Answers 4 Actors

Thursday, August 27, 2009



When I see some wonderful acting I love to share with my actors how they can combine going to see a movie AND doing some homework at the same time! What could be better.

So with that in mind, I talk a lot to actors in my workshops and sessions about creating believable relationships. I want you to go watch the two wonderful complex textured relationships in Julie and Julia. Both the younger couple and the older couple are great examples of creating relationships we, the audience, enjoy watching. Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci were stunning in the beautiful relationship as Julia Child and her husband, Paul. It is also great that Nora Ephron portrayed in her film an older couple who had passion, fun, playfulness and joy, true joy in their love.

We don’t have the opportunity to watch such performances often enough. Now I know some of you all, not just guys either, may “poo poo” my pleasure in seeing such a relationship but you will get plenty of sex and sex in other movies so go with an open mind and see if it doesn’t warm your heart. It’s okay, you don’t have to tell anyone just try it.

Those of you who know me know that I love sports films, actions films, thrillers, mysteries, and I will even admit when I am home working around the house or on my computer I watch lots of sports events. In fact, right now while I am writing this I am watching the international semi-final game of the Little League Baseball Series. It is between Curaco and China Taipei. Score is 0 – 0 at the moment. So I am not this mushy audience all the time but when I see a wonderful enduring performance I am truly moved by the relationship I see in this particular film.

So go enjoy and be sure to plan to go out to eat afterwards. You will want to!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hong Kong Actors are Great !

Hong Kong in May was a fantastic experience but I do admit I was exhausted when I got back to L. A. However it was definitely worth it. Take a look at these fantastic actors, directors, writers and artists who were in the workshops in Hong Kong.

First of all, Jason Tobin, co-producer and actor-director-writer extraordinaire, was amazing once again. I could not do what I do in Hong Kong without the expertise of Jason. We put together some fantastic workshops and working with Jason made that a joy and a pleasure. I know that his directing and writing skills will bring him to some amazing projects. Look forward to seeing your work, Jason.
The Hotel Panorama was such a wonderful place to stay and a perfect place to teach my workshops. The view from the hotel is amazing. But for me, most important of all is the wonderful staff at Hotel Panorama. I felt like I was staying with a wonderful family of people - from my special ladies who kept my room so well kept (even with all my scenes stacked all over the place) to the smiling faces of the doormen to the Mistress d’ at the Café to Carmen and all her staff. Everyone made me feel so welcome and wanted to help me every day with anything I needed. If any of you are headed to Hong Kong, I highly recommend you stay at the Hotel Panorama, located in the heart of Kowloon, Hong Kong.
And what can I say about everyone at the AlivenotDead office? You rock! Helping with the signups, the publicity, the events surrounding our workshops, finding the fabulous Hotel Panorama and your enthusiastic support. Jason and I truly are honored to have your support and all the help you have given us each time we have scheduled the workshops.
I would like to sit here and write every exciting detail of the two-day workshops that I taught in Hong Kong. Of course this article would be the size of a book! I so enjoyed watching the wonderful people in my workshops grow in their work. I was thrilled as the directors in the workshops made huge leaps in their own acting abilities and their understanding of what actors need to give them a wonderful performance. I wish I could bottle up the laughter and the tears that these groups shared with each other. I know I will never forget each and every person who opened their hearts and souls, and allowed me to guide them for a few days in finding their strengths and also discovering their voices in their work. I only wish I could be there for a longer period of time. I feel like we just got started.
So to all the beautiful actors, actresses, directors, writers, artists and truly precious people who trusted me with their time and their talent, I thank you and I am honored that you would allow me to share with you what I have learned and have taught for so many years.
I look forward to traveling to Hong Kong again and continue this beautiful journey!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


When a big opportunity comes are you prepared?
Can you perform at your best at any time?
Are you at your top form when you don’t audition every day?
Here’s how you can be prepared.

So many times actors call me in a panic. They have just been called for a big, important audition in a few hours or even the next day. That actor is someone who has not gone out on an audition for weeks or even months and now they have to be in top form in a few hours. As a coach I tell actors that they need to have some kind of workout that they do to keep in shape just like an athlete would do. A runner cannot run a successful marathon when he hasn’t been running on a regular basis in months. So why do you as an actor think you can perform at your best, your top form if you only do it every few months.

Okay, so I have told you that you must be prepared. Now I should offer some ideas of how to do that. How to do that when maybe you can’t afford to be in a class every week or work out with a coach every week because of time or finances. Well there are many ways you can do that but you have to take action before you get the call for that big important audition.

One way that I have found for many actors to get up to speed when you need to do so is to have 2 monologues that you have prepared to performance level. Monologues that you could pull out of your hip pocket and perform at your best level with very little or no preparation. But this will take some work on your part now. Here is how to prepare and why this works.

I want you to pick two pieces you absolutely love. Two pieces that you think are in your areas of strength. Now once you have chosen those pieces you must take time to really prepare them. This means taking them to a coach so that you can get some outside direction and help. I want you to prepare these two monologues as if you are going to perform them on a Broadway stage or in front of a camera for a feature film or a major television show. Work on these monologues and then go and coach them. I even think it is good for you to perform them in front of an audience even if it is just in front of some friends.

Once you have prepared these monologues to this level, now make a commitment to perform these monologues at least once a week even if it is just in your living room or bathroom. That’s why they should be pieces you love!

Once you have these two pieces prepared to a level where you can confidently say that when you perform you are in your top form you now have a way to remind yourself what it feels like to perform at your top level. You can pull out one of these monologues and you can remind yourself what is your best.

There is something else you need to do before you can be ready at any time. You also need to learn how to prepare for an audition in a short amount of time. If you have never learned how to do that, find a coach or a teacher who can really train you in audition technique.

Once you have learned the craft of auditioning and you have your monologues at performance level you can get yourself up to speed whenever an opportunity presents itself.

“Be prepared” is not just the motto of a Boy Scout, it is also a good motto for a professional actor. Once you are prepared, you can enjoy each opportunity that you find. Instead of panicking you can be excited about the upcoming audition.

So prepare for those moments that can change your life and your career.

If you have any questions about the way you prepare, you can comment here or contact me at

Once you know how to prepare you can enjoy when that phone call comes and sends you out to an audition in a few hours.

And I would love to hear from all of you about other questions you would like me to write about in upcoming blogs.