Theatre guest speakerLast week, Mr. Brian Maillard visited with Ascension’s theatre students. His diverse career spans film, television, commercials (including a Super Bowl commercial!), - Broadway, voice-overs, directing, composing, and writing. Currently, he voices Disney’s animated character Leopold Loggle in Amphibia and is featured in Amazon's Tales from the Loop. With over 20 years of experience in the business, Mr. Maillard's knowledge and expertise served invaluable to Ascension students. The following are a few key take-aways:
Mr. Maillard originally auditioned for Ithica College’s BFA program in Performing Arts but was not accepted. Instead, they accepted him into the less rigorous BA program. While at first this seemed like a major setback, in hindsight, he views this rejection as the best thing that could have happened to him. Earning a broader degree provided him more opportunities after college. "The broader the roots, the more branches on the tree," he says. Because of this, he encouraged our Ascension Blue Gators to take advantage of every theatrical role and opportunity and to not narrow themselves.
Improv is an invaluable component of finding success, especially during auditions. Mr. Maillard urged students to "make a bold choice" and shared stories in which his bold choices helped him land a particular role. car. "The worst thing you can do is try to give them [the judges] what they want." He advised creating dissonance amongst the judges, forcing them to rethink their concept of a character because of the auditioner’s brave, creative choices.
Do community theatre.
Mr. Maillard noted the importance for students to broaden their knowledge through participating in productions outside of school. In addition to learning more about acting, students can learn more about building sets, selling tickets, and lighting and sound production. Participating in community theatre allows students to progress their skills with a range of diverse directors, artists, and other budding performers.
In addition to Mr. Maillard, Mr. Joshua McClymont, Ascension’s Director of Fine Arts has used this time to connect his students to other Broadway and TV/Film professionals. “While these are difficult times, I am thankful for the time it has allowed me to reconnect with old friends and have them speak to our students. Like most industries, the performing arts is rapidly changing. What was once industry standards are quickly evaporating and new “rules” are being written. Having Broadway and TV/Film professionals who can give first-person advice and insight to our students about and what it takes to “‘make it’” is invaluable.”
If you would like to learn more about Ascension’s Fine Arts program, visit our website at https://www.ascensionbluegators.org/Arts/fine-arts-philosophy