Art Helps - Morgan Rayhill

Hello, my name is Morgan Rayhill and I am a senior in high school, attending my final year of Louisville Creative Arts Academy. This past November I had a bit of a scare. I was rushed to the hospital the day after Thanksgiving because a precautionary CT Scan revealed a mass in my brain.

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This was rather scary for me, because not only is it a little scary to hear you have a brain tumor, but my father had been diagnosed with a brain tumor the year before. He had surgery, and he’s better than ever now, but I had experienced first hand all the challenges he had to face before he could get back to normal, and I wasn’t sure I was strong enough.

Not only that, but being the busy person I naturally am, I had several plans coming up. That night I was supposed to spend the night with my cousins, the next day I was supposed to be having a big meal with some close family friends, and the next weekend I was supposed to perform in Louisville Drama Project’s annual Dinner Theater.

One of the biggest things about me is that I hate letting people down. I’d like to think people can rely on me, so when I end up unable to do something I said I would do, it really tears me up. So my biggest worry while I was at the hospital, while everyone was trying to figure out what to do, was how quickly I could get something done and recover. I needed to know if I would be able to perform, and I was ready to either put off doing anything until the show, or getting treated as soon as possible so I could start the recovery countdown.

I have a tumor at the top of my brain stem and it was blocking the flow and drainage of spinal fluids in my head. This led to pressure in my head, causing painful headaches. They decided the first step would be to have surgery to insert a shunt into my body.  It has a valve that senses the pressure in my brain and when it’s too high, the door opens, draining the fluid.

They brought to the plan to us, and I asked how quickly recovery time would be. I ended up telling them I had a performance the next weekend I didn’t plan on missing. He told me  the usual full recovery time was about two weeks, but there were exceptions, and I was determined to be one.

I received the surgery on Monday, lasting about two hours. That day and the next I was stuck with strict bedrest. As the days slowly crawled by, I worked to move and recover as much as possible, but I was frustrated by how slow I felt I was going. I could barely stand after my two days of bedrest and I had to lean against the walls or my parents to get anywhere. And as the days passed, I grew sicker and sicker of the bland hospital walls. My emotions were all over the place and all I wanted was to get out of there. And on top of everything, I couldn’t help but think of how close the performance was.

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I went home Thursday night, still a bit unstable, wobbly, and tired, but I was determined. The next day, though I had to miss most of my classes, but I attended LDP (musical theatre) for the final practice before the event the next day. I was a bit unsure about what I was capable of, but returning to something so normal like a well-practiced dance, something I knew so well, was incredible. I told my mother on the ride home that although I was exhausted, I felt so much better than I had all week. The familiarity of it all still brought the happiness it always does, really lifting my spirits.

The next day I was able to perform in the songs where I had large parts, which included running, spinning, and even lifting someone off the ground. I wasn’t completely recovered, but I was able, and that was all I needed.

I’m nearly back to normal now, but I am constantly reminded how blessed I am to still be able to do the things I love. Dancing, singing, acting, creating - they all bring me such joy and I am so very lucky to be able to continue doing what I love.

Because Art Helps.

2018 LCAA Student Films

In April 2018, the first class of LCAA student filmmakers presented original short films and held a premiere at the Frazer Museum in Louisville, KY. Students wrote, directed, shot and edited their own works then presented them to a crowd of family and friends. Students will be holding the second premiers with a new group of student filmmakers on April 27 at 11:00 a.m. again at the Frazer Museum.

LCAA Teachers

Louisville Creative Arts Academy has some of the best subject matter experts in arts education in the Louisville area. From Disney to the big screen; directors, actors and artists, our instructional team is truly innovative and committed to excellence in the classroom and beyond. We are so fortunate to have this team of individuals who come together to make LCAA the best place for arts education.

LCAA Student Profile: Jenna Thompson

The Louisville Creative Arts Academy is so proud of our student artists. One of our current students is part artist/part entrepreneur. Jenna Thompson. a 10th grade student at Louisville Creative Arts Academy has taken her interest in costuming and design and made a business bringing creative characters to life.

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Jenna Thompson

Costumer

The innovative fifteen year old has been making elaborate costumes for a just under a year and a half. According to Jenna, just one of the masks she makes takes around 8 months to complete. She has started taking commissions recently.

