Get to know TAS Coach: Tara Jones

Get to know TAS Coach: Tara Jones

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 Tara Jones?” Read on to find out!

What Makes You Feel Confident?

AUTHENTICITY makes me confident! Being the best version of who I can be puts me in a space of certainty which creates confidence. And if I’m authentically myself, I know that I will mess up! So I give myself grace and patience through the acting process when I don’t get something “right,” or am having difficulty with a script. 

Knowing that I am actively working on my craft every chance I get, also evokes confidence in that I feel free to experiment and take chances with my auditions. Always remembering the love and passion for the art brings me back to why I do this crazy industry, and that is empowering. 

How did you first get into acting?

I was a former broadcast journalist, working all over the country as a reporter and anchor. Once I had my first daughter, I decided to retire from the news world, as it was not very conducive to raising a family. My colleague from WSB-TV told me to go to a local talent agency because I knew how to read a teleprompter, and I could likely get some hosting gigs. I knocked on People Store’s door, and thankfully, they signed me!

I slowly started training as an actor, and moving from hosting, to commercials, to TV/film. I am a story teller at heart, so I fell in love with this new format to tell stories that mattered and could potentially make a difference in our world.

Tara with her daughters 

What has been your biggest struggle in the industry?

Keeping the right mind set! For years I struggled with my self worth being tied to my bookings. It took a lot of mental work to know that I am enough just as I am, and I do not need the industry to validate me for any reason. Once I figured out the formula for that, I was inspired to share it with others, especially acting children and their parents, which is why I started United Child Actors Network. 

How did you tackle it?

Through consistent mind work. Waking up every day and being TRULY grateful for what I have, and not focusing on what I want or don’t have. Creating a world of gratitude transforms your reality, and shifts your thinking from, “I hope I book it!!!”…to “I am so thankful I had the opportunity to show that casting director my talent.” 

I teach and preach authenticity. The more authentic you are, the happier you’ll be, and the bonus is, you’ll likely book more because your auditions become real and grounded…which is exactly what the casting director is looking for! 

You have no control over your audition; all you have is control over is how you prepare and perform. So why would you ever stress over a result you can’t control? 

This industry is a journey. You can act until the day you die. There’s no race to the finish line because there is no finish line. Once you learn to love the craft, and take the stress away from the auditions, and potential outcome of those auditions, is the moment you build a FULFILLED life-long actor. 

I ADORE being able to use my talent to help tell stories, and ultimately make a difference. The world of acting and storytelling is beyond powerful. As I continue my journey through the industry, I hope my passion is felt by each and every person I come in contact with. Because without the passion, what’s the point? If you don’t LOVE acting, you should do something else…anything else, because it will just feel like a lot of work, sacrifice and heartache. But if you LOVE acting, arm yourself with the right mindset and training, then buckle up and enjoy the ride!

-Tara Jones

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

I created United Child Actors Network because I felt a passion to help other parents and children after my own two girls got involved in the industry. I was shocked at the amount of animosity between parents, the jealousy, comparison and competition. I truly believed that these other children were not “competition” for my kids because we’re all different human beings, who bring something unique to the table. 

My girls often got auditions for the same roles, and I used to tell them, “If one of you books over the other, that means the other person didn’t even have a chance because you’re different humans with different essences. Whichever person exemplifies the character more NATURALLY, is the one that will likely book.” That resonated with them and created zero jealousy in our household, even when one sister booked over the other. It also allowed my children to understand authenticity in who they were, and how to see it in other people. This is what I teach to kids and parents through UCAN (United Child Actors Network.) 

Why did you get into coaching?

I started coaching my own children, and they did really well from the on-set, mainly because I was teaching them to be authentic actors. Friends with children in the industry then started asking me to teach and self-tape their kids, too. Once they started booking as well, I realized there must be validity in what I’m teaching.

Moreover, I LOVE instilling confidence in my students. There is nothing better than showing a child that they are enough…and what God/the universe gave them is so uniquely special and needed in this world.

Creatives can be very sensitive and sometimes don’t fit into society’s box. I hope that my teachings can help give young creatives the strength and confidence they need to stand up to anyone that may try to push their uniqueness and talent away.

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

Be authentic! There is no one in this world who can play ‘you’ better than ‘you!’ 

You will hear casting directors say over and over again that they are looking for “real and grounded” performances. The more a student can understand who they are and how to lean in to their own natural essences, the more they will book. 

I love giving students an adjective unique to them (like “intellectual”) and then tell them to prepare a script leaning into that adjective/essence. After assigning a different adjective to each student in class, I then have them read the same script to demonstrate the different deliveries from each person. It allows the students to see how unique each audition can be, and how the script can take on a whole new meaning just based on who is reading it. It also provides them insight into what casting director’s see through auditions, and it solidifies that the BEST actor doesn’t always get the job, the most APPROPRIATE actor gets the job. 

