Interview with Carol Goldwasser

In the Moment: Interview with Children’s Network Casting Director Carol Goldwasser

Have you ever wanted to know the ins and outs of casting Children’s TV, such as Disney or Nickelodeon shows? Well, you’ve come to the right place, because today we have the Award Winning casting director, Carol Goldwasser, here for Part I of an interview with me, Diane Christiansen, exclusively for Master Talent Teachers.

Carol’s tips for kids, teens and even adult actors are so invaluable if you really want audition advice. She has taught me a thing or two in these interviews that even I didn’t know. You can never stop learning, right?

Diane: Welcome, Carol, it’s so great to have you here, thank you for joining us.
Carol: Thank you for having me.

D: We should get started, because there is a lot that our viewers and readers want to know about casting Disney shows and you are our gal. What made you decide to cast kids and teens TV?
C: Well, it was more like the Universe decided for me. I was working more in Network Television, in comedy, with a partner, and we were looking to expand our business and we sent our casting resume to one of the Children’s Networks. We got hired on one project and then we had some fairy dust on us from that because it was a highly successful project and the work just kept coming and we never looked back. We both work solo now and the work has pursued me. It wasn’t necessarily a choice that I really pursued in a major way, but once I got into it, it felt comfortable, it feels good and I enjoy it, obviously, because I’ve kept doing it.

D: What has been your favorite project to work on?
C: Probably a Disney XD show called “I’m with the Band”. Even though it was a children’s show, it had a lot of adult series regulars. The writing was more sophisticated, but it still played to kids. It had a lot of physical comedy. It was like the 3 Stooges in a rock band. So, it was a really just a group of people who really gelled and who came to the set each day and had a lot of fun. So, I could cast adults as well as kids and teens and it was just a great experience. Interestingly, it was probably the least successful show I’ve worked on, but it was such a joy to show up to work every day. My impression was that the Network hoped that it would be a real flagship show to luring a lot of boys to that Network. They see that as the Network that attracts boys. The Disney channel being the one that’s more girl oriented and Disney XD more for boys. But, for some reason, the numbers didn’t support it continuing. I guess, even though it was joy for the adults to work on, maybe the fact that there were so many adult regulars meant that the kids couldn’t connect as much to what they were seeing on screen. That’s their formula, that the protagonists on the show are actually the same age as their audience.

D: What makes an actor stand out in the audition room?
C: When someone comes in, and this happens with kids and teens a lot, they are looking to me to give them the keys to the Kingdom. They’re looking to me to tell them this is where the joke is or this is how the character is. When someone comes in and they show ME how the character should be played and they not only find every joke on the page, but they elevate the material and they add stuff of their own that really makes the character sing. Then you’re like, “Well, my job is done”. That’s when it’s a joy and that’s what makes people stick out. When they commit to the character, they make choices – sometimes the choices are surprising, but comedy is surprise! I always think comedy is much more difficult to cast than drama because you actually have to find people who can deliver comedic material. In drama, if you look a little bit like what the Producers are seeking, you have a naturalistic acting style and you understand the rhythm of that particular writers words, then you move the exposition along. That’s pretty much what you have to do. In comedy, you have to do all that AND land a joke and in multi-camera sit com, which is the bulk of what I work on, for kids Networks, there’s a rhythm to the language and it’s not honestly naturalistic at all. It’s very theatrical. It’s much harder to come in and nail a comedy audition, I think because it requires a very specific kind of work. You have to understand what the rhythm is, understand where the jokes are and you have to have a little extra something that makes us want to watch you, that makes us want to hang with you and makes us want to turn on the TV set.

