Q: I would like to ask you more about your comments regarding my daughter’s acting strengths and weaknesses. Interesting enough, almost all the work she has booked has been more serious and dramatic. In addition, she has been very seriously considered and in the final mix for several serious lead roles in feature films and TV. I am wondering if I am misunderstanding what type of acting you are referring to or if perhaps she didn’t show that part of her skill-set during your course. If you have a minute, I would love you to watch a couple of her reels and then comment further.

(The original comment: “In terms of where your daughter still has the most room to grow, it’s in the really grounded simple “naturalistic” style that’s so often called for in dramatic film+television. At this point she can do Disney/Nickelodeon stuff with her eyes closed, and she has less practice with more stripped-down style where the actor’s choices have to be invisible.”)

A:Your daughter has a lot of confidence and great emotional availability, she showed that repeatedly over the course of our workshop together. She still has her “default” or set of choices that is easier for her, like any actor. And hers is brighter, more upbeat, smilier, more “Disney” for lack of a better word. It’s telling that the longest clip in the reel on her website is from a Disney straight-to-video film. I hope she continues to get booked for dramatic work, the best way for her to continue to expand her range is to audition, work and train on scenes that force her to find honesty, simplicity, and vulnerability in her characters. I watched the extended reel as well, and it’s the same thing: she showcases her emotional range, but aside from those extreme moments the scenes that come across as the most honest are definitely the brighter, more direct ones. Which is fair I think, because that’s in line with her personality, or at least what I experienced of her in class. I think that it would open up new opportunities for her if she could scale the emotionality and the “brightness” back when necessary to suit the tone of the projects she’s going out for.

Casting director Tiffany Mak said repeatedly over the summer that the reason she had so much difficulty casting the leads in the Lionsgate feature “Gay Dude” is because the most experienced actors kept coming across “too actor-y” and “not real” (the director’s words). Ultimately she ended up sending the kid she thought was best for it back to me for a private session to “un-actory” him to prove to the director he could do it in a later callback round, and that kid booked the role. Which made Tiffany crazy, because he was one of the first actors that she brought in and *she* knew he could do it, it’s just that the director formed this “actor-y” opinion of him that needed adjusting. That’s the kind of mistaken opinion that will sometimes need adjusting.

Michael Bean
Owner+Head Coach
Biz Studio

“Helping young actors book work in film & television.”