Happy 10 Years to TAS Coach Rick Goins

Happy 10 Years to TAS Coach Rick Goins

We want to wish a very Happy 10 Year Anniversary to Coach Rick!
 
 
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 Rick Goins?” and below you will find out why Rick is such a beloved coach! 

How did you first get into acting?

I have two older sisters who were into acting, so I started getting involved vicariously through them. When I was in middle school I got picked on and bullied a lot, so theatre became sort of therapeutic for me. You get the chance to play pretend, escape for a little while and walk in the shoes of someone else.

When I auditioned for AMDA I did it on a whim. It was a surprise to me, and my family, that I even got accepted. After New York I moved to Los Angeles on another whim. It was a true leap of faith. I knew no one when I moved there and didn’t even know where I was going to stay when I got there. As I was driving through Texas, on my way to California, a friend of mine from New York called and said he had a friend in Burbank, CA and I could stay with him when I got there.

Ultimately, I am glad I made that move because my wife is from California. I would have never met her had I not trusted God and just moved out there.

What has been your biggest struggle in the industry?

Booking! I have been pursuing acting for 20 years and, like most actors, my goal has been to be able to make a living off of acting. There has been moments where that was achieved, but I can’t say I have ever been consistent.

Aside from having talent, networking is a very important attribute to be successful. I’m an introvert and am still challenged, as an adult, with being shy- going to networking events are often my own personal nightmare. But my advice for the introverts is to be friendly, meet people and get to know them for who they are not what they might be able to do for you one day. Also be genuine. Recognize that we are all peers, wanting to do great work together.

How have you learned to maintain a healthy outlook when it comes to the slow seasons?

There are a lot of variables involved in booking a job, other than just your talent. Many of them you can’t control. Work on the ones you can control (talent, professionalism, networking) and don’t waste your life on the things you can’t control. Fame or money can not be your motivation. You do it because you love it. Also, work on your own content! If people won’t hire you, you hire yourself.

Besides acting, do you pursue any other interests from behind the camera?

I got the chance to produce a talk show, a couple of Christmas specials, and full length feature. Producing is a lot of hard work and is under-appreciated by most people. As an actor you have a lot, mentally, on your plate but ultimately you are concerned about your job.

As a producer my job was to be concerned about the cameramen, the sound, script, actors, all the cogs of the machine. If someone doesn’t/can’t do the job correctly, the producer has to go in and correct it, however deemed fit. If the show does great people applaud the actors but if the show falls flat, only then, does the producer get any attention. But my favorite part about being a producer was giving someone that first opportunity. I wanted to be that person who gave someone their first break. That was a cool feeling.

A few years later I was commissioned to adapt a book into a screen play, which was later sold to Sony. The project got stuck in development, but it was exciting that executives were putting money on something I wrote!

Why did you get into coaching?

Acting was a way for me to shine, get out of my shell of insecurities. Making it a profession was icing on the cake. I hope that I can turn and give the same inspiration to the next generations.

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

My favorite piece of advice I ever got and that I like to pass on to my students is: “You’re a banana, but they want apples. You’re not going to get the job because of that but you have to keep at it. One day they’re going to want a banana and you need to be there.”

Also, I often remind students to remember their externals in performances. Externals can be defined as surroundings or any other “external” factors that contribute to our movement. Examples of these could be what one wears, the people surrounding us, the weather, etc. So often we forget all of the little habits we build as humans due to our externals. It is important for our characters to have these as well to make them more relatable to the viewers!

What is your proudest coaching moment?

I love watching everyone at the TAS Showcase. Most of them, from kids to adults, have their nerves getting the best of them- but they push through it. Some of them, their goal isn’t to get signed with an agent but just to be able to perform (under pressure)- and they do it. I love seeing the ones that have that “Ah ha” moment where doing a great performance was the reward. If someone gets interested in them professionally… that is just icing on the cake.

