I’ve been pretty busy lately. I’ve had a lot of photoshoots modelling wise and have been learning a lot. I’m working on my acting showreel and will be starting work on a project as part of Skybok filming and editing for Yokhuselo Haven for Abused Women who is hosting a big function in honour of their 25th anniversary this month. I’m presenting in a new Industrial series for my family’s company Doubell Machines and I’m soon making the move to Johannesburg but will be making a trip to Cape Town Nov 1 for the summer season there. The word on my lips is COMMUTE ! I’ll be doing a lot of that in the time to come. Good thing I just bought a new cabin bag 😉 Acting-wise, there’s usually a great deal of castings and auditions up in Cape Town during these next 2 months of the year, so I’m excited for that. In the midst of all this, I’ve discovered a coffee shop in Port Elizabeth called La Boca. When I went the other day I had a pot of Rooibos tea (a true South African product) and an amazing cheese platter. Thank Goodness I had my laptop with me, as The Mail & Guardian contacted me for some photos of Grahamstown’s nightlife which I happened to have a lot of seeing as Skybok Profiles filmed many of their clubs last year! Watch one of our profiles of their biggest nightclub below. I did the editing and voice work and my brother did the filming. Shot on a CANON 5D MK 2 with a 50mm fixed focus lens and a 20mm wide angle lens.
After studying in New York, I arrived home in South Africa inspired and changed. I love New York! Every single day felt like I was in a fairytale. The flight to New York from South Africa is 14 hours. I can honestly say I was welcomed into the city with open arms. I’d always imagined New York to be an intimidating place. I was thinking “Sex in the City” and famous stars like Beyonce and Jay Z walking the streets on the flight over. Not to mention that it’s the financial capital of the world – the Wall Street Stock Exchange sounds scary. But I was pleasantly surprised with how friendly the people were and how do-able the city was.
Here is a short silent film I danced in for a film-making student’s project at the New York Film Academy:
I really enjoyed my course at the New York Film Academy in Manhattan. They call it “NYFA” for short. I was impressed with all the school has to offer in every aspect of motion picture, film-making + showbiz in general. Aside from their acting courses, they also offer courses in film-making, producing, editing, photography, cinematography, 3D animation, game design, digital editing, screenwriting, broadcast journalism, documentary film-making, musical theatre, music video creation + so much more. We had class daily from 8:30am – 5pm, in which we studied:
- Text / script analysis
- Audition Technique
- Scene Study
- Monologue Techniques
- Acting for film
- Voice and Movement
- Branding & Marketing for the actor
We had these classes with various coaches every day at NYFA campuses across the city. One of our campuses was at a place called “Pearl Studios” + it’s where all the Broadway shows go to rehearse and hold auditions! We had “Jersey Boys”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Rock of Ages”, “Wicked”, “Newsies” rehearsing + holding auditions for the new season every day. Exciting stuff! What I loved about NYFA is that they coached us in every way possible … we would act, film ourselves acting, watch ourselves + critique ourselves / have our coaches critique us. We did monologues + scenes with scene partners where we got assigned a partner + a scene from an award-winning play or film. We practiced with each other during structured rehearsal blocks in the week. We then filmed it on location with professional equipment + crew. At the end of the course we had material for our showreels which was great. Another awesome part of the course was having industry professionals come in + talk to us. They’d give us coaching advice, which I found invaluable. All our teachers were actively involved in the industry themselves, working either in feature films, sitcoms, television shows or commercials. I loved getting taught by them, trained by them + I especially loved getting their advice. What amazed me most was all the avenues students in acting can branch into. Some of our teachers studied acting for screen + then went on to work on “Saturday Night Live” (NBC) or “30 Rock” which is its own career. I would personally enjoy the experience of working on feature films. I loved the talk we had one evening from the Director of Photography for “World War Z”, Ben Seresin. Below is a picture of my class outside the Union Square campus.
See more articles about my time in New York:
So again we hit the clubs this weekend (I promise I am actually here doing a course and not just going out :P) ……. We went to Hudson Terrace again because one of my classmates Katie had her boyfriend visiting from Baltimore. Again, thank you Catherine for getting us in free (usually entry to this club is $20) and for MJ Perez for the table and complimentary alcohol. Also a huge thanks to Reflections NYC Photography for the great pictures. This time I took my South African flag with me to spice things up and let me say it was a hit! I was surprised at how many people came up to me and asked about Mandela. I was very impressed. The outfit I wore is entirely from H&M (we don’t have it in SA, what’s up with that?!). I had such a great night out and found myself dancing on a table before long.
I went to an incredible nightclub the other night here in New York called “Hudson Terrace“. That’s 621 West 46th Street. As a South African, I’m so thankful to have friends here who have connections to get us in the club for free (put us on a guest list so we don’t wait in line; we just walk in) because entrance to these places starts at $30! The drinks I find are also expensive – a glass of white wine can begin at $12! For my South African readers, you know how expensive this is and all these costs really add up. So that being said, I’m thrilled I have wonderful people who get me into these places and have tables waiting stocked with ice buckets and alcohol in VIP sections. Since starting at the New York Film Academy I have really enjoyed my time in New York. The classes are highly intensive. NYFA has various campuses across the city; up to now my classes have been at “Pearl Studios” and I have classes this week at the SOHO campus in Union Square. I will write more about my course soon!
Something exciting I’ve been reading about is the biographical film of Mandela’s life, “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”, which is being released in South Africa in just five months. Entirely South-African made and the only motion picture with full endorsement from Nelson Mandela himself and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, I can’t wait to see this! Film producer Anant Singh announced on 27 May this year (which marked the 50th anniversary of Nelson Mandela arriving on Robben Island as prisoner) that the film is in its final stages of post production and will be released on November 29. The film started development back in 1996 when Singh was granted the film rights to Mandela’s autobiography by Mandela himself. It’s amazing to think after all these years of planning and execution, we will finally get to see it. Directed by Justin Chadwick, it started its principle photography a year ago and shot for 16 weeks around South Africa. The movie begins in 1924 and follows Madiba from his early childhood, through to his arrival in Johannesburg and culminates with his election as president of South Africa in 1994. During the course of the film, three actors play Nelson Mandela – Siza Pini plays the 8 year old Mandela, Atandwa Kani plays him at 16, and Idris Elba plays the remaining years. I absolutely love Idris Elba, he stars in the British TV Drama “Luther“. People say this role could see the popular British actor as a serious contender in the next Oscar race. I wouldn’t be surprised! Here is a related article if you are interested in reading more about the film. You can also like its official Facebook page here.