What is your proudest coaching moment?

My proudest moments come when one of my students has a breakthrough. I love watching hard work turn into growth. And then watching that growth turn into signings with major agencies, bookings in the form of Marvel movies, series regulars on network TV shows, and leads in movies! It makes me tremendously proud and fulfilled knowing that I had a small part in making that success happen, and their dreams come true. 

Tara teaching classes at TAS!

What do you hope that your coaching legacy will be?

That people use what God/the universe gave them in this world to make it a better place. I consistently tell my students that the world needs what they have been given, so don’t hide it, embrace it and use it for good…especially in the world of acting. If anyone has taken my class, they know I say all the time, “The better the human, the better the actor can be.” 

Tara Jones Bio:

Tara Jones is an Emmy Award winning journalist turned actor. Her deep appreciation and knowledge for the art of television production led her to be a part of countless commercial productions, industrials, network TV shows, and blockbuster films. She has also served as a spokesperson for several Fortune 500 companies and participated in their brand management as a company. 

Tara’s knowledge of both being in front of the camera and behind the scenes has benefited her deep understanding of the “big picture” when it comes to the industry as a whole. Her company, Green Sky Productions, produced numerous commercials and marketing videos, as well as the award winning independent film, “iGirl,” in which Tara was awarded ‘Best Female Filmmaker’ and her daughter, Skylar, was awarded the “Rising Star” award from the New York Independent Film Festival. You can see Tara’s work as an actor on shows such as “MacGyver,” “The Resident,” and movies such as “Need for Speed,” “My Dad’s A Soccer Mom,” “Almost Christmas,” and a new DC Comics movie coming out in 2023!  

Tara has two daughters, both of which are actors. Skylar Morgan Jones has appeared in “Dynasty,” “The Vampire Diaries,” Lifetime’s “Terror in the Woods,” and as the lead in the upcoming movie, “Blood” (Release fall of 2022.) Ariel Jones starred alongside her mother in “The Resident,” and can also be seen in “Your Worst Nightmare,” as well as numerous national commercials, national voiceovers, and a prior YouTube series called “Smooshie Mushies,” with her sister.

Tara loves sharing her knowledge of the industry with those who are just starting out, or simply looking to get ahead. She believes in the power of positivity and preaches that other actors are not competition…the only competition lies within the artist to be the best version of themselves, as a human, and as an actor.  

Would you like to take private lessons with Coach Tara?

Coach Tara teaches private lessons for beginning actors through advanced.

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


Want to keep up with Coach Tara’s latest bookings? Check out her IMDb HERE.


If you would like more information on her organizations: United Child Actor’s Network (UCAN), click HERE.

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Healthy Mindsets for Actors

Healthy Mindsets for Actors

The Power of Positive Thinking.

The film industry is not for the faint of heart, especially when it comes to being an actor.

Taking care of one’s physical, mental, and spiritual health is of the utmost importance in a field like acting that requires so much of each individual. But how can we, practically, take care of ourselves?

A big struggle for many actors is self-doubt.

In this industry, it’s really easy to fall into the comparison game and feel like every other actor around you is doing better than you are at “making it”, so to speak. Social media is a tool to help us promote ourselves, and because of that we are only seeing other people’s highlight reels. It’s easy to look at someone’s page and say “wow, they seem to be working a lot more than I am” without seeing all the hard work they’re doing behind the scenes. We don’t see the bad days that other people have, or the countless times that they auditioned and didn’t book, or even self-submitted never to get the opportunity to audition in the first place. One of the first steps to developing a healthy mindset is removing any obstacles that are preventing you from believing in yourself. Watching how much time you spend online and who you follow is an amazing place to start. When it comes to other actors and online communities, make sure that you’re following only people who encourage you, help you better yourself and your craft, and make you smile with what they’re posting. And remember, if you don’t want to fully unfollow someone to make sure there’s no hard feelings, there is always the “mute” button.

One of our coaches at The Actor’s Scene has opened up about struggling with negative mindsets and comparison in her own practice. Let’s see what Coach Leah Merritt had to say about overcoming those obstacles in her acting career:

“It’s no secret that the acting industry alone can breed some pretty unhealthy mindsets- if left unchecked. There’s a lot of rejection, comparison, and pressure to look/be a certain way that can be really hard to manage for adults, let alone young actors. But at the same time, I’m thankful that I dealt with these challenges early in my life, because it forced me to find my worth and happiness outside of achievements. I learned to talk kindly to myself and have a perspective of joy and gratitude, rather than stress and dejection. Once those unhealthy mindsets faded away, I started having a lot more fun! Not only in acting, but in life. It’s a whole new world when you realize that no one is your competition. We can all be uniquely talented and beautiful and accomplished in whatever way makes US happy!