Coach Rick with his family

What do you hope that your legacy will be as an acting coach?

My goal is not for students to have fun, although I hope they do. I can’t even say that I want them to be working actors. What I want is for all of them to grow. I want them to be more self-aware, to be more confident. I hope they get excited about the mundane. These make you a better actor, but they also make you a better human being.

Lastly, tell us what makes you feel confident?

To be confident I have to make sure I’m in the moment… and that doesn’t just speak to scene work. It’s great to have goals, but if you are so focused on your goals that you are not enjoying the moment you’re in- you’re doing it wrong. The times I’ve wanted to give up I have to remember to have a purpose bigger than myself; give a ‘Why’ to my wants.

Rick Goins Bio:

I was born in Marietta, GA. After attending college at Truett McConnell in Cleveland, GA I got accepted into the American Musical Camp: Dramatic Academy in New York City. While in Manhattan I performed in various Off (and way off) Broadway shows, including a 3 season national tour of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” as the Tin Woodsman, for the Theatre for Young Audiences. Shortly after I found myself in Los Angeles and getting the chance to appear in various TV shows and movies. I co-founded, managed, and toured with a short-form improvisational troupe, Fishes and Loaves. Got married and moved back to Georgia where I produced a live talk show for a local TV station for 4 years and produced a full-length theatrical released film. I now am a Stay-At-Home-Dad with three kids. As of April I have been coaching at The Actors Scene for ten years!

As a coach you learn that everyone who walks through these doors have different back grounds and different goals in mind so they can not all be trained the same way. Everyone is at a different point in their journey and no one’s path looks the same, recognizing that is what helps make a great coach.

Would you like to train with Coach Rick? 

This year he will be coaching a variety of programs, including:

Adult On-Camera Foundations

Improv Expanded

Meisner & Beyond

He also works with private students on working actor techniques and improv.

To book an appointment, call 770-904-6646.

Or you can register HERE

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A Coach In Your Corner

A Coach In Your Corner

You don’t have to go through this journey alone…

“My acting career is overwhelming.”

“I don’t know where to start.”

“This audition is confusing.” 

Have you uttered any of these statements, or any like them? I can’t blame you! These are all things I myself have said at different points in my career.

Acting usually begins with a dream in your heart, but in this fast paced industry many actors are left feeling disoriented in the mountains of information. For new actors, it’s the heap of options to comb through, skills to build, scams to avoid. For working actors, it’s networking, audition fatigue, branding adjustments… have you made the right choices? Is there more you should do? 

These questions, and struggles, can take the JOY out of your acting journey.

But guess what? No matter where you are in your acting career, you don’t have to figure this out alone. Every actor needs a mentor that can lock arms with them and point them in the right direction. Luckily, The Actor’s Scene has got your back! No matter what issues you’re facing, we have a simple solution that can help: Career Coaching or a one-on-one meeting (private lesson). 

How will these private lesson options help?” I have enlisted a few of our hard working coaches who specialize in private lessons and career coaching to answer that very question.

Let’s start by introducing our coaches:

Coach Molly Pass

Coach Kristi Taylor

Alright coaches, let’s get into it. When should an actor get into continued Private lessons or Career Coaching lessons?

Molly’s answer: An actor can really benefit from ongoing Privates/Career Coaching lessons at any point! I think a good indicator that you’re ready for private coaching is when you need help with a particular skill or want an extra expert opinion on what your next right steps should be.

Kristi’s answer: The moment an actor feels overwhelmed with an audition…maybe they don’t know how to make appropriate decisions for their character for the audition, or if the casting director is requesting something unique, like improv or various takes, a coaching session should be done.  This can help clarify the necessary information and give a new perspective on choices that would be appropriate for the audition.

 Or, on the other hand, if they are not receiving auditions, a general career coaching is conducted and can help identify any issues that may be preventing the actor from progressing.  We can look at updates for the casting portal sites, resumes, reels, and general information that can help further their careers.  Career Coaching to me is a necessity! The best of the best utilize career coaching when the opportunity arises.

