Student Highlight: Ailani Flowers

Student Highlight: Ailani Flowers

You’ve seen her on The Color Purple and The Wonder Years; get to know her here! 

Not only do we love watching our students gain confidence and succeed at The Actor’s Scene, but we also love to share their successes with the world! One student that has really caught our attention as of late is Ailani Flowers. Not even ten years old and she is already wowing the film and tv world!

Let’s hear more about her acting career journey so far: 

Ailani, thank you so much for taking the time to share with us! It’s not every day that someone so young knows what they like and want to do with their life. What made you want to start acting? -

It has always been a dream of mine to act after watching other people on TV, especially on the Disney Channel. Specifically in the show “Stuck in the Middle” (which aired in 2016-2019 and starred a young Jenna Ortega.) 

That is an excellent show. It makes sense you were inspired by it. Now feels like a good time for a reboot!

It is my dream project! I’d love to play Daphne Diaz. (Originally played by Ariana Greenblatt). I second the call for a reboot! 🙂 

So “Stuck in the Middle” is what inspired your acting career, but what is it that you love about acting that keeps you going?

I love seeing the variety of people I get to meet on set.

Oh that is such an incredible part of this career and you have already had the opportunity to be on some stellar sets. What was something that surprised you about first working on a set?

I always get surprised by seeing how talented other actors are on set.

Yes! It’s so fun to experience that and really work together with talented people to make something awesome. With all your amazing experiences so far do you have some favorite memories from being on set?

Yes, my favorite acting moment was having Halle Bailey (who played Young Netti) passing me the broom in “The Color Purple”. (Ailani played Lil Cat.) -I also loved meeting my step mom (Young Celie played by actress Phylicia Pearl Mpasi) in “The Color Purple” -And having the cast sing Happy Birthday to me on set for “The Wonder Years” (where she played 4 year old Kim).

Wow! Those all sound really special. How sweet of everyone to sing to you and what neat moments to have with such talented actors. What keeps you feeling confident when you are working on set?

The people who are around help me feel confident. Humor helps me a lot and hearing words of encouragement.

Oof yes, that is great advice! Everyone can use that whether they’re actors or not. Are there any other parts of filmmaking you are interested in aside from acting?

I think Directing is fun and would love to direct a film one day

We can’t wait to see what story you tell as a director. You’ve got some great on-set experience this early in your career. With a focused drive and a solid support system there’s no telling what other incredible skills you will learn on the path to your directorial debut. Thinking of the future, what would you like your acting legacy to be?

I’d like my acting legacy to be “an African American who loves her career and never gave up”. That is an excellent legacy to leave behind!

We have full faith that you will never give up on this career! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us and the world! We are excited to see your continued acting journey and wish you much success!

Parent's Corner

Not only did Ailani share all of her awesome adventures with us, but her mother, Aranne, also answered a few questions for parents of young actors.

Aranne, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these! To start off, what is some advice you’d give to other parents of young actors?

You are the eye for your child at all times. Always listen when your kid(s) speak. Keep their surroundings positive and with good energy.

That is wonderful advice! Do you have any helpful tools you picked up along the way?

Talking to other parents and doing my own research.

Those are super key! It is so important that we are all doing our own research into our projects. What do you do to help protect your child’s mental health in this crazy industry?

I limit her to what she needs to know especially when it comes to call backs. I run her social media so she doesn’t know much about what is going on until I communicate that with her. I keep her active with things she likes.

Those are great ideas to help young actors out! You have been full of such helpful advice! One last thing, do you have a favorite personal memory from helping Ailani?

My most memorable memory was having the director of The color purple speaking to me about how natural her talent is and her having a bright future ahead.

That is amazing! Way to go Ailani, and thank you Aranne, for taking the time to answer these questions for other parents out there!

Want to keep up with Ailani?

Check her out on:

IMDb

You can also see her in Season 2, Episode 3 of The Wonder Years (Netflix)

and The Color Purple (MAX)

 

 

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Conquering Callbacks

Taking the mystery out of the callback process with Coach Jeanne Morales

You did it! You got an audition, nailed that audition, and casting wants more of you. You have a callback. What does this mean? What do you do?? Do you change everything you did to give them something more???

The first thing to do is to just relax and celebrate! This is a win. The next thing you should do is read further because Coach Jeanne has all the answers you need.

Let’s get to know Jeanne a bit first: 

Hey Jeanne! Thank you for joining us. How long have you coached with TAS? 

-I have been at TAS for over 10 years! I started coaching here about 7 years ago.

Wow, that’s amazing! What do you currently coach here at TAS?

