Get to know TAS Coach: Leah Merritt

Get to know TAS Coach: Leah Merritt

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 Leah Merritt?” Read on to find out!

How did you first get into acting?

I caught the “acting bug” through doing a community theatre production of Annie in Collierville, TN.

After moving to the Atlanta area from Memphis, a simple google search for “acting schools” landed me at The Actor’s Scene. From there, I trained and signed with my agent through our Showcase and I am still with her today!

What has been your biggest struggle in the industry?

I’m definitely too hard on myself and have struggled with feeling like I’m behind or doing something wrong. I used to compare myself to other actors and feel like I wasn’t doing “enough.” I would think “Oh, she got more auditions than me this week” or “Dang it, why haven’t I booked x amount of roles yet?” There were several times when this line of thinking would bum me out so much that I felt like quitting the industry entirely.

So, what helped you overcome this negative mindset?

It wasn’t easy. The change came from building my skills, training more, and working on my own self-image outside of acting. I realized I can’t place my worth on how “successful” I am, especially because everyone’s definition of success is different. I started treating every audition as an opportunity to practice my craft, rather than a nerve wracking job interview. And most importantly, I surround myself with an uplifting and encouraging support group that constantly reminds me of how much I have already achieved.

Wow! That is so important for actors to hear. Can you explain more?

Well, 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, like I said before, 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 judgement, I found a welcoming community of artists that just want to be able to share our common struggles and accomplishments. 

***Apart from actor friends, I’m also grateful to have non-actor friends and family that are super supportive. I found that these people can have unique perspectives that help me in different ways. I might be having a bad day or feeling down about that audition I didn’t book, but my friends just think it’s cool I’m auditioning at all! My close friends and family always remind me to feel proud of where I am right now and appreciate the amazing things I have already accomplished. 

I worked with a director once who said she could tell just by how I conducted myself on set that I find pure joy in what I do. Since this is something I’ve worked so hard to achieve (finding joy and not sweating the small stuff) that meant a lot to hear. I want to teach my students to find joy in their own performance, which comes from self-acceptance and confidence that you are where you are meant to be.

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

Funny you should ask! I used to say I’m a “one trick pony” and only focused on acting. However, I’m lucky enough to have a fiance that is also in the film industry. Last year, we worked with other TAS actors to write, produce, direct, and perform in our very own short film called “The Interrogation”. It was such a rewarding experience to have that much creative control and follow a project from start to finish. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we are creating a brand new TAS class all about giving actors hands-on experience behind the camera! It will be called “The On-Set Experience.” Look out for it in our 2023-2024 class year!

Why did you get into coaching?

I took a class in college about the Meisner acting technique. Throughout this class, I was stretched to new limits and learned a lot about myself as a performer. I also had a breakthrough in this class, which was that acting is a craft that must be constantly practiced and fine tuned.

I loved how my professor taught with this philosophy in mind, and it shifted my entire perspective of actors and the work that we do. From that moment on, I wanted to help other actors make these huge discoveries and find joy in their own craft.

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

I always encourage my students to make big, bold choices in their auditions. Not only does this make your audition more fun, it also helps you stand out to casting directors and show them your unique take on the character.

What is your proudest coaching moment?

I feel the proudest when I am helping a student come out of their shell. As I’ve struggled with and learned throughout my own career, the biggest thing that holds us back is a lack of confidence in ourselves. When I can finally have a breakthrough with a student and they start being unapologetically themselves, that’s when the real magic happens.

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

I worked with a director once who said she could tell just by how I conducted myself on set that I find pure joy in what I do. Since this is something I’ve worked so hard to achieve (finding joy and not sweating the small stuff) that meant a lot to hear. I want to teach my students to find joy in their own performance, which comes from self-acceptance and confidence that you are where you are meant to be. I hope my legacy is that I bring joy to every classroom/set/conversation that I’m a part of!

Leah Merritt Bio:

Leah is a TAS alum turned coach! Ever since beginning her career at 15, some of her favorite roles have been in Holy Irresistible (pending distribution), Netflix’s Insatiable, and Lifetime Movie Network’s Friendship Never Dies. Leah graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in Theatre and has been coaching and working the front desk of The Actor’s Scene since fall of 2020. She is passionate about the Atlanta film community and strives to show the world how amazing our Georgia actors are!

Would you like to take classes or private lessons with Coach Leah?

Coach Leah is getting ready to launch our new class, The On-Set Exprerience. For more information on our classes, click HERE. You can also call our Front Desk and request Leah’s current roster at 770-904-6646.

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

Would you like to follow Coach Leah? Check out her:

Website

IMDb

Actor’s Access

Instagram

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Why Actors Need a Reader

Why Actors Need a Reader

Do you really need a Reader for your taped audition?

If you’re new to film and television acting, auditions might be something that has been on your mind lately.

Whether you’re new to auditioning or you’re trying to learn more about the industry before starting to self-submit, learning the proper terms and different aspects of audition etiquette is a MUST. We want to spend a little time talking about an important audition element called a Reader.

So first of all, what is a Reader?

A Reader is the term used for someone who is reading the other person in your scene’s lines off-camera, whether they are helping you physically tape your audition or you’ve phoned them in through a service like FaceTime or Zoom. There are many reasons that casting directors and decision makers in the casting process definitely want you to have one. (So in short, yes, you do really need a Reader)

Let’s take some time looking at the various benefits a Reader brings to your scene.

#1: A Reader helps with the TIMING of the scene.

Here’s what you don’t want to do: intentionally mess with the writer’s directions for a scene. For example, if it is a two-person scene, we cannot go in and turn it into a one-person monologue. If there are two characters, we should be hearing someone read the other person’s lines. The main focus will still be on the actor (auditioner), but the second character will be voiced by someone off-screen. Another thing we don’t want to do is record ourselves saying the other character’s lines and playing it back over the audition recording. Number one, it’s unprofessional. The better route would be to have a friend read the lines to you virtually. Number two, it is distracting and messes with the timing of your scene. This leads to a product that can look really awkward and over-rehearsed. We want you to be focused on your PERFORMANCE, not nailing down the timing so that your fake reader can be on-track. Our goal in an audition setting is to show the decision makers that we can carry this character and this scene with authenticity to the source material. So, don’t change up the script or try to get around having a real life reader.

#2: A Reader helps with your REACTIONS and your character’s RELATIONSHIP.

Having a Reader there to say the other character’s lines is a perfect stand-in for that other character. If you know what your relationship to the other character in the scene is (which you should ALWAYS know before taping!), you can use that to inform the way that you and that character would talk to each other, and the emotions that you each might have going into this particular scene. Having a real person to play off of is so important for your reactions and really selling the idea of this character’s relationship with your scene partner. If you can, read with a fellow actor! Whether that is through booking a professional taping service with us (LINK) or by asking a friend from your acting class to help at your home setup, having another actor as your Reader is one way to help level up your auditions. This is because another actor is going to give you something to go off of! You can rehearse together and chat through it before turning the camera on and recording.