D: Like a naturally funny person.
C: Exactly. You’re right and you know you hear people say comedy can’t be taught. The elements of comedy can be taught. But if you read a page and you don’t understand “funny”, and you don’t know where the jokes are, you probably won’t be cast as a funny actor. Unfortunately. I read comedy scripts for a living, so when I read a comedy script, it’s like a road map to me. It’s like joke, joke, joke and I understand where they are. But someone who is unfamiliar with comedy material doesn’t necessarily do that. But if you have a comedy kind of mind and you have a bent for comedy, then hopefully the particular comedy gimmicks can be layered on top of a natural affinity for comedy.

To be Continued…

This has been Part I of a two-part interview with Carol Goldwasser. We wanted to thank you for joining us and invite you to stay connected at MTT for Part II. Have you subscribed yet?

Carol has had 5 nominations for Artio Awards, which are given out by the Casting Society of America (CSA). She’s won two times. Once for outstanding achievement in Children’s Casting Series programming for Hannah Montana and once for Best Children’s TV Programming, also for Hannah Montana.


When is the Best Time to Come to LA for Pilot Season?

Every weekend Agents and Managers are traveling to some city scouting for new kids and teens for pilot season. The top kids Agents will look at from 100 to 300 kids every week from now through the end of January. These are the brightest kids from around the country with parents who can afford expensive weekend jaunts to L.A. They are ready to come to Hollywood for early Pilot Season, meaning October, November and December. The green lighted projects begin casting these pilots early because they want the best actors – first! Every single top kids Agent and Manager will meet wonderful, cute kids with parents who will do what it takes to make it in Hollywood! The competition is fierce, so what can you do if you are not able to travel to Hollywood? Or, what can you do to compete with the kids and teens coming in if you are already an L.A. actor?

What can you do to help your child or teen compete?

  1. Encourage your child to build skills on a regular basis by staying in acting classes and private coaching. On-going training is the foundation for a successful Acting career. It essential to be on top of your game so you are ready to shine when you get those big auditions.
  2. Make sure your child is known to as many casting offices as possible by bringing your child to our Casting Director workshops to develop relationships with casting directors. This also includes sending postcards and booking announcements. Make sure Casting Directors know you are in the game! Developing and nurturing relationships with Casting Directors is vital for success in this industry.
  3. With early pilot season here and your Agent has over 1000 kids to represent; it is up to you to make sure that you don’t let them forget your child. It is vital to take proactive action by keeping your child on the top of the Agents list. This does not mean that you bombard your representation with unnecessary calls and emails; but keep in touch with them. If there’s a part that you feel you are right for, make sure they are sending you out for it. Don’t get lost in the shuffle.
  4. Surround yourself with a strong team! This includes your reps, coaches, and family. Without a strong team, you are a lone ranger and not the professional team player it takes to succeed.
To enroll in a class with Diane call 818.523.8283 or email

How to be a Child Actor: Does Your Kid Have What It Takes?

I’d like to address the most commonly asked question that Parents of young Actors ask me; “Does my child have what it takes to make it as an Actor in Hollywood?” This is almost like me asking you, ‘Do you have what it takes to make it as a parent in the World?’ Not easy to answer is it? I would almost have to be a God to answer that question. If I were some sort of Deity, I might say something like this…

“He who surrounded us with his ever-evolving mystery of creation has also implanted in us the desire to question and understand. The Karmic Law requires that every human wish find ultimate fulfillment.”

“I am ever with those who practice complete devotion to his craft and consequently obtain pure knowledge of his art. I will guide you to your Cosmic Dream through your enlarging perceptions. Divine guidance and success are possible though self-effort and dependent on one’s belief in one’s self, not on the will of a Cosmic Dictator. The truth, those unforeseen truths – which you will discover – are even now all around us, staring us in the eyes. We need only open our eyes to see them.”

Well, if you got that, you’ve got the answer to your question. Meaning, success is more a combination of:

  1. The desire to become an Actor
  2. The commitment to find professional training
  3. The support system to get you there
  4. The drive and talent to succeed
  5. An understanding of your art and yourself – KNOWLEDGE
  6. …And most of all – A LOT OF FAITH.

