Monday, August 17, 2015

My Second LAUNCH

Hi everybody! :)

First off, I'd like to thank all the people who made all of this possible by supporting me through prayers and/or financial gifts!  I'm eternally grateful to you and yours!  May the Lord bless you continually for your kindess!
Just so you know, I'm still pumped from my last LAUNCH! Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and I had to leave. :'(  Seriously, if every day was a LAUNCH, I think I'd be in heaven-on-earth. ;) Enough rambling, though.  I shall tell you about my wonderful weekend!!! :D

The sunrise Saturday morning

At 4am on Saturday morning mom, dad, and I hit the road heading towards Secaucus, NJ and my next LAUNCH! Dad was running on 2 hours of sleep because he was working late, but he sacrificed for me. :') <3 Isn't he the bestest ever?!

Crossing the Delaware river.
A neat suspension bridge
View of the city skyline

Before getting to the LAUNCH, we dropped mom off at the hotel to have some planning/spiritual fill-up time and went to pick up another AMTC performer from the train station. :)

We arrived a little late, but didn't miss too much (thankfully).  We split into 4 groups and started practice! :)

There were 4 different rooms at the top level of the Holiday Inn where we would practice.  In each room we had a different coach/trainer. We did two classes before lunch at 1:30 and then more 3 classes until we finished (an hour late ;) at 8pm.

The first coach I had was....JEN GOTZON!! :D You may or may not recognize her name, but she is the lead actress in "Love Different" (the movie dad and I were extras in).  She's super sweet, energetic, a great and knowledgable teacher, and very encouraging! :) 

In her class, we did Redirect.  Let me just interject something real quick......I L.O.V.E. ACTING. THE END. 

Back to the class...
We were each given a script with a few short sentences on it.  We had a few minutes to look over it/practice and then we each took turns performing our scripts. After performing it our way, Ms. Gotzon would tell us to perform it with a certain kind of emotion that differed from what we originally used. 

Practically everything at the LAUNCH is done with the group watching so we all learn from each other's mistakes and share in each other's joys.  It's so great because we are all working for the same Person and there is no competition- only encouragement! :)

We got great tips and feedback from Ms. Gotzon in regards to our performance, how the showcase works, and the industry in general.

Then we moved on to Mr. David's class: On-Camera.  

In this class, we practiced reading a monologue or commercial that we had written/prepared beforehand.  

I need to work on connecting better with my scene for this showcase.

When I walked out of the class, dad was talking to none other than...Eric Jackson!  We met him at our last LAUNCH and got to know him but had lost contact with him since then.  He was supposedly going to Summer SHINE (which already happened) so you can imagine why I was surprised to see him!  Turns out, he didn't end up going to that SHINE conference because he was in Alaska! The Lord's ways are above are own, that's for sure! :)

After that, we took lunch!  Dad and I ate lunch at a small restaurant across the street with Mrs. Zwart and her *adorable* little girl, Alexa. :) I met Mr. & Mrs. Zwart and Avery at my last LAUNCH so it was wonderful to see them again! :) The Zwart family had just finished going to Summer SHINE with Avery (who was performing) so it was neat to hear Mrs. Zwart perspective on SHINE and get some tips and such. :) Mrs. Zwart is now a performer herself! :) 

After lunch, we headed back over and did scene read and cold read with Mrs. Faith Reel. :)

Interesting note:  for the scene read, I read the same one that I remembered another person in my group reading at the last LAUNCH I went to. ;)

Scene read involved reading a script with another person.  The other performer (Alysa??) and I did well together and I really enjoyed it.

In cold read, you're handed a script, given a few minutes to prepare, and the you perform it. Acting to me is so much fun!  It's not "work" it's "professional play". ;) haha 

Next, I went to Mr. Bob Reel for singing! :D 

I covered "Danny Boy" and "Fly" for the singer showcase and sang two of my songs for the singer-songwriter showcase. Thanks to my wonderful voice teacher, Mrs. Schuhle, I have improved greatly since my last LAUNCH. :) And that's only with around 4-5 lessons! At my last LAUNCH, Mr. Reel didn't seem particularly excited about any one of the songs I performed, but this time, be couldn't choose a cover song becuase he liked them both so much!  THANK YOU, Mrs. Schuhle!! :) <3 I was also really excited that Mr. Reel liked my new song- I hadn't yet shown it to anyone, and I wasn't sure what his reaction was going to be. At my last LAUNCH, Mr. Reel had told me to work on composing my music to where I don't play the melody I'm singing. This new song I made took that advice into consideration and I really like how it turned out. :)

After singing for Mr. Reel, I went with Ms. Wendy to work on stage presence.  I practiced "walking the stage", engaging the audience, and using my free hand to portray the song and pull people in. :)

Next, I went to Mrs. Shaw Bernard's modeling class.  I arrived late, due to my other classes, so I'm not sure what I missed.  We finalized our interesting fact for our slates (your slate is your name, age, hieght, and interesting fact that you say during the photography showcase.  Though you might have to adjust it some, your slate is also used at auditions). We also discussed the professional photoshoot we have coming up and how to prepare for that. :)

Next, I went to a panel discussion and got some good notes on a variety of things.

