Get to know TAS Coach: Kate Leek

Get to know TAS Coach: Kate Leek

All of our acting coaches are highly qualified working actors who participate in the Film/TV industry in a variety of ways, in addition to coaching acting classes. But we want to give you a more in-depth look at who they are as people
 
This month we are sharing some insights that will help answer the question, 
“Who Is Kate Leek?” Read on to find out!

What Makes You Feel Confident?

I feel most confident when I learn something new. I get embarrassingly excited about
knowledge and being able to share that makes me feel empowered. That, and high
heels.

How did you first get into acting?

My mother always had a passion for musical theater and she passed this passion onto
me. I soon fell in love with movies and would insert my own dialogue into films so I could
pretend I was a character. I was absolutely obsessed with Lord of the Rings as a kid and
I wanted to be a character in that world more than anything. When my parents asked me

what I wanted for my eighth birthday I replied, “an agent”. I started lessons at The
Actor’s Scene soon after and the rest was history.

Kate with family

What has been your biggest struggle in the industry?

When I was younger and living in Los Angeles with my mom, I missed my family terribly.
As a kid, it was difficult to choose between chasing my dream and being apart from
them. There was no video chat at the time so it was easy to feel disconnected. As I got
older and decided that my true passion was coaching, it was a little tricky to make the
shift into a new position. Having to explain my preferred role in the industry to all of those
who supported me through my acting career was a bit of a struggle, but ultimately, my
loved ones and representation supported it. It was the best decision I ever made. I love
coaching actors so much and although I love performing for myself, I find true happiness
in being a coach.

How did you tackle it?

It is important to always stay true to yourself. As a kid, I decided to come home to the
Atlanta market. It simply wasn’t worth being away from my family. As for the professional
shift, I studied the works of many successful acting coaches and used my knowledge as
a performer to become excellent at what I do. Even today, I am always continuing to
educate myself so I can best benefit the actors I work with. I feel validated by the
progress I see in my students every day and that just confirms that I made the right move.

Acting is the ultimate exercise in empathy. As actors, we have the honor of recreating life. I always encourage my students to tap into the details that make us human so they can do their characters justice. Empathetic practice yields genuine performance and in doing so, we exercise self-discovery.

-Kate Leek

Besides acting, do you pursue any other interests in the entertainment industry?

I have dabbled in producing with some of my friends who are filmmakers and I have
published a research thesis through Georgia State University entitled “Drama Therapy: A
Character Analysis of the Self”. I am very proud of the year-long research that went into
my written experience as a coach and the emotional healing I witnessed in my students
through their acting journeys.

Why did you get into coaching?

When I was sixteen and I had just started college. I was working in admin for a talent
development company. I would travel for work and there was this one weekend where
our acting coach missed their flight and because of my performance background, I was
asked to fill in. I was nervous. I was young and I had a serious case of imposter
syndrome. When I taught that first class, I felt invigorated. I was so proud of each
performer and they improved so much in such a short amount of time. I remember
thinking, “Wow, I think I am pretty great at this”. Based on the feedback from the
students, the company hired me on as a coach. I traveled for three more years with the
company and coached thousands of actors all across the United States before taking a
full time position at a local Atlanta studio.

What is one important bit of advice you always give the students in your class?

Acting is the ultimate exercise in empathy. As actors, we have the honor of recreating
life. I always encourage my students to tap into the details that make us human so they
can do their characters justice. Empathetic practice yields genuine performance and in
doing so, we exercise self-discovery.

What is your proudest coaching moment?

It is hard to pick just one because over the years, I have been blessed with truly magical
moments in my classes. That said, there is a student that has always had a special
place in my heart. When she was a teenager, she was going through a really tough time.
She almost quit and I am so glad she didn’t. We spoke together and I gave her a script
that was almost identical to what she was going through. At first, she didn’t want to do
the scene so I told her we could pick another one, and we did. She came back to class
the next week and said she decided to do the original script. She gave the most raw and
honest performance I have seen to this day. I cried, which, if you know me, you know is
a rare occurrence. I will never forget what she said next. She said, “feeling someone
else’s pain allowed me to heal from my own”. That is probably one of my proudest
moments as a coach.

Kate in a Spotify Commercial

What do you hope that your coaching legacy will be?

I just hope that my students feel a fraction of the pride I feel when I see them succeed. I
am a huge advocate for drama therapy. I have seen the performing arts function as a
platform for healing, confidence, self-actualization, and flat out fun. I aspire to be a coach
that caters to the individual needs of each student I cross paths with.

Kate Leek Bio:

Kate Leek has been working in the entertainment industry for nearly twenty
years. She has worked and trained as an actor, singer and dancer in the
Southeast, Los Angeles, and New York markets. Kate began her performance journey at the Actor’s Scene when she was eight years old and her endeavor as a performer led her to her true passion for coaching.
She has been coaching actors, singers, and dancers for ten years. Kate feels
such pride and joy from her client’s successes. Some notable projects her
clients have appeared in include, “Stranger Things”, “The Vampire Diaries”,
“Dear Evan Hanson”, “The Summer I Turned Pretty”, “Salem”, “XO, Kitty”, as
well as starring as Simba in the Broadway tour of “The Lion King”.
Kate has her BA in Anthropology from Georgia State University where she
conducted a research project and published a thesis about Drama Therapy,
particularly in adolescents. It is her belief that the performing arts not only
serve as an artistic outlet, but as a form of healing and growth that nourishes
our minds. Her passion for educating actors is evident in her detailed
approach that specifically caters to each individual performer.
In addition to this, she is a mother to a two-year-old boy and is currently
obtaining her degree as a registered respiratory therapist.

