Creator Spotlight: Charissa J. Adams – Fractured Shakespeare

Creator Spotlight: Charissa J. Adams – Fractured Shakespeare

We live in wonderful times when actors can take their careers in their own hands by creating content and getting it in front of people thanks to social media. I’ve decided to create a series of interviews featuring creators whose work I admire and from whom actors can learn how it’s done.

My first guest is Charissa J. Adams, whom I discovered a few years ago. Her 100 days of Fractured Shakespeare caught my attention and I loved it so much I’ve seen all of the clips and looked forward to a new one every day. Her project inspired me to create one of my own, The Double Agent Diaries, for Bonnie Gillespie’s Self-Tape Challenge which got me a video presenting gig that led to a job offer at a digital agency which was the inception of my social media career. The lesson here? Work leads to work and you just never know where it’s going to take your career.

I’m so happy Charissa agreed to be the first creator to be interviewed and I hope you enjoy her story and content as much as I do.

 

What inspired you to create Fractured Shakespeare?

I have always loved Shakespeare. When I was a child, my parents would go the the Oregon Shakespeare Festival every year. I’m told that I attended a performance as a 3 year old and was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time. The first play I performed in was The Taming of the Shrew, playing the Widow at 9 years old and about 3 feet tall. I was fortunate to have my first exposure to Shakespeare be performances and not a reading assignment in high school. The language never felt like a barrier to me. Even if I didn’t understand every word, by seeing the characters interact on stage, I connected to the stories and the characters and always wanted to play them.
As an adult, I performed as much Shakespeare as I could, but it was never enough. Eventually, I came to realize that I was not only hungry to play Beatrice and Juliet, but I wanted to be able to speak the words of Hamlet, Macbeth and all the other male roles too. Shakespeare’s text is universal to the human experience, whether male of female. About five years ago, I started a mission of reading the whole of Shakespeare’s canon in a year. I originally set out to do a monologue from each play, but then I had a conversation with a friend that blew that idea apart in the best way. He suggested that I create a new, modern character who would speak each of these monologues to camera, and tape them like a vlog. From that birthed a feature length film, using Shakespeare’s text, all cut-up and rearranged; a project which is still in progress.
100 days of Fractured Shakespeare

100 Days of Fractured Shakespeare

Then a year or so later, I participated in #The100DayProject on Instagram. The goal of the 100 day project is to create something every day for one hundred days, to practice your art, and not get so caught up in the end results. Each person posts their work on Instagram on a daily basis and comes up with their own unique hashtag to categorize their work. The previous year I had participated and done #100daysofselftaping, simply practicing performing on-camera. This time I wanted to step it up and be more specific to my passion, so I decide to combine two lines or passages of Shakespeare into one excerpt or monologue and perform it on camera. Thus I created #100daysofFracturedShakespeare. It was a lot to do on a daily basis for 100 consecutive days. Towards day 90, I started to get a little behind, but with the help of some friends I was able to cram a few days worth in, catch up, and finish strong.

What was the goal behind the project?

(See above, and…) The goal was to be creating something of my own while I waited for other auditions and projects to come along. This was something in my control. It started out as just a daily practice of being creative, but the work that I did during those 100 days gave birth to much more. After doing those 100 days, someone challenged me to create a monologue for Cabaret Consensual which is hosted by More Than No, a nonprofit organization aimed at championing consent-culture through artistic activism. I used text I had discovered during those 100 days to create this monologue on the subject of consent, which then a group of extremely supportive friends helped me turn into Was it Rape, Then? We released that short film online in 2017 and it was featured in Huffington PostBustleStage Raw and Shakespeare Magazine. I never would have imagined that any of that was possible, but it was the eventual result of first taking out my phone and taping myself for a few seconds of speaking Shakespeare. Well, the result of that and a lot of hard work and very supportive friends.

What social media platforms did you use and how did you use them to promote Fractured Shakespeare? Did you have any strategy or you used you went by instinct?