*While your Reader doesn’t NEED to be an actor, make sure that they understand what their role is. The reader should be quieter than the actor auditioning, but still able to be understood by the people watching your tape.

#3: A Reader helps with your EYELINE.

What is an eyeline, you might ask? Your eyeline is just where you are looking during your audition. It’s important that, unless stated otherwise, you aren’t looking directly into the camera for your audition. On the flip side, we also don’t want to see you in profile for your whole performance, so you want to split the difference and put the other person just a few inches away from the camera on either side. This will help casting to be able to see your whole face and all of your lovely reactions throughout your audition. Having a Reader in the taping room (or at-home setup, if you have one) is one good way to have a consistent eyeline throughout your scene.

Here is an example clip from TAS Private Student Jace Marsh, where you can hear the volumes of him and his Reader and see how his eyeline is to the side of the camera! You can follow Jace on Instagram HERE, or view his Actor’s Access profile HERE.

#4: Having a Reader is PROFESSIONAL, and improves the QUALITY of your self tape.

The Atlanta market has always been a self tape market, but now the industry as a whole is converting to primarily utilizing self tapes for the beginning of the casting process. This mainly started in 2020, when the world shifted virtually; but it has continued because self tapes and virtual callbacks through platforms (like Zoom or Actors Access’s EcoCast Live) save casting directors a lot of time and money in comparison to the former in-person editions of initial reads and callbacks. You want to make sure that your audition is up to par with other actors who have been self taping for a long time!

So, in addition to a Reader, what all do I need to ensure the quality of my self tape?

First thing’s first. You need a camera and tripod. In this day and age, there isn’t a need to purchase an expensive DSLR camera just to record your auditions if you have a smartphone that shoots in HD. What is a non-negotiable, however, is the tripod. This is because we don’t want a shaky audition tape that’s going to distract from our acting performance. So if you are shooting on your phone, make sure to snag a phone-specific tripod, like this one from AMAZON

Next, make sure you’re shooting on a PLAIN BACKGROUND, like a nice neutral gray. We don’t want casting focusing on the art behind you or your messy bedroom, so keep it plain and simple.


We also want to make sure that the people viewing your tape can SEE and HEAR you. So whether you’re using natural lighting in a quiet room or investing in lighting and audio equipment, be sure to watch your tape back and make sure that your recording quality isn’t detracting from your acting!

 

If you’re looking to develop your own at-home self tape studio and don’t know where to start, schedule an in-person or virtual CAREER COACHING session with a TAS Coach! We can help you figure out how to best set up your space and teach you the ins and outs of self taping at home.

If you’re looking for an audition Reader and a space to tape in, we have a professional taping studio right in our Buford, GA location! Click HERE to schedule an audition taping service where we will:

  • Be your Reader!
  • Provide coaching (depending on the length of your audition and how much time you book)!
  • Film your audition in our high-quality setup!
  • Edit it for you!
  • Submit your audition during your time slot!
  • And even send you a copy at the end!

For more information on our taping services, check out that portion of our website HERE. Happy auditioning!

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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Get to know TAS Coach: John Castle

Get to know TAS Coach: John Castle

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 John Castle?” Read on to find out!

How did you first get into acting?

So I was into acting as a kid and on stage a lot. Going into 9th grade I was really good, but always at a new school; so there was no consistency. There was no growing with a set group of people.  Then my parents got divorced and my world completely changed. Acting was a lost thought- a glimmer that I wouldn’t rediscover for the next 24 years. I stumbled upon community theater while I was running my landscape company. The players guild needed help moving into the new 400 seat theater the city had just built for them. I had a truck and trailer so I offered to help. That started off a chain of events that- in the span of one year- would have me sell my landscape business, land me in acting classes, and on a Marvel Studio set painted as Vision while standing in and doubling Paul Bettany in WandaVision for six months. Then Covid….. This story is still developing.

Your story is so interesting because you came to TAS as a student in our adult classes before you began coaching. Tell us what that was like.

Joining acting classes as an adult student was exciting and scary. I had been a successful business owner for a long time. I was comfortable. This was going to be uncomfortable and I was putting myself out there to be judged. I wasn’t sure how I would handle that. What if I wasn’t any good? What if I couldn’t remember my lines? I despised the thought of being embarrassed like that. But I knew that there were things that I needed to learn- techniques and tricks and such. I was thirsty for the knowledge that would help me be successful. So I took the leap. What I found was a group of people that encouraged me to mess up! I even played some improv games that encouraged the group to celebrate failure. What a concept right?? I stay in class now. There’s always someone to learn from. An approach that I haven’t thought of. A new trick to a technique, or maybe even a new technique all together! I’ve done 35 commercials/industrials, 2 movies and 6 television shows in the past three years. I’ve only had that success because I stay in class. I exercise my acting muscles. I consider classes the best investment you can make as an artist. It’s easy to do your job when you’re educated!

What has been your biggest struggle in the industry?

My biggest struggle has been Covid but that was uncontrollable. I guess that my biggest controllable struggle would be finding that fine line between being “boring” and being “intriguing” without “acting”.

How have you worked to tackle that 'fine line'?

I’m still tackling it. I think that’s the “secret ingredient” that we, as performers, search for anytime we get our minds on a new character. How can I make this a dynamic character within the limits of the written words? Because I have to “fit” the story. 

Preparation + Mindset = Confidence

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

I love Standing-In on different productions. I still do it when an intriguing gig pops up. I’ve worked with and learned from some pretty incredible people while “Standing-In”. I view it more as getting paid to go to film school. I get to watch how every single department works from the perspective of the principal actor. I credit “Standing-In” with creating a confident mindset and a level of extreme comfort on set. I’ve learned so much about movement in frame and how different people approach the craft while the cameras are rolling. It’s an experience that I recommend to everyone interested in the craft.

Why did you get into coaching?

I was led here. I had no expectations or particular goals. I knew I would have fun. Fundamentals is an early level career building class and I’m early in my career and somewhat successful so far. I felt that I could help others walking my same path right now. Acting is a study of self and of human behavior. I had no idea the wealth of knowledge accessible from observing and redirecting so many different people from different walks of life in different circumstances. It’s life changing for me and I hope to find more balance in the future to coach a few more classes. I’d love to coach a weekly scene study class.

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

One piece of advice. Submit your best work and forget. The job is auditioning. Have fun. Two takes. One for the grownups and one for you!

What is your proudest coaching moment?

Watching real people emerge from the representative that came to the first few classes. Watching walls fall. Confidence and abandon creep into the minds. The freer the spirit the more fulfilling.

What do you hope that your artistic legacy will be?

