Category Archives: Acting Class

Commercial Callback Workshop – Week 1

Howdy all!   My awesome agents at Commercials Unlimited have sent me out on some really great commercial auditions in the past few months.  I get a call backed for maybe 4 out of 5 auditions I go out on….but I haven’t booked anything lately

So frustrating.

I was scrolling down posts on twitter the other day (find me at https://twitter.com/JenniferKeller1) and I spotted this tweet:

30% of the Feb Wed. Callback Class has ALREADY BOOKED AND WEEK 4 WAS JUST LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!! OMG CONGRATS CONGRATS CONGRATS!!!!!!

And I knew it was time. Time to take the commercial callback class I have been mulling over for over 6 months.  I immediately called to inquire about the next available class.  Originally I was told it was full, but to call back after the weekend. And you know what?  A spot opened up in the class.

It was a sign.

Let me tell you more about the class.  The commercial callback class is a  4 week, on camera workshop that recreates the different aspects of the callback.  The last week of this class doubles as an actual performance in front of a professional casting director.

I arrived for my first class and I was nervous!  I’ve been acting and auditioning for commercials for years, so I couldn’t believe how jittery I felt.  We started off class as we would with in a commercial callback.  There was a sign in sheet, storyboard of the commercial and sides when I arrived. There were about 15 students in the workshop. We were brought in the audition room in groups of three and then we watched ourselves after everyone had “auditioned”.  Afterwards we officially met Killian. He talked to us about his experiences working at Alyson Horn Casting and gave us some interesting and helpful nuggets about the commercial casting and auditioning process. Now I’m not going to talk about all the ins and outs of this class, you’re going to have to sign up yourself for that, but I will say that it was eye-opening.  And watching myself in an audition setting was oddly calming.  Every actor deals with a little insecurity from time to time, and I think my lack of bookings shook my confidence slightly.  Seeing what I brought to the table in the audition and a couple very fixable mistakes (such as not cheating out to the camera) made me feel empowered.

I can’t wait until the next class.  I can’t wait for my next audition!

For more information about taking this class, visit http://www.killiansworkshop.com/classes.html

 

 

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Monkey Butler Improv

I’ve taken some time off from improv class, but Thursday night I was back in Level 2 class at Monkey Butler, which focuses on the Long Form Improv.

And tonight we worked on a Long Form with organic openings.  Organic openings start off with an emotion suggestion (ie Joy, Fear, etc) and the 6 actors play off each other as the emotion becomes action and evolves.  Afterwards we break into groups of 2 and each group works on an improv scene inspired by our Organic Opening.  Very cool.    I stepped forward an worked on a scene with a guy named Calder.  And I thought our scene was fun!

I also worked on a 2 person scene all about being a doctor, that went particularly well. One of my favorite scenes to date.

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On Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

Tuesday I received a new scene from an untitled film.  My character Leanne is a Charlotte York type character from “Sex and the City”.  This a short scene about a woman who is desperate to have a baby.

Next week I return to class for the “call back” with the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.

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Casting Director Workshop with Danielle Eskinazi

Last night I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Danielle Eskinazi at AIA Actors Studio.  Danielle is a commercial Casting Director that I am been wanting to meet for some time now.

For this workshop Danielle asked that we provide our own commercial copy.  I brought copy from a Marshall’s commercial that is currently airing.  I would love to audition for retails stores like Marshall’s.  It  was nice to connect with Danielle and I hope to audition for her in the future.

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Monkey Butler Improv

Thursday night means Monkey Butler Improv.  Level 2 Improv, which focuses on the Long Form, has been more difficult than Level 1.  Tonight we went back to the basics and worked on characters.  Each student had to stand up front as an individual and explore a bold character. After our instructor, Eric Reaser, felt like we had a bold character he would ask a student to jump up and improv three different types of scenes: A scene with the character at work, at home and at play.

This was a really great exercise.  It forced me to step outside my comfort zone and explore a different type of character.