For #the100dayproject I used Instagram. Occasionally I would share those videos to Facebook. I didn’t have a strategy other than posting every day, which is a byproduct of making daily content. But the goal was not the content, the goal was the daily practice. I needed the accountability of the internet to keep me producing those videos. It worked really well for me.
To promote “Was it Rape, Then?” we used Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For that project, we had a PR person on board, Casey Cates who is a badass filmmaker of Lady Brain Films and promoter in the industry. I learned a lot from her about contacting publications who might be interested in your content. We would not have gotten features in those outlets without her hard work.

How did you manage to create the videos consistently?

For the #100daysofFracturedShakespeare, I had to have a plan. I didn’t always use the plan, but it helped me think ahead to what I was going to do next and work within a structure that took some of the pressure off. I knew I needed content for 100 days, so I divided them up in sections of 25 and focused on a broad subject for each 25 days. Then I started filling in text that I knew I wanted to cover. This way I didn’t have to work from scratch every single day.

What would you recommend to actors that want to start creating their own content?

Start small. Sometimes thinking about producing a film or series can be overwhelming. I think that held me up for a while. But by doing a daily video, I didn’t have to rely on other people initially. Once I did need to rely on other people, I had some content that not only spoke for what I do, but built my own confidence in my ability to create, perform and produce.

Did buyers discover you thanks to Fractured Shakespeare? Any auditions or straight offers coming as a result of someone seeing your videos?

charissa j. adams prospera

Charissa as Prospera

The first time I got a job, which I think was largely thanks to Fractured Shakespeare, was playing Prospera in The Tempest last year. I still auditioned, but I think I got the audition because of my other work with Shakespeare. The director, Riley Shanahan, ended up binge watching a lot of my 100 days videos and was enthusiastically excited to work with me as a result. It was so satisfying to realize that all the work had paid off and spoke for what I can do. Now, even people who don’t really know me, know that I love Shakespeare and always connect me with Shakespeare related projects. That is incredibly valuable.

What are your plans with Fractured Shakespeare? I noticed you are taking it to stage.

Right now I am developing a Fractured Shakespeare project for Hollywood Fringe 2019. “Speak I Will” is a series of monologues which I am co-creating with an ensemble of actors on the subject of speaking up, speaking out, speaking truth.
About a month ago, I got the US trademark certificate for “Fractured Shakespeare” so that I own the rights to using that phrase. Now I am working with a friend to create a logo which will go on the website which will come next. In addition, there are a couple short film ideas in development and a feature film script that I am co-writing. What started as a daily practice is turning into a brand and “the thing” that I do. I’m incredibly proud of it!

About Charissa

CHARISSA J. ADAMS

CHARISSA J. ADAMS

Actor | Director | Creator of Fractured Shakespeare

Charissa J. Adams is an LA and Seattle based actor, known for Grimm, Leverage, and Fractured Shakespeare.

Born in the house where she grew up just outside of Seattle, WA; she graduated from high school in Madrid, Spain; met her husband while living in Prague, Czech Republic; and although she’s never lived in Colorado, she is a huge Broncos fan, thanks to her college roommate.

In Seattle, Charissa has performed regionally for Taproot Theatre Company and Seattle Shakespeare Company in Seattle, as well as in each of the NYC, Seattle, and Los Angeles Fringe Festivals. One of the highlights of her professional career was touring internationally with educational theatre companies; one in Prague, Czech Republic, and the other around the Pacific Northwest. Her TV credits include Grimm and Leverage, as well as many short and feature length films. Following a life-long passion for Shakespeare, Charissa has created Fractured Shakespeare, which recontextualizes the words of the bard to find new meaning by producing new works from the age-old text.

How to Get Verified on Instagram

How to Get Verified on Instagram

Good news! Instagram has finally introduced a way to apply to get verified on their platform.  How does it work and who is it for? Let’s dig in!

REQUIREMENTS

So what do you need in order to get verified?

Your account has to comply with the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. I’d recommend everyone to make a big cup of tea or coffee and read it to make sure you aren’t unknowingly breaking any rules.

Once you know you are fine, you are ready to fill out the form. Where can you find it? Open your Instagram app. Tap on   and then Settings > Request Verification. Enter your full name and provide the required form of identification (example: government-issued photo ID).

Remember, applying doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the verified badge. They need to confirm the authenticity, uniqueness, completeness, and notability of your account.

