Money is tight. Headshots are important, an investment, your marketing material. Yet for some reason I see so many actors be unprepared when it comes to choosing photographers and attending their shoot. Here are a few thoughts from me on making every penny count.
Since writing this blog we've actually started to run our own Headshot Days with me (Steph) coaching and James of Shift Focus behind the camera. Find out more HERE.
Just a wee update for those who have entered the website and are new to us.
You may have gone to the Dates page to see we don't have any courses in the diary at the moment apart from our weekly classes in Leeds. There's a simple explanation for it...
I (Steph) had my second baby, Pip, in July (yay! Zzzz!) so I'm just figuring out life with two small people and how I can gradually build running my courses back into it. Pip and I have already co taught the Voice, Movement and Meisner Intensive together in Leeds in August so I know we can do it, I just need to make sure I can still be the acting coach I want to be whilst also being the mum I want to be. Ah life, it's a constant balancing act ay?
As for Adam, he's spent the last year designing the brand spanking new Musical Theatre course at Leeds College of Music which opens it's doors to the first ensemble of students in a matter of days. This has meant he has also had to divert his attention temporarily as this part of journey reaches its crescendo. He's worked his backside off forging relationships across the country and beyond, researching, innovating and pulling incredible people to Leeds so I know each of those students will be in the best of hands - good luck Mr Stadius, you are bloomin' brilliant.
Fear not, when (if) my 8week old baby sleeps I am behind the scenes making some very exciting plans for the next year, tweaking our current training programme and building some fabulous new courses based on the feedback we've collected over the last year including the return of Barbara Houseman, Scott Williams, Camera work, BSL combined Scene Study, Auditions, Monologues, voice, movement and sooooo much more. It's very important to Adam and I to never get complaisant with the training we offer so we are always being inspired by, and adjusting to, the ever changing needs of the industry and the modern day actor.
Please make sure to sign up to our mailing list and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram so you don't miss the new additions - we'd hate to miss the opportunity to work with you just because we're quieter than normal.
Stay in touch and let's start our journey together soon.
Side note: We're also on the hunt for a space to call home in Leeds City Centre so if you know of anywhere affordable we'd love to hear from you.
You can’t do a don’t – so you might as well just do.
On Tuesday I packed my bags and headed off for (the not so sunny) Leeds for a 4 day Vocal Intensive with the wonderful Barbara Houseman, completely unaware that I’d leave feeling like I’d found another part of me. It was so brilliant that I have to write about it.
Over 10 months ago, I embarked on my Both Feet journey which has been a blessing (and sometimes a curse) in itself. I’ve become more self – aware, and I’m starting to trust myself. Or that is what I thought, before these four days, but little did I know I’d been deceiving myself into thinking I was trusting myself whilst still allowing my not so nice, bit of a dick, inner critic to take the front seat. One thing I didn’t think I’d take from the week was realising how much I let my inner critic take over and to allow (that’s a word I’ll now use a lot) myself to be kinder. But it is by far the most valuable thing I learnt. I have always been so so cruel to myself, as I’m sure other people can relate. Everyday I’d be telling myself something so negative and horrible, and then wondering why I feel so shit all the time. Barbara had a way of talking to her own inner critic as well as everyone else’s that slowly started to give it less and less power as the week went on, and by the end of the week, I’d somewhat shifted my mindset of letting it take over. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still there, it’s just not sat in the front seat anymore – it’s just in the back having a gaze out the window.
We learnt the intricacies of our bodies and how every little thing is connected to your voice, from bad experiences to where you hold your head. On Tuesday, we started with the basics of how to breathe, which was a biggie for me as I tend to hold my breath for stupidly long periods. On Wednesday, we moved onto resonance and taking up space, which is something I’d never want to do in any situations so I’d hide behind my voice, or lack of. There’s something about hearing yourself speak so freely and clearly whilst everyone is listening to you. On Thursday we began looking at our texts and using different vocal exercises that we’d learnt to feel connected to them. And then Friday rolled around quicker than ever and we watched how much everyone had changed. I was (and still am) so full up with emotion by the time Friday was coming to an end with how much I’d learnt and allowed myself to know that it is okay to not care so much. It was such a pleasure sharing the room with such beautiful people and watching everyone on their own journey in discovering, you learn so much from other people and everyone was so so open.
All the while we had a very special guest in the room, little Pip. I am so amazed at the wonderful woman, Stephanie Morgan, who introduced us all to Barbara and made it all possible. There’s not a lot of people who can say they’ve given birth to a human in the space of 6 weeks and was still so present and invested in the process. I think everyone in the room can agree that Pip brought a sense of joy and freedom to the week as he is truly the pinnacle of not giving a single fuck. And I got to have a cuddle for a which was bloomin lovely (and I usually don’t like babies). There’s not a lot of teachers out there that I’ve met who trust the people they work with so much, and makes such a safe environment to learn and fuck up.