What do I hope my legacy will be? Wow. Deep. Um. Dag. Um. I hope that a lesson learned from me plays a part in changing the life of someone for the better. Even if they don’t realize it. I hope they do though and they are like, “Man! That lesson that John taught me on that Wednesday night has made my life so much better!! I really am grateful that that dude was in my life. He’s super cool.” That’s what I hope my legacy is. Life changing.

John Castle Bio:

Born at the baby factory in Atlanta, GA. Northside Hospital in 1981. I was a water baby. Shoeless and shirtless running the banks of Lake Lanier. I had white hair, crystal blue eyes and the tannest skin of any under six year old caucasian kid out there!! My first 5 years of life were perfect. Then my family started moving. A lot. I went to 13 different schools throughout my public school career. That’s a new school for every year of public education. I learned a lot about people during this time but never really learned about myself. I became a different person at every school because the people were different. I had to be like them. I learned how to fit in and make friends quickly because I knew I only had a short time in my new place. Little did I know about how much this experience was preparing me for a career choice that I would make 20 years later. I spent my teenage years in trouble. Lots of trouble. Bad trouble. I knew people, but myself? I was lost. Acting out. Struggling to find out which of the persona’s that I had created to cope was actually me. Who am I???? Why can I fit in everywhere, with anyone but I never feel like I belong. I’ll tell you more in class. Because I’m a storyteller. Not a writer. See you in class!! 

Would you like to take classes or private lessons with Coach John?

Coach John teaches Foundations classes for ages 9+. To sign up for classes, click HERE. You can also call our Front Desk and request John’s current roster at 770-904-6646.

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


Want to keep up with Coach John? You can follow him on Instagram,

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Actors Are Flocking to Georgia

Actors Are Flocking to Georgia

Read on to find out why…

You may have heard of Atlanta being referred to as the “Hollywood of the South”, but did you know that many actors are actually leaving Los Angeles and New York to move to the Georgia market?

According to Culture Trip, “The Southern state of Georgia is famous for peaches, Coca-Cola, and the city of Atlanta, which has the busiest international airport on the planet. But now it’s overtaken Hollywood to become the biggest film-producing market in the world”.

Credit Article: How Georgia Overtook Hollywood to Become the Film Capitol.

Operations Director, Elizabeth Alcaraz, and Coaches Kirsten Krehbiel and Jeanne Morales at Woodruff Park. Filming Locations include Zombieland and Black Lightning. 

Location, Location, Location...

But why is that? How did Georgia create a booming filmmaking market that overtook the two existing major markets, LA and New York?

 

There are MANY reasons that productions and creatives are moving to Georgia from the other markets, but let’s start with LOCATION.

 

According to AceYourAudition.com’s article on whether or not actors should move to Georgia for their career (Spoiler Alert: The Answer Is Yes), “the state of Georgia gives out more film tax credits than anywhere else in the world, except for the United Kingdom” (LINK).

 

Georgia has a variety of beautiful and diverse landscapes and cities, meaning that production crews can make it look like almost anywhere in the world with the right setup. Atlanta’s skyline is often a stand-in for the skylines of major cities like Los Angeles and New York. 

 

You can spot Atlanta standing in for New York in projects like Hawkeye and Spiderman: No Way Home, or Atlanta being ‘California’ in projects like Venom and Zombieland.

 

Not only can it look like almost any state (or other countries, as Netflix’s Ozark also shows Braselton, Georgia as a stand-in for Mexico), it is so easy for travelers from different locations to come to Georgia, since we have the #1 busiest airport in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Airports Council International).



Coach Jeanne Morales at The Marriot Marquis. Filming location of The Hunger Games.

In addition to taking the place of other major cities when it comes to shooting on-location, Atlanta also has HUGE sound stages due to the many amazing film studios that make their home here. To read more about some of the different awesome studios in Georgia, check out our previous blog on that HERE. Did you know that the neighborhood in WandaVision was actually all constructed within a soundstage at Trilith Studios (formerly Pinewood Studios)?

Georgia is such an amazing choice for filming locations due to the assortment of options offered by our various nature and city landscapes. If you need a beach, we’ve got Jekyll Island, Tybee Island, St. Simons Island, and more! If you need mountains, Stone Mountain is right near our capital city of Atlanta. Want a lake? Try Lake Lanier, Allatoona, Oconee, or one of many others! As far as cities go, Georgia is home to historic towns like Savannah and Augusta, as well as more modern/metropolitan cityscapes like Atlanta and Athens, which have amazing college campus locations! With multiple different city feels and diverse physical landscapes from farms to wetlands to forests, we’ve got any film crew covered.

 

For a comprehensive list of Georgia’s filming locations and projects you may have seen filmed here, check out Explore Georgia’s “Guide to Georgia Film Locations”!

Coach Kirsten Krehbiel and TAS Front Desk Assistant, Sadeja Carter at The Hub at Peachtree Center. Near filming location of Hawkeye and The Tomorrow War.

Show Me the Money....

Next up, any producer’s favorite part: MONEY.

It is well-known that Georgia expanded its tax credits for film productions in 2008, which became a financial incentive for studios and production overall to relocate here. The minimum expenditure threshold for projects to meet the tax credit is $500,000, which can be spent either on one project or over the entire 12 months of a particular tax year (Georgia.Org). While that sounds like a ton of money to the average Joe, for most projects in the film industry, that’s a rather small amount of budget, which makes it easy to qualify for our tax breaks. And, there are no limits or caps to the amount a production can spend in Georgia, meaning that a lot of projects will find a way to shoot as much as they can in Georgia to save money, whether that’s on-location or on a studio’s soundstage. 

Our favorite part at The Actor’s Scene is that the Georgia market is home to a lot of really amazing PEOPLE. One of the amazing people we’re talking about is TAS Coach Kristi Taylor, who finds her home in Atlanta after working in multiple other markets. We sat down with Coach Kristi to talk about how she ended up in Georgia!

So, Kristi, tell us about what made you want to come to Georgia for your acting career!

“What attracted me to the ATL acting/filming/music/theatre market, was that it is so different from the Texas, Oklahoma, Los Angeles, and New York markets in my opinion.  We literally have everything here in GA for filming, music, theatre and so forth.  The amount of talent, professionalism, and sheer determination to make a top notch product is present everywhere you turn.”

We agree! It's awesome that you mention the variety of projects taking place here in Georgia, can you tell us more about what actors should expect in terms of what types of projects they can be considered for?

“I think it’s important to keep in mind that there are plenty of Union and Non-Union productions that are constantly being filmed in Georgia, especially in the metro ATL area.  We do things by the book here and in return make great connections, set ourselves up for future work, and create awesome material.”

Amazing! We love hearing about how Atlanta can hold its own when it comes to the quality of productions in addition to the large quantity of projects! Do you have anything else to say to someone who might be considering moving to Georgia for their film career?

