Monday, March 25, 2013

Acting Class Exercises for Kids Part Two - Build a Scene

Contrary to the boring title, this is one of my absolute favorite games to play with all age groups. Why? It's a great way to assess abilities at the beginning of a class session. It stimulates their creativity and sense of play, and I can use it as a tool to immediately begin teaching the fundamentals of acting! This is also a great exercise for working with kids who are so young that they cannot yet "cold read". I hope this helps you in your next class!

*Build a Scene -
Give them a list of 3-5 items that HAVE to be included somehow in their mini-play (ex: the statue of liberty, a tsunami, Disneyland, my grandma, a ferret). Give them 5-10 minutes to create together and practice. They will perform it for you. Then you can "direct" it - give them more specific blocking using Upstage, stage right, etc...., Projection, cheating out, sharing the stage, not stealing focus, when to take focus, and why you should always say "yes" (the most important rule of improv!). It's a great tool for scene work (and if they're young and don't read well), plus they love to be creative!

More ideas for teaching acting to kiddos to come!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Angels Unaware

A lot has happened in the last week.  A lot. I've been blessed in the last few days to meet three individuals (none of them know each other), that somehow knew without asking that I could use a kind word or some support.  What they've done is come alongside me (again, without me even asking), and offer me their knowledge, encouragement and resources as I continue to explore the acting opportunities in Central Florida.  These are working professionals - new friends who I met through one or the other of the many films I've been working on.  And somehow, they knew that I could use a friend.  Someone to toss ideas around with, someone willing to let me bounce ideas off of them, and pick their brain.

Too often, our acting communities around the country like to close their doors and keep out the new - people, ideas, etc...  We are all so afraid that someone else is going to book our job, that we've stopped making friends and helping each other.  The reality of this crazy business is that getting the job has absolutely nothing to do with that other person, but solely with whether casting likes you or not.  Half the time, it has nothing to do with whether you can act or not, but whether you look the part.  Or whether they were bullied by a girl named Erin in 8th grade (no matter how good your audition, you are NOT going to get the part in this situation...).  So why shouldn't we help each other and share information and kindnesses?

How refreshing to meet not just one, but THREE people that are willing to give in the last few days? They have truly helped me out in so many ways already, and I can only hope that I'll be able to give back to them soon.

G'ma Joyce calls these people "Angels Unaware", which is so appropriate and what they truly are.  So thank you, my Angels, for your kindness, support, and knowledge.  For encouraging me and guiding me with no ulterior motives other than to help someone you believe in.

You rock.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Company on Fox 35 - 3 months later

Well, we finally were able to get our hands on the video of the cast of Company on Fox 35, which we shot back in December.  It was such a fun morning, and I'm happy to be able to share it with you this morning.  We're definitely missing some voice parts (it was only about half the cast), and my dress is certainly not flattering me much, but at least I can finally share it with you.

Here you go!

Thanks again, to director Nick Murphy for a great production, and the opportunity to make my stage AND television debut in Orlando all at the same time!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Acting Class Exercises for Kids - "Story, Story, Die"

Since I've been teaching acting to kids for the last twelve years, I thought over the next month or so that I would share some acting exercises and improv games that I've found exceptionally useful with kids. A lot of these would even be great in a school classroom environment! This first game was originally an improv game intended to be played with 4-8 players. Over the years, I changed the format and the rules to work better in the acting classroom. Here's how I play it!

Story, Story, Die -
Have your students sit in a circle, with you (the teacher) in the middle. You will need a title for the story and a genre (if they are old enough to know what a genre is), the kids may provide this or you can. The teacher starts by pointing to one of the students who begins the story. At any point, you (the teacher) can switch to another student. The next student should pick up the story seamlessly. If at any point one of the students hesitates, says umm...., or otherwise stalls, they are out. At this point I usually make them act out an elaborate and funny death, (but maybe not for little, little guys or at a school), hence the title, "Story, Story, Die". The last player left ends the story. This helps them to learn that all important rule of improv - "always say yes," by forcing them to continue a story that didn't ever go the way they intended it to. It's also great for little ones who have trouble with text and reading as it requires neither of those and is a great tool for teaching about storytelling.

Have you played this game before? Do you have any variations to share? Write it in the comments section below!