Finding the Right Teacher

A couple years ago, when I first arrived in LA I audited a whole bunch of classes and wrote a wish list of the ones that interested me the most. Then, last year I was able to take Annie Grindlay’s Advanced Intensive Audition Experience. It changed my life! Well, maybe not my life, but my acting, which in turn changed my life. With my previous training, I felt well prepared for auditioning and developing a character in theatre(in other words, when you have time to figure things out), but not super confident when approaching the limited time frame you have with film and TV auditions.

Photo of Annie Grindlay from anniegrindlay.com
Photo of Annie Grindlay from AnnieGrindlay.com

Soon after taking Annie’s class I booked The Reel Deal with this audition (even though the show was postponed, I’m still really proud of my work). Then I booked a feature film in Seattle over the summer and GRIMM last fall. Booking jobs aside, I feel more confident going into auditions and I know my acting has improved. Just yesterday, I had a coaching session with Annie in preparation for an agent showcase and I was reminded of all the reasons I love working with her. I left, having worked out the kinks, confident in my performance, and ready to have a great showcase!

If you’re an actor reading this, looking for a teacher, I highly recommend you check out her FREE Workshop/Audit!!! Hey, IT’S FREE–which not a lot of things in LA are. BUT, here’s the thing. I’m raving about Annie Grindlay, but she may not be the right teacher for you, just like I didn’t click with all the teachers who came highly recommended to me. She also may not be the right teacher for me in a couple years. I know at some point I will move on to someone else who can help me with a different area of acting. But for now, I know I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Here are a few questions I’ve come up with to help me find the right teacher:

  • Does the teacher’s philosophy connect with me?
  • Is this teacher helping me with the area(s) that I want to improve?
  • Is my acting better, whether or not this teacher is present? (In other words, is this teacher giving me tools to take home or just teaching me to rely on their coaching?)
  • Do I feel the money I am paying is worth every penny and then some?
  • Can I see/feel a difference in my acting?

Listen to your instincts. If you’re on the fence about a teacher, they’re probably not the right one. Look around. Find the one who speaks to you where you are right now. In LA, there’s bound to be at least one!

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The Other Things in Life

I like being busy. Every quarter in college, I took 20-22 credits (normal was 15). After college, I worked a part-time job for 30 hours a week to pay the rent and was involved in shows another 20-30 hours a week. This idea of productivity and busyness is highly prized in our culture. The harder and longer you work, the better!
At some point during college, my pastor at the time, talked about the lost practice of the “Sabbath,” the day of rest. Few people, religious or not, keep this tradition in our fast-paced, advanced technology, stores open 24-7, modern world. For most of us in the theatre/film industry a day off is way too hard to nail down. For many years, I had to work the days that I wasn’t performing. Add that schedule to my need to always be doing something and resting becomes nearly impossible.

Whether or not it is a specific day or time of week, I keep being reminded that taking time for the other things in life is an important practice for a few reasons:

  • To let go! Remind myself that it isn’t all about me and what I do.
  • To spend time with people who make life worth living.
  • To be renewed and re-energized by the people/things that are the inspiration for our art.
  • To not burn out!

This is a constant battle for me, but taking time away is healthy and good. I’ve spent almost two months in LA and I still hadn’t done anything that didn’t have to do with the industry is one way or another. So, I’m purposing to take time for the other things in life, like:

  • IMG_0455Today, I took a hike in Griffith Park. I’d forgotten how much I like to hike and be outdoors. It was amazingly refreshing.
  • I’m reading a book from the fiction section, having nothing to do with acting or the business.
  • Last weekend, I spent the whole time with my husband: going out to restaurants, watching movies, cuddling. Just what we needed!

How are you purposing to enjoy the other things in life?