I also feel that GA is a little more welcoming to those who may be a tad newer to the industry as well.  Not only do GA productions break the barriers by offering tax incentives, but they also tend to use local talent before reaching out abroad.  This is great for those who are seasoned and green to the industry.  There is also an abundance of acting jobs ranging from background to Lead/first team talent with a smaller pool of population to pull from. And not to mention, the amount of crew positions!”

Thank you so much for your time, Coach Kristi.

Coach Sanna Erica chilling out at the Fountain of Woodruff Park. Filming location of Avengers: Infinity War and The Change Up.

Many actors are worried about the Atlanta market being “too small” or “not having enough opportunity” in comparison to the other markets, but Acting Career Center’s Kurt Yue shuts those ideas down with this quote: 

 

“First of all, if you’re still worried that Atlanta is too small of a market compared to say, New York or LA, even though I just gave you that huge list of movies and shows shot here, if you’re still worried that Atlanta doesn’t have enough opportunities for actors, let me put that to rest right now. 

The amount of opportunity here is not just good, it’s actually kind of mind blowing. The sheer volume of auditions I started getting when I first moved here was… it was actually a bit overwhelming at first” (Should You Move To Atlanta For Your Acting Career?)

With an exciting amount of productions, whether they came to Georgia for tax reasons, our beautiful locations, or for the new amazing market we’ve created, comes an exciting amount of opportunity for actors, new and seasoned alike!


We hope that this article helped you see that not only is Georgia competing with LA and New York (and holding our ground!), but we are making a market all our own. So instead of referring to Atlanta as “The Hollywood of the South”, make sure you just call it Atlanta. Film is here. Start your acting career with us! For more information on our offerings, click HERE. To get started with a private or career coach to launch your acting journey, click HERE.

You’ve got this!

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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Student Highlight: Javian Brown

Student Highlight: Javian Brown

Get to know TAS Student,  Javian Brown. Javian recently signed with an agency and has been booking ever since!

Periodically The Actor’s Scene likes to reach out to students and chronicle their success in the industry. Case and point: Javian “JB” Brown. Here’s what JB has to say…

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

I did not want to become an actor initially. I took classes to help me with speaking in front of people in my class. I did not take it seriously until agents showed interest in wanting to represent me. Now that I have worked on a couple of projects, my interest in the field is growing.

That is exciting! So have you had any cool on-set experiences yet that you would like to share?

One cool on-set experience that I had came during my very first project, when I was shooting a commercial in the same neighborhood as the elementary school that I attended. It was nostalgic.

What do you really love about acting? What drives you to stick with it?

My drive to stick with acting is built by the excitement of seeing myself on TV or movies, and other people seeing me as well. It’s also really cool and rewarding to be able to step into different characters.

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

One thing that surprised me was the number of takes it requires to get the perfect one. I was also surprised that there were so many craft options on set. They had just about any and every snack you can think of wanting.

How awesome! What has been your favorite set snack?

My favorite set snack is seaweed.

What are some of your favorite acting moments?

One of my favorite moments was arriving on set for my first commercial. I was really nervous but the production crew walked me through everything and I had a blast. My next favorite moment was flying first class to California for my third project. There I was on a real set inside of a huge studio. It was surreal.

My Coaches at TAS and the directors I have worked with have reminded me to be mindful of what I am doing at all times because the camera picks up everything. I’ve also been told that practice doesn’t make perfect but it sure prepares you!

Tell us JB, what makes you feel confident?

I feel confident when I am booking roles. Each booking increases my confidence and confirms that this acting thing is really working out for me.

Understandable! What about in-between bookings? How do you help yourself become confident before an audition, or in the cases when things don't turn out the way you hoped?

In between bookings I remain confident because I trust that my agency is going to secure auditions for me to hopefully book future roles. If I don’t get a role, I keep it moving forward and don’t dwell on the past, because I believe that I will eventually book something.

What would be your dream project?

My dream project would be a recurring role on a TV show, like The Wonder Years

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

 I have a Chevy commercial currently running, and I am waiting on an indie film, a Showtime drama, and an anthology period drama to air!

Finally, what advice do you have for young actors who are just getting started?

I would advise young actors just getting started to not get down about auditioning and not booking the role, because you will get other opportunities.

-PARENTS CORNER-

We are super honored to hear from JB’s amazing parents, Jamie and Niccolla Brown. We asked Niccolla to share some of her best advice for parents of young actors. Here is what she has to say:


Hey Niccolla, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! What advice do you have for parents of new young actors just getting started?

We would suggest that parents are ready for the number of auditions that might come in all at one time, and the financial responsibility that comes with that. We would also suggest doing your research and finding a good agent.

That is practical advice! How did you find an agent for Javian?

To find JB’s agent we interviewed with 5 – 7 representatives and included him in the interviews. We were looking for a good match with an agency that we could trust and would have JB’s best interest in mind. After the interviews, we did our online research and asked other people we knew in the business for their feedback about the agencies we were interested in. Luckily, we had a family friend whose daughter was with the agency we decided on.

Is there any system, tool, or advice that you have found to be especially helpful? 

We find that using Google and the SAG-AFTRA websites to research things that we do not know to be very helpful and informative. We have also found the Actors Access site to be helpful in finding details about potential projects, and to upload auditions.

That is awesome. What about rewards? Do you have any stories about JB experiencing a feeling of success? Yes. We have two experiences where JB’s acting talents were rewarding for both of us as parents, and him as an individual. The first has to do with his football coaches showing his first project (a commercial) to the entire football team. It was cool to see JB beaming knowing that his teammates were impressed. The other experience is the amount of money that he has earned in such a short time. We have allowed him to purchase a couple of things that he wanted, and it has been rewarding for us to see how prideful he is about earning his own keep.

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

The fact that he loves doing it makes it all worth it and encourages us to keep going.

 

You can follow Javian!

Check out his:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

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The Actor’s Scene: 2022 Recap

The Actor’s Scene: 2022 Recap

January 2023

2022... What a year!

The Actor’s Scene has so much to be thankful for. 2022 was a major success thanks to the endless dedication of our team, coaches, students and families. Join us as we celebrate the highlights of 2022! 

What do we consider 'Success'?

Before we get into specifics, let us be clear on how we define ‘success’. Since we opened our doors in 2003, The Actor’s Scene has been blessed to witness thousands of students go through our award winning programs. We have seen students of all ages place with agencies and management, then go on to book work in film, TV, and commercial for major networks and production companies, walk the red carpet at premier events, and even work on projects internationally. 

While we strive to provide these opportunities for our students, and work tirelessly to give up-to-date information and real world training- this is actually NOT how we define success. 

At TAS, we are CONFIDENCE MAKERS. We believe that success is a byproduct of confidence. We know that actors need more than knowledge and to-do lists; they need someone to believe in them. A community of like-minded individuals to go on the journey together. They need opportunities to test their wings, and a safety net to walk them through every experience. We don’t believe in stereotypes and competitive based learning; we teach that it is your unique traits that make you stand out in this industry. 