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Monkey Butler Improv

Tonight I went to Monkey Butler Improv and had a great time.   We worked on a new Long Form Improv Game called “The Armando”.   “The Armando” Long Form starts with a monologue, or story, told by one person in the group.  The monologue or story is told on the spot based on a suggestion given by the audience.  In my favorite scene of the night the monologue was all about hockey and I had this idea to be a pregnant lady at a Hockey Game who runs into her ex.  My scene partner ran with it and we had a pretty darn funny scene, if I do say so myself!

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On Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

Tuesday I returned to class with my great scene from a pilot called “52 Fights”, a single camera comedy scene.  My character, Jennifer, is an insecure newlywed to stops by her husband’s office unexpectedly.

Tonight’s class was ran like a producer’s session.  So I came in to the room with my scene and Christinna served as the producer.   It went really well.

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On Camera Class With Christinna Chauncey

Tuesdays are class nights for this actress and this Tuesday I received a great single camera comedy scene to work on from a pilot script called “52 Fights”.  My character is Jennifer, a newlywed who is ovulating and wants to make a baby with her new hubby right now!

This is a great scene for me.  The character is acting totally neurotic, a joy to play.

Next week I return to class for the “call back” with the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.

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On Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

Tonight in class with Christinna Chauncey I was given a gem of a scene from a drama called “The Dead Zone”.  We have been working on comedy for weeks, which I love, but it was nice to work on such a well written drama.    The character: Sarah Bannerman, a woman who just found out that Johnny, the love of her life who has been in a coma for 6 years, is now awake.   Thinking he would never wake, Sarah has recently moved on with her life.  In this scene, she is visiting Johnny at the hospital.

Next week I will return to class for the “call back”, using the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.

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Agent Workshop

On Thursday night I attended an Agent Workshop at The Network Studio.  The guest agent was David Secor, Director of the Theatrical Department at Daniel Hoff Agency.  Daniel Hoff Agency is a really fantastic agency, so I was excited to have a chance to be seen.

The Network Studio sets up agents nights differently.  Each actor goes in for a quick audition scene and then you’re finished.  No chit-chat, nothing. I used a really funny scene that I worked on in class a couple weeks.  The scene is from “100 questions” where I played quirky Jill.  I felt solid about my performance, and I even spotted David laugh out of the corner of my eye, and that’s all I can ask for.  Let’s just hope that he is looking for my type.

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On Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

Tuesdays I returned to class with a great untitled single camera comedy scene.  I have been working on a lot of multi cam comedies from sitcoms, so the single cam comedy was a big change.  I had to tone down the comedy.

This scene was from an untitled pilot and my character is Jane.  Conservative Jane is upset that her boyfriend doesn’t like the sexy shirt she wore the other night and has gone to her wild friend Paige for advice.

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On Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

Tuesdays are class nights for this actress and this Tuesday I received a great single camera comedy scene to work on.  A single camera comedy is different from a multi camera comedy.  A single camera comedy is not taped in front of a live audience and the comedy is a little more subtle.  An example of a single cam comedy would be “Sex and the City” or “Cougertown”.  An example of a multi cam comedy would be “Friends”

My new scene is from an untitled pilot.  My character is Jane, and her prototype would be Charlotte from “Sex and the City”

Next week I return to class for the “call back” with the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.

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Thursday Night Improv at Monkey Butler

Thursday night I attended Improv class at Monkey Butler.  I am now taking the Level 2 class, which focuses on the Long Form Improv.  

And tonight we worked on a Long Form!  Very exciting.  6 people at a time went to the front of the class.   We received a suggestion and then started a group exercise.  Afterwards we split into groups of two for improv scenes.  I stepped forward an worked on a scene with a guy named Nick.  And I thought our scene was fun!

I’m a little rusty after taking a couple months off improv class to concentrate on Casting Director workshops, so it feels great to be back.  I enjoy learning and working at my craft.