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“I do custom costumes of people’s character (designs).” says the young costuming artist. Her prices start at $600 for a set of: the mask, gloves, and a tail. You can contact Jenna for a quote via email at scaleing.the.paw@gmail.com .

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Wisdom for AFTER the Audition by Alyssa Hendricks

More than once, I’ve bombed an audition. You will too. Sometimes no matter how well rehearsed we are, we have an off audition. That’s okay. Usually though, auditions go the way I expect them to, because I’ve prepared, rehearsed and most importantly, I keep auditioning. The more I do it, the more comfortable it becomes. Two auditions a year isn’t enough to be a good auditioner, especially when it’s giving you enough stress for a decade. So you gotta go on as many auditions as you can.

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But auditioning is stressful, and waiting is stressful, and being afraid to check your email is stressful. Even in good auditions, I’ve flubbed a word, skipped a line, or generally thought, “I did this better yesterday.” Gotten in the car, and obsessed over that moment. Obsessed over the fact that I never tripped over that word, not in the hundred times I rehearsed it. Obsessed over a voice crack that crept up on me. Obsessed over a missed sequence in a dance call that should have been easy. It happens. So What do you do?

I never really knew. Typically, I fretted over my audition until I received a notice from the director, or enough time had passed that I could safely assume I’d never hear from them again. It wasn’t fun. Then, an acting coach suggested to me that I develop a plan to let auditions go.

If you’re thinking “oh, easy for you to say,” right now, you are not alone. I laughed this off at first, thinking there was no way I’d be able to put the kind of effort I was used to putting into auditions and then walk away like, “eh, whatever.” But, he convinced me to try a few tricks, and maybe I can convince you too. I’m not promising you’ll never replay a mistake, or you won’t refresh your email ever ten seconds waiting for the cast list to come through, but slowly, you might begin to let auditions roll off your back.

Here are a few things I do to manage my acting life, and keep my sanity.

  • file sides. Usually, in film/tv/commercial auditions, I’m given sides (segments of scripts used in auditions) I get to keep. Once I complete an on camera audition I file the side and put it in a tray on my desk. If I get a call saying they want me to come back in, great, I have the script, but if I don’t it’s out of sight, out of mind.

  • sing a car song. In the car on the way home is the place I usually beat myself up the most about an audition. Now I have an audition playlist I blast in the car. These are mostly upbeat songs I love to sing, and it’s hard to replay an audition when you’re trying to get in every word of Bohemian Rhapsody.

  • treat yourself. Head out from your audition to get a milkshake, or a piece of pie. Go to the movies, the park, go shopping. Take a hard left turn out of your audition into an activity you really enjoy.

  • phone a friend. Let the people in your life know you’re waiting to hear back about an audition, and you’d love a distraction. I’m guilty of leaning into my most introverted tendencies after an audition. I might as well build a fort and bunker down. Focusing on other people, their needs, problems, and what they want to talk about is a great way to come out of the waiting cave and think about someone and something else for awhile.

  • gain perspective. Measure the success of auditions in callbacks. Sometimes you go to a callback and are still not cast, but getting a callback means something you’re doing something right in auditions. Remember that your worth doesn’t lie in getting the role you wanted. Or even in getting a role at all. And no one got your part, your solo, your scene. If you didn’t get it, then right now it wasn’t meant for you. It sounds kind of harsh to say, but there’s a lot of freedom in that. Sometimes you don’t get a role because you aren’t ready, you don’t fit the director’s vision, everyone else who auditioned was 10 years older than you, and even though you were great, you don’t fit the age range now. There’s a million little reasons you may not get cast. Sometimes director’s just simply make the wrong choice - they’re human too - but even then I really think that part wasn’t meant for me. I have something to learn by having a different part in the show, there’s a better audition coming up and if I were cast in this production I wouldn’t be able to go for, I have some growing to do. Who knows? But being jealous, and disappointed is no fun. So why not try to feel something else instead?