And when we hear that a student is meeting their goals- whatever those goals may be- THAT is what gets us excited. So read on! We are proud to share our highlights and figures with you, but know that every person who invited us into their story this year was a success to us. We believe that confident actors are successful actors.

2022 TAS Showcase:

Showcase is always a highlight of our classes. It is when all of our students get to take the knowledge and skills they have been building through the year to perform in front of real Industry Professionals. While we do not guarantee results, our students commonly go on to sign with top agents and book work in TV, film, commercials, and more from this event.

This past year The Actor’s Scene featured a virtual showcase, and the results were fantastic!

The 2022 Showcase included:

-214 performers!

-A panel of the top Casting Professionals, Agents, Directors, Managers, and more from all over the country!

-A 98% callback rate!

Student Success 2022

This is just a small look at our overall student and alumni success stories. We are super proud of all of our student WINS throughout the year!

TAS Givesback: 2022 Charity:

We, at The Actor’s Scene, make giving our priority. We want to give back to the community who has given us so much. This year, we supported 3 charities, and we could not have done it without your generous contributions:

The Joy House: Supporting restoration for Georgia families and loving care to struggling teens.

Compassion International: This year we provided African families in need with the lifegiving gifts of a pig, a chicken and a fruit tree! 

The Salvation Army: Angel Tree. This year we sponsored 8 local children and 2 elderly with Christmas wishes. We were even able to provide additional items, thanks to your generous giving. Look at how our Christmas donation bin was overflowing!

Thank you for helping us make a difference throughout the year!

Social Media Success:

Did you know that The Actor’s Scene is on TikTok? You should check us out by clicking HERE and join our community of over 2000 followers. 

We are proud to have built up our following, and even created some viral videos with almost 50k likes and over 400k views this past year. Why so many? Because our media team work together to create content that is educational and relatable for today’s working actor! 

You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.

New in 2022- TAS Blog!

This year The Actor’s Scene was proud to launch a new tool for actors, the TAS blog!

Each month we offer an article with relevant advice for working actors, highlights of student success, and an in-depth look at our acting coaches. 

Some examples of blogs you will find are:

  • Healthy mindsets for actors
  • The film studios of GA
  • Updates on GA’s film industry
  • How to become film-literate
  • And more! 

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for alerts on our latest blog articles and highlights!

These students celebrated the end of our classes with personalized awards highlighting their strength and growth through the 2021-2022 class year!

Here is what you can look forward to in 2023:

Guess what? In August of 2023, we will celebrate 20 YEARS of business! And we are the kind of people that like to celebrate all. year. long... Our staff has been busy at work planning special events, promotions, and industry opportunities of all kinds. Make sure that you follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the latest news! 

We are taking our coaches on a cruise! That’s right! We couldn’t fully celebrate 20 years of success without rewarding our TAS family for their hard work!

The film industry is growing in 2023, and we want to help you be a part of it. But hurry! Deadline to register is January 27th.

Ready to jump into the action? Now is the perfect time. Zig Ziglar famously said, “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation” So what are you doing to prepare?

Now is the time to sign up classes. Acting students spend their time:

  • Working on scripts, and tapings. Each student receives personalized feedback every month along with quarterly assessments.
  • Building audition proficiency. 
  • Learning about the latest news and expectations of the film industry.
  • Find out what casting looks for in an audition, and how to stand out from the crowd. 
  • How to get an agent and maintain good agent relations.
  • How to be proactive in your acting career to build your resume and skills.
  • On-set etiquette.

And much, much more! You do not have to go on this journey alone. Make sure that you partner with a team that will provide you with knowledge, training, and ongoing feedback to help you identify and achieve your dreams.

Face it, there has never been a better time to be an actor in GA. The whole world is coming to us to make the most talked-about productions. Don’t get left behind!

Ready to get started? Reach out today!

TASFRONTDESK@GMAIL.COM

678-313-7798

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About The Author

Elizabeth Alcaraz

Elizabeth has been a member of the TAS family since 2004. She is honored to have served in many roles at TAS; including: Acting Coach, Marketing Director, Syllabus Coordinator, and now TAS Operations Director. She has a passion for building confidence and purpose through the arts, and is grateful to be a part of a team of Confidence Makers. Elizabeth finds her greatest joy in her faith, her husband, and her daughter (and to be honest- a bowl of creamy mac and cheese). She lives by a simple motto which has served her well over the years: Aim for Excellence, Work with Flexibility, Reflect with Grace. 

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Get to know TAS Coach: Joe Veale

Get to know TAS Coach: Joe Veale

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 Joe Veale?” Read on to find out!

What Makes You Feel Confident?

I feel confident when I am doing the work. The slow agonizing daily work, the little invisible steps that add up on the journey to a dream. When you’re doing that work, nobody and nothing can take that away from you. Because you are doing something. You are an artist and you are on your way. 

How did you first get into acting?

When I was about 6 or 7, my siblings and I put on a production of Little Red Riding hood in our backyard. We used our garage door as a show curtain. Ever since then I’ve had an inseparable love for creating characters and art. When I was in 9th grade, while nervously completing a quick change during a highschool production of Beauty and the Beast, a backstage dresser told me ‘You’ll have to learn to calm down if you ever want to do this professionally!’ I never realized you could be a professional actor. From there on my path was set. I went to university, studied hard, and never gave up on my dream.

Tara with her daughters 

What has been your biggest struggle in the industry?

Laziness. This industry rewards the hard workers. One of the biggest lessons an artist has to learn is that after a certain point the responsibility for their continued artistic growth and development is in their own hands. As you get on in the industry, it’s easy to slip into complacency, and from complacency to laziness. It’s a constant battle to stay on top of your skills, and then to also make sure those skills are sharp. 

What is a tip that you use to stay motivated?

For personal use, I developed a Full Time Working Actor Worksheet to champion my artic growth and keep me actively working on practical steps to achieve my goals 356 Days a year. It’s my own system to keep me a working actor so that no matter what I have going on in my life, I am always on my way to something. If you want to check it out, let me know! 

Good art is built on a house of risk. The best artists know this, and they are unflinchingly brave. Be brave, today. Right now. In this moment, dare to risk more and see what you are really capable of when you let go of control and jump bravely into the unknown.

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

 I am a director, a writer, and a choreographer. Collaboration is one of my favorite aspects of being an artist. I am always hungry for creation, and any way I can champion that in myself and others I will actively explore. I have recently taken an interest in producing, and went so far as to become a fundraising and development coordinator to learn how to generate money for projects. To that end,  I am interested in starting a Production Company to change the world with art. 

Why did you get into coaching?

Being able to champion and enable other artists to not only pursue their dreams, but become more wholesome artists is immensely rewarding because every time you do so, the world becomes a better place. The drive to populate the world with brave artists called to me, and I followed it. It’s a beautiful thing. I enjoy seeing someone realize in the flash of a moment that they are capable of life changing acting, that the life they always dreamed is not impossible, but in fact plausible.