-I am currently coaching the Taped Audition yearlong course. This is great because I am also a taping coach at TAS  and love it! I also love teaching movement lessons for acting, public speaking, confidence building, personal development, and more!

Oh I love movement lessons as well. That’s great that you use it in all aspects of your life. Speaking of your life, what are things you like to do outside of TAS?

-Outside of coaching, I love traveling, adventure, ice skating, and working with animals.

Thank you for letting us get to know you a bit more! Let’s switch gears and get into it. Callbacks are a HUGE part of your acting career. For those who are new to the industry can you tell us what is the purpose of a callback?

-Callbacks give casting, and other members of the casting process a chance to narrow down their search for the role. At the end of the day, only one person can play a role. Since 100s could be submitted for the same role, a casting director must narrow this down to a smaller number of those who closely fit what the creators are looking for. This also gives casting an opportunity to meet actors and make sure that they are approachable, and direct-able. It also gives actors another shot in showing their skills. An actor could have received a callback based on their interesting choices in an audition that the casting directors may have been impressed by, but still does not quite fit what they were looking for. Since they see the talent, the callback allows casting to give actors a better rundown of what the client/director is looking for, and the actor an opportunity to make new interesting choices with the new information given.

Okay, I’ve prepared for my audition, how do I prepare for my callback? Should I make adjustments to my original audition?

-Since you have received a callback, that means that casting was really impressed by the choices you have made! I would suggest going back and watching your first audition and noticing what made yours unique to you. What choices did you make for this character? Is there any more room for research on the project? Your callback is an opportunity to show them what they already enjoyed, but in an enhanced way. Be prepared to perform your audition like you previously did, but also be prepared to be asked to perform it completely differently! You have to be able to do this at a moment’s notice, so plan on a couple of ways the scene could be played as preparation. 

Who will be at my callback? 

-Normally the “next level” of the casting process will attend call backs. This could mean producers and directors. I know someone who attended an in person call back for a film that Oprah was producing. She was actually at the call back!  If you have a callback for a commercial, a representative of the client or brand is usually in attendance. This could mean someone from their marketing or advertising team.  Be prepared to see a few to several people.

For virtual call backs, those on the other side often leave their cameras off, so you may just hear a voice giving you instructions. Sometimes, you may see one person who is speaking to you, while others are just watching and listening. 

Should I prepare differently for an in-person callback as to a virtual callback? 

-Understanding the above information will help prepare you mentally for those in person callbacks where you now have several eyes staring at you. Some, or several, of those in attendance may have different notes for you, so be prepared to even hear conflicting ideas. You should be prepared to try new performance choices. For any live audition, make sure you are timely, and look well put together. Do not look like you just rolled out of bed. I have seen casting add this to their notes, especially for commercials. That means someone is doing it!

For virtual callbacks, minimizing the chance of technical difficulties is crucial. This is why you must test your lighting, sound, and internet connection ahead of time. You can call a friend and make sure they can see and hear you clearly. You must also make sure any settings are adjusted ahead of time. An example of this would be putting your phone on auto-rotate ahead of time, so that casting does not connect to a sideways version of you on the screen. Make sure that once connected, you look into the camera when speaking to them directly. This gives the illusion of eye contact through the screen. Do not stare at yourself!

Any other callback advice?

-Get an audition shirt! Figure out your most flattering colors based on your skin, eye, and hair color. Then wear this same look for your callbacks. Casting can remember “the one in that bright blue shirt’s performance” more than a name. Keep that impression lasting in your mind by wearing the same outfit for your callbacks. Of course, keep in mind how our audition looks can change based on characters we are reading for. Just try to streamline those looks to have a great foundation of outfits to choose from!

Thank you so much Jeanne! Every little bit of this is helpful!

If you’re reading this and hoping to have more callbacks this spring, book a taping session with Jeanne or one of our other knowledgeable taping coaches here at TAS. They will help you tape your perfect audition and prep for that perfected callback!

Ready to get started? Reach out today!

TASFRONTDESK@GMAIL.COM

770-904-6646

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About The Author

Kirsten Krehbiel

Kirsten Krehbiel is an Atlanta based actress, director, and writer who enjoys bringing people new truths through the art of storytelling. She has a love of acting both on camera and on stage, having been lucky enough to be a part of incredible productions in both worlds. Kirsten joined the TAS team in 2020 as a coach, a job she loves because it lets her watch first hand as students grow and gain self confidence as actors. When she is not creating or coaching, you can find Kirsten hanging out with her grumpy cat on their back porch. 

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