Carrying the Work Forward

Acting with authenticity is a lifelong pursuit. We must move forward, but equally important is how we move towards what we want.. There is so much conversation and pressure on what an actor needs to do. It becomes difficult to hear, let alone listen to your talent. Training is all about finding what works for you and strengthening those muscles. Once you have a sense of what that is, make sure you don’t change course when you move out towards being seen.

“I have a dream”. An actor’s career usually begins with a thought. I would love to do that. I want to be an actor. I want to be in movies. There is a wish... a desire. Very often that connection is incredibly powerful. It is at the root of why many people do this in the first place, but it is still just a thought until an actor takes action.

The realization of that desire begins the first step in an actor’s process. Understanding what you are and what you are not able to bring into fruition sets you on a path forward. I have met hundreds of actors who think they want to act. Not all of them are willing to put in the time and passion to making it in this career. Fewer still are able to come to terms with the reality of the dreams that they hold and their ability. Understanding that need for growth is necessary to determine an actors process.

That awareness doesn’t mean that we give up on the dream. Quite the opposite. It means that you hold firm to your goal, and you stay committed as you begin to express yourself in your work. An amateur has the luxury of getting frustrated when their work doesn’t represent all that the actor wants revealed. A pro understands that it is a journey to get there. They don’t judge their ability by one take, one scene or one role. They understand that there is always an other layer to reveal. They commit to the discovery. They learn how to own where they are. Both their ability and their limitations create the environment to grow.

Training is the forum to put all of this in practice. It is deeply personal how an actor puts all this together. One of the biggest mistakes I see actors make in their process is they focus on a right choice or the perfect take. Using their time in class to prove to themselves or others the validity of the things they want to do. I think it is by far more useful to discover how you need to work in order to open up and take risks. Focusing less on the destination and more on developing a process that allows an actor to respond with abandon and honesty in their work. Cultivating those skills demands that the actor lets go of the results. It requires that they experiment in their work. It requires trial and error. Inherent in that process is failure. One of the best teachers for an actor in their process.

My goal as a teacher, is that an actor learns intimately how their instrument works. Once that takes place, then we focus on exploring. I have seen some of the most beautiful work in class. I have seen actors putting things together in the moment that is truly powerful. That is the aim of my teaching, but it doesn’t stop there.

During this time, of course, an actor also needs to extend their team professionally. Developing your brand, marketing, finding representation and cultivating relationships within the industry are all part and parcel of becoming and being a working actor.

It is amazing to me the disconnect that can take place between who an actor is, what they are able to do, what they explore in their work and their professional persona. From pictures, to reels, pitches to representation, I watch with amusement as some actors move forward with no clear connection of who they are or what they are doing. DON’T FORGET WHO YOU ARE.

Often times, actors just haven’t thought deeply enough about putting all these pieces together. At other times, they abandon themselves to follow the latest gimmick to be seen. Sometimes an actor looks for someone outside of themselves to tell them how to do all of this. I am not saying you won’t need to be direct-able or have mentors, but at the end of the day, you are the artist, you have the vision, make sure that it is in alignment with what you are doing in your work.

At this point of an actors career, it is important to look at this collaboration as a dialogue. Learning how to incorporate what another needs of you without losing yourself is another part of the process. Everything you do in your career, if you are doing it well, will demand that you continue to grow. Process is about learning how to listen. Learning how to follow direction and your instincts simultaneously.

Once an actor arrives on set, keep in mind that all actors work differently. Suddenly you are collaborating with directors, and other actors who may have completely different training than you. Gently remind yourself that you are not trained to work their way. You have experiences at this point of how to get to the work. Use it. Listen. Be inspired by the talent and the opportunity around you. Stay present and engaged. Own who you are and what you do. Tell the truth. It’s easy when you start feeling insecure to reach for footholds outside of yourself.

One of the main tenets of the technique I teach is trust. You can be sure to feel almost everything when you are on set. What matters is what you do. Where you place your focus. I would encourage my actors to double down on what they know works for them. I would ask them to give up it looking a specific way. I would encourage them to articulate what it is like to really be there, in that moment. I would tell them to breathe and remind them that they are going to be fine. I would whisper in their ear, “have fun.”

Think of all of this as practice. Once you become a public figure everyone is going to have an opinion. As you move upward in your career you encounter all of these things over and over again with more money and pressure attached. And in the world of the internet, our world is not kind.