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

Good art is built on a house of risk. The best artists know this, and they are unflinchingly brave. Be brave, today. Right now. In this moment, dare to risk more and see what you are really capable of when you let go of control and jump bravely into the unknown. 

What is your proudest coaching moment?

I recently had a student tell me they never knew how to show up fully, that they didn’t know they had permission in their life to do so. They told me that they are typically reserved, quiet, and not the type of person to even speak loudly when spoken to, but that in my acting class they found the courage to fully be themself in the world. That was very meaningful, and something I won’t forget.

What do you hope that your artistic legacy will be?

I hope my acting career as well as my coaching career will leave a legacy of brave artists ready to change the world with their art.  I hope the artists I work with and impact will feel empowered to charge into unknown circumstances and find that they can thrive there.

Joe Veale Bio:

Joe Veale (@therealjoeveale) is an Atlanta and NYC based actor with a fondness for dogs, and 4 Leaf clovers. He is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Nerve Project Theatre Co (@nerveprojecttheatrecompany), a performance company dedicated to awakening bravery through evocative theatrical experiences. He has worked extensively regionally as a member of the Resident Acting Company at the Historic Barter Theatre. Recent Off-BroadwayCredits include; Enter Laughing (Marvin, U.S David, and Dance Captain-York Theatre), Great Expectations (Pip-Hudson Guild Theatre), and The Wrong Box (Wickham-Theatre for a New City). He was also in the Pre Broadway Production of The Rivals, starring Tony Winner Harriet Harris. Fav regional credits include: Peter and The Starcatcher, Altar Boys, 42nd Street, Mamma Mia, Footloose, and The Three Musketeers. You can find Joe on Season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, as well as on Amazon Prime in the films Nocturne, and Turn Back Night. Joe received a B.F.A. in Theatre Arts with concentrations in Musical Theatre and Professional Acting from East Carolina University, and received his Meisner Training and certification from Greg Funaro. He is currently represented by Bret Adams Ltd Artists Agency. Joe is an endurance athlete and finished his first Ironman 70.3 Triathlon in June of 2022. www.joeveale.com www.nerveproject.org

Would you like to take classes or private lessons with Coach Joe?

Coach Joe teaches classes in: Foundations, Working Year 1, and Improv. To sign up for classes, click HERE. You can also call our Front Desk and request Joe’s current roster at 770-904-6646.

Coach Joe also offers private lessons, such as the following: Business of Show, Advanced Acting Techniques, Advanced Audition Techniques, Professional Prep, Musical Theatre Book Building, Creative Alignment for Project Incubation.

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


Want to keep up with Coach Joe? You can follow him on Instagram, check out his personal Website, or look into his theatre company, nerveproject.org

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The Film Studios of Georgia

The Film Studios of Georgia

December 2022

Have you heard the news?

Georgia is getting a new film studio in 2023! Blue Star Studios, located in Forest Park (just 10 minutes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport) is the former location of Fort Gillem Military Base. According to Variety.com, the 53 acre site will offer 18 purpose-built stages and a collective of more than 600,000 square feet. While development is set to complete in stages through 2024, we do know that the location will feature many added benefits for production teams; such as: original 1940’s architecture, offices for production home base, top of the line technology, as well as amenities like nature trails, an on-site café, and a dog run.

Developers are currently working with the Historic Preservation Division of Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs to uphold the integrity of its six historic buildings that are being repurposed, ensuring the preservation of the former Army base’s architectural legacy. And the company is currently scouting GA schools and institutions to offer in-depth training in the cinematic arts.

How does this benefit GA actors?

Since the initial Georgia film industry boom, back in 2009, we have seen a steady increase of GA film activity…leading to our beautiful state being dubbed the “Hollywood of the South”. And there is no slowing down in sight. Back in August, GA Governor, Brian Kemp, announced that the state had broken yet another record by topping $4.4 billion (yes, with a B) revenue during the 2022 fiscal year. In that time, Georgia hosted 412 productions; represented by 32 feature films, 36 independent films, 269 episodic productions, 42 commercials, and 33 music videos.

Governor Kemp had this to say, “When the pandemic struck, we worked hard in Georgia to communicate with our partners in the Georgia film, TV, and streaming industries. Together, we forged a safe and appropriate path to allow the film industry to return to operations and deliver Georgia Made productions to eager consumers all around the world – even when some states continued to stay shut down and stifle the industry’s return to normalcy.”

The article, from GPB News, goes on to state: Movies filmed in Georgia claimed four of the top six spots for highest domestic-grossing movies: Avengers: Endgame (No. 2), Spider-Man: No Way Home (3), Black Panther (5), and Avengers: Infinity War (6). Streaming episodic and limited-series programming continued to choose Georgia for hit programming, including Season Four of Netflix’s Stranger Things, Netflix hit Ozark, HBO Max’s The Staircase, Disney+’s “Loki” and FX’s “Atlanta.”

But that is not all. Just this year, Georgia made waves when the nation’s first Latino-owned studio was opened in southwest Atlanta. Ozzie Areu, a Burbank native and the son of Cuban immigrants, chose Georgia to launch this groundbreaking project, Areu Bros Studios. The 150,000 square foot lot is attached to the well known Tyler Perry Studios. That is because Ozzie used to work for Perry and considers him a mentor in the industry. Areu, as well as Perry, continues to create opportunities for minorities in the film industry to tell their stories; providing top of the line locations and technology to do so with excellence. 

And if that is not exciting enough, we are excited to share that major names (such as Ron Howard and Brian Grazer) are collaborating to launch a groundbreaking social app that will change the face of production hiring, and they started it right here in Atlanta.

According to GPB.com, “Impact has launched their service in Atlanta, which has made waves in the past decade as a popular city for filming television series and movies — including popular Marvel Studios titles and shows like Netflix’s Stranger Things. Mitchell said the team behind Impact saw technology and modern social networking as an important tool for the future of jobs in film — and possibly a disruptor for the current status quo.

We started, in fact, because we wanted to create technology that could help solve challenges in the entertainment industry and empower the people who bring stories to life,” he said. “And while there’s been tremendous innovations in filmmaking and television with things like digital effects and streaming, the actual mounting and producing of a show hasn’t changed much in the 20 years that I’ve been in the in the business.”

The change that Impact hopes to bring to film is a better medium for workers — set builders, production assistants, camera operators — to connect with productions looking to hire them. Mitchell said Impact seeks to be the one to bridge the gap. Mitchell said the network currently has 21,000 users, with roughly 4,000 in Atlanta. He said Impact’s hope is to use technology to unite the film industry.”

In a recent interview with the AJC, Blue Star Studios CEO, Rich Goldberg, talks about why another studio is needed: 

“Currently, the state has more than 60 purpose-built soundstages available for use and dozens of repurposed ones. The planned new studios could more than double stage capacity in Georgia over the next 24 months.