What are the benefits of private lessons versus learning in a group environment?

Molly’s answer: In private lessons, students can work at their own pace and skill level. We can go as in-depth as the student wants to go, or spend longer on concepts that may be harder to grasp!

Sanna’s answer: Private lessons can be form-fitted to YOU, the actor. You can choose exactly what you would like to focus on.

How do you go about your initial Career Coaching lesson?

Molly’s answer: I love essentially interviewing/chatting with my new students to assess their level, goals, and create a plan to move towards their next right thing!

Kristi’s answer: Upon meeting someone for the first time in a career coaching, I tend to take a few minutes and get to know each other…what their acting history is made of…their goals short and long term.  And, also identify the specific areas that may be helpful in furthering their careers.

Can you share some good moments or stories from Private or Career Coaching?

Molly’s answer: My favorite part of Career Coaching is getting to see my students improve in their own ways and helping them develop confidence in themselves, their abilities, and their processes. One stand-out memory was seeing one of my vocal students perform in front of others for the first time at her school showcase. I could tell how proud she was of herself after the performance, and she did an amazing job!

Kristi’s answer: I’ve had a few private students that have booked major projects.  I think it’s also important to mention that even if a student doesn’t book a project, but they are auditioning for speaking roles in these productions…that is still great!!  It shows the actors how they are imagined by casting directors for productions.  Just the fact that the casting directors or agents took their time to consider them a possibility is a huge compliment.

Taylor Smitherman is a 9 year old that has been doing private lessons with me for a little over a year.  We have worked on various topics in her lessons ranging from nerves in front of the camera, to dialects, to voiceovers, to singing, to crying, and showing extreme ranges of emotion.  She has only been acting for close to two years.  Since I’ve started lessons with her, she has booked several very large roles on short films, and even booked a voiceover role on the Daily Wire Network for a cartoon character.  Super proud of her!! 

We appreciate our coaches at TAS and their insights!

As we have learned, there are many reasons people choose to do a one-on-one session. We hope that if you are reading this and thinking of your own concerns, that you will reach out and chat with our team. It may be that investing in some quality time with a professional is just the step you need to get your career to the next level. 

Our TAS Front Desk can listen to your concerns, and help you find the best match in one of our coaches. Get your career started, get out of a slump, or just get the extra help you need today.

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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TAS Showcase 2024

TAS Showcase 2024

A recap of this year’s Showcase from our coaches and staff!

Taking classes through The Actor’s Scene breeds confidence in actors by giving them a thorough education. Students learn acting techniques and skills while also learning how to navigate the business side of acting.

Classes are available one-on-one in Career or Private Coaching or in a group for our 32-week classes. BUT the most exciting thing students get out of taking classes at TAS is the opportunity to participate in Showcase. 

What is Showcase? 

Showcase is a time to celebrate our students’ growth and accomplishments and get them one step closer to their dreams. Each year students in our 32-week film based classes work on a specific audition piece: some do original commercials, some do monologues, others perform full scenes. They practice in class for several weeks with the help of their coach to get their piece ready. They then get to tape in the TAS Taping Room for a hearty list of VIPs from the industry. This list includes top talent agents, managers, and casting directors both here in the southeast and beyond, like LA, New York, and more! 

While Showcase does not guarantee placement and/or bookings, we are proud to present this opportunity to all of our students as a way to grow their confidence, knowledge , and industry prowess.

This year we had almost 200 participants in Showcase and 30 VIPs. Once the VIPs have watched everyone’s Showcase piece, Callbacks occur. Showcase Callbacks provide a chance for the VIP agents/managers to see if the student is a good fit and for Casting to see more of what their talent consists of.  (Note that these are a bit different from typical callbacks. For more information on true Callbacks, check out April’s blog HERE: Conquering Callbacks with Coach Jeanne).  