Then everyone participated in a mock version of the flash interviews that will be held at SHINE. :) The flash interviews at SHINE is where you get to meet/introduce yourself to the VIP's in attendance at SHINE. Get your name and face out there, ya know? :)

After that, everyone met back up in the main room for some group improv and closing remarks.  

This poor performer was used as a prop as the other performers doing improv were told to pretend to dress him using only the things they saw in the room. ;) He did great with it, though! :)

Cute little Alexa in the middle and my sweet friend Haley on the left. <3

That evening after the LAUNCH, dad and mom went on a date while I hung out in the hotel. :) 

Sunday morning, I slept in until 9 before getting ready and packing up.  We checked out of the hotel (thanks Paw-Paw!), had a delicious free breakfast, and then headed over to the LAUNCH location for worship/Bible study before the LAUNCH began at 11am. 
 The view from our bedroom on the ninth floor
So purty! :)
To start off, we headed to Mr. David's class, were we did single improv.  I think I did better than I did in my last class with Mr. David- which is good. :)

Next we were with Mrs. Shaw, working on lifestyle, fashion, and swimsuit modeling. You walk the runway the same way for all of these showcases, so we just did them all at once.  We had a lot of fun in this one becuase they play upbeat music while you're walking.  So everyone who's not on the runway at the moment is clapping, singing, dancing, or jamming to the music. :) I love the energy and positive environment! :)

After that, we took a lunch break.  This time it was dad, mom, Mrs. Debbie, Rachel, Alice, Eric, and I. :) It was nice being able to fellowship with them all! :)
Left to Right: Alice, Rachel, and I
After lunch, Rachel (who has an incredible voice, btw ;) and I had an impormtu singing session on the main floor of the hotel where we were eating!  We sang "Fly" by Maddie & Tae. :) Rachel has powerful and beautiful voice so it was great singing with her!  We're hoping to meet up sometime in the coming months and sing some more together. :)

Our next session was with Ms. Jenn Gotzon on the Reaction showcase. This showcase was a stimulation of a real audition.  The parents/non-performers were the "VIP's" and we were in an "audition room".  In this showcase, which stimulates a real audition, you are given a script and have some time to look over it until it's your turn to read.  When it is your turn, you have some lines and then there is a "reader" reading the other lines you should be reacting to. The reader isn't in the camera frame but is helping continue the conversation so you can can act. :) This was definitely a teaching point for me as I learned not to pantomime unless expressly told to. ;)

Following Ms. Gotzon's class, we all joined back up in the main room.  Sunday was Mr. & Mrs. Reel's daughter's birthday so we sang to her before continuing. :)

Then they had all the singers come up and perform their song for everyone. :). Youngest to oldest. :) I could tell a lot of them have a natrually great voice and would really blossom and excel with the proper training! :)

I sang "Danny Boy".  I was more nervous this time than when I sang for Mr. Reel, so it wasn't quite as well done.  If you must know, I have this terrible thing called nervousness.  But that's not the worst part.  The worst part is that it likes to show itself by causing my face to involuntarily twitch like crazy. :/  Terrible, right?  So, then I'm not only nervous about singing, I'm also embarrassed by my strange twitching face, which causes more nervousness, and more twitching, and get the point. ;) That's definitely something I need to work on.  Maybe I need some facial muscle relaxants and lavender smelling salts to calm me down. ;) 

Once I finished, I enjoyed watching everyone else perform while I ate some of the cake provided in honor of Miss Reel's birthday. ;)

After the singers finished and some closing remarks were made, we all linked arms and Mr. Reel closed in prayer. :) 

Before we left, I got some more people's contact info, signed up for my photoshoot (eek!), chatted, and sang once more with Rachel. :)

Then dad, mom, and I hopped in the car and headed home. :'( Mixed feelings :')

The Lord gave us a glorious sunset on the way home! :)

And some glorious pizza (thanks mom & dad)!

Ahh... How beautifully the city lights sparkle at night! :)

On that note,  many blessings to you and congratulations for making it through this extremely long (but hopefully not tedious) post!

~Alexis Noel