Goldberg said he isn’t fazed by the influx of new soundstages.

“I think there’s tremendous demand,” Goldberg said, noting that it’s still cheaper for film and TV shows to work in Atlanta than Vancouver, New York or Los Angeles. And even though New Mexico is vying for business as well, he believes the crew base here is far deeper.

On top of that, he promises that his soundstages will be “state of the art with an emphasis on technology,” especially virtual reality.”

Content Credit: The Atlanta Journal Constitution

““The film and TV industry is providing opportunities that I’m sure people in Georgia were originally skeptical about, but the proof is in the pudding. The most important thing is that people take advantage of the opportunity that has presented itself. It’s the perfect time to learn a new skill if you’re not happy with what you’re doing and to develop other passions. As there is so much room to grow with high amounts of inward state investment.”,”

The TAS crew had fun touring famous Atlanta film locations, such as the Marriott Marquis!

Here are a list of the GA Film Studios:

This is the most current list of major motion production studios, according to studiobinder.com

 

Tyler Perry Studios

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Founded: 2006

Tyler Perry’s 300-acre movie studio has everything. A military compound? Check. A replica White House? Check. Restaurants, bars, hotels? Check. There’s no doubt about it: Tyler Perry is a titan of the film industry – and he should be credited as a pioneer behind the Atlanta renaissance.

Productions shot at Tyler Perry Studios include Madea’s Family ReunionGood Deeds, and House of Payne.

 

Turner Studios

Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia

Founded: 1986

Sports fans surely know Turner Studios as the home of Inside the NBA, featuring Shaquille O’Neal, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley – but did you know the Studio also hosts productions for Major League Baseball, NBA TV, eSports Leagues, and Turner Animation?

Turner Studios is one of the most important sports studios in the world – and its lasting legacy is a testament to the Atlanta film industry.

 

Trillith Studios

Headquarters: Fayette County, Georgia

Founded: 2013

Trillith Studios – formerly known as Pinewood Studios Atlanta – has become one of the most star-studded studio lots in the world over the past few years. That simple fact can be attributed to one thing: Marvel. Here are just a few Marvel productions that have shot at Trilith since 2015: Ant-ManBlack PantherAvengers: Infinity War, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Crazy enough, there’s an entire town across the street from the studio lot! Houses aren’t cheap – but I suppose that’s a price to pay to live a hop, skip, and jump away from the stars.

 

Blackhall Studios

Headquarters: DeKalb County, Georgia

Founded: 2017

Blackhall Studios has only been around for a few years – but it’s already making big waves in the Atlanta film industry. In 2021, Blackhall Studios’ Founder and CEO Ryan Millsap announced plans to expand the complex with 18 new soundstages; which would potentially make it the biggest film studio in Atlanta’s greater area.

Films shot at Blackhall Studios include Godzilla: King of MonstersJumanji: The Next Level, and Jungle Cruise.

***Content Credit: studiobinder.com

Some of your favorite movie moments have been captured on an Atlanta film set.

The film industry is growing in 2023, read on if you want to be a part of it...

Ready to jump into the action? Now is the perfect time. Zig Ziglar famously said, “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation” So what are you doing to prepare?

Now is the time to jump into classes. Acting students spend their time:

  • Learning about the latest news and expectations of the film industry.
  • Find out what casting looks for in an audition, and how to stand out from the crowd. 
  • How to get an agent and maintain good agent relations.
  • How to be proactive in your acting career to build your resume and skills.
  • On-set etiquette.

And much, much more! You do not have to go on this journey alone. Make sure that you partner with a team that will provide you with knowledge, training, and ongoing feedback to help you identify and achieve your dreams.

Face it, there has never been a better time to be an actor in GA. The whole world is coming to us to make the most talked-about productions. Don’t get left behind!

Ready to get started? Reach out today!

TASFRONTDESK@GMAIL.COM

678-313-7798

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About The Author

Elizabeth Alcaraz

Elizabeth has been a member of the TAS family since 2004. She is honored to have served in many roles at TAS; including: Acting Coach, Marketing Director, Syllabus Coordinator, and now TAS Operations Director. She has a passion for building confidence and purpose through the arts, and is grateful to be a part of a team of Confidence Makers. Elizabeth finds her greatest joy in her faith, her husband, and her daughter (and to be honest- a bowl of creamy mac and cheese). She lives by a simple motto which has served her well over the years: Aim for Excellence, Work with Flexibility, Reflect with Grace. 

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Student Highlight: Alina Brace

Student Highlight: Alina Brace

Get to know TAS alumni and TASM Talent, from The Fabelmans (in theaters November 23rd!) and Sweet Magnolias (Netflix)

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

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

I was watching a TV show and Disney cartoons and thought how cool would it be to be like them; be a princess like Elsa. I asked my parents, “How do these people get to be on TV?” They explained to me that these are just characters, and there is an actor playing a role or voicing that character. So I asked them if I could do that too… I really wanted to be on TV! 

What do you really love about acting?

I like acting because you can be whatever you want to be. One day you can play a dancer, a hair stylist, a biologist, a doctor or a princess.  It is so much fun! 

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

I was surprised by how  many people work on a set and how big it can be. I was really impressed that a production I was in (for a GA Lottery commercial) built a whole bedroom for me with a bed and a table, stuffed toys, windows, and all the decorations. It was really big!

What are some of your favorite acting moments?

One of my favorite moments on set was filming an unscripted scene for a movie. We just improvised; said whatever we wanted-  and laughed a lot! It was the most fun I ever had on set.

Another favorite moment was playing a wildlife biologist for a GA Lottery commercial. In the scene, when I drop the book with my drawings, I suddenly become a biologist and my drawings become real things! Jungle animals, trees, flowers and birds flying in the bedroom! It was so cool to see how the special effects and green screens were used for these scenes.

That sounds so cool! So, what did you use from your acting training to help you prepare for these on-set experiences?

I am using everything I have learned in class for all of my auditions and jobs. Focusing exercises and Improv lessons were especially helpful, as they allowed me to react and think quickly on the spot.

I feel most confident when I’m prepared and when I get good marks from my coaches, agents, and casting directors. Nothing is better than hearing “You were great” and “You booked it”!

Tell us Alina, what is the best advice you've been given?

My parents and coaches always tell me to:

  1. Have fun 
  2. Be authentically you!

Great advice! So, tell us about your latest project, The Fabelmans.

The Fabelmans is loosely based on Steven Spielberg’s childhood. He co-wrote the script, produced and directed the movie. I got to play one of his younger sisters. During the two months of shooting in LA, we did a lot of fun scenes and I got to meet so many great people and make new friends; some of which I still keep in touch with today. It was truly an honor to be a part of the star studded cast. I can’t wait to see it! 

What would be your dream project?

My dream project would be playing a superhero in a live action movie. Also my favorite cartoon right now is Polly Pocket, so I would love to voice a character on that show. 