What does it mean? Quoted from their website help section:

  • Authentic: Your account must represent a real person, registered business or entity.

  • Unique: Your account must be the unique presence of the person or business it represents. Only one account per person or business may be verified, with exceptions for language-specific accounts. We don’t verify general interest accounts (example: @puppymemes).

  • Complete: Your account must be public and have a bio, profile photo, and at least one post. Your profile can’t contain “add me” links to other social media services.

  • Notable: Your account must represent a well-known, highly searched for person, brand or entity. We review accounts that are featured in multiple news sources, and we don’t consider paid or promotional content as sources for review.

They might do a background check on you, so make sure you are Googleable. What might help with that? Having a website, content on social media, profiles on IMDb and acting websites, or perhaps create a Wikipedia page as well. Having been interviewed by notable media outlets might help, too.*

*These tips are only my personal recommendation and it should not be taken as information coming from Instagram or Facebook.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER SENDING THE REQUEST

Keep in mind that even if you think you are eligible for verification, Instagram doesn’t guarantee that your account will be verified. If you’ve been denied, you can submit a new request after 30 days. Also remember that even if you’ve gotten a verification badge, Instagram can take it away at any time if you violate some of the rules.

NOT ELIGIBLE?

What are some of the other ways to let your fans know that it’s really you? Include your official IG account on your acting website, link your account with your official Facebook page or Twitter account. You can put a link on your official YouTube channel as well.

Another option is to mention it in bio (I’d refrain from this unless you have a problem with an impostor) or film a short video saying hello and welcoming everyone on your official profile (that’s way more subtle and personal).

VIDEO SPECS:

On your profile (grid): max. 60 seconds, filmed in a square or landscape (16:9)
Instagram Stories: 15 seconds, filmed as vertical video (9:16)*

*Remember to add the Story in your Highlights, otherwise it disappears in 24 hours.

NEED MORE TIPS ON INSTAGRAM? CHECK OUT THESE ARTICLES AS WELL:

INSTAGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: A CREATIVE WAY TO SHOWCASE YOUR BEST STORIES
DO YOU NEED TO PLAN YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED? TIPS FOR USEFUL APPS
HOW TO PREVENT YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT FROM BEING HACKED
GREAT PHOTO EDITING APPS FOR INSTAGRAM

Networking Tip for Twitter

Networking Tip for Twitter

Imagine you are at a networking event, you’ve had a fun convo about something you saw on Twitter the other day and towards the end of the chat, the other person asks you for your Twitter handle so the two of you can connect. Now, you could do it the old-fashion way and spell it out for them. Or, you could let them add you via your QR code and look like a boss! Don’t know how to do that? Lemme teach you!

There are two ways to find your QR code:

  1. Swipe right and look at the bottom right corner.
  2. Go to your profile, click on the three dots (Android) or the wheel (iOS) and click on QR code.

Now, this QR code is going to appear and you show it to the other person for scanning.

Twitter QR code

How can they scan it? They have to also go to their QR code the same way you did, but if they want to add you, they have to click on the camera icon on the bottom of the screen or just swipe left. Now they see a camera and with that, they have to aim it at your QR code.

Once they do that, your profile is going to pop up like this and they can simply click follow.

Twitter QR profile

Smooth, right?

No more awkward typing of your handle, correcting any misspelling, browsing through all the other people Twitter suggests. This way you are going to impress the other person with your understanding of this cool Twiter feature and who knows, perhaps even teach them something new and you bet they are gonna remember you for that!

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Did you like this article? Let me know in the comments, so I know I should write more articles like this. And if you’d like to learn more cool tricks about Twitter, I wrote an e-book Twitter for Actors.

If you like watching videos, check out my show called Quick Social Media Tips for Actors, so make sure you subscribe and hit the notification bell so YouTube sends you a reminder that I published another video.

Instagram Highlights: A Creative Way to Showcase Your Best Stories

Instagram Highlights: A Creative Way to Showcase Your Best Stories

Stories are a format that’s hot at the moment. They are easy and fun to make, yet many people feel like they are not worth the invested time and effort, as they disappear in 24 hours. Instagram yet again found inspiration in Snapchat and took it a few steps further and introduced Highlights. Let’s talk about how you can use them creatively!