You will never please everyone. If you do, you are either Tom Hanks or completely boring. A vision for a successful career in art requires vision. Fight for what matters for you. Demand of yourself that you turn over every rock to uncover every strength and weakness you have. Keep taking risks that are in alignment with your work. When you need to shake it up, it will become clear, but you will find it is never “just because”.

If I could get all my clients to project their career forward in this way, it will help them commit to their training. It isn’t about just being in class. It is about becoming everything you were meant to be.

xx

Jen

The Present Moment

What goes into creating a moment on camera? I would say EVERYTHING.                            
The scope of what you connect with, what stories you tell, what you open up to as an actor is
really an individual choice. I am constantly reminding my actors that you will only get out of the work what you put into it.                                                                                                    
In my experience, there is much more to be played than actors allow. Sometimes they are
limited by playing what is on the page, but there is so much more to living in the moment than
the plot line.                                                                                                                              
When we see a character appear on screen, often times, there is no dialogue. It is film after all,
so we see and we feel what the actor is living through. We don’t need words to be expressive.   
In order to capture an inner life, the actor needs to bring themselves to the moment. They may
not be doing anything, but their energy must be high, their focus must be clear and their
attention to detail must be alive.                                                                                               
In my Instinct classes, I begin with a lot of moment to moment work. Asking the actors to truly
be present and process what is going on with them. For me, that is a base level connection that must always be utilized while working. It looks so much better on camera than an actor who is sitting there waiting for a scene to begin.                                                                       
The moment starts long before you say the first word. The moment encompasses
everything that may happen in the scene. But the moment also includes things that will never
be played, but they exist.

This is the internal work of a film actor. They fundamentally know how to open up to what is
available to them when the camera rolls. I encourage an actor to utilize everything that they are feeling in the moment. We are capable of feeling a million different things simultaneously. It
goes way beyond the content of a line.                                                                                      
There is also another life going on with the other person in the scene. Connecting to that
life gives you many options of where the work may go.                                                               
Of course we are informed deeply by the script. Living in the moment allows you to truly
hear what is being said in real time. That is what I aim to shoot. It isn’t just listening for a cue,
but how it is said... how it is heard...what does it hit in the context of what is going on in that
particular moment...what does it imply... what are the two people trying to say to one another.   
In film we capture so much in such a short period of time. In the present moment the world
really opens up to you if you understand how to get there. Connect. Listen. In a moment there
are all the feelings of the actor, all the experiences of the character, all the takes, all the days on set. There is also the journey an artist has taken to arrive at that place. Their history, their
emotional life. There is the unknown, their creativity. There is the world we all live in and how it
all intersects.

My advice...worry less about getting the moment right. Engage instead and be prepared to be
informed. It is all there. All the time. As my mentor Sally Johnson use to say “There is never
nothing going on with you. Ever”

 

Best of Luck!
- Jen

Getting Ready To Work - How Do You Prepare For A Role?

What do you focus on when you first get a script/scene in your hands?


Is memorizing the piece your first priority? Once you “have it down” then you can start the real
work of developing your character?


Or do you work the other way around: Once you understand your character then you commit it
to memory?


My preference is the latter. You don’t want to inhibit your creative process by having
unconsciously decided how you're going to play a scene because you’ve memorized it a certain
way.


In my experience, once you’ve committed something to memory it becomes a challenge to take
adjustments that don’t jibe with how you have envisioned a piece. When your first priority is
memorization this can create other obstacles as well.


Acting doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires other characters, other voices to tell the story
that must be told. Unless you are in a production where you get to rehearse with a director and the other actors, like in a play, the only voice you hear when you are working on your character is your own.


So, when you are memorizing a scene and constructing your character as you memorize your
scene you are not only expressing yourself the way you want to be heard but you are also
responding to what others are expressing about you and what is going in the scene as well.
When those other voices are not around during this period of preparation then you are deciding how those voices will be expressed based on how you want the story to be told. In other words, you are creating the narrative. What’s wrong with that, you ask? Well, for starters it’s going to create a certain amount of resistance when you’re on set because the other actor(s) are not aware that you have decided how they should play their parts in order for you perform your part the way you memorized/envisioned it. Secondly, taking direction will feel like someone is telling you are wrong, or they disagree with what you’re doing.