Speaking of superheroes: if you could choose just one superpower, what would it be?

I would definitely want the power to levitate! How awesome would it be to fly, make things float, and come to you? 

Finally, what advice do you have for young actors who are just getting started?

Always believe in yourself and have fun 🙂

-PARENTS CORNER-

We are super honored to hear from Alina’s amazing mother, Yelena Brace. We asked Yelena to share some of her best advice for parents of young actors. Here is what she has to say:


 

Hey Yelena, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! What advice do you have for parents of new young actors just getting started?

  1. Don’t be overwhelmed by the shear amount of information and advice you will receive. What maybe works for one child actor doesn’t mean would work for yours, so please do your research follow your instincts and ask questions! 
  2. Connect and network with other parents, follow other young actors, casting directors, coaches, and local agencies on social media. Building your network is key! 
  3. Celebrate their wins. Yes, even getting an audition is already a win! 

Is there any system, tool, or advice that you have found to be especially helpful?

Attending free workshops to learn more about the business side of the industry, such as TAS Business Seminars offered as part of Acting Foundations and Working Year classes. These were so beneficial for me  as you learn about what tools are mostly used by agencies and CDs, what resume template you should follow, industry terms and jargon, headshot information, etc. 

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

The smile on my daughter’s face when she is in her element!

As parents, we always want and strive to provide what is best for our children. We want them to be happy, to learn and grow, to be confident, to chase their dreams and of course to be better than us.

 I know that even though it can be tough (this industry is not easy), there is a lot of rewards waiting, and seeing Alina follow her dreams and knowing that she is doing what she truly loves, makes it all worth it.

You mentioned that you want Alina to be happy, learn and grow. Has that been hard in this industry? In what ways do you work to reinforce her mental health? 

Thankfully Alina is only 6 , so we are able to shield her from a lot of negativity and rejection that comes with the industry. We explain to her that sometimes there are other factors involved that are out of our control and a little bit of luck is needed as well.  

In order to keep her happy and stay motivated,  we try to include her in the positive things she enjoys (sign up for new classes and activities that will broaden her skills). We strive to reward her and celebrate little wins by treating her with a favorite dessert or let her pick out a new book to read. 

 

You can follow Alina!

Check out her:

Actor’s Access

Instagram

imdB

Alina in the GA Lottery Commercial…

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Are you ‘Film-Literate’?

Are you ‘Film-Literate’?

It’s worth putting the work in.

Hot Take: More actors need to be film-literate. But what does that practically mean?

Smith College said it best- “the aim of Film Studies is to understand the moving image — something that, in its totality, we are very familiar with, and engage with, use to communicate, and are entertained by almost every day. Knowing how to use film is not the same as knowing how it works, and how it works on us — as individuals and as a culture

Credit: Smith College

So how do we go about “knowing how it works”? This is 3-fold. We need to be:

consuming media, discussing media, and creating media.  

What does it mean to “consume media”? Consumption is simply taking something in, which in this case refers to literally watching TV shows and movies. If you’ve never given much thought to the history of American cinema, it might be a good idea to start with the American Film Institute’s “100 Greatest American Movies of All Time” list. This might give you a better understanding of American Film History and how cinema has evolved throughout the years into what it is today!

Coach Sanna at The Actor’s Scene is super big on actors learning from films that have come before them. Check out this awesome quote from her regarding the importance of film literacy for actors!

"Becoming educated in film and film history is quite important for actors. Knowing which films shaped our industry can be a great tool in your artistic tool belt, as inspiration from prior works influences tone, style, and inevitably, performance in contemporary work. If you have an opportunity to take a film theory class, do it. If not, start with the AFI (American Film Institute) 100 - you can begin your education by watching the greats right in your living room." — Sanna Erica

In addition to being educated on film history and how movies and TV have evolved into what we see today, it is especially important for actors to be aware of what is filming in their market. In the United States, the three main filming markets are New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. For Atlanta actors, this means knowing (and watching!) what is filming in the Southeast! From Tyler Perry Studios to Marvel, there are a LOT of projects going on right now. Georgia.org has an ongoing resource you can check out to always know what’s filming in the peach state:

Now Filming in Georgia by Georgia.org

In addition to watching TV and movies, we need to discuss them! That’s why we sat down with TAS student extraordinaire Ashely Baker to discuss her ongoing quest for film knowledge to help her in her acting. To preface this chat, Ashely has taken Coach Sanna’s words to heart, and is working her way through the AFI Top 100 Movies List!

Hey Ashely! We are SO EXCITED that you are taking your acting journey one step further by trying to learn more about film history! What made you decide to take on the challenge of finding and watching these older movies? Why is it important to you?

A. Being an actor I feel like having knowledge about film is important. It adds more to your creative palate and you are able to pull aspects from different characters whether it’s from tv or film. You also can interpret a script better because a lot of movies and shows still incorporate scenes and dialogue from classics.

We totally agree! So what have you learned so far from the movies you’ve watched recently?

A. So far I have learned that a lot of films today are influenced by classic films. You can also see similarities between storylines from movies now and the classics. It’s quite intriguing and it made me dive deep and start comparing movies I’ve watched recently to the classics and it’s so cool being able to pinpoint the similarities.

You’re a rockstar, Ashely! Thank you for your time.

Thank you for allowing me to shed light on this topic and give my insight. I really am finding that I enjoy analyzing film.

My advice for actors seeking to learn more about film history is to do the same thing I did. Go through those movies on the American Film Institute's list and check them off as you watch them. You will learn so much and you might see something that you can add to your creative toolbox. Also being knowledgeable about film history can make you more confident as an actor.

We are so excited for Ashely as she continues her journey into film literacy! It is very helpful to have a place to put your thoughts about what you’ve been loving on film and in TV lately, whether you’re watching the greatest films of all time or catching up with what’s currently filming in Georgia! Letterboxd is a great platform to publish your thoughts, and share with other film enthusiasts! It is “the social network for film lovers”

Check out Letterboxd.com

In addition to letterboxd, it’s helpful to use all of the resources you’re already using for online community (in addition to chatting with real-life friends and family, of course)! Here are some social media communities we think might help you out on your quest for learning more about film and what’s current in Georgia:

Atlanta Actors Collective

Actors Helping Actors

Acting in Atlanta

(Disclaimer: Social media websites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Letterboxd might have inappropriate content for those under the age of 18. Please proceed with parental guidance if you’re a minor, and general caution if you’re an adult!)

Once you’re discussing and consuming media, you might as well start creating it too! YouTube and TikTok are wonderful platforms (with parental guidance, of course) to start playing around with making skits and films of your own! As actors, we can’t control how much we’ll be on-set, so creating our own content is a fun way to stay acting outside of class in-between bookings! If content creation is something you want to work towards, see about scheduling private and/or career coaching with a TAS Coach to talk about how to get started!

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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