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Jennifer Keller: Comedic Actress

I love working on comedy!  Yet, the only opportunities that I have had to work on comedic scenes are in my on-camera acting class.  My teacher, Christinna Chauncey, always finds the best comedic scenes for me, including this scene from “The Class”.  Take a peak:

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On Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

Tonight in class I was given 2 dramatic scene from an untitled film.  And wow, the second scene is tough.  In my new scene I play Claudia, an irresponsible young mom.  Though irresponsible, she loves her daughter and fights for her.

The reason the second scene is so tough is because I need to go ballistic on a woman who is trying to undermine me.  I have trouble getting angry on film.  So, I really need to work on this.

Next week we return to class for the “call back” with the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.

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Monkey Butler Improv

Tonight I attended Improv class at Monkey Butler.  I haven’t been to an improv class in about 6 months now.  I was in a Level 1 class which I loved, but when my instructor had to take a break from teaching to start an improv class in England, I started concentrating on taking casting director workshops.

Now I am now taking a Level 2 class, which focuses on the Long Form Improv.  This was my first time back at class in months, and wow, did I feel rusty.  But it felt great to be creative and I feel like I am going to start taking improv again!

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On Camera Classes With Christinna Chauncey

Tonight’s class was a lot of fun!  I returned to class tonight with a funny scene from a pilot script called ”100 Questions”.   My character is Jill, who is described as fun and spontaneous with just a touch of dark”.

There are actually 2 scenes for this character, and they are both so funny!  I just really went for it and received a lot of laughs.  I would love to post the footage from this scene, but since it is a pilot there is a chance that it may be picked up for the new fall schedule and I don’t want to get myself in trouble by putting unaired footage out there in cyberspace.

I look forward to next week’s class to see what Christinna gives me next!

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Casting Director Workshop with Christal Karge

Last night I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Christal Karge at AIA Actors Studio.  Christal ia a Casting Director at Cami Patton Casting.  This busy office has cast “The King of Queens” and “Las Vegas”, and is also working on a number of TV pilots.

Christal passed out sides from “The King of Queens”.  In my scene I played Carrie (portrayed by actress Leah Remini).  Instead of trying to copy Leah’s work, I tried to make the character my own, giving her my own spin.  I felt good about my work and my scene partner and I got a couple laughs, so that is always a good sign.

Thanks to Christal for teaching last night!

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On Camera Classes With Christinna Chauncey

After a short break for my Christmas Break, I returned to my weekly acting class with Christinna Chauncey. 

Christinna always pulls the best scenes for me!  We have been working on comedy and tonight she gave me a scene with a great quirky character from a pilot script called “100 Questions”.   My character is Jill, who is described as fun and spontaneous with just a touch of dark”.

Next week I will return to class for the “call back”, using the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.

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On-Camera Make Up Class

I missed class last Tuesday because of a rehearsal for “A Simple Conversation”, so I made up my on camera class on Thursday.  My scene was from “CSI New York”.   

I have been really overwhelmed for a couple weeks now:  rehearsals for the AFI Film, 2 days of filming, moving to a new apartment, finishing up my job at AIA Studios, and starting a new job as an apartment manager.  I prepared my scene for class, but I have to admit, I did not have the time to work on it as much as I usually like to.  So when it was time for me to work on my scene in class, I was a little nervous.  But overall, it went well.  I tripped on  a couple lines, but I just kept going. 

I really enjoy my craft and will look forward to my next scene in class.

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Casting Director Workshop with Freddy Luis

Tonight I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Freddy Luis at AIA Actors Studio. Freddy is a Casting Director at Engine Media Group, a big office casting office.   Freddy gave us great tips for auditioning.  He said that an actor should always know who is going to be in the audition room.  If the writer is going to be in the room, do not change a thing.  And always be confident with your choices.

Afterwards Freddy passed out sides from films he has cast.  I was given tough sides from a Sci-Fi Film where I played a character who was visually half a 60-year-old man and half 20-year-old woman and speaks like a 60-year-old man. This character is a manifestation of the imagination of the main character.  In this scene I was also threatening the main character. Freddy said to be confident with our choices, so  I just went for it.  Hopefully I made a good first impression!