At Krater Studios, in my on-camera scene study class (Making The Scene) we work on scenes
two weeks in a row. I always remind my actors when they get a new scene to just familiarize
themselves with it. In other words, the words are not the first priority, memorization is not the
main focus. Rather go over the script a number of times, 3, 4, 10 times without committing a
single word to memory. See what wants to stick, what resonates with you, what gets your juices flowing and then ask yourself why. If you don’t have an answer that’s okay, just go over the script again. Then put it down and forget about it and get on with your day. Then go back to the script and ask yourself some specific question about motivation, intention, objective, what are the dynamics of the relationships involved, etc (things we go in to great detail in my class). All these questions should resonate within you and the answers if they are available to you should also come from within you. Once this happens, bringing the work into class will allow you to continue exploring these very important elements even more personally. And then, and may be then, when you feel you have a strong understanding of character should you start to think about memorizing the scene.

Know Your Camera

One of the most challenging aspects of acting for film and television is stepping in front of the lens.

As the actor it is your responsibility to bring the character to life. But, your job doesn’t end there. Once you’re on set the next part of the creative process is telling your story through the lens of the camera.

Knowing where your camera is. How to stay open to your shot. And having a basic understanding of how shots are composed can give you the confidence you need to elevate your performance for any role in film and television.

In my Making the Scene Class (on camera scene study) at Krater Studios, we develop an actor's knowledge of the language of film and how the technical demands of a shot can add to the artistic expression of their work on camera.

Here are some quick tips to keep your performance on point.

Know your camera/know your shot.

Where is the camera positioned?

Is it an over the shoulder shot (OTS) - where the back of the other actor is also in frame, creating the feeling like we are witnessing something that is intimate, private, and intense? The OTS emphasizes relationship usually in some kind of power struggle between 2 characters. Who is in control, who is subservient.

Is it a 2 shot? Where 2 characters are simultaneously open and exposed to camera, i.e. a couple sitting up in bed after a long day; 2 strangers on a park bench; a mother driving her teenage daughter to school, etc.

The 2 shot is most effective when establishing that what both characters are feeling is equally important and of interest to the audience. It is great way to underscore tension before we cut to a different angle. In the 2 Shot both characters are communicating their feelings to each other (dialogue) and most importantly they are communicating with us (the audience) non-verbally with how they really feel about what is happening.

As the actor, being specific with an eye-line, we can place these feelings in a way that the camera can pick up on the subtleties and nuances of character.

Is it a clean shot? When the camera is solely on you as in a Close-Up (CU) & Extreme Close-Up (ECU).

When it’s you alone with the camera then your point of view is all that matters to us, and conveying that point of view is paramount not only in pushing the plot forward but in order for us to understand your motives to the point where we empathize with you and experience the narrative vicariously through you.

The CU & ECU is more about how we are being affected by the those around us as opposed to how we are affecting them. Attention to detail is very important because the moments here are usually more distilled and subtle. 

How is the camera positioned?

Is it tilted slightly upward? Then we are creating a feeling of power or dominance.

Tilted slightly downward, we are creating the feeling of subservience, victimization, etc.

If the camera is at head level then we want to create the feeling that our protagonist and the audience are equal.

Status is everything in a scene. Knowing how your camera is positioned can inform you on where you need to be emotionally.

Why a Full Length shot or Medium Shot?

Because more of our body is exposed to camera in a wider shot this may allow us to live out our experiences more physically, especially if we are feeling nervous or anxious or if we are trying to affect the other character in the scene in a specific way. When there’s blocking or movement like in a walk and talk scene or romantic scene, the wider shots allow us to involve ourselves in a more animated way.

These are a few examples of the things we explore in Making The Scene Drama (On-Camera Scene Study) class at Krater Studios. Having the footage for the work we do in class validates what is working for us and at the same time allows us to take a look at where we need to strengthen our on-camera process.

As the actor in the title role of any project you want to seize every and any opportunity that will elevate your performance through the lens. Having the fullest impact possible on your audience is the whole point of Film and TV acting.

Do The Work!

Acting can be incredibly rewarding. Especially when we are having break-throughs in our work.

Learning something new in our process allows us to go deeper into ourselves and our creativity. Discipline and commitment are prerequisites to this process.

You have to do the work. That can mean many different things for many different actors.

What makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you to act. This insatiable need we actors have to put ourselves out there can be both powerful and terrifying.