  • give yourself a day My beloved late voice teacher, Beverly Stewart, used to tell me: “You get one day.” When you care about things, your emotions are tied to them, that’s normal. If a cast list comes out, and it doesn’t go the way you wanted, it’s okay to be upset. Give yourself a day to feel your feelings, to ask why, maybe even to be a little angry. Then go to sleep, get up and repeat any of the above steps you need to. There are other roles to play, more auditions to go on, and better days ahead.

break legs & hearts - arh

Do I Want To Hang Out With You? by Alyssa Hendricks

I’ve been on both sides of the audition table more times than I can count. I know the

nervousness that comes from walking into a room full of strangers and performing your

heart out. I’ve thought of a million things I could have done different/better/stronger in

the car, on my way home after the audition is over... But I’ve also sat on the floor of a

theatre with fifteen headshots and one part, and agonized over how to cast my show when

I saw so many talented performers. Auditioning is a confusing process, but after doing this

for the better part of two decades, I think I’m starting to get it.

You found a show you want to be in, you scheduled your audition, you have your materials

ready. Now what? Auditioning can be a mysterious process. Every company, director, and

performance is different, and with only 2-3 minutes to show your work, how do you

demystify the process, and make your best impression?

I always encourage performers to think of auditioning in two parts:

Part One is what I like to call the “Do I want to hang out with you?” part. This is everything

in the audition where you’re not “performing.” It’s your slate and the way you interact. This

part is all about putting your best foot forward. Here’s how to knock it out of the park:

1. Be kind. Be kind to everyone at the audition. The other performers, the person who

checks you in, the stage manager, the directors and any other theatre staff. You

never know who these people are. Once when casting a show, one of my volunteers

couldn’t make it, so I asked my mom to come check actors in. I can’t cast someone

who was rude to my mom! Treating people with kindness and respect is small and

simple way to start building a reputation as someone everyone wants to work with.

More importantly, it’s just the right thing to do.

2. Don’t apologize. It may seem like this is in contradiction to “be kind,” but go with me

for a second. I’ve had a bad morning; I’m not feeling your best; I’m fighting off a cold;

I just found out about this audition last night. These are just some of the things I’ve

heard auditioners say right before they perform. And man, is it a bummer. When I’m

holding auditions, it may not seem like it, but I’m on your side! I want you to

succeed. I’m never more excited than when someone I’ve never seen before

auditions for me with confidence - I want them to kill it. If you come in with any

kind of excuse, you’re basically apologizing for your audition before you’ve even

done it. You’re setting me up to think you aren’t going to be that good. So even if

you do great, I’m thinking, “yeah, but they could be better.” A lot of our apologizing

comes out of nervousness. Try to develop ways of steadying your nerves, but until

then, give yourself a pep talk, go into that audition room and act confident, even if

you don’t feel it.

3. Keep it simple. There are a lot of ways we make auditioning more complicated than

it needs to be. Keep it simple by following the casting teams lead. When you come

into the room, they may chit-chat with you. Use this as a chance to relax and show a

little personality. They may say nothing but, “Whenever you’re ready.” That’s fine

too. Slate, and start your monologue/song/etc. Keep your slate short and simple by

losing unnecessary verbiage. Instead of “ Hey my name is Alyssa Rae Hendricks and

today I will be performing a monologue from Romeo and Juliet as the character

Juliet,” say “ Hey, I’m Alyssa Rae Hendricks and this is Juliet from Romeo and Juliet.”

They know why you’re there, and they’re listening for the keywords that tell them

who you are and what you’re doing. Don’t explain anything or “set up” your piece by

giving information about the scene or character. If they have a question, They’ll ask

you. Keep it simple. When you’re monologue is over take a beat, and say thank you.

They may chat with you some, ask you questions, or ask you to do something else -

that’s fine. Don’t read too much into it if they just say thank you either. Take them

saying thank you as your cue to exit and peace out. You did it!

Here’s the thing, you may not always be the most talented person at an audition, but

auditions aren’t all about talent. They’re about a million little things directors and actors

bring to the table. You’re going to have a bad audition every now and again - ones where

you’re sick, or tired or forget your lines, or ones that for no reason at all you just blow.

These are three tips that make the “Do I want to hang out with you” part of your audition

less mysterious and easier to get through.

Sometimes, this can make the difference when directors are trying to decide between two

performers of similar talent levels. If you were kind, unapologetic, and simple at your

audition, it can push you ahead of someone who made an excuse for their performance,

was unkind to someone at the audition, or overly complicated in the room.