In other words…you need to be more than cute and talented. You need to be ‘The Package’ and you need to be coach-able and so does your parent.

Some of the most talented and adorable kids and teens I’ve trained have parents that will ruin it for them.

What does that mean you ask?

This is key Parents – you need to be a thirsty, open and as receptive to gaining knowledge as your child. You need to come with an ‘Empty Ricebowl.’ If you come to this business as a ‘know it all’ or are unwilling to believe you have things to learn, you will fail. Surround yourselves with Coaches, Managers, and Agents who are there for you, and there to answer your questions. Make lists of things you need to learn and then REALLY LISTEN and USE the guidance being given.

Try not to monopolize interviews with Agents, Managers, or Coaches or Casting Directors. These are the busiest Industry Pros whom you will work with and you need to remember that we all have busy schedules. You could hurt your child’s career by inserting too much of ‘you’ in their career. Never go through your ‘to do’ list when your Agent or Manager call. Your job is to support, guide, nurture, and find the best team you can to supply knowledge and opportunities for your kids.

Young Actors – you need to practice, rehearse, and try out every single thing your coaches offer. You need to take risks with your work and get coaching for every audition – especially early in your career. Remember, never take an audition for granted. Always treat it like gold, because the kids coming in from out of town are your competition and those families have moved mountains to get their kids here for auditions.

I trust we have answered that elusive question. I hope you realize that everything comes from your commitment. Especially your kid’s success!

Four Resources for Actors Part 4

Four Resources Available to Actors – Part 4: THE MOMENT

“Live each present moment completely, and the future will take care of itself. Fully enjoy the wonder and beauty of each instant. Practice the presence of peace. The more you do that, the more you will feel the presence of that power in your life.”
Paramahansa Yogananda

This quote is by my Guru, Yogananda, and yet it could just as easily become an acting lesson that very much aligned with this lesson I am about to write about.

My mentor and acting coach, Sally Kirkland, once said; “You have to stay very human, from moment to moment. You can’t in any way let the audience know what’s going to happen next.”

This is yet another inspiring quote on being in the moment. How very true. Once we harness the ability to stay in each instant, allowing it to take us to the next, then we can call ourselves actors.

The antithesis of that would be to practice thinking of our next line or anticipating what the other actors line will be. All of that is the opposite of being in the moment.

Many times, I ask actors to keep going when they feel they have made a “Mistake”. Mostly because that mistake can keep you in the moment more quickly than if you had stopped and started all over again. These are the golden moments we live for in our work. Those moments when we go up, the hair stands up on our arms and our mind is a blur. Those precious moments are something that can take you on a journey in a split second from being in your head, thinking about your lines, how you look to others or wondering what the heck to do, to the NOW. They are golden moments that Meryl Streep says she hopes for when she works. They bring you immediately into your own skin, your body, and your mind and then you must KNOW where you are in the story and live in it. Allow those moments; do not be afraid of them, for they will take you places that are delightful, organic and raw. They not only give us a little journey to the NOW, they also keep your scene partner on their toes, wondering, “Where is she going with this?” Thus, needing to follow along on the trip to our truth, our moment. Giving us the opportunity to live through the role and surprise not only ourselves, but also whomever we work with. Of course, having confidence in our Improvisational ability and trust in our scene partner goes a long way. But if you can relax and allow those moments, they are truly what we strive for in each moment of our work as truthful actors. When I say relax, I mean really don’t worry about what will happen, just go with it. Just as Yogananda believed each moment will take care of itself, I also believe that will happen when we forego any upset or frustration and just allow the voyage to take you to yourself to your soul. To performances full of surprise and wonder, much like the journey of Life.

4 Actor Resources-Imagination

Four Resources Available to Actors – Part 3: IMAGINATION

I’d like to preface this installation with a quote by Albert Einstein before I elaborate on the lesson.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

I know that knowledge is power and it is certainly an important part of any research any actor may need or use. But our imagination can literally take us anywhere, into the mind and soul of another’s psyche. It leads us to our dreams. Not to mention its vastly mysterious function.