This year we had an unbelievable 98% percent callback rate. AMAZING WORK! 

A special thanks to our interns and Showcase team that made our big day(s) a success! There are so many moving pieces to host a stellar showcase season, and it would not be possible without the people who give 100% behind the scenes to keep everything smooth. Thank you!

Congratulations to everyone who achieved their Showcase goals this year! We look forward to taking our students to the next level in our 2024/25 classes!

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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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

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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Get to know TAS Coach: Maurie Speed

Get to know TAS Coach: Maurie Speed

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 Maurie Speed?” Read on to find out!

What Makes You Feel Confident?

My family and friends make me feel confident! I also find confidence from knowing that I did my very best, even if it wasn’t perfect. Showing up for yourself is so important in this life! Even if it isn’t perfect (a myth by the way), show up anyway. Keep the promises you make to yourself, always.

How did you first get into acting?

I got into acting the way that a lot of kids raised in the South do: through church! We were pentecostals and I was in the choir, then I started doing plays and never really stopped…my first official “role” was in the Easter play as the girl that Jesus raises back from the dead!

Maurie at the Ovation Awards

What has been your biggest struggle in the industry?

My biggest struggle has always been putting myself out there. It’s so vulnerable! I am okay with rejection from projects or parts, but being rejected as a person? That stings!

Rejection is such a sore topic for many actors.. how do you mentally get through the fear of rejection so you can put yourself out there?

I try to think of it as more “what are some skills out there that I do not have and how can I work alongside people who can teach me what I want to learn?”. Then I come at it from a place of curiosity, and often I have found that people like to work with you and teach you what they know!

Keep the promises you make to yourself, always.

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

I have been REALLY focused on writing lately. I wrote a web series years ago and had a blast, so I would love to get back into that! I am also working on a pilot and feature script. Directing is fun but HARD! I am curious to try it again but also intimidated, haha.

Why did you get into coaching?

Coaching has always been a way to explore the art form in a new way for me. When you have to explain something you know about to someone who is trying to learn it, you really have to get back to basics. I think it is important as actors and performers to remember why we love this so much in the first place and pass that on!

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

The most important thing you can do as an actor is tell the truth. The willingness to be vulnerable is the key to unlocking things in yourself you didn’t even know you had inside of you! When you can access that, there’s nothing you can’t do (that’s in acting and also in life!).

What is your proudest coaching moment?

As a coach, when a student “gets it”, and that light comes on in their eyes and then they know exactly what to do and they nail it! That is the most exciting thing and the proudest moment a coach can have. As an actor, it’s when someone comes up to me after they’ve seen me perform and tell me that my performance touched them in some way. There’s no better feeling.

Maurie in the web series:  Soccer Moms! 

Who inspires you?

Someone who really inspires me as a performer is Carol Burnett. I adore her and have read all of her biographies and my main takeaway was that as talented as she is, what people love most about her is how she makes them FEEL. That’s the power of humor and good will for your fellow humans! As a person who is getting older and experiencing transformation myself, I have found several teachers that I often look to for guidance, and one of them is Mary Oliver, the poet/writer. (I even got a tattoo inspired by her!) I often return to her work when I feel lost…

What do you hope that your coaching legacy will be?

I hope that the students I work with will come away with a renewed sense of self and less fear! I hope to leave a legacy of truth and love, both in my acting work and in my personal life. I really believe in the power of transformation, that nothing is wasted and all things can be made new if that is the desire.

Maurie Speed Bio:

Hi! My name is Maurie Speed (she/her) and I have been an actor and performer ever since I was a kid and wanted to be as glamorous as our pastor’s wife up onstage singing in the choir!