Powerful because it’s empowering, especially when we have something to say and we are connected to our voice as artists. We can have an impact as much as we are impacted by the world around us.

It is also scary at times especially when we are coming up against resistance in our work and in our lives (for me the two are intertwined). When we are still developing our voices as artists and learning to trust who we are (that we have everything we need within us to take on the demands of any project) we sometimes can be very hard on ourselves and insulate ourselves within the limitations of our insecurities and become very defensive.

Whatever you are experiencing in your life/work is the work and finding a way to allow yourself to be informed by it both personally and creatively is the best way to move past the resistance that is coming up for you. It’s easier said then done, I know. But you got to do the work.

Try this the next time you are feeling stuck:

Find a quiet place where you can sit with yourself undisturbed for 20 minutes. Close your eyes and listen to your breathing and moment by moment allow whatever is coming up for you to be sent energetically forward on the exhale into the space. Don’t judge yourself or try to “fix” or “correct” what you're feeling, just have an awareness of what is coming up for you and express it honestly through the breath and with sound if you like.

There is no substitute for doing the work!

Paolo.

Risk it, again & again!

Taking risks, physically & emotionally, and staying committed to the circumstances of the scene opens us up to the moment to moment exchange between the characters. When this happens, the scene unfolds, allowing for truthful spontaneity between you and your scene partner. There can be no half measures on the actors part. Whatever you are feeling, embrace it as the character and make it a part of what is actually happening between you and the other person. It's interesting to see a vulnerable person approach her situation with uncertainty because of inner conflicts that she is struggling to reconcile as opposed to seeing an actor resist impulses and react self-consciously to what is happen because she is uncertain of herself and what the scene is about for her. Commitment and risk taking require that we make strong choices that are not always obvious and may take us out of our comfort zones and catapult our creativity to a plane that is not on the written page but is what the scene is actually about!

Keeping risking!

Paolo.

Moment to Moment

There is nothing quite like the dynamic that takes place when two committed actors are fully engaged with one another. The moment to moment work is where we listen with our entire instrument, not just hearing what is been said so that we know when it is our turn to speak again, but feeling it and letting it settle in us and allowing this to inform our response. No matter how prepared we are or single-minded our objective is, if the moment to moment exchange isn't taking place on an honest level then what we are left with is two actors in two completely different scenes.

When I ask you to take your time, don't worry about pacing. Really hear what is being communicated, see where that wants to settle with you and how it makes you feel (what feelings/emotions are triggered and what thought processes take place). It is usually because we have a tendency to plow through a script in a preconceived fashion that we end up skipping past invaluable moments that are the life line and essence of the characters we take on.

Yes, there are technical requirements that also come into play, setting the tone and feel of any given piece, but until we truly allow ourselves to live the moments fully then what we will end up doing is going through the motions and developing bad habits.

The moment to moment work is where the story comes alive. It is a spontaneous and organic process that requires an openness to be heard and to hear.

Paolo.

Your word...

Many people think they want to act.  

We have all heard the conversations...if only...
...I could get in the room
 get the right agent
play the right role...

Yes, that is true and yet we need to be mindful that success comes to the people who work for it.

When you think about how much you want...how much you can do...how much you have to offer...make sure you put that talk into action.  It is precisely in the moments when we think we couldn't do anything more that we must. 

The people who come to LA to work know what they want and go for it.  Actors need to hold themselves accountable to deliver on good days and on bad.  You cannot pull back when something is uncomfortable. 

People who succeed at anything know they must show up rain or shine.

If you say..."I want to be an actor", than do the work.  Everyday.

It is you, not anyone outside yourself, who claims that title.  Choose wisely.

x
Jen

Opportunity

Getting older does have its advantages.

One thing I have discovered is how precious your time is.  We truly don't know how long someone will stay in our lives or what the next day will bring.  Keeping that in mind allows us to make the most of the opportunities we have at hand.

Making the most of those opportunities is what brings the work alive in our acting.

Each time we step in front of the lens, we have the opportunity to take a risk, fall in love, reveal a truth and discover something we didn't know before.  We have the freedom to define a thought, articulate our experience, and share in what it means to be human.

The unknown has the potential to be filled with magic and discovery.

We musn't let the mundane take away our appreciation and curiosity for what we do.

In acting exploration is everything.

