BLOG & GALLERY

Acting with Mr. Potato Head – Santa ‘Bud’ Claus

Santa Potato Head

“What do you mean you got a deep fat fryer for Christmas? Sweetheart, what are you doing with that oil?  I have a reason I didn’t come home on December 25. Ask the elves or the reindeer!” Mr. Potato Santa ‘Bud’ Claus

 

2014 AMERICAN IDOL THIS YEAR ROCKS

This is the first time in a long time that I love the vibe, the advice and the heart of the show American Idol. Talent and Creativity are hard to judge with grace and kindness yet authority of experience. Even if you don’t want to be a singer, watch! You can learn a lot about the art of auditioning with confidence, openness and truth of your own voice no matter the art form.

BEING A PROFESSIONAL ACTOR MEANS MAKING MISTAKES

 

Young Adult Actress:  I’m trying to get it right.

Kid Yoda: Try and get it wrong.

Being a professional actor mean making mistakes. That’s right!  It is proof you are trying.

So allow yourself to be relaxed enough to be comfortable making mistakes.

Make an interesting choice and go with it.

Be caught up in the moment and blow a line.  Doesn’t matter. The media of film is forgiving. You can always take the line again.

Work on the moment from a more truthful place.

Make a different, stronger choice.

Being a professional actor means you are risking something! So risk it!

WISDOM I’VE LEARNED – Don’t Wait…

Conversation I had with an older teen acting student.

Teen:  I really want to start booking projects.

Kid Yoda: What do you think is stopping you?

Teen: No one believes in me. How can I book projects if no one believes in me.

Kid Yoda: Do you believe in your self?

Teen: Not yet.

Kid Yoda: Let’s work on that first then. Don’t wait to believe in yourself.

 

Don’t wait to start believing in yourself.

Acting Emotions – Acting Is Not Painting By Numbers

Acting is not painting by numbers.

Your emotions are your art.

Like a great artist who sees the painting in layers of colors, so does an actor need to see their characters in layers of their changing colors of emotions. When you pick one color do not try to deny that there will be bleeding into other colors.  These new color combinations will allow complex shades to reveal themselves. Some dulled. Others brightened. Muddy. Crisp. You can not control.

Let the pigments merge, flow through each other, meshed, intertwined, bleeding into each other. How ever you can allow them. Then let them freely flow from yourself.

The result could be more beautiful than you could even plan.

 

WISDOM – Plant a seed…let it grow

Even the tallest of trees

As I look forward to spring, I am planting seeds. My seeds are ideas and thoughts and hopes for myself and my students. If you has a seed of wanting to be an actor or what every you dream but haven’t planted yet, do that today.

Even the tallest of trees once newly sprouted toward the sky. Plant something, even an idea. Give it happiness. Let it grow.  See where you can go! – Gayla Goehl

Which Comes First – Acting Professionally or Being a Professional Actor?

Being A Professional Actor

 

Student’s Mom:  When will my son be a professional actor?

Kid Yoda: Acting professionally he will be one.

 

Which comes first the chicken or the egg?

Which comes first acting professionally or being a professional actor?

Yes, literally being a professional actor means getting paid to act in something.

However, acting professional means that at all times you are preparing like a professional actor by being fully prepared for your auditions and callbacks.

That means lots of things, some of which are:

  • Printing out your sides.
  • Reading everything you have been given even it’s been crossed out.
  • Completely understanding your character.
  • Comprehending all the scenes and their requirements.
  • Doing your script analysis.
  • Either being memorized or incredibly familiar with the dialogue.
  • Being on time for your auditions.
  • Fully committing before you begin your audition.
  • Making connection with the reader.
  • Able to take casting director/director re-direction easily and accurately.
  • Enjoying the whole audition and callback process.
  • Looking forward to your next audition.

It is not making excuses about why you didn’t get a chance to do all of this.

Then when you book that first gig you are already acting like a professional actor.

So which comes first acting professionally or being a professional actor?

The answer is always the same: acting professionally!!!

 

Acting Rule #3 – You ain’t no puppet

Think like the character.

When I am watching an actor I am teaching on camera I can always tell what they are thinking. Maybe not the exact, specific words, however defintely in the ball park of what is going on.   When they are thinking in character about everything that is going on in the scene their thoughts are focused, completely in sync with the moments of the script. However, when they are not, it is clearly obvious through this on-camera medium that the thoughts are of the actor themselves, concerned, searching for lines, wondering how they are doing, what I am thinking about their performance, what the other actors in class are doing or going to say, etc.

If you are an actor, you probably understand what I am saying.

It is never enough to just say the words of the character.  That is the craft of memorizing. That is only one level of acting.