I have been fortunate enough to go from my small town to train at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and from there to Los Angeles, where I received my BFA in Theater and Film from Azusa Pacific University. I spent the next few years training in comedy writing and performing at the Groundlings School and at UCB, where I honed my comedic voice. I then started a production company with some of my fellow APU grads and produced a web series, a play and a short film. I also became a company member of the LA-based professional theater company, the Actor’s Co-op, where I was in numerous Ovation award-winning productions.

I moved back to the east coast to be closer to family and continue my career here in Atlanta, where I have booked several projects ranging from commercials for companies like Hoover and Wells Fargo, to my first feature film, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”.

I am thrilled to be a part of the community of artists here in the amazing and creative city of Atlanta!

Would you like to work with Coach Maurie?

Coach Maurie works with both new and working actors and is excited to be coaching at TAS this fall! 

To sign up for a private lesson with Coach Maurie, give our Front Desk a call at 770-904-6646.

Would you like to check out the web series that Coach Maurie wrote and produced with her friends? 

Click HERE to see Split Check on Youtube.

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Actors, It’s Time To Build Your Personal Brand

Actors, It’s Time To Build Your Personal Brand

What goes into building your brand? Read on to find out…

Spring is here and this author couldn’t be any more excited! The weather gets nicer, flowers are blooming, and the sense of renewal is in the air. This sense of renewal is what motivates me most to focus on spring cleaning.

Of course you can’t think of anything cleaning and organizing without mentioning Martha Stewart. A quick glance at her “Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist” shows how a good spring cleaning will make a world of difference.

She breaks it down to what needs done in every room: “Clean Baseboards” to “Reseal Grout Lines” and finishes with the specifics: “Dust refrigerator coils” in the kitchen to “Replace or wash shower liner” in the bathroom. Her list is simple, but it hits all the necessary items to ensure a refreshed house.

You had better believe that if it is this important to clean out and declutter our living space it is equally important to do so in our acting lives. The life of an actor is different every day. It also tends to be full of auditions, shows, networking, and working side gigs and that makes it easy forget to keep up on key parts of our career. Here is a basic breakdown of categories and questions to ask yourself in order to spring clean your actor life.

The Brand. As Casey Mink of Backstage perfectly puts it: “As an actor, your personal brand is your story, the thing that casting directors and producers remember about you after you’ve left the audition room”. What does casting see when they see you? This may feel like a daunting question so let’s break it down.

Look at your age: have you aged out of what you’ve been booking? Is it possible you’re no longer passing as a teen and look more like a young adult? Look at your style. A new hair-do or discovery with makeup and clothes could give you a new edge. Have you learned a new skill? Maybe you’ve gotten into Pickleball and therefore added to your new athletic brand.

Asking and being honest with yourself about these questions will help you know what to get rid of or refresh in the next few categories.

The Closet. Does your closet fit your brand? What do you need to get rid of? The closet is also a time to be real and honest with yourself. There’s no need to try and squeeze into pants you looked great in two years ago or pretend that the shirt you like but never end up wearing because it sits strangely on your body
will work one day. Your body right now is a wonderful thing and will look fabulous
in pants that fit its current size. Getting rid of your ill-fitting clothes and updating
your wardrobe with articles that are brand appropriate and that fit your body
correctly will give you effortless confidence in auditions, when networking, and out in your daily life.

The Media. You know your brand. You have confidence built from a well-fit
wardrobe. Now it’s time to look at your media. Do your headshots fit this new
style you have? Maybe you just need to add one new look in your headshots. Are
there clips in your demo reel that need to be edited out to make way for new ones? Media also includes social media. Is that up to brand? Is there anything that you need to get rid of from your social media that doesn’t represent you anymore? Does your résumé reflect this new spring me? Or do credits also need to be cut or added?

Actor Profiles. Once we have all of these things done it’s time to look at whether your online actor profiles are up to date or weighing you down. These include your Actors Access profile, Casting Networks profile, Backstage profile, etc. Look at your headshots, resume, size cards, and clips on these sites. Do you need to change any of these things? Do you need to add to them or take them down? Does your agent have updated versions of all of them? Make sure to update your personal website and social media platforms accordingly.


