Published on August 7th, 2015 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Lori Triolo
In the Vancouver acting and writing community, the name Lori Triolo is synonymous with teaching, acting, and writing thanks to her ongoing classes, regular acting projects and leadership of The Cold Reading Series.
We have interviewed Lori Triolo in the past, but with The Cold Reading Series underway for another summer – and in a different way – we thought this would be the right time to catch up and find out what’s new.
What is the mission of The Cold Reading Series?
The Cold Reading Series (CRS) is committed to supporting and developing the talents of Vancouver’s story tellers – writers, actors, and musicians alike – by providing a forum where they can present their craft to a live audience and get instant feedback.
How did The Cold Reading Series get started?
In 1993, Angus Fraser arrived back to Vancouver from NYC with a mission. He’d been attending the Naked Angels event called Tuesdays at 9, which was a venue for NYC playwrights to hear a couple of scenes of a new play they were working on out loud in front of a live audience. The scripts were all cast with whoever showed up, which happened to be some of the greatest actors in NYC. The feedback was instant from the audience reactions in the moment. I had just graduated from The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and would attend these gatherings as well. When I moved to Vancouver I met Angus Fraser and he told me he wanted to bring this event here. I loved the idea as I had always thought it was important to continue to create your own work. Sitting idle waiting for the phone to ring was nothing I had been taught growing up in NY and having the best mentors I could ask for. Angus Fraser partnered up with the incredible talent that is Kathy Duborg, and together they hosted this amazing weekly event giving writers and actors of stage and screen the support to develop new works. Even though the city was booming with film and television work, we all understood the value of continuing to push each other to grow. The industry paid our bills but the indie community support fed our creative souls. We’ve presented the event in many different venues; the first being a small office at the old Praxis Centre for Screenwriters offices. Patricia Gruben was a tremendous support then and is still a leader in giving writers the opportunity to develop their screenplays with the best in the biz. I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside her, casting the selected screenplays for many years.
For those who haven’t attended before, what can they expect?
At the CRS we cast brand new scripts on the spot and watch them fly in front of a live audience. Local musicians are also invited to share their work-in-progress in the “unplugged” musical segment of the evening. Every live reading ends with a party in the Lounge where you can meet up with other artists over a cold beer. The CRS is the place for Vancouver’s artists to meet one another, share their work, and create more.
How can people get involved with The Cold Reading Series and find out more about it?
They can come on down to The Backstage Lounge on beautiful Granville Island the 2nd Monday of every month throughout the Summer and let us know they’re interesting in getting involved as an actor, writer or volunteer. The CRS has been a volunteer run organization since its inception and we rely on the community to step up and take their turn as leaders. You can check out our website for more info. There’s an official volunteer form here.
In your experience of reading countless scripts across film, television, and theatre, what are the three things that every great script has in common?
In the 12 years I have been producing the CRS, I think it boils down to one thing – being economical with dialogue. Most scripts I read are way too overwritten and/or painfully elementary and obvious. I think the toughest aspect of writing is figuring out a way for the characters to communicate without being so damn obvious. It drives me crazy reading things that are so on the nose. You’ve figured out the whole story in the first few pages or you have no desire to get to the end of the story because they just vomited on the page. Writing great dialogue is time-consuming. There is always a better way to communicate something. You have to want to have the patience to be excellent.
As far as scripts that have been produced for film and television, which writers and specific scripts have especially resonated with you?
There are quite a few. I’ll keep it simple by talking about the first season of Mad Men. I remember how excited and impressed I was by the scripts. I thought Matthew Weiner, Andre and Maria Jacquemetton were genius. The dialogue was very economical and so much of the story was executed by subtle behaviors.
Sanford Meisner used say, “An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Even more thrilling was that Maria Jacquemetton was working at Vancouver Film School and attending the CRS regularly, having her scripts read, when she and her husband got the news that their show had been greenlit and they were heading back to Los Angeles. Little did we all know the phenomenon that would be Man Men.
What other projects are you involved with at the moment?
I’m finishing up post production on a feature film I produced with some incredible folks last Summer. The writer/director/editor is an overwhelming talent I have had the pleasure of mentoring through the acting side of things for the past 4 years. We aim to hit the festival market this coming year.
I’ll also be on stage this year in Rapture, Blister, Burn being produced by Mitch and Murray Productions and directed by Aaron Craven. While performing Rapture, Blister, Burn, I’ll be in rehearsals for my buddy Stephen Guirgis’ play, The Motherf***er with the Hat, which goes up in January.
As always I continue to guide all sorts of folks through Fitzmaurice Voicework® and FitzMeisner techniques. I’m thrilled to be able to offer some healthy alternatives to actors and anyone who is interested in being a better communicator.
What is the current state of the film, television, and theatre industry in Canada as you see it?
I can only speak from my point of view from the BC industry. The film and tv work has certainly picked up since the Save BC Film campaign. My fear is that whenever the American business comes back strong we get very comfortable around here and the drive to continue to create indigenous work seems to decline. Although, I’m not sure that’s what’s happening right now. People seem very motivated to keep creating. My deepest wish is that we all really push each other to create better projects. I’m tired of celebrating mediocrity. I say the same thing at every CRS event and the audience seems to agree. We just need to get more courageous about telling people the truth. I’m not one to pat someone on the back just for getting something done. I believe that it is extremely difficult to write and produce a great script but I don’t think creating great art ever comes easy.
Where can we find out more about you?
As an actor/producer at IMDB.
For class info, on Facebook.
And my soon to be launched website – LoriTriolo.com.
Actors, writers, and directors have felt your influence through the Cold Reading Series, your acting classes, and your work on projects in Vancouver. What would you like your legacy to be in Vancouver’s creative community?
This is a question I ask my clients all the time. I do think it’s important to contemplate what you want your legacy to be.
To me it’s like when an actor breaks down a script to find their “Super Objective”. Once you know what that is, you have a reference point to see if you are behaving like a person that actually wants to achieve that on a day to day, moment to moment basis. I want my legacy to be that I was a master communicator. Through my own healing I helped others truly have the courage to find their own voice; to feel like they have the skills that empower them to be a better artist and human. Larry Moss, one of my many mentors, always said that our job as artists is to teach the world how to be more human. I’ve felt that in my core for many years. As a young acting student at The Neighborhood Playhouse I thought the work we were doing would save the world. Every day we were taught what it means to truly listen and to be authentic; to tell the truth of our feelings through our craft and that that the truth would set us free. Stella Adler said we are artists because our souls aren’t used up enough by life.
I would like to be remembered for helping others guide the world to be more human and to honor, as well as feel the fullness of their own experiences so that they may continue to evolve into better versions of themselves.
Our thanks to Lori Triolo for speaking with us!
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