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On Camera Class With Christinna Chauncey

Tonight I returned to class with my comedic scene from “The Class”.  I was excited.  This was a fun scene to work on.  My character, Nicole, has just run into her old flame.  The problem, she is a unhappily married woman now. 

I really enjoy working on comedy.  Christinna has been pulling a lot of great comedy scenes for me to work on.  I want o perfect my comedic skills and I hope to work professionally in a great comedy someday.

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On Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

After a short hiatus for my European Vacation, I returned to my weekly acting class with Christinna Chauncey.  It felt to great to be back, even though there were a lot of unfamiliar faces in class.   

Christinna alway pulls the best scenes for me!  The characters she gives me are the types of roles I would be called in to audition for.  Tonight she did not disappoint and I was given a great scene from “CSI: NY”.   The character: Summer Hamilton, a high spirited, blonde chatterbox from Idaho. Summer is a new applicant to the program who has been sent over to the crime scene to meet Detective Mac Taylor.

Next week I will return to class for the “call back”, using the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.

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Casting Director Workshop with Eric Souliere

Tonight I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Eric Souliere, a casting associate at UDK.  This busy office casts great shows such as “Nip/Tuck” and “The Mentalist”.

When I received my sides for the evening, I was speechless.  I was given sides from “Nip/Tuck”, a show known for its edgy material.  My character was a 40-year-old divorce have a very personal procedure.  It was the dialogue I had trouble saying, I just do not speak that way. Hind sight is always 20/20 and I wish I would have asked for another scene.  But I did not, and I couldn’t even look at Eric in the eyes for a couple of my lines.  That’s the hard thing about casting director workshops.  You never know what kind of scene you are going to get and if it is going to suit you.  You’ve got to make it work.

UDK is such a great office and I really enjoy “The Mentalist”.  I hope I have a chance to read for them in the future.

 

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Casting Director Workshop with Beth Holmes

Tonight I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Commercial CD Beth Holmes. The workshop was at AIA Actors Studio in Burbank.

I audition often commercially, but I have never auditioned for Beth, so I was really looking forward to this workshop.  Beth was great.  Very laid back.  She told us that she had started off as an actor but realized that it wasn’t really her passion.  She had gone to graduate school for theater, but ended up getting her first job in casting through this experience.  Now Beth casts comedic commercials.  Recently she has also opened up her office for theatrical work and cast a pilot.  

Beth passed out sides from various commercials she has cast for a cold reading exercise.  I was paired with another woman in class and was given commercial copy from a McDonald commercial. It was a quirky kind of commercial and I felt really good about my reading. 

Thanks Beth for sharing your expertise!

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Casting Director Workshop with Stacey Rosen

Tonight I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Stacey Rosen at AIA Actors Studio.

Stacey casts the majority of Movies of the Week (MOW) in this Industry.  Many of the films that she casts are seen on the Lifetime and Hallmark Channels.  It was fascinating to hear her journey as a casting director.  And she really broke down step by step what the audition process is like in her office and her likes/dislikes when it comes to actors. Very helpful and interesting.

Stacey was very prepared and had prepped sides for each actor prior to arriving to class.  Each scene was from a MOW she had cast.  I was given a scene from a MOW based on a true story.  In the scene, the character is talking to a therapist about a terrible event that she recently endured. Stacy did not pair us with a partner, instead she read with each actor, just as she would in a casting session.  I received very good feedback from Stacey.  She gave me a couple notes and redirected me for the “second take” and I felt even better about my performance.

I wasn’t going to stay for class because I was feeling SO jet lagged (it was my first day back), but I am so glad that I pushed through it.  Stacey was so informative and I felt great about my scene.  What a nice evening.

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Casting Director Workshop with Dylann Brander

Last night I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Dylann Brander at AIA Actors Studio.  Dylann casts two great shows, “Hawthorne” and “The Cleaner”.