The greatest gift we have ever been given is the gift of imagination. Within the magical inner realm is the capacity to create anything at all. Simply imagine it and it can be so. Thus this lesson on using your vast imagination to create the life of another living being in our work.

I am sure I tell actors every week to use their imagination in their scene work. That’s why actors are paid large sums of money, to use their vivid imaginations to conjure up delightful histories and back stories for their characters. We use a technique in my curriculum called the “as if” or “magic if”. What if I were this person? What would I do? Where would I be? How could I bring to life the desires and goals of this individual?

Where parts 1 and 2 of this four part series cover and explore using one’s own life in the work, this lesson is purely imagined. The actors in my recent Master Talent Teacher videos, Joey and Nicole, have been given a scene with characters that have physical abilities and disabilities very different from their own. Therefore, in addition to being on task for their research and finding the truth about these characters through observation, who are both mentally challenged and hard of hearing, I have asked them to imagine what their interactions would be like “as if” they had these conditions. They have demonstrated beautifully the life of the characters by allowing themselves to slip into their own imagination and let it take over.

Without your imagination, the process of creativity is halted. You have this enormous power within you. It is virtually an unlimited power and it has been given to you as your birthright. So let’s put this gift to work every time we work. It is crucial or you to know how compelling it can be.

Remember, everything originates from something akin to your imagination. You cannot touch, taste, hear, see or smell without it. Imagination has no boundaries. These fanciful imaginings always percolate within you. You get to use it in any way your choose. Once the actor surrenders to his or her imagination, you have reinforced the life of the character you are playing. Simply let go and the nonexistent character on the page unfolds with ease and grace in your performances and comes to life under your healthy commitment to it through your imagination.


How to Be a Child Actor: Part 3

This is the last of my three part series on “How to get your child or teen into Showbiz.’ Assuming you have followed the specific tips I’ve offered in Parts I and II, by now you should have a child or teen embarking on the exciting journey of Acting in Hollywood. Which means you are going on auditions and beginning to book work. This is a critical piece of the journey and a time when knowledge is power. I have interviewed several parents, who have been doing this for some time now. Plus, I have interviewed an Agent from the Bobby Ball Agency and a Manager from Stein Entertainment. I have even brought in a few young Actors to speak to other young Actors about their careers who offered fantastic advice to help you make this journey fun and successful.

Several of the topics covered in the interviews include:

  • What to expect when auditioning
  • A typical path
  • A Cinderella Story
  • Staying in class and keeping training your priority – even when your child begins working

The last being the most important according to ALL of the people we interviewed. Every single Agent or Manager in our Industry agrees that ongoing training is critical. Often times an Actor or their family assume that once an Actor signs with Reps in L.A., that the fun begins. We hope that becomes the truth for everyone. You must know that once you begin to audition, the real work starts. Now you have fierce competition, and now is when you must be on top of your game. This is not the time to sit on your laurels, this is the time to stay sharp, to hone your craft in quality classes and to bring your A-Game to each and every audition. This is also a time for Parents to continue to increase their knowledge of the business and to prepare their child with skills, knowledge, and a realistic approach to the work at hand.

Rarely, as stated by Manager Joshua Finn from Stein Entertainment, does the Fairy Tale unfold. On occasion a young Actor will experience immediate success and move up the ladder very quickly. The Cinderella Story, however, is very rare. More typically, a young Actor will go to about 40-50 auditions prior to each booking. Once they book a commercial or two, possibly more, then you might expect to book a short film or two or an Independent film. Then, hopefully book a feature film and within a few years, then a Co-Star or two, or three. Then within the next year it is realistic to expect to book a guest star role and/or a feature film or a web series or two. After 6 or 7 years, it is typical to expect to book a series regular or several recurring roles on Televisions shows.

