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Diane Christiansen Kids & Teens

How to Become a “Disney” or “Nickelodeon” Actor

Diane Christiansen Kids & TeensBy Diane Christiansen
 
Having been an On Set Coach for both Disney and Nick, I have had the pleasure of training some of the finest young actors on these shows.  I have trained such talent as David Henrie, Jason Dolley, Joey Luthman, Amy Bruchner, Mason Alexander and Rachel Sibner to name a few. 
 
It would be impossible to say, “If I train you to do this and that, you will be a Disney or Nick actor”. If anyone ever tells you anything like that, you might consider running in the opposite direction. However, If you ask me what all of these great kids and teens have in common, I can tell you that they all had a lot of natural talent, they all attended classes very consistently and were extremely focused and committed to learning all they could at every private lesson or class they were in to hone their natural skills, at least with me.
 
They also shared a sense of  “fun” within the structure of the set, which we encourage in each class at our studios.  They were all very open and friendly with one other and any new students every week. Another thing they all had in common were wonderful parents. What I mean by that are parents who cared enough to relocate to Los Angeles, and who cared enough to find quality training and who spent a lot of time networking on their behalf.
 
If you do not have that kind of team, I recommend researching and learning on your own, just what success entails. With access to as much as we have on the Internet, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot obtain the knowledge necessary to reach your goals.

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.”

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Getting your child in showbiz

How To Get Your Child Into Show Business – 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. Read more

Diane Christiansen

How To Get Your Child or Teen Into Show Business – Part 2

There are many ways to go about getting an Agent for a child or teen actor to get them started in show business, 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 MasterTalentTeachers.com 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!

Getting your child in show business

How To Get Your Child or Teen Into Show Business – 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.

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Tips for Aspiring Actors

by: Diane Christiansen

Here are a few tips for aspiring actors. My intention is to provide information that will save many of you time, money and heartbreak.

I love helping actors in any way I can, in fact, my personal goal is to guide every actor I meet to success, with the skills, discipline and techniques they will need to be a professional working actor. If you read everything here, you should have a good foundation upon which to get yourself started. You have to do the rest. No one is going to get your career started like you, because no one can jump-start you.

It’s interesting that since I began teaching over 20 years ago, I have received countless emails from young people, most often under 18, asking all sorts of questions about how to accomplish their dreams, and how to tell their parents they want to be actors, and which course of action will take them to the quickest road to fame. Since these questions are so common, and since I can’t answer them all individually, I’ll post a general answer here:

Fame, fortune, and celebrity, from my perspective, are the wrong reasons for choosing acting as a way of life. Real actors are artists first. They make their choices based on living acting as a way of life, not as a career. For most, it’s a struggle of monumental proportions for which there will be no reward. That fact does not concern the real actor, who has no choice but to continue to find ways to illuminate the life of the human spirit through art, because it must be done.

For the artist, acting is like food, a provision that must be ingested to fully LIVE. Without it, we could not exist. For the true actor, the artist, life is about finding the most fulfilling outlet possible. So when you set forth on this path, I always say “Keep your eye on the Prize, and adopt Acting as a Lifestyle”. Remember, this is a Noble profession and you cannot allow anyone to tell you differently.