 

Would you like to take classes with Coach Kate?

In addition to a variety of private coaching appointments and singing lessons, you will find her teaching our Foundations, Improv, and Working Actor classes. 

To sign up for a class with Coach Kate, give us a call at:

770-904-6646.

To sign up for a private lesson with Coach Kate, click HERE

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Student Highlight: Jordyn McIntosh

Student Highlight: Jordyn McIntosh

Get to know TAS student, Jordyn McIntosh, and hear about her recent success!

Periodically The Actor’s Scene likes to reach out to students and chronicle their success in the industry. Case and point: Jordyn McIntosh. Here’s what Jordyn has to say…

Hey Jordyn! We are so excited to speak with you! Let's start at the beginning, tell us what made you want to become an actress.

I was getting into trouble at school with not being able to stay focused in class and being a distraction to others. One of my teachers suggested that I channel that energy into something like theater/acting as it would give me the opportunity to settle myself and refocus my thoughts. I took up some workshops and short classes at a local theater and fell in love.

What drives you to stick with acting?

I get to meet new people (some cool famous ones too!), have fun while on set, and I also get to try new things. I enjoy getting the chance to play different roles and use my improv skills learned at TAS when the camera is rolling.

Jordyn playing the role of Maya in ‘The Storied Life of AJ Fikry’.

What is something that surprised you about working on a set?

I was surprised at how big the inside of the sound stages are. And how much detail goes into building/making it look so realistic. It made me feel like I was really in that scene.  

What are some of your favorite acting moments?

In my new series, while shooting the Pilot, I was supposed to act frustrated. While I was doing that, one of my earrings fell out and it was hilarious. I was throwing up and my hands and knocked it out of my ear.

That is too funny! How did you get back into character after something silly happened on set?

 I calmed down by breathing, closing my eyes and bringing back my character to the set.

"I had the chance to work with the lead actress in my new series (can’t wait to share!), and we shared a scene together that the director wanted to see me acting sad. She whispered to me to "close my eyes and to make yourself feel like you are sinking into the seat. Allow the weight to make your face feel heavy/gloomy, like quicksand."

Jordyn McIntosh, on the best acting advice she ever received.

Tell us Jordyn, what makes you feel confident?

When I am done practicing my lines, I anticipate the feedback and any notes provided to help me get better. I am always proud of my delivery but the notes help me improve and I feel so confident that the scene is better.  

That is awesome, Jordyn! What is one of the most helpful notes you have received from a director, coach, or casting director that has stuck with you?

In my new series coming out, I had a scene with the lead character that need to be more sad. She told me to close my eyes and allow myself to fell heavy. To imagine something weighing me down. Allow my eyes to feel heavy. And when I opened my eyes, it transformed that scene. 

Do you have any acting projects coming up?

Emancipation starring Will Smith has been postponed to 2023. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry film starring Kunal Nayyar and Lucy Hale due to release in fall of 2022. New Hulu series due to release in fall of 2022, more details to come!

Jordyn playing the role of young Sasha Obama in ‘The First Lady’.

What would be your dream project?

I would love to be a part of a Harry Potter remake or get the chance to work Emma Watson on any project would just be awesome!

Of all the cool elements of Harry Potter, what would be your favorite part of going to Hogwarts if you could go in real life?

I would love to actually play Quidditch. I would be able to fly a broom and catch the golden snitch. It looks so fun in the movies, like, why not!?

IMG_4111 (1)

The
Parent's Corner

We are very honored to hear from Jordyn's parents, Kyle and Ashley McIntosh! They have some great advice for the parents of child actors, and we are thankful for their insight. Read on to hear what they have to say.

Hey Mr. and Mrs. McIntosh! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us! What advice do you have for parents of new young actors just getting started?

DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I cannot stress enough the importance of doing your research on any CD, Director, production, acronym, acting jargon, event, acting school/classes or manager. There is so much information out there that simply is not written in a “How-To” book for parents with young actors. Follow various CD’s/production company’s/acting tip pages on social media to have unlimited access to resources and build your network. 

Is there any system that you have found to be especially helpful?

We learned early on to not compare success of other actors to Jordyn’s…it will absolutely stress you out wondering if your kid is doing well compared to others. What is for her is for her, and it will come when it comes. Patience has rewarded Jordyn with really cool opportunities. 

I'm sure that that's easier said than done! What tips do you have for other parents looking to avoid the comparison game in the industry?

We have quickly learned (and listened) that selection for roles is based on so many variable factors that you simply cannot isolate to just one. Someone could have the look, skill, availability, geographic location, agent, etc. You simply cannot stress the unknowns. Continue to train, continue to learn, and knock out every audition with intention!

Tell us what makes it all worth it? Why do you keep going, even when things get hard?

It’s one of the most satisfying things to get that “You booked it!” email from your agent/manager and to see your child’s reaction to their hard work paying off. It is just as rewarding when you can tell they are on set having the times of their lives enjoying their moments and feeling a sense of accomplishment when they deliver their lines beautifully. 

You can follow Jordyn!

Check out her:

IMDB

Instagram

Actor’s Access Profile

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