This is all possible, and we encourage you to keep your child and teen in an Award-Winning class, much like we offer at Diane Christiansen Coaching. We offer all levels for all ages in two locations in the L.A. area and you can call anytime for ongoing, on-camera classes and workshops with Casting Directors and Agent Showcases throughout the year. To join a class or audition for our Casting Director workshops, please call us at 818.523.8283 or email at: In the meantime, I encourage you to visit my website:

Prior to that, please visit Master Talent Teachers for all of the outstanding free training available to Performers of all ages. You’ll be glad you did.

Diane Christiansen

How to Be a Child Actor: Part 2

There are many ways to go about getting an Agent for a child or teen actor, including cold calling and/or submitting online through each Agencies website. This is the least effective way to go about this monumental task and the most daunting. There are numerous ways to go about it and enjoy it more with more successful results and we are going to address those options with you here, assuming you studied Part 1 of this 3 part series. If you have not done so, I recommend you do that now.

Part 1 is critical to your success. You need only visit to read the article or watch the video and will take only a few minutes. Without those preliminary steps, it would be difficult to proceed. Especially without training in an Acting class with a credible coach or teacher. Find the best one you can at a reasonable price and be sure to get busy! All Agents in Los Angeles only want to work with trained Actors, of any age.

The Agents and Managers that you WANT to be with generally have a pretty large and well-established roster in each category. They have their “go to” people who are bookers and who are established, so why would they sign a newbie or someone without credits? The answer is simple; they have to keep growing and expanding and “cleaning house“ each season. That means they only keep the talent that is booking after their contracts are up and if they aren’t then it’s often “bye bye”. That is where your opportunity lies. That is when the Agent or Mgr needs to call that actor they saw in a showcase, and that’s where they want to find you!

Agents know that if you have taken the time to perform in a showcase that it is pretty likely that they had to prepare with a coach in an organized setting. They know that many coaches, like myself, accept actors that have had to audition and have had a night or two of training with a coach who will help “package” them. A- list reps love that. Not only do they see you in performance mode, they also see you in a “niche” that you can play. We do everything we can to make sure you perform in a scene that represents your type or shows off your skills at maximum “castability”. This is not the easiest task for individuals on their own, but with a team to support you, it is much more fun, for both the actors and the reps attending. They get to “scout” talent and “discover” you from a reputable coach and you get to have fun performing with a coach who has your best interests at heart. Win – win! We hold 3 to 5 Agent Showcases per year in two locations and 90% of our actors sign with A list Agents when they are accepted into our showcase workshops.

Once you have been accepted, I want you to know that there are specific ways to stay in the forefront of your Agents/Managers minds. You can be obnoxious and call them or email them every week and lose them because you don’t understand “protocol” or you can contact them (after 2:30) on weekdays only when it is pertinent to your development with the Agency. Agents and Managers want to know if you are in a play or workshop and they want to know if you’ve lost a tooth or some weight. Or changed your hair color or your address and staying in touch with your reps by email or phone is best if it’s about once every 6 weeks. Knowing things like this will not only keep you in the forefront of their minds, it will also keep them saying “Now that’s a pro”. Mom or Dad or Guardian, keep in mind that once your child or teen reaches about 14, it is time for them to start doing business themselves. This not only teaches them to be business like, it keeps the relationship between talent and the reps current, so that the rep is privy to the young actors changes and growth. It helps them see who the teens are becoming, and they do change a lot during the teen years. It helps your rep know how to re-market you or submit you for roles.

So, in conclusion, work smarter, not harder. Parents will also help your kids to succeed by remembering that reps have very little time to “chat” when you call for auditions. I always tell parents to “just say yes” to auditions when reps call. Say yes and then go figure out your life. They definitely do not have time to listen to your “to do” list. So, keep it succinct and let those wonderful people get back to work on your behalf. They will never want to let you go!

