Producing, acting and my life are collectively falling into alignment. Your studio has been more than an acting studio, but a place of healing and self-awareness. When you do the work and have the thoughts you are also then forced to be honest with yourself. I knew when I was reading your blog over Christmas there was something bigger than acting that I would learn from you. I’ve been desperately searching for balance. . . . before . . . it was a toss up between traveling and becoming a certified yoga teacher. All my subconscious wanted was to find this.
“Today’s triage was the first time I received acting instruction where I didn’t feel as though I wanted to dive into traffic. You seem to give your actors careful attention.”
I’ve been working my ass off, making vids, writing lots, improv shows like crazy, anything I can do for free. I stopped worrying so much about what wasn’t happening that I thought SHOULD (booking shit, agents, etc.), but rather what WAS happening, doing what I COULD. Mostly, trying to be a human being. I’ve always worked hard, but I just needed to be less of an actor-bot. Stop trying SO HARD. Just focus on having FUN, really. (What a new concept!) Living life, doing yoga, seeing friends, taking my dog for hikes, etc.
AND OMG. What happened????? Out of nowhere- seriously, it feels like that- I signed with an agent. ACROSS THE BOARD!?? BECAUSE SHE LIKED MY WORK. She said I was funny, she liked my WORK. I was so busy having fun that I stopped worrying about what “they” would want. I walked into her office with zero neediness, zero expectations, no nerves, just person to person, she asked questions, I asked mine, and we fell in love. Just like that. Magic. I’m stoked.
Thanks for giving me the courage to be me. See you soon. Heart you.
Just wanted to share this recent audition experience with you… You had JUST posted a blog about what to do when you are stuck at an audition for hours, and I read everyone’s opinion. So, thankfully that was fresh on my mind when I was stuck waiting at a callback for a commercial for TWO AND A HALF HOURS. Yes, they ordered pizza for us. Yes, it was that long. In a basement. With no water or Internet. I digress.
. . . they called in me & the 3 other girls up for this part – all who looked like some scarily close version of myself. (They had been auditioning all sorts of characters all day). They had us do what we had done the day before in the initial audition, which was “stand in line” at this fast food joint and react to these guys busting through the doors – first scared, then confused. Well, clearly the ad agency didn’t know what they wanted because one of the ad guys walks over after the first take, and was like, “Is there any way we could get 4 chairs in here and have it to where they are like sitting at a booth eating and talking?” The casting director reluctantly complied.
So we did another take like that, and the ad guy walks back over and is like, “Hmm. Okay. Let’s see. Would anyone be willing to shove back their chair and duck under the table trying to hide?” And I immediately threw up my hand and was like, “I will!” while the other girls clearly hesitated. (Thank goodness for all those improv classes, cause I “Yes, anded” it without even thinking.) The ad guy goes, “Great! Yes, you do that.”
So we did it again, and he starts dying laughing – either at how funny I was, or how brilliant his idea was, or maybe a combination of both. Regardless, he loved it and said, “That is exactly what I was looking for!” I emailed my agent right after telling her the story and ended it by saying, “Here’s to making a fool of myself in the best way.”
And… lo and behold… I BOOKED IT! My first ever national commercial! So thank you for 1. your teaching – I used “thoughts” while I was reacting since there was no dialogue in the audition, and 2. your blog – which always gives me such great advice, not only acting tips but also the business side of things.
Hope you are well and that you are continuing to inspire actors. . . . I have studied with other teachers as well as learned by doing but I must acknowledge that I have been applying what I learned from you the most. For every single audition regardless of the genre. Using thoughts before and after lines. . . . I wanted to acknowledge your influence on my recent career high. I have recently booked a guest star role on the ANATOMY OF VIOLENCE pilot episode and I can’t help but think that I owe a huge portion of that achievement to what you taught me. So, thank you so much my Jewish Fairy Godmother (if you recall being dubbed that during our Intensive). I am very grateful to have stopped at your corner of the world and hope I will again soon.
In our Triage back in November, we talked about my not having rep going into Pilot Season, but that I was still going out to casting director workshops to make connections. You said something along the lines of, “Don’t worry about Pilot Season, just keep doing what you’re doing through January and February, and in March, things will start to happen.” WELL! In the past week, WITHOUT any sort of theatrical rep, I booked the lead role in a pilot presentation, I was called in to audition for the new Robert Downey, Jr. movie, and called in to read for a SAG feature with Morman/Boling casting. AND a new commercial rep called completely out of the blue when my headshot, “just came across his desk, and he’d love to discuss representing me.” We talked, clicked, he’s excited about me, and I’m in the process of signing with them. Just thought I’d let you know that you’re a little bit psychic
I’m so energized and inspired! I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and learning what I’m supposed to be learning, rather than fumbling around and casting my line into the dark. Your class makes me feel empowered, which is something I needed. Thank you so much.
So I had a producers session Wed., and after days of rehearsing with my sis J, applying all of the amazing “non-technique technique” with thoughts that queen-B’s Lesly/Trisha/Alison taught me…
I BOOKED MY 1ST NETWORK PILOT!!!!!!! A recurring role in a new crime drama as the Ex-Marine Victims Advocate. I shoot my scenes March 26/27. As soon as I found out, I drove to J’s house, stormed thru her door in tears, she screamed, hugged me, and poured me a tall glass of vodka…I don’t remember what happened after…anyway!
Love you all for all of your help and encouragement!!
I wanted to let you know I booked an episode of Criminal Minds! I am the victim in the opening scene… I had a photo shoot and table read with the cast already, and I am shooting my scenes on set today! It’s so exciting to have finally booked my first ever TV role. When Scott David emailed me within an hour of my audition to tell me I booked it, I jumped in the air. I finally knew the meaning of “jumping for joy.” The audition was crazy… I basically had to walk in, say hi to the CD’s, director and producer, and then immediately start to sob hysterically and plead for my life. Somehow I managed to do it!
It’s funny because when I first moved to LA, I had an audition for Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, and killed it in the initial audition. But when I went back in later that day, I couldn’t pull the emotion I needed for the producer session. The nerves got to me. It was basically the same sort of scene as this audition, so I feel like I got some personal redemption. This time I focused on what I needed to do, went in there confident and professional, and didn’t let the fact that there were 3 people within arms length of me, judging me.
Recently we had Todd Stashwick sub our class, and he said if you can make your audition more of a collaboration with the director instead of “here’s what I prepared for you, hope you like it” you will be so much better off. So ever since then I have looked at auditions differently. Guess it payed off!
Anyway thanks for everything you and your teachers have taught us- not just how to act but the business and technical sides as well. It’s all encompassing.
See you soon,
When do you “Narrate the Scene”? How about when the Director asks you to during a callback?
I just left a callback for a cable-network pilot. After running the sides 3 times, giving different takes with redirection, the director said, “Look at me now. I’m a news anchor on a major news program. Tell me what happened here.”
It clicked immediately and I just ran with it and Narrated the Scene, improvising through the director’s questions. Afterwards, the Casting Director said, “I don’t see improv on your résumé. Are you just a natural or did you not [write your improv training on your resume?]”
I said, “Lesly Kahn taught me that.”
As I’m writing this they called me to check my availability for 3 days of shooting two weeks from now – fingers crossed.