Also, there can be a lot of comparison and competitive natures in this industry. I think the biggest thing that helped me through those mindsets was actually becoming friends with the actors I thought I was competing with. I realized instead of judgment, I found a welcoming community of artists that just want to be able to share our common struggles and accomplishments.

Do you have people to encourage you on the hard days and celebrate with you on the good days?

Community is a MUST for actors. Find your tribe and love them hard! 

Each actor is a completely unique and distinctive person, so what works for other people might not work for you. Try out these methods and see if any of them help you find a more healthy mindset and positive outlook!

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist, as well as an author and podcaster, and in a September 2021 podcast titled “The One Mindset That Can Help You Through Any Problem” (LINK), she shares some tips for creating a more powerful mindset.

These are just a few of her awesome ideas from the episode, so be sure to check out her podcast for more tips!

  1. A Sense of Community. As Dr. Leaf says in the episode, “A sense of community helps build hope into the brain and body!”. In a recent TAS TikTok (which you can follow HERE), Coach Kirsten Krehbiel said that her best piece of advice for new actors is to find community. She said “One of the best things that I did and that I think everyone should do is to find an acting family, or an acting community. That way you’re with likeminded people, people who are going to inspire you, help you, support you, and understand. Because even if your family supports you, it’s a very bizarre industry and the more people that can help you, the better it’s going to be.” Here’s a link to that video: TIKTOK 
  2. Living Outside of Social Labels. As actors, it’s easy to feel stuck in your typecast, or the way that casting typically sees you. Don’t feel restricted by your type, just be aware of it. Dr. Leaf says that “People who do not get stuck in labels or the way society tries to define them often have more hope”. In addition to comparison with the types or frequency of roles that we get, there is also a lot of comparison between actors about the amount of training they have had, how their headshots look, how many followers they have, the list goes on. Let’s be clear: there is no “right way” to start or maintain your acting career. As long as you are continuing training, updating your materials to reflect your current career credits and physical appearance, and working to improve your craft individually, you are in the right place.
  3. Knowing What Can Be Controlled. The film industry is unpredictable. Actors have no direct hand in the casting process, which means that there are a lot of factors about auditioning and booking that we cannot control. Instead of fretting over your ratio of auditions to bookings, or comparing your success to other people with similar experience, focus on what you can control. We had a section on our blog, “How Do I Get My Child On Nickelodeon/Disney?” where we talked about goal-setting for actors, and how to focus on goals within an actor’s control. If you’d like to check out that article, you can click HERE. We also had a helpful TikTok on this subject, which you can find HERE. Basically, make your goals tangible. Instead of having goals centered on auditions or booking, which is out of your control, focus on the aspects that you can control! Maybe a goal can be self-submitting for a certain number of projects, trying to hone a new skill like singing (which you can start with the lovely Coach Kate Leek, whose information to book is HERE), or even scheduling a career coaching to evaluate and elevate your submission materials like your headshot, resume, reel, etc! To find a private career coach and schedule a session like that, click HERE. In addition to tangible goals, we also want to focus on our wins along the way! Taking a new class is a win. Getting those headshots or materials updated is a win. Getting the audition is a win. Take the pressure off of yourself to achieve grand career steps that are out of your hands, and focus instead on what you’re actively doing to improve your craft and your skillset. 

You have power over your mind-not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

-Marcus Aurelius

We begin the mental health process early; teaching young actors the beauty of their unique quality and appreciation for each other! 

“Here's what I've learned: first, you have to identify the things you can control- keep taking classes and workshops, network at industry events, audition for as many roles as you can. Give 110% to those things. Then, let go of the parts that are out of your control. Once a taping is submitted it's out of your hands- so let go of the anxiety, too!”

-Coach Dina Karl

Overall, mindset is everything when it comes to acting. Focus on taking care of yourself as a whole person (mind, body, spirit), and your acting will improve with that self care. Make sure you are actively training, whether that be in an in-person class, a virtual class, or a one-on-one private coaching rhythm. To find a place to get plugged in, check out our class offerings HERE, and our private coaching offerings HERE

 

We’ll leave you with this awesome quote from Dale Carnegie: “Find yourself and be yourself: remember there is no one else on Earth like you.” Take care of yourselves, actors!

.

Ready to get started? Reach out today!

TASFRONTDESK@GMAIL.COM

678-313-7798

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About The Author

Molly Pass

Molly Pass is an Atlanta-local actress, acting coach, and wedding videographer who loves to help new and seasoned actors alike find their purpose and passion through performance. She holds her bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Studies from Georgia State University and enjoys discussing movies, shows, and all things new media. Her favorite part of working at The Actor’s Scene is being able to inspire folks to pursue their dreams and helping them to gain confidence in themselves along the way. When she is not acting or working in the digital media realm, she enjoys reading murder mysteries and desperately trying to keep a garden alive. 

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