How to Be a Child Actor: Part 1

This 3 part video series was designed for families who are seeking a professional career in the Entertainment Industry in Los Angeles for their children or teenagers.

Each segment, parts I, II, and III are critical steps designed to be taken with patience, dedication and a 100% commitment to producing results. If you rush these steps, you could really hurt your child or their chances of making a solid first impression. In our Industry, that would definitely be detrimental to their opportunities down the line. The last thing you want to do is send young talent into an arena that is already competitive, and leave a Casting Director or Agent with an impression that says “They were not ready.” Those first impressions are very hard to erase. That would be all they would remember once they actually ARE ready. Let’s not do that. Let’s follow some protocol here and do things right!

How To Get Your Teen Into Showbiz Part 1
by: Diane Christiansen

This 3 part video series was designed for families who are seeking a professional career in the Entertainment Industry in Los Angeles for their children or teenagers.

Each segment, parts I, II, and III are critical steps designed to be taken with patience, dedication and a 100% commitment to producing results. If you rush these steps, you could really hurt your child or their chances of making a solid first impression. In our Industry, that would definitely be detrimental to their opportunities down the line. The last thing you want to do is send young talent into an arena that is already competitive, and leave a Casting Director or Agent with an impression that says “They were not ready.” Those first impressions are very hard to erase. That would be all they would remember once they actually ARE ready. Let’s not do that. Let’s follow some protocol here and do things right!

The smartest and most supportive parent will do as much research online as they can before you forge ahead, including finding out who the best coaches are to start with. Especially since Training is first on the ‘to-do’ list. That includes reputable classes and private coaching with the best coaches you can find. I always tell beginning families to book one hour with me to do the following; Use half an hour to evaluate your child and use the other half hour for yourself. Knowledgeable parents come with a list of questions that I can answer and guide you to become that parent that is knowledgeable and helpful, as opposed to clueless and detrimental. Agents tell me that 75% of their decision to sign young talent is the parent. So, you need to be coachable and remember – knowledge is power!
Second, you will need good headshots. I recommend photographers who the Agents keep at the top of their lists. This way, once you are sending them out or using them in Agent Showcases, you will be ready to go and most likely not have to shoot again once signed.

Third – Demo Reels! In the beginning, you won’t have much to put on your reel, so we find 2 great monologues, usually one minute in length, dramatic and comedic, to start. That coupled with an Actors ‘Slate’ and any footage you may have is enough until you build your reel.
Once you have a good theatrical and commercial headshot, a demo reel, and some training, I encourage you to join and begin to submit your child for non-paying work such as student films at colleges such as USC, UCLA, CAL ARTS, Chapman, Brooks and several others in the LA area. This will not only give you credits to add to the resume, but also give you more for your demo reel. But the real advantage is to begin working on camera and learning how a set works. This experience will bring an incredible wealth of knowledge to your young actor prior to being on set for a paying job.

So let’s review our first steps:

  • Training
  • Headshots (usually a Coach knows the best ones!)
  • Demo Reels and Actors Slate
  • Join
  • Work in Student Films

Once you have completed these 5 steps you will be ready for Part II of this 3 part series, Finding an Agent!! Join us next month for this critical step on you and your child’s journey to success!


Four Resources for Actors – Part 2


One of the things I have observed over the years are the various processes American Actors and British Actors use to becoming/creating a character. The Americans tend to work from the inside out and the Brits often work from the outside in. I believe we must use everything we can to bring a character to Life for a performance.

I’d like to introduce Observation as a way of Life for any Actor of any Age. Specifically Kids and Teens, because the sooner a young actor begins to approach the work in this way, the more natural it becomes as they grow into full fledged actors and conscious human beings. Awareness must become a way of Life for the Actor.

We have exercises in our classes for younger child actors to do outside of class that are simple and fun. They begin to take on observation as a natural part of their daily lives, illuminating human behavior. One of the things younger actors can do is this.