Get in the habit of doing these three things, and you’re going to be more comfortable and

successful auditioning, because directors will want to hang out with you.

Keep an eye on the LCAA blog for more audition tips and tricks from me, including part two

of the audition process: Do the work.

Break legs & hearts

by Alyssa Hendricks

Come Alive '18 - Videography Class Movie Trailer

Louisville Creative Arts Academy held it's fourth annual summer camp - Come Alive '18! There were eight workshops offered daily to 6th - 12th graders. One of the workshops, taught by filmmaker Jonathan Cullen, was videography. As part of the workshop, students made a 'fake' movie trailer. Cullen had participants submit ideas for the film and the class selected the winner. The class collectively wrote the script, performed, shot and edited the film. 

Student Profile: Abbie Shaw

Hello! I am Abbie Shaw, a sophomore at the Louisville Creative Arts Academy.  I’ve been a part of this program since I attended summer camp in 2016 and it has since opened my eyes to many interests and talents.

Abbie Shaw, Contributing Writer, Actress, Singer, Dancer

Abbie Shaw, Contributing Writer, Actress, Singer, Dancer

In the fall of 2016, I attended the Louisville Drama Project class, participating in the Dinner Theater. The next semester, I decided to join the costuming class taught by Lizzy Savastio. In class, I learned multiple things, from sewing techniques to how to appropriately choose costumes for a show in a specific time period. The students in  class had a very special bond and we even got to take a field trip to look for costume pieces! In the spring semester, I also auditioned for the production of “Annie” directed by Cricket Hater and I was cast in the role of Grace Farrell. It definitely helped me grow as a performer and as a person in many ways. I attended the summer camp in 2017 and took the musical theatre class taught by Noah Robinson. At camp, I gained more experience in performing and also gained many new friends. In the fall semester of 2017, I decided to take vocal masters class, taught by Tasha Hatchett. In vocal class, we are learning proper singing techniques and we also have been assigned an Italian song to rehearse as a group. The class is pushing us all to be better singers and performers.

I am a part of the Louisville Drama Project for my second year as well and we are working on “Holiday Inn”, our dinner theatre this year.  I also have auditioned for the play “The Miracle Worker” directed by Jim Savastio and received the role of Annie Sullivan. “The Miracle Worker” is pushing my acting skill to places I never imagined they would go and has helped bring me closer to both old and new friends. 

It’s so nice to be able to perform at a place where I know people are helping me focus on giving God the glory by using the talents we all have. The friendships and lessons I’ve gained here are absolutely priceless. All in all, Louisville Creative Arts Academy has changed my life and brought me closer to the Lord, my friends, and has helped my find what I love to do with my time. 

Senior Profile: Victoria Grace Sanders

A word about LCAA by graduating Senior, Grace Sanders

With a passion for writing and a interest in theater, I decided to spend my last year of high school taking classes at the Louisville Creative Arts Academy. The first semester I took Intro to Drama, Creative Writing, Career Development and Art. These classes provided great hands on experiences. I was able to meet people with unique, successful careers, strengthen my writing skills, try new writing techniques, learn about many famous artists and their styles, and enhance my articulation.

During my second semester I took Advanced Drama and Shakespeare Lives. In these classes I learned how to dance like an Elizabethan, speak in old English and understand what I was saying, how to carry my voice across the room without yelling, and navigating the stage.

A few of the many great thing about the Louisville Creative Arts Academy is that at the end of each semester they put on a production so that the students can display what they have learned from the classes they had taken. Another thing that I specifically found important that I learned from these classes was that you need to interpret your character as you see it. The monologue that I had chosen to perform for Advanced Drama was about a girl who blew up a Mercedes. At first I assumed that she was angry, but I learned that if I wanted to take on this character in the best way possible for me, it was to actually make it humorous.

Through the classes and the semester production, I made many great friends, even with people I did not share classes with. The connections I developed were strong and I learned so much from them. Also, the teachers I had were so great and kind to me. I will remember them always.  I am so thankful to have went to the Louisville Creative Arts Academy my Senior year of high school. It is one of the few co-ops where I stayed a year because I loved it that much.