The Audition. One area that often needs cleaned up or updated is your audition set up. Do you need to practice with lighting your new styles and new colors with
your backdrop? What about your reader? Are they reliable? Do you need to find new ones or backups? Do you need new audio equipment to up your sound? Perhaps you simply need to streamline your audition process. Looking at things like how you memorize, what outfits you have ready for different character types, and how you will tape your audition can completely change your audition process for the better!

Reminder: all of this is just a starting point. Here at TAS we know this industrycan be very overwhelming so if you are needing more “you” specific guidance we would love to get you set up with a Career Coaching or Private Coaching session.


These half hour or hour long sessions with one of our industry trained coaches will help you clear out the unnecessary so you can focus on your acting career journey with a confident plan. Check out our Audition Taping and Private Coaching section of the website to get started with a one-on-one coaching session today!

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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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 the inner struggle?

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.

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 twelve 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 to urof “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 three-year-old boy and is currently obtaining her degree as a registered respiratory therapist.

Would you like to work with Coach Kate?

Kate is currently offering private lessons for both acting and singing.

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

You can also give our Front Desk a call at 770-904-6646.

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We’re not (just) playin’ around

We’re not (just) playin’ around

We make acting classes fun, but let’s talk about the Why behind the fun.

“What did you do in acting class today?” 

“We played games.” 

“Games? That’s it?!”

If you are the parent of a child actor, chances are at some point you have had this conversation with your child. You helped your kid memorize the homework for the class all week on top of getting them to regular school, housework, and your own job. Now all they do is play games? 

Or perhaps you are the student it’s happened to in an adult acting class. You work all week navigating the ins and outs of life and prepping your homework only to get to class to play “Zip, Zap, Zop”.

So what gives? Why do acting classes involve so many games and not just, well, acting?

Fortunately I’m here to tell you there is simply more to it!

Here at TAS we not only know acting games are critical for actors, but we know how important it is to know why they are critical.  To do this, we need to break down the types of games that can be played in class. 

The first type of game that students encounter in class is an “Introduction Game” or “Ice-Breaker Game”. These are games specifically designed to get students to open up about themselves in a way that’s fun and not daunting. They are typically only played in the first class or two so the students can get more comfortable with each other. 

The next and most common type of game is the “Warm-up Game”.  If you take any class at TAS you will know it is important for an actor to warm up their voice, face, body, and imagination. The easiest way to do that? A game!

“For an actor, a good warmup will help them relax, will help get rid of any anxieties, and will make an actor more limber up in preparation for the physical demands of a performance. [sic] Drama games and acting exercises also help actors train their voice for performance…Warmups are an essential part of any drama class and actors’ pre-performance routines”

-MasterClass

Another benefit we have found when it comes to playing warmup games at the start of class is that it helps to ‘sync’ everyone in the room. Doesn’t matter what kind of (various) environments the students come from, playing a warmup game at the very beginning gets everyone working on the same frequency to approach the day’s lesson.

Okay, we’ve covered the games we play at the very beginning, and our strategy for warmup games… but what else? 

Well sometimes- especially with  young creatives- students get a bit squirrelly in class or find it hard to concentrate on lines when the camera is pointed at them. That’s when “Focus Games” come in handy. These games help students learn how to stay focused on different things like their lines or their scene partner while the distractions of “being on set” are happening. One of the first things our new actors learn is the importance of awareness and intentional focus. These skills are needed on a real film set, and so we practice them in class- and we teach these skills through games! 

But we haven’t even scratched the surface…

There are games like “One Word At a Time Story” that get students listening to each other and thinking quickly in order to create a sentence together.

Games like “Approach the Chair” get students moving and thinking like their characters just by having them walk to a chair and sit in it.

Games like “Create a Scene” get all the students working together and using their imaginations to create a full and detailed picture for their audience. 