Choose three people to study, and make sure you take notes, but don’t tell the people you are examining that you are doing this. It can be anyone, and it needs to be three completely different types. For example, a child actor can observe a teacher, a parent, sibling, the grocery store man, a homeless person, someone at Church or a Bus Stop. Ask yourself the following:

How does this person look? What do they wear? What are they doing?

How do they speak, eat, write, and walk?

What are their quirks, idiosyncrasy’s, or patterns? Do they smile easily, laugh, frown, scowl or grin a lot? Do they hide or show their teeth?

Do they twitch or have nervous eyes, hands feet or mannerisms? Do they fidget or are they calm, cool and collected? Are they direct or do they avert their gaze when addressing people? Are they confident or shy?

Do they seem happy or sad? What is their general vibe? Do they walk or run funny or normally or do they limp, use a can, wheelchair or crutches? Do they have nervous speaking patterns or are they articulate? Do they have a large vocabulary or are they limited in their communications?

Once you have observed people, I recommend taking notes and keeping a file on various types of people. You can give each different person a file title like, The cute guy in Spanish class, The nerd at the pharmacy, the Queen, the President of the U.S., the popular cheerleader, the jock. My Mom, my Rabbi, my little brother, the ditzy girl, my favorite cousin, my Grandpa, my Aunt at my Uncle’s funeral. You get the picture.

Now that you have a catalogue of characters to draw from and you find a role that you will be playing, you now have observations to help you begin to create a character that has layers. People watching is fun, creative work. We aren’t paid to guess, we are paid to make playable choices and deliver magic that is believable.

Much of what we play will be ourselves, that is always the most accurate, but for those characters that are not like us, we must look outside of ourselves, go on task, and use your Observation Files. Not only will you have wonderful details to use in your study of the human condition, you will be come a much more expanded person along the way. What a wonderful quality. This really is sacred work we are doing and it is so much fun!

Four Resources for Actors, Part 1


Every actor that I have trained in the last 21 years has had the opportunity to learn what does or does not work for him or her. Actors have four basic resources at their disposal. In this four part series, I plan to give examples of each of the four resources available to you. I will begin by listing those four resources, and then I will explore how to access each of them.

The four resources are:

  1. Memory – Personal Experience
  2. Imagination
  3. Observation
  4. The Moment or the “here and now”

The first lesson will focus on resource # 1 – “Memory”.

We all have memories and several of our memories or personal experiences stand out as pivotal moments in our lives. Other memories hold less impact, yet are critical to our work as actors. When an actor uses a memory in his or her work or a personal experience for a scene, that memory should be the emotional equivalent to the characters emotion in that particular scene. For example: if your character needs to cry, laugh hysterically, feel sad or be depressed or melancholy, the actor would search his or her memory bank for a time when they felt that particular emotion. I generally encourage actors to choose a memory within the last 7 years. The fresher the memory, the more effective it will be. Once I have taught you to access that memory yourself using “sense memory”, which means going back to one specific memory using the five senses, sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, I will ask you to “remember” what you felt. This is a much more dynamic technique than just asking an actor to remember an incident. We never actually expect the actor to completely re live that experience, simply to refer to it or hang on to the “memory” of it throughout the scene or until the Actor reaches the arc of the scene. Generally, once they have reached the “arc”, a transition occurs, everything changes and they feel differently or the conflicts are resolved. Not always, but often. At that point one’s objective will change and so will the choices on how to proceed.

Therefore, the sensory memory keeps the actor in an organic or truthful place to support his work in the scene and deliver an honest performance. I tell actors not to expect to relive that chose moment as fully as they felt it when it happened. Being in an organic emotional place is enough. The memory or the experience will provide the actor with the climate needed to deliver an honest and believable performance.

If that process doesn’t work for you, we have three other resources to draw from. The second resource is the “Imagination”. Make sure you come back for Part ll of this four part series to learn to use “imagination” in your work.