Dylann is awesome.  She made me laugh and I liked her right away.   After Q&A’s, Dylann passed out sides from both shows she casts for a cold reading exercise.  I was given a great scene from “Hawthorne”.  I read for a character named Candy, a nurse with a big heart.  My scene partner and I did well our first read and Dylann did not re-direct us.

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Casting Director Workshop with Sunny Boling

Tonight I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Sunny Boling of Morman/Boling Casting at AIA Actors Studio.

I really liked Sunny right away.  She really enjoys her job and is really funny.  Sunny has been casting for 10 years and formed Morman/Boling Casting with her friend Meg Morman 5 years ago.  

Sunny passed out sides from various film and television projects for a cold reading exercise.  I was given a quirky sitcom scene from an unnamed show.  I’ve been working on my comedy skills and this character was a great character for me . My scene partner and I got a lot of laughs from the audience.  I even heard Sunny laugh out loud, which is a really good sign!

What a great evening.  Thanks to Sunny for braving awful traffic and teaching at AIA!

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Casting Director Workshop with Michael Testa

Tonight I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Michael Testa of Shaner/Testa Casting.

Michael casts for the hit show “Cold Case”.  And it has been my goal to audition for a co-star or guest-star role on “Cold Case” for 2 years now.  So I was excited to meet Michael at AIA.

I could tell that Michael really enjoys his work on “Cold Case”.  He also casts a number of independent features and passed out sides for a mock casting.  The sides were tough for a cold reading, meaning each of us was given about 10 minutes to look over the sides before our performance, but I gave it my best and was actually “cast” in my group.  Yay!

Let’s hope that I get that big auditon sometime this year.  I would love to play a murder victim!

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Casting Director Workshop with Lauren Bass

Tonight I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Lauren Bass of Bass Casting at AIA Actors Studio.

Lauren was really great.  Down to earth and had a lot of great things to say about the Industry. Lauren passed out sides from one-hour dramas that she has cast, but instead of pairing us with someone else in the class, she read with each of us.  I was given a really great scene with a guest star role from the show “Everwood”.  

This character was a good character for me and I felt like I gave a really good cold-reading.  Lauren even said she liked my read and it had a “Bree Van DeKamp kind of feel”.  And I will take that as a compliment!

What a great evening.  Thanks to Lauren for teaching at AIA!

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Casting Director Workshop with Fern Champion

Tonight I attended a Workshop with veteran Casting Director, Fern Champion, at AIA Actors Studio.

Fern is really spunky.  She has cast big films such as “The Mask” and “Eraser”, but now prefers to work with up and coming talent in smaller budget films  and Movies of the Week for Hallmark and Lifetime.

Fern passed out sides from various films she has cast.  I was given sides from a movie called “Blind Date”-funny scene.   I felt good about my reading.

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Hosting Intensive with Kat Raphael

This morning I attended a Hosting Intensive with Casting Director Kat Raphael.  The Workshop was AIA Actors Studio.

In the workshop Kat covered the basics of hosting: the responsibilities of a host, finding your expertise, and incorporating this expertise into promoting yourself.  We were also given time to to prepare a 30 second pitch for ourselves explaining what we felt our brand represents, and what we uniquely brought to the table.  Last we worked on camera in a mock casting session.  Afterwards Kat gave us notes about our pitches. 

This class was very interesting and eye-opening.  I would love to host a show on a great  on a network such as TLC or HGTV.  Also, after walking around on the Entertainment Tonight set, I can help but daydream of the day I might work as a correspondent for ET.  Let’s see what my future holds

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Casting Director Workshop with Cathy Henderson-Martin

Tonight I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Cathy Henderson-Martin at AIA Actors Studio.

Cathy is such a doll.  She is funny and down to earth.  Cathy is working on a 5 picture deal right now and still took the time to teach at AIA. Amazing.  She said that she has been casting for 35 years and has a reputation for finding new talent.