WHAT ARE HIGHLIGHTS

In case you don’t know what Highlights are, they can be found in your profile and serve to showcase some of your Stories. So if you want a particular story you created to last longer than 24 hours, you can save it to Highlights with a simple click on the circled heart in your story.

how to add your story to highlights

Do you want to add an older story to your Highlights? Since December 2017 you have the option to have your Stories privately archived, check if you have it turned on in the Story Settings.

turn on saving stories to archive

If you have done that, you can add your older stories from there.

add stories from archive

If you want to add even older Stories to your Highlights, you are going to have to upload it to your Stories again and click to be added to Highlights and let it run for 24 hours.
(In case you are wondering: I tried if I can delete it from Stories after adding it to Highlights, but unfortunately, that doesn’t work. It immediately disappears from Highlights as well.)

GETTING CREATIVE WITH HIGHLIGHTS

Now that we know how to add Stories to Highlights, let’s have a look at how can you use them in a creative way. When you have a look at my profile, you can see that I created several thematic Highlights and I created a graphic for each of them (not my idea, I saw other Instagrammers doing it, loved it, and created some in my brand colors and my signature design style).

thematic highlights

Based on what you share a lot of, create Highlights by topic: behind the scenes, audition looks, best of your cat, etc.

If you want to create similar graphics like I have, you can use my favorite Canva, Adobe Spark or Photoshop. You’ll need to create a graphic that is 1080 x 1920 px  (9:16) and you need to place your icons exactly in the middle.

canva story design

Then download them to your phone and upload them to your Stories. Then click to save them in Highlights and it will offer you to create a Highlight or add to an existing Highlight. You create a new one and use these designs as the cover image.

After you’ve done that, just simply start adding stories to the Highlights based on their topic. Simple and fun, huh? Lemme know what you think.

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Did you know I started sharing Quick Social Media Tips for Actors on my YouTube channel? Take a look and subscribe to get notified about new videos.

How to Keep Track of Your Brandprov with Online Tools & Social Media

How to Keep Track of Your Brandprov with Online Tools & Social Media

Today, I have two tips for keeping track of your brand. One of the things actors–SMFA ninjas work on in GIGFTNT is their brand and Brandprov. But how to keep track of all the information and inspiration? I use Canva and Pinterest to keep track of my brand and in this article, I’m going to show how I do that.

CANVA

Canva is my favorite free online tool for graphic design. I’m a visual creature, so I like to have a manual that consists of text and photos. Canva allows you to choose any format (I used the A4 format) and it has a wide selection of typefaces. You can add any color by using hex codes. You can also upload any pictures from your computer.
SMFA brandprov
Canva works in a drag-and-drop way, so anyone can learn to work with it easily. If you want to learn more about creating graphics, check out their Canva Design School.
My brand manual is still a work in progress, as is my brand, but having this manual helps me visualize my brand and to stay aligned with it. You can have a look at it here.

PINTEREST

Pinterest is a social media site where you can create public or secret thematic boards.
pinterest boards
I’ve created inspirational boards for my on-brand clothes that serve me as inspiration for shopping, so my closet becomes 100% on-brand over time.
on-brand fashion
Another board I have serves as an inspiration to create a home that would match my on-brand lifestyle. I also collect inspiration on how to decorate my current room that would help me live on-brand now.
on-brand interior design
Other two boards, I want to mention are my collection of coffee-themed memes and a Travel Bucket List that are both on-brand for me.
travel bucket list and coffee memes
Last board I’d like to talk about is my Mindset board where I have quotes mainly from Tony Robbins and Bonnie Gillespie. Now this board serves me as a place I go to read them over and over to help me remind myself of their meaning. This repetitive action makes it stick in my head as our brains are wired in a way that we need to see and hear something repetitively to really remember it.
inspirational quotes
Have you found this helpful? Share your brand manuals and boards with the community. Maybe your ideas inspire someone.
Would you like to learn more about using social media, content creation and building a fanbase? Check out my e-books Social Media for Actors and Twitter for Actors on SMFA-U.