I wanted to write this post to remember how I felt yesterday on the journey home from Leeds. And how I still feel now the day after. And hopefully, how I can continue to feel for as long as I can. I never knew that when I started acting that this would be the journey I’d be going on, or the journey I didn’t know I needed to go on. Especially as someone who hasn’t yet done and might not do their 3 years training at drama school, there’s always this feeling of not being good enough or worthy enough to be in this industry. But when it comes down to it, we’re all as fucked up and clueless as eachother – some are just better at admitting that than others. This training, and my training with both feet is definitely shaping me into the actor (and the person) that I want to be.
Loving yourself isn’t easy. As Barbara had said, just start by being kinder to yourself. The rest won’t be far behind.
Pinched (with permission) from Rhia's personal website.
What a phenomenal week it has been - not many pics as I've had a baby on me a *lot* plus I was far too busy soaking up all the learnings but grateful I got a few :-)
Thank you Barbara Houseman for being such a generous, knowledgeable, practical, funny, inspirational lady - I'll hedge my bets and say I reckon every actor will have left today full of gratitude for what you've gifted them this week sprinkled with deep sadness that they won't be in your company tomorrow.
Actors - thank you for being ready and open and willing to dive into the unknown whilst supporting each other in the process. What beautiful work you all did.
Remember, look back on your notes. Choose the exercises which worked for you and find a routine.
Be kind to yourselves. It's not selfish, it's self compassion. You deserve it.
You can't Do a Don't. So... you might as well just Do. Receive your breath, don't take it.
**Don't be afraid to take up space. You are a gift.**
See you all soon we hope, at the next one?
Steph (& Pip) x
Ps thanks so much for welcoming Pip into the space with such openness. What a lucky little boy :-)
Wow, what an incredible week: Voice and movement classes intertwined with our Meisner teaching.
Two groups of actors discovering and exploring what it is to be present, physically,vocally & mentally. Newbies learning from regulars and regulars learning from newbies.
Thank you for such generosity and openness to our process, to each other and for the ever changing dynamic a 5 week old baby brings to the space.
Thank you Patricia and Bella for your inspirational teaching. We have loved working with you.
You are who you are, you have what you have, right *now*.
Be kind to yourself.
Now, go and find an ice cream, a cold beer or a [insert cold item of your choice] you deserve it!!!
Steph & Adam x
When I run Tech Gyms I tend to start the day with "what do you need?". I'd rather mold a day around the needs of my students at that moment in time rather than predeciding how it's going to go. This course ended up being about split attention and honing different given circumstances including specific directorial notes and character traits and impediments. A LOT of fun continuing to explore simplicity even when we think it's more complicated than it needs to be. An *actors* job (in my opinion) is *not* to show/convey/explain to an audience, it's to live truthfully under those given circumstances and the audience will follow. For now, that's my last Tech Gym for a while, oh how I'll miss it and these beautiful actors. Don't worry folks, me and baby will be back as soon as we can ;-) Steph x
End of two days with this small yet perfectly formed group of actors at different stages of their journey with us, all who have pushed some boundaries, jumped into the unknown, flexed new and old muscles and worked with new texts in a slightly different way. Thanks you fab lot for being open to discovering. Please continue to trust yourselves, learn the rules to break the rules, and jump in irrespective of how silly you feel inside, the commitment to the unknown will feel soooo much better than the feeling of regret. Steph x
Wonderful 2 days working on 4 great scripts with 8 delicious actors continuing their journey with us. So much beautiful work from first reads and text analysis through to free-writing, exploring given circumstances and taking direction. As always, simplicity is key. But to be simple we need to learn to trust ourselves fully. Which is an ongoing journey :-)
Wonderful couple of days in Manchester running Tech Gym: a damn good work out for these fabulous actors continuing to discover and trust their simplicity and truth. We had a tonne of fun. Thanks so much for hosting us Studio Bee! Next up, Scene Study!
We decided to mix things up a little with our weekly classes and turn April's 5 Tuesdays into working with camera. Over the 5 weeks these lovely actors worked on the same scene whilst being taken through the steps involved in filming: blocking, continuity, the filming of those scenes and then what happens during the editing process and how to be an editors dream.
Adam's Top Tip from the course: Screen acting requires massive trust in the process and your ability to listen. It also requires trust that as an actor you are a piece in a much larger puzzle which includes direction, sound and editing, all of which are working to add weight to your work.
What Katie of @Fly Girl Films had to say: "People were so surprised observing themselves on camera and the fact that the smallest facial gestures - even a blink or a twitch can speak a thousand words. I think watching the editing process made them realise that they’re only a very small part of the jigsaw when it comes to filmmaking and they not only have to put the trust in themselves but in everyone around them - not just the director/crew but the post production team behind the scenes too." Ah that familiar old word: T R U S T. :-)