Cathy passed out sides from various films.  I was given sides from a movie called “Monster in Law”.  I never saw this film, but I know it is a comedy.  In the scene my character, Charlotte, has met her menacing mother-in-law for brunch.  It was a treat to work on and I got a few laughs (applying those tips from Nick Anderson’s “Rules of Comedy” class). 

What a great evening.  Thanks Cathy for teaching at AIA!

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Commercial Workshop with Casting Director Michael Sanford

Tonight I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Michael Sanford, a Commercial Casting Director.  The workshop is at AIA Actors Studio in Burbank, CA

I first met Michael about a year ago.  He is a great teacher and a really nice guy.  He makes everyone feel at ease.

Michael passed out sides from various commercials that he has cast.  I was given sides from a Budweiser commercial and paired with another person in the class.  The scene was funny, a guy trying to hit on a girl at a party.  I enjoyed reading this scene in class was received some nice feedback from Michael.  I hope he will keep me in mind for future projects.

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On-Camera Acting Class

Tuesday night means On-Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey.   Tonight I returned with my scene from “The Wedding Belles”.    In this scene I play Amanda, a frantic bride who is on the verge of a meltdown minutes before she is supposed to walk down the aisle.  I arrived for class in a white sundress and veil! This was a cute scene and a treat to work on.

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Tuesday Night Acting Class

On Tuesday I attended my On-Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey.  We have really been hitting the comedy, which I love!  Tonight’s class was no different.  Christinna gave me a short scene for a  TV show called “The Wedding Belles”.  It was a really cute show that came out about a year ago, but only lasted a handful of episodes.  In this scene I play frantic bride, Amanda, who is on the verge of a meltdown minutes before she is supposed to walk down the aisle.  I am really looking forward to returning to class next week with this one.

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On-Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

On Thursday I returned to class with my memorized scene from a one hour drama called “Glory Days”.  My character’s name is Jenny Taylor, a “beautiful young woman…quirky, clumsy, neurotic,  feisty…all the qualities that define adorable”.

I love this scene and I felt good about my performance.  I just adore this type of character and would be insanely lucky to be cast in this type of role.

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Make Up Class

Because I was out of town last week for my cousin’s wedding, I missed my on-camera acting class.  So on attended the Thursday Night class and returned with a prepared scene from “Shark”.   The Scene: Guest Star, Amanda Sellers, is a former dating violence victim who is testifying against her ex-fiance. The fiance is accuse of murdering his current girlfriend, who strongly resembles Amanda. 

I felt a strong connection to this character, due to the subject matter, and for this reason I felt like I delivered a great scene.  In fact, Christinna Chauncey told me that the scene was “excellent” and she would not change a thing.  That is the first time she has said something like that to me. It felt good to be recognized for my work.  I really do enjoy what I do.

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On-Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

This Tuesday in class I was given a wonderful scene from a 1 hour “dramity”!   My new scene is from “Glory Days” and my character is Jenny Taylor, a woman who has just run into the man who broke her heart 10 years ago and also wrote a tell-all book about her and the small town that they lived in. 

This is a wonderful scene for me.  Wonderfully quirky and awkward.  Christinna always gives us a good 20 minutes to look over our cold reading scenes before we work on camera.  I really worked on trying to find the quirkiness in this character because I did not want to come across as being nasty.  As for my cold read, it felt great!  I received some really nice commentary from Christinna.  In fact she said I was “wonderfully dorky”.  One of my classmates even said that he was very familiar with the scene and that was the “best time cold reading interpretation he had ever seen”!  Wow!  What a compliment.  I walked out feeling fantastic! 

Next week we return to class for the “call back” with the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.

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Last Week of “The Rules of Comedy” with Nick Anderson

Tonight was the last week of the Comedy workshop with Casting Director, Nick Anderson at AIA Actors Studio in Burbank, CA.  

Nick went over the last 4 of the 8 comedic devices in comedy. Afterwards, he passed out scenes and asked us to dissect the jokes and pick out the the ‘triplet” and the comedic device.  Then we worked on the jokes and talked about why we made each choice. 