Starting to understand? A game is not just playtime; when a student is ‘playing a game’ they are actually working on real acting skills, skills that our coaches are then trained to apply to their lesson and help them grow as actors.

There are so many ways games are useful to actors that The Drama Teacher compiled an article of 100 reasons students should play games. Instead of listing though I asked one of TAS’s newest coaches, Nyah Bass, what she thought about it all and I must say she gave probably one of the BEST reasons to participate in games as actors.

Coach Nyah Bass

-Before I ask you about games Nyah, let’s learn a bit more about you. What drew you to acting?

● “Ever since I was little, I was always fascinated by the framework of the entertainment industry. I was enamored with the “in front of camera” work, but once I got to high school, I started to branch off into the “behind the camera” work. I truly believe getting this perspective made me appreciate my love for acting a lot more.”

-That is an awesome perspective! So how long you have been with TAS?

● “I’ve been with The Actors Scene since 2017. I actually took my first acting class at TAS! After that, I started interning around Summer 2018; I loved it so much that I continued interning while completing my training during the years. Last year, I got the opportunity to become a coach and I’ve enjoyed my experience so far!”

-I’m so glad you stayed with us! What classes do you coach?

● My current classes are Working Actor: Taped Auditions and On-Camera Foundations

-What is your favorite thing about being a coach?

● One of my favorite things about coaching is the in-class discussions that my students and I will have; especially if a student needs more clarification or if one is really passionate about the lesson of the day. As an actor, talking to other actors, we are able to connect and I love to see when my students are eager to learn, as well as asking questions!

-What is your favorite acting/improv game and why? 

● One of my favorite acting games is Channel Surfing (where students act out various tv programs in rapid succession through different characters and genres). This is one that I just recently introduced to my students and they all have the best time! This is a great improv game and I love to see where their creativity takes them throughout.

-What is the value of actors playing/participating in games?

● The value of actors participating in these games is creating a certain sense of trust between everyone. For example, warm up games set the mood and get everyone on the same wavelength for the rest of the class time. Also, I love to explain the significance of the game even before we play it; this answers the “why?” in students’ heads, but also lets everyone be on the same page about the game’s goal.

-Sometimes people can come to class with a single frame of mind. They can feel blindsided by our focus on games. What would you say to someone who thinks it’s “a waste of time” playing these games?

● To someone who would think in-class games are a “waste of time”, as I said earlier, it creates not only trust but encourages teamwork among students. Most, if not all, of these weekly games require multiple students at a time to work effectively. I will always give students time to collaborate and exchange ideas while playing games. 

-Do you have a “go to” game in class if there is extra time and why?

One of my “go to” games in class is Alien/ Gibberish Translator Interview. This is one of my favorite improv games because it requires quick thinking and big creativity from all parties!

Trust. There are lots of great reasons for actors to play games, but trust is one of the most important ones. If you can’t trust the people you are working with, creating with, and on set with then all of your talent is kind of worthless. Acting games teach actors to confidently trust themselves and their team. 

If you want to dive into more games that will build skills while having fun, check out TAS’s Improv classes available to students young and old. Or to learn more about the awesome classes Nyah teaches, visit our website that gives you an in depth look at the class details. Start learning to trust at TAS! 

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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Student Highlight: Chadrick Whitmire

Student Highlight: Chadrick Whitmire

Get to know Writer, Filmmaker, and TAS Alumni: Chadrick Whitmire

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

Hi Chadrick! We would love to hear more about what you do:

I’m Chadrick Whitmire! I am a writer and filmmaker based in Flowery Branch, Georgia. 