An actor must meld the language of the script with the thoughts the character.  Sometimes even completely thinking something opposite of what they are saying.  Just like in real life you sometimes don’t say exactly what you mean. You could be lying. You could be trying not to hurt someones feelings. You could be hiding something.  You could be remembering something wrong.  You could be guarding yourself. You could be trying to cover for something else that is going on and don’t want the characters you are talking to to discover that ‘something’ else.  The list is endless to why.  The idea is that your thoughts won’t be heard. So just like in life, often characters thoughts are those that will hopefully not be heard.

And in acting, you MUST be thinking if there is any hopes of feeling the characters feelings and then saying the lines of the scripts truthfully .  Even if that is truthfully lying.

“Comedy or drama. The rules are the same.  Think like the character or else you are just you, saying someone else’s words. That is a puppet.

You are an actor. Not a puppet.”  Kid Yoda

Wisdom found in conversation: ‘Some’ is greater than ‘none.’

Self Confidence

I was speaking with a kind hearted family about their shy five-year-old daughter and how she dreamed of becoming a successful actress.  They then asked me what qualities an actor would need. I replied and then added ‘an actor needs self-confidence.’

Then their five-year-old daughter’s eyes lit up and she taught me some wisdom. She replied, “I have a little of that.” She was right there telling me that she already had something that she could see in herself that would make her successful as an actor and though she didn’t feel like she had a lot of self confidence, she definitely had ‘some’. Knowing she had some meant that she hoped that she had already started the journey of  achieving her dreams.

To this five-year-old, she hoped her ‘some’ was enough to get her into classes to study acting with me.  To this teacher, I felt as though she was the one doing the teaching in that exact moment.  That moment held an epiphany for me.  Only that individual can truly gauge how much self-confidence they personally have in themselves.  I shouldn’t have implied that because I knew she was shy that meant that she didn’t have ‘any’ confidence.

So where ever you are in your self-confidence journey, or along any creative journal or journey of self discovery or I guess as I write this I realize that it means anywhere you are in anything in your life, it’s okay to start small and then grow from there.

‘Some’ is greater than ‘none’.  A sort of word-mathematical rule. And even if you have ‘none’, start by getting ‘some’.

I guess I can do math after all.

 

Kid Yoda Quote to Ponder – Imagination

I often sit and daydream. I got in a lot of trouble for it in grade school, middle school, high school, college…yet that exact skill set makes me the ideal acting teacher. I teach my students that sometimes their imagination must ‘fill in the blanks’ from everything to what they are seeing in front of them (not a casting director or camera or set) to sometimes when there are not enough facts for the scene, then they must use their imagination to answer what they are feeling in character, thinking in character and believing is happening to their character. The imagination fills in all those answers.

Your imagination is like a really great test taker if you ask me. You got a question about your scene, ask your imagination to give you an answer.

“Your imagination sees things much differently.”

Taking time to ask your imagination these questions is called ‘daydreaming’.

I have a 4.0 in daydreaming.

PRESS WORTHY – Jessica Tyler Brown revives her role in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Jessica Tyler Brown

 

So what happens when one of the stars of Paranormal Activity 3 (Jessica) walks past one of the stars of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Jorge Diaz) while passing each other outside my office? They just say ‘Oh, hey!!! (then) ‘Wait a minute!!! (then some giggles) and wave!

Now that the film is out I can finally tell you that  my private client Jessica Tyler Brown revives (is that the right role to say for her role…hahahaha!) her role in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

PERMISSION SLIP #1 “It’s okay to like yourself.”

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In case you or someone you know needs it.

As a student,  I always needed a permission slip to go the bathroom, get something from my locker or visit the office.  That little piece of paper gave me the ‘right’ to be out in the hallways accomplishing what I needed to accomplish. The permission slip was a very powerful thing in my life.

Seven years ago I was working on a scene with a young actress. She was struggling to commit to truly get to the emotional point that the scene required. She kept making excuses for why she just couldn’t . She was becoming frustrated at me and asked if we could take a quick break, and then very nicely, asked my ‘permission’ to go to the bathroom.  I replied “You don’t need my permission to go to the bathroom, you can just go, but when you get back, I give you ‘permission’ to commit to the scene.”  She laughed but she understood what I meant.

That was the dawning of it all. Sometimes we need a little ‘permission’ to feel about what we are thinking and what we are doing.

Here is Permission Slip Number #1: “It’s okay to like yourself.”

You have the ‘right’ to go into life and believe it. You can even print a copy and take it with you just in case you doubt it during the day. Show yourself that you have permission to like yourself. And though you NEVER, EVER really need permission from anyone for this, think of it as more as a reminder or symbol or how ever you want to see it and maybe just knowing that you have it in your pocket or in your thoughts, it will help you believe it.