When we focus on making a scene work, getting the line right, or following some type of rigid demand that the intellect makes of us, we lose our ability to create.  We cut off the most vital part of who we are as an artist. That kind of experience is limiting and at times frustrating, because on some level we have given our work over to someone else's way of thinking.

When we are young we want so much.  We feel so much.  We have energy reserves that literally propel us forward into our lives, our self discovery.  If I could give advice to young actors everywhere (and I suppose young and old alike) it would be to not waste your time worrying so much about what everyone else is thinking.  The present moment offers an actor the ability to experience whether we are speaking from a sense of truth or obligation.  The actor him or herself ultimately determines the worth of what it is they have expressed.

We must get past the fear, frustration, and self consciousness when we work to that sweet opportunity of knowing this must be expressed.  This moment is what I am feeling.  I am giving my all to this experience and allowing myself to be revealed.  This is who I am!

People settle all the time.  The actor's job is to rise above and remind everyone there is a beauty to being alive.

Leave the cynicism to the internet.
xx
Jen

Heightened Reality

When we're working on camera in class we sometimes fall victim to a tendency that has us plowing through the scene and, in the process, editing our performance out of the story. My advice is always to take your time. Let what is going on moment to moment affect you and then allow that to be the impetus for your reaction.

Another concern is our ideas and preconceived notions of what is expected of us (usually by no-one but ourselves) and how to play that. We can become tunnel-visioned in our pursuit of an objective or getting our message across that we forget that there is a living, breathing, feeling human being in the room with us that is being affected by our behavior and that in turn is having an effect on us and, possibly, (most likely) if we are connected to one another this has the potential to open us up to other feelings about them and ourselves and where the scene wants to go.

When we are working against these two conflicts a self-preservation mechanism kicks in that wants to keep us safe and so we behave accordingly by pulling back and using the words of the script as a security measure against anything harmful that can befall us, and in life in most circumstances that may be fine, but in Film and Television we do not have that luxury. There is nothing gratuitous in the 120 minutes or less within which the lives of complex individuals are thrown together. This is true of all genre in both mediums. As closely as we identify and empathize with the characters we take on, as much as their feelings and thoughts resonate with us we have to on some level recognize that the world they inhabit is heightened in reality compared to ours because they don't have a 100 years of screen time to live out their experiences. They have 120 minutes or less. Nothing can be taken for granted and moments must be lived out fully.

- Paolo.

Hope

To act.  
To take action. 

This business is not for those who want to sit around and day dream.

But what about the notion of hope?

It is a valuable asset in your work as an actor.  It is the ability to see past the clutter and the noise to the edge where a dream or wish becomes a reality.  It is the buffer between the soul and cynicism/bitterness.  Without it we risk becoming humorless and demoralized.  Our characters have nothing to fight for and at times nothing to lose.

This business is about big dreams.  It is about big risks and rewards.  You have to believe you will find yourself achieving what you set out to do or else what is the point.

But you cannot leap without the floor. We cannot just wish from a vacuum.  Life isn't easy or fair.  It is beautiful, complicated and at times quite savage.  It is indifferent, numbing and tedious.  We must encounter the truth of our surroundings and hope anyway.  That is where the power of the moment lies.

It takes courage.  
It takes action.  
It also makes the reward oh so sweet!

xo
Jen Krater
 

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We're currently enrolling in our instinct, breathe, and making the scene classes! Call or email us for a free audit, and we'll find the class that best serves your needs.

Let's Stop Waiting!

We can all get caught up in the waiting game from time to time.  It happens at various points in our lives, careers and it can manifest itself in our work.

It is a place that can cause stagnation, frustration and impede growth.

Personally, I think it becomes a habit.

As actors we wait on so many things.  We wait for the phone to ring, the cue to come, the word action to be called.  How might it serve the work if we stopped waiting to bring all that we have to offer and started to give of ourselves, express our voice, offer up our talents and get moving!

An easy antidote is to be mindful of the definition of "to act".  As a verb it means to take action or to do something.  As a noun it means a thing done; a deed.

I have been meditating on this since Monday Evenings Instinct Class at Krater Studios.  We observed how a scene can sit there...feeling like it is an unmoving entity or it can pop and sizzle.  Usually the difference has to do with where the actors are coming from, what they are listening to and/or what they are bringing to the picture.

Once in awhile, I see actors get up without much going on either energetically, emotionally or psychically.  The go to the page or the line, point out the most obvious clues from the script to support uninspired choices and they read dialogue.

