every Wednesday night at the Market Theater, Unexpected Productions hosts Seattle's only improv open mic. Each show features multiple two-person teams creating spontaneous scenes on the fly. I had thought it would be great to play a game that has lots of opportunities for physical action, so we decided to play the game called Animal People, where we each get the offer of an animal from the audience, and then imbue our characters with those animal's characteristics. Angel was given frog from the audience, and I was given stick bug/insect, then our location was at the rodeo, so I ended up playing with my legs very stiff and straight most of the time, so I couldn't bend them, and had to leap into things when getting dressed, as you can see below. I leapt around like a crazy man for a lot of the scene, needless to say. We both had a great time for our first try at Duos!
For this summer's 48 Hour Film Project, some of the team behind the StartUp: Palmieri Tech web series decided to put together a team, and so team A Cut Above was born! We were given doppelgänger as our genre. We also needed the line "Calm down. There's enough for everyone" to be in the film somewhere, so I suggested since I'm the little guy, it may be amusing to have me saying that, which is what we went with. I ended up playing the womanizing best friend of the lead. Totally type cast, I know, haha! Many on the team had never experienced the madness of the 48 Hour before, and while we didn't get the film in within the required timeframe in the end, it was a lot of fun!
Not wanting to stop the momentum already started, I signed up for the Improv 300 classes at Unexpected Productions while I was finishing my 200 classes. This time six of my 200 classmates also joined the class, and all seven of us had also done the 100 class together, so it was so great to all be going on this journey together. We were all starting to form a strong bond, which really made for some great improv scenes. The 300 class finished with a showcase performance at the Market Theater, which was an amazing and intense experience. My first time doing improv up onstage in front of a large audience in over 30 years!
The wonderful casting director, acting coach, and (aptly dubbed) Patron Saint of Actors (PSoA) Nike Imoru decided to offer a monthly subscription based platform for actors for a limited time, called The Actor's Way. She wanted to see if there was enough interest in the community for an online platform, where she would hold a monthly Zoom Mastery Class on the last Thursday of each month, offering the opportunity for actors to audition with provided scenes, and receive coaching from her. Not only was there interest, but she quickly had 100 subscribers for the first limited round, and it has been amazing not only receiving the coaching, but learning from the coaching of others! She will also include one-off sessions on other topics, the first of which was on Casting Networks Profiles. All so beneficial!
I was cast in the role of Nofri in the fantasy film Guinevere's Tower by Bri Smalley in January. The film is shooting in weekends over the spring/summer/fall. For the tower in the title, they have obtained a permit to film at the water tower in Volunteer Park, so we filmed our first scenes there at the start of March - in the freezing cold and rain. Nothing like those outdoor shoots in winter! I get to play two variations of my character: Godfather Nofri, as seen above in Volunteer Park, and Alchemist Nofri, as seen below in River Meadows Park in Arlington (our other shooting location). These photos are obviously from later/warmer shoot days.
I auditioned for Char Coulbert at the Seattle Film Institute, for a project in November 2022, and did what I considered to be one of my worst auditions in recent history! It was just one of those days where my inner saboteur got in the way, along with all the nerves, and I just kept stumbling through a monologue I normally had no issues with. Needless to say, I did not get that part. HOWEVER, two months later Char emailed me saying she had a role she would like me to audition for in her SFI film she had written. That audition went great, and just six days later I was shooting the role of the ghost Edrich in her short film Stuck In Limbo. It just goes to show, never give up hope if you have a really bad audition. You never know if you may still make enough of an impression to be called in for another role!
My voice is something I know I need to work on when it comes to performance work, so when Mighty Tripod Acting Studio offered their Empower Your Voice workshop with Meg McLynn, I jumped at the opportunity to work on that. It was so beneficial! Next up, I want to start taking singing lessons somewhere! It has been a long time since I did that.
I arrived at the audition for A Casual Liaison all ready to audition for one of the lead roles in the short film, to find out that the role had already been cast. They asked if I would be ok with auditioning for the robber character who enters at the end of the film. He had just a couple of lines, but it was a pivotal scene, and like they say - there are no small roles, only small actors..... hey wait a minute, I'm not that short! Anyway, I had looked over that role too, and it was a very energetic role, so I threw everything into it, and they loved it. Not only did they end up casting me, but they also gave the character a name, and added extra scenes in as a backstory for him, to explain his actions at the end of the film. So, it just goes to show that you should not just throw away those smaller roles if you don't get the big role you wanted, as you never know where it may end up!