The story goes all the way back to when I was three years old. I had always wanted to be an actor. As I grew up, I started doing theater in middle school. I did years of school plays, as well as community theater plays, once I started high school. I pretty much quit after graduation. Life took over and I thought it was a distant memory. However, after years of low self esteem and thinking I wasn’t good enough, I decided to make a change. I scheduled a class audit with The Actor’s Scene and took the beginner class, Acting Foundations. I really needed this in my life- to possibly prove something to myself. I took the class with Coach Kristi Taylor. I enjoyed every minute and appreciated the individual time she gave us in our classes.

What is a memory that you have from your time taking classes with Coach Kristi?

My biggest memory would have to be…the time I did one of my last monologues. She said I did amazing, and that was an awesome moment for me! She said I did great and had no notes for me.

So what made you decide to pursue filmmaking?

Once going out into the world of acting, I realized that it wasn’t for me. However, the classes took me back to what I loved. I learned that what I wanted to do was be behind the camera. In 2021, I began my journey into filmmaking. I wrote a short called Barnes Funeral Home and then decided it was time to take this seriously. I began casting the roles, and once everyone was onboard I took all of the cast and crew to Warm Springs. The drive was three hours, but the location was amazing. I had issues with it being my first film, but the experience was worth it. I had successfully made a 12 minute short film and completed it. I gained a lot of knowledge on that film set. 

I would say that it wasn’t too long after that I wrote another short film called Changing Malcolm. Changing Malcolm was a hit, so I went on to make more episodes. I couldn’t believe the response from everyone. People I didn’t even know wanted to be in my series. A while went by, and after making seven episodes we decided that we would just edit it as a feature and get it out that way. We ended up getting, Malcolm, our feature onto five different platforms. The top two we were happy to get were Tubi and Amazon. I can’t believe I pulled it off, and it’s actually a great movie!

Congratulations on the streaming releases! That’s awesome! What’s something that you learned about filmmaking from that experience, and what advice would you give to any aspiring filmmakers out there?

Honestly, I’d probably tell them to stay true to themselves. If you want it, go for it. One more thing: do something that has to do with your dream EVERYDAY. It’s a lifestyle and it’s NONSTOP!

Throughout the process I had doubts, of course. I wouldn’t say it was hard, but dealing with my own mental health put me in check. I write all of my films surrounding mental illness. Malcolm is a movie about a man struggling with his mental health. His name is Michael Russo, but when he kills he has turned into Malcolm. We were going to do a part 2, but decided to make just one and move onto something else. I can say I still don’t believe I have a feature film under my belt. If it weren’t for Coach Kristi Taylor giving me the boost of confidence I needed, none of this would have happened. I just want to thank her for believing in me. I remember taking her a brochure from Barnes Funeral Home. Coach Kristi Taylor never stopped believing that I could accomplish these goals I had set for myself. Even after the class, we stayed in contact and chat from time to time. 

That is amazing! So what is next for you? Do you have other projects in the works?

Now it’s 2024, and I have written a feature, made a feature, and have two more in the works. My next project is called Lattimore. It begins filming January 2024, and my other project will film late 2024. That film is untitled at the moment, but is in development. Even though it didn’t work out with being an actor, I found my passion in writing. I have been in this for 3 years now, and want to continue entertaining people. The biggest thing I got out of those acting classes was a sense of self worth. I am now part of something, and I will continue to do my work until my time here is done. I want to thank Coach Kristi once more and thank you all for reading.

Before we end, what would you say to someone who is doubting themselves in the early processes of filmmaking (or struggling to take a step towards their dream)?

I would tell them that you get what you put into it. Like before…you should be doing something focusing on your dream/career everyday. You just need to do what you can. I know this can be very overwhelming, but if it works, do something. Network, write, edit, write a story and make it into a short film. There are many things that can be done to make progress with your dream/career. I have heard so many excuses from people. Don’t make excuses, be a doer.

Mental health means a lot to me. I am a NAMI facilitator for support groups. I am also certified to do training as well. NAMI, NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS, has taught me to keep going in everything I want to do in life.

You can follow Chadrick!

Check out his:

IMDb

Instagram

Facebook

 

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