Rather than waiting for someone to point out where the opportunities may be, an actor wants to be in tune with his or her process, opinions, life experience and inner aliveness.  We don't need to be told how to respond to a novel we may be reading in the privacy of our home and it should be no different when we are working.  Lifting that experience up off the page and being willing to play with the other actor takes a certain amount of risk, but it must be done.

I see actors wait for the lines to tell them how to feel.  It is common place to have someone sit right in front of your nose and miss what is going on with them.  We don't connect as a society and so from time to time we ignore that obligation when we get up to work.  Ask yourselves if you really give a damn about the person in front of you.  If you aren't sure or the answer is no, turn that around because nine times out of ten your performance is in your partner.  The character you are inhabiting surely cares about the journey he or she is on or there wouldn't be a story to tell.

Listening is such a crucial part of an actors process.  Sometimes it seems as if actors believe this is about listening to the line better.  Although that may be true, there are so many other amazing things to connect with when we act.  From time to time we are limiting ourselves to just one or two, but as an actor you want to reach out and listen to the lines, the temperament of your partner, the tone of the environment being established, the moment, your intuition, a deeper level of understanding, your point of view, the obvious....need I go on?  Actors forever will be discovering how to listen better.

Lastly, I think it is important to recognize that you have something valuable to offer the production, your community or the world.  An actor must recognize and develop his or her voice.  If we want to be more than a bit player from time to time...it must be done.  It is perfectly okay not to know what that may be, but then we must go about the discovery.

In being called to act, suddenly there are so many things to realize, discover and express.  Keeping all of this in mind will prevent you from sitting back when you need to take a stand, keeping quiet when you should speak up and pretending you are just another actor when indeed you are a force to be reckoned with.

Think how it feels to be on your heels when you work.  Why search outwardly for someone to offer you the platform or permission to do what you do best.

So much of this career becomes about taking care of yourself.  Please make sure that you do.

Now, go Act!
xo
Jen Krater

Impulses


Impulses stem from an intuitive connection we are experiencing in the moment that is connected to something deeper within us.

Impulses can lead us to the full expression of that experience when we commit to them fully.

Following through with our Impulses will move you away from a place of safeness to a place ripe with creative possibilities.

When an actor takes a risk and follows through with her impulses she elevates the scene to a plane where anything can happen.

So why are we afraid of our impulses? Well, the obvious reason is that they lead us into trouble.

The best thing that can happen in a scene is the least expected thing when impulses are followed through.

So, get into trouble.

We like trouble. We welcome trouble.

See you next week.

Paolo.

 

We have spaces available in Paulo's audition class- contact us at kraterstudios@gmail.com for a free audit.

Doing You

The most predictable take is when an actor relies on the script, other’s expectations and what they have seen before. 

“Caring what other people think” 

“Doing it Right”                                                                                          

“Playing it on the nose”  

Those experiences lead to uninspired work.  The fact of the matter is that everyone processes information differently.  The same moment will hit each actor differently if they are in touch with where they are truly coming from.

When we work we don’t need to add unnecessary things to a scene to be interesting, but we don’t need to let go of who we are completely either.  

If you are living it out, fully in a moment, the camera will capture an honest reaction to what is taking place.  An actor needn’t ad lib or rewrite a word.  They just need to authentically listen and respond accordingly.

I was recently working with an actress who was working through a scene for “The Good Wife”.  The scene was very emotionally obligated and full of loss.  There were moments when she was so completely there, tears would spontaneously spring to your eyes.  There were others where I could see she was working to get somewhere and that didn’t allow for the fullness we had experienced previously.

I noted it was when she was needed to talk about LOVE.   She kept looking for an inward feeling, in her chest, like you might assume love feels.  However, this particular actress identified love as an external experience, geared more towards being surrounded by friends or community and had compared it to wearing a “warm fuzzy sweater”.  

When I was able to guide her back towards feeling her feelings, not the ones she thought she should, the worked realigned to the beautiful place she had been.  Successfully living out a scene like that is satisfying enough, but she had an epiphany that was so much more valuable.  Here is how she put it:

“Thank you so much again for today. I had a revelation. You really helped me realize that as an actor I’ve trying to reach for my emotional life ‘inside the boat’ when for me, personally it’s the water that the boat moves on.. Mind blown!”

