Category Archives: Calendar

Why Bring an L.A. Acting Coach to Denver?

We get asked all the time to sponsor or host L.A.-based acting coaches or casting directors. Until now, we’ve always said “no” to them. Why? Well, for a couple of reasons. One, we are naturally skeptical when it comes to people claiming they can get you cast in feature films or network television shows, even if they have worked in that field at some point in their career. We just wonder if they are actually looking for talent or looking to make a buck. Most of the time, we think they are just looking to make a buck. Secondly, our belief has always been that once an actor gets good – really good – opportunities tend to find them. We still believe that.

So why the change? Frankly, it’s because our students asked us to find legitimate, out of town acting coaches, casting directors, or anyone else that could give them new perspectives on how to succeed when they start looking for work in L.A., New Mexico, Atlanta, and other film and television markets. Our students wanted help figuring out what opportunities, workshops,  classes, agents, and managers are worth their time and money when they travel to these other markets. So we reached out to our students and other industry professionals who have spent time in these markets to find out who we should bring to Denver.  Throughout our search, there has been one name that has come up time and time again as a “go to” guy that if we only brought one person to Denver ever, this is the guy. That guy is John D’Aquino.

John is a very successful actor (The Mentalist, Dexter, Cory In the House, Shake It Up, Seinfeld, CSI, Hannah Montana, JAG, 3rd Rock from the Sun) and is one of L.A.’s most sought after acting coaches. Normally, that would be enough to invite him. It wasn’t.

Take a look at a list of some of John’s recent students: Lilla Crawford (Annie, Into the Woods), Natalie Coughlin (The Cook), Elizabeth Hunter (Jersey Boys), Aedin Mincks (Jessie), Aubrey Miller (Austin and Ally, Sam and Cat, Just Add Magic), Kenton Duty, Skyler Kessee (Shake It Up), Kira Kosarin, Jack Griffo and Audrey Whitby (The Thundermans), Nick Robinson (Melissa and Joey), JJ Totah (Jessie, Glee), Cory Fogelmanis (Girl Meets World), Evan Roe (Jessie, Sam and Cat, Madame Secretary). Lizzie Greene (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn), Izabela Vidovic (About a Boy, The Fosters), Zoey Burger (Every Witch Way). That should be enough, right? Nope.

We’re bringing John to Denver because several of my students (and their parents) rave about him. The parents all say he’s great with their kids, that he really knows his stuff, and that he gets the best out of everyone he works with. They say he’s very confident in his abilities but doesn’t take himself too seriously. Yeah, he’s got a different approach than we do. Yeah, he teaches some things differently than we do. And, yeah, he may even contradict some of the stuff we teach. We say, “good.” We like having our approach challenged. We like learning new things. We like having multiple things we can share with our students.  Mostly, we like that our students (and other talented kids and teens in Denver) will have a chance to work with one L.A.’s best

Space is limited. There are two ACTING FOR THE CAMERA workshops on April 4th. The First is for ages 6 to 10 and runs from 9:00 a.m to 11:30 a.m. and the second is for ages 11 to 18 and runs from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Click here for more information and to reserve a spot for your child or teen actor!

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Finally! An Acting Class Just for Kids and Teens!

Kylie and Patrick on setWe’ve heard the stories about “Stage Moms” and “Stage Dads” but so far we haven’t  had to deal with any of them. What we mostly have heard from them is they want an ongoing acting class that fits around their children’s already over-scheduled week.  After a couple of months of trying to find a day and time that works for a lot of people, we are happy to announce a new class: Film Acting for Kids and Teens (6-15), that will meet Monday afternoons from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Class will teach students an amazing technique for learning lines quickly, a stress-free way to audition, and the one simple little secret that every Hollywood actor knows. The class shows actors how to “be in the moment” and to trust that amazing things will happen once the camera starts rolling. Class includes lots of on-camera work, too!

Mostly, we believe that knowing how to just “be” yourself when the camera is rolling is the key to delviering great moments on screen for actors of any age.

So, stop worrying about your character’s back-story or making choices before the camera rolls because all that stuff gets in the way of listening to your scene partner and “being” in the moment.
Film Acting for Kids and Teens meets the first four Mondays of every month (unless otherwise stated) and is $105 per month . This class will change the way you and your kids think about acting in front of the camera and the way you and your kids watch movies. It is that awesome. Really!
To register, click here.

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Embrace the Dilemma

At the Film Acting Academy of Denver we don’t believe in making choices or creating a character. Frankly, we think that gets in the way of connecting to your scene partner and truly listening to them. We believe that if you’ve been cast, it is because you already are the character. We believe the work of the actor is to surrender to the environment, commit to the situation, and to let the words have meaning. Then all your emotional responses will be honest, true, and “in the moment.” Confident directors prefer that over manufactured emotions and fake moments. So, too, do audiences.

For many actors, the struggle is to have the confidence that doing “less” will be enough. We remind actors that the other film elements like lighting, frame composition, editing, music, and sound design do much of the emotional heavy lifting for the audience.  That’s why great actors leave a scene saying “I hope I didn’t too much” while inexperienced actors often leave a scene saying, “I wish I had done more.”

We’re not suggesting that you don’t need to find a connection with the character. In fact, we encourage it. We just think the connection comes from committing to the situation – not the details, mind you, because we think details aren’t all that important, either  – but the emotional underpinnings of a situation that carry with them universal truths. If a character is dealing with the loss of a child, for example, one doesn’t need to imagine what that would feel like if they have never had to suffer through something as awful as that.  Everyone has suffered some kind of loss. Our emotional reservoir doesn’t forget. Let the words have meaning and you will feel that loss. Surrender to the conflict and accept the emotional stakes of the situation without prejudice or bias and the film actor is on his or her way to responding in a very raw and honest way to whatever comes their way. When those moments happen, the director can usually be heard saying to the DP: “Please tell me you got that.”

Perhaps William H. Macy, while accepting the Vanguard Award at the Boulder International Film Festival, said it best: “You have to embrace the dilemma of the character.”

Okay, that’s a better way of putting. And, yes, it really is that simple.

Hope to see you on the big screen soon.

Patrick Sheridan

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