Why do I teach?

Or a better question: why do I continue to teach?

[Editor's spoiler: It's about the student.]

The answer is simple: I have to.  It’s in my genes.  Here is a short “teaching” autobiography.

When I was thirteen and taking dance class my teacher saw me helping a younger child with the opening routine in her beginning class.  Continue reading

7 Simple Ways for Actors to Jumpstart Momentum

  1. Set a new goal. Choose an action you can take that you are in control of, and can work towards…big or small.  And then begin.
  2. Read.  Read plays, novels, short stories, the newspaper…acting is storytelling.  Let yourself be affected and inspired by stories and how they are told.
  3. Watch a movie…but watch it with intention.  Don’t just veg out in front of the TV.  Is there an actor you like?  A character you’d like to play?  Study the performances; develop a critical eye…what did you like, and why? Continue reading

The True Seed of Character Development

Casting is the process by which characters are born.  By choosing an actor suddenly the character is given eyes, hands, and a heart: the whole palette of humanity.  Directors are looking for the performer who brings her character to life, so that she is no longer an idea or words on a page but rather living, breathing, walking and speaking right before their very eyes. Continue reading

What are you Waiting For?

By Axel Avin Jr.

How many time have you heard these phrases and ones like them mumbled by your friends or even yourself?

  • “I can’t wait until I’m rich and famous, THEN I’ll be able to do what I really want to do.”
  • “I can’t wait until I book a pilot.” “I can’t wait until I get signed by an agent, THEN I’ll start working.”
  • “I’m sick of waiting for  casting directors to cast me.”

As actors, there is a lot of support for the idea that our careers are in the hands of other people. This idea is one that I personally struggle with. Like many actors, I have spent Continue reading

Know Thyself: How to Maximize Your Training

By Joy Farmer-Clary

One of the simplest and most profound ideas from the great Greek philosophers is from Socrates, who recommended that we “Know thyself.”  What phenomenal advice for us actors!

Knowing thyself is useful on many levels: we need to study our physical and vocal instruments, analyze our thoughts and feelings, and attempt to understand our motivations in our own lives.  Only in this way can we fully craft the complex lives of the characters whose stories we tell.

Unfortunately, many actors fail to apply knowing themselves to getting the most out of their training.

Let’s face it, training is expensive. When you are spending precious time and money on your training, how do you ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit from it?  Know thyself.

Continue reading

Stay in the Ring: Keeping Inspired and Overcoming Procrastination

By Josh Adler

We are a nation of procrastinators, my friends.  Or maybe I’m the only one who avoids completing the most pressing task in any particular day by bouncing from one project to another.  My guess though is that most of us circle around a task that looms deep within our very beings as seemingly impossible.

This process has it’s own productiveness for me, however.   I seem to get everything else but that one little black spot finished: my house gets cleaned, I work out, follow up on correspondence, brainstorm for five other projects, even re-organize my dishes.  Yet, how can we pierce through the peripheral obligations and tackle the responsibilities that are often most essential to moving ahead in our careers? Continue reading

Hitting the Brick Wall

I remember all too well the moment in my career when I seemed to have slammed into a professional brick wall.  It was more than uncomfortable, it was debilitating.

What I also remember was my survival instinct took over.  I loved my craft and refused to sacrifice myself on the altar of failure.  What did I do?

First I gave myself a week to indulge in all my negative feelings.  I wallowed in self pity.  I enjoyed this self indulgence primarily because I knew that at the end of the allotted week I would be denying all this feelings.

The beginning of the second week I asked myself the following questions:

What about my career was working?

What about my career wasn’t working?

What is it I need to do to make it work?

I then asked myself the most difficult question:

Am I content with my level of craft?

And, if not, why aren’t I doing something to increase my expertise?

I got a part time job as a bartender to pay for some new classes and enrolled with a teacher who I believed would support me in the areas I needed to grow.  In other words, I decided to strengthen my weaknesses.  It was during the second month of this incredible experience that I auditioned for and got a Broadway show.

During this same period, I changed representation and became more active in my career.  I got off my butt and became more active, more than any agent or manager could be, in my career.  I became current on everything happening in my business.  I told my new agent what was casting.  I sent out pictures and resumes.  I included a note that said I was sure my agent had submitted my picture, but in case it was lost in the mail, here was another. I wrote that I believed in their project and that a role in their production was worth fighting for.

My short message here is – do something.  I didn’t ignore my feelings.  I gave them their due.  Then I dug deeper, to what my true feelings were, and honored them.

From a strictly selfish point of view – I do not want to be deprived of your talent.  So for my sake, do something.

Opposites Do NOT Attract

Too many actors get together to complain about their careers, the state of the business,  how much they hate their “bread-and-butter jobs”.  If you don’t believe this drains you of a positive self image you are greatly mistaken.

It’s people of like mind that attract each other.  If you find all your friends wallowing in gloom and doom, know that it was you who attracted them into your life.

Make new friends.  This idea that opposites attract is nonsense.  Continue reading