Casting Directors are always saying they want you.  It is such a silly thing to say unless you understand what they mean.  In a very real way, this was an Ah Ha moment for this actor.  

My hope is that you all are having “Ah Ha Moments” all the time while the camera rolls

x                                                                                                                          Jen Krater

Truth and Growth

Ok, I think we can all own that at times putting yourself out there can be difficult. To stand up and say "This is who I am" or "This is what I believe" can open you up into all kinds of reactions and yet this is what an actor does everytime he steps in front of the camera. It takes guts.

Telling the truth can ruffle all kinds of feathers. It can be uncomfortable at times, but ultimately it is incredibly freeing.

The truth is unforgiving sometimes. The truth also illuminates things that have to be expressed and/or worked through. Sometimes this can lead to resistance, but ultimately it will lead to growth.

This point in an actors process is incredibly exciting to me as a teacher. I have seen after 15 years of working with all types of actors what lies on the other side of these discoveries and feel it is in the actors best interest for their limitations to be questioned. It is amazing to watch at times how an actor will fight to the death to stay stuck.

When I experience this I often think of Einstein's definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
I mean after all isn't art about questioning the status quo?

Isn't it about finding meaning?

Isn't it about progressing?

I have incredible compassion for what the process demands at times. Film actors have really asked to expose and reveal themselves on so many levels. I ask every actor to show up. I also have been trained by one of the best teachers in the business, Sally Johnson. She pushed me the same way I push all of my actors. I am grateful for that.

As a teacher you are making judgement calls constantly. When to build, when to leave well enough alone and when to talk straight. Having the opportunity to be on both sides of the camera has lead me to the conclusion that everyone has something at stake when the work takes place.

More than someone's comfort, beyond an individual's ego, the work guides the direction.

I know as an actor it is hard to hear the support at times. It is easy to recoil and become introverted, but an actor's job is to speak up, speak out and discover what wants to happen next.

I push, because I care. Deeply.

Jen

Potential.

Potential.

Do you know what yours is?  
Do you own it?
Do you work to make it a reality?
Have you taken time in your hectic schedule to find a support system so it can be realized?
Does it even matter to you any longer?

I think acting and life go hand in hand.  I come around over and over again to the realization that what we have to offer as individuals is so vital to the well being of our society.

It is very easy to let this career devolve into an ego driven let down and yet...

When I see people step in front of the camera and let down their guards, connect and really begin to discover how they feel about themselves and the world they live in, my soul comes to life.

There is so much in this celebrity based culture that suggests only those who are known have a voice.  Art is what reminds us all to stop and take a listen to what truly matters to us as a society.

What if...we stopped waiting for someone out there to give us permission to be all that we are and truly play large.  What if...we supported people to be more than they thought they ever could.  What if...we could let go of our cynicism and articulate what it is like to live in 2013.

I understand that acting is a business.  I also bristle at the thought of our art form being run like a giant corporation.  Being connected to the world we live in, understanding the daily trials of the average man, woman and child, shining a light on those things in life that shouldn't be overlooked or condoned, this is at the very heart of what we do.

Hurray to the story tellers who push to get their voices heard, who rise up against the glorification of the selfish and ignorant in reality TV and easy money.  Hurray to everyone who fights to get their film made the way they see it.

As a society we have the potential to do great things, to solve hard problems and to be better tomorrow than we are today.  As film makers we can really reach our audience.  

I can't help but be informed by being a parent of two young beautiful girls.  I want to say to the world what I would say to them.  "Go become all that you are able to be!"  Then I have the responsibility to do everything in my power to help make that possible.  Where I fall short, I need to ask the expertise of others to bridge that gap.

Art is about reminding the masses that we all have a stake in this world we create and live in.  Acting is about touching the potential of the human spirit and being honest about it.  It isn't some trite easy thing, but it isn't impossible either.

I wish for everyone to work and make money etc.  But more than anything, I wish for compelling story telling and the opportunity of us all to be ourselves unapologetically.  I wish for us to stop underestimating ourselves and our peers and really work to be amazing, brilliant, compassionate people.

After all, I do see it daily in the work at the studio.  I also see the toll it takes when those things are ignored.

So again I ask each and every one of you...

Potential. 

Do you know what yours is?  
Do you own it?
Do you work to make it a reality?
Have you taken time in your hectic schedule to find a support system so it can be realized?
Does it even matter to you any longer?

With Love,
Jen