Janet Varney is best known for — well, it depends on what you like her from. She’s acted in The Legend of Korra, You’re the Worst, and Stan Against Evil, and created the IFC web series Fortune Rookie. She stars in the audio-drama podcast Voyage to the Stars and hosts the chat podcast The JV Club. She is also a founder and director of SF Sketchfest, running the annual live comedy festival since 2001. We talked to Janet about her hyphenate career, how to get six busy actors into a room together, the challenges of running a tiny one-night comedy festival or a giant three-week comedy festival.
Tagged With acting
When Kirsten Vangsness landed the role of hacker Penelope Garcia in CBS’s Criminal Minds, she was still working multiple day jobs. She was also working in theatre, which she now participates in as a playwright and actor. We talked to her about her career, her bullet journal, and why she likes to wash dishes and wipe down tables at her distillery.
Mission to Zyxx might be the best podcast. This science fiction comedy -- a mix of Star Trek, Star Wars, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- that leans on original jokes instead of references, is definitely the best of the current wave of fictional podcasts, partly because of its unique process. The cast improvises each episode with just a loose premise to guide them.
Then a three-person team edits and sound designs the show, cutting it down by over half and adding sound effects, voice effects, music, transitions, and ambience. The end result is as fresh as any improv show, but as slick as anything scripted. In a detailed instalment of How I Work, all seven of the show's cast and crew broke down their creative and technical process for each episode. There's lots to learn in here for comedians, actors, writers, editors, and sound professionals.
You might recognise Anjali Bhimani’s voice from Overwatch. You might have seen her on Broadway, or in shows like Modern Family, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Silicon Valley. And you can see her in We’re Alive: Frontier, the live-action RPG web series from Geek & Sundry and Legendary Digital Networks.
She’s also been in films, voiceover work, and even an opera. We talked to Bhimani about her wide-ranging acting experience, how she gets into character, and her incredibly busy, fan-centric schedule.
We've told you how to actually hit someone. But here's how to pretend to hit someone. First, a tip from The Good Fight actress and Broadway treasure Christine Baranski on the loose hand and the follow-through.
The Upgrade has returned with a new format, new segments, and a ton of new hacks. Joining us in this episode are author Ottessa Moshfegh, author of Eileen and the new My Year of Rest and Relaxation, along with author and actress Keiko Agena (best known for her role as Lane Kim on Gilmore Girls), who’s most recently authored the book, No Mistakes: A Perfect Workbook for Imperfect Artists.
Theatre gave me a lot of things. It was a place where my weird mannerisms and silly voices became unique tools. Performing also got me to break out of my shell and stop fearing what others thought of me, which, in turn, helped me learn to accept and be myself. But most of all, theatre taught me how to empathise with others better.
YouTube stars can actually be really good people! Like vlogger Anna Akana, who makes videos about introversion, suicide awareness, racist sexual fetishes, and taking self-care beyond bubble baths and massages for an audience of over two million subscribers. She also makes short films; appears in Ant-Man, Corporate and Adam Ruins Everything; and stars in her own YouTube Red show Youth & Consequences, premiering today. We talked to her about building a career out of comedy, acting and YouTube videos.
Actor and voice coach Amy Jo Jackson has consulted on productions of Venus in Fur, Henry IV, and the Broadway production of Kinky Boots. An experienced actor herself, whose credits include The Laramie Project, Into the Woods, Twelfth Night, and The Rocky Horror Show, Jackson teaches actors and non-actors how to reduce unwanted accents or gain desired ones. We talked to her about her process, the challenge of increasing intelligibility without devaluing diverse dialects and heritage, and resources outside of personal coaching.