I have really enjoyed this workshop and have learned a lot about making comedic choices.  I look forward to using this knowledge in future comedic acting scenes.

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Crime Drama Series w/ Casting Associate Christine Szaras

Tonight I attended a Casting Director Workshop with Christine Szaras, Casting Associate with Rick Millikan Casting.  The workshop is at AIA Actors Studio in Burbank, CA

Christine’s office is currently casting the series Bones starring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz. Bones is casting for their 5th season and has already been picked up for a 6th.  Casting started today.

Right away I liked Christine.  First off, she was wearing a Cleveland Indian’s hat and is from the Cleveland area, as am I!  Second, she has a really cool, laid back personality.  I bet she is a lot of fun to work with.

Christine passed out sides from “Bones” for us to work on.  In my scene I played guest star “Alice Milner”.  I felt pretty good about my cold read and am pleased I decided to take the class.

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Week 2 of the Rules of Comedy with Nick Anderson

Tonight was Week 2 of the Comedy workshop with Casting Director, Nick Anderson.  The workshop is at AIA Actors Studio in Burbank, CA.  

Nick went over 4 of the 8 comedic devices in comedy. Afterwards, he passed out scenes and asked us to disect the jokes and pick out the the ‘triplet” and the comedic device.  Then we worked on the jokes and talked about why we made each choice. 

This class is fascinating.  Nick talked about how he can tell the difference between a smart actor and an actor who is ‘accidentally funny”.  And as a Casting Director, he wants to work with a smart actor because they are reliable.

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On-Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

This Tuesday in class I was given another great theatrical scene!   My new scene is from “Shark” and my character is Amanda Sellers, a former dating violence victim testifying against her ex-fiance. The fiance is accuse of murdering his current girlfriend, who strongly resembles Amanda. 

This is a very good scene.  As a proponent for the awareness of dating violence, I felt a strong connection to this scene.  I also received great feedback from Christinna.   Next week we return to class for the “call back” with the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.

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Week 1 of the “Rules of Comedy” with Nick Anderson

Tonight I started a 4 week Comedy workshop with Casting Director, Nick Anderson.  The workshop is at AIA Actors Studio in Burbank, CA.  Before opening his own office, Nick worked with many top casting houses including Junie Lowry-Johnson Casting (True Blood, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, Big Love, Dirty Sexy Money, Prison Break) Dava Waite (My Name is Earl, Yes Dear!)  and many others.

Tonight Nick went over the 6 different “triplets” in comedy, meaning the 6 different ways that writers set up the jokes in comedy.  As an comedic actor, it is imperative to know how to pick out the “triplet” in order to master the jokes.

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Tuesday Night Acting Class

On Tuesday I returned to my on-camera class with my memorized scene from “Girlfriends”. In this scene, I play Susan, an editor at a top publishing company who is trying to publish a book written by series regular, Maya. Susan loves to book, but is under a lot of pressure to make changes to the book to make it “appeal to the broadest possible audience”. She needs Maya to go along with the changes so that she can keep her job and have the book published. Maya is very assertive about her views of the changes, so comedy ensues!

I really enjoy my class with Christinna Chauancey. She challenges me to go new places in my craft. We are fine-tuning my comedic skills and I really appreciate Christinna’s expertise. I felt great about my scene and enjoyed watching it in the playback.

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On-Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

This Tuesday in class I was given another great comedic scene!  I am thrilled to be working on comedy.  My new scene is from the sitcom “Girlfriends” and my character is Susan, a hip NY editor.  The episode is entitled “New York Unbound”.

After the cold reading exercises, my classmates and I watch our scenes in class.  I have to say, as much as I enjoy my craft, it is hard to watch myself on camera.  I am my worst critic, picking on everything from my hair to the look on my face when I’m saying my lines.  That’s why this on-camera class is so interesting.  I’m learning what works and what does not work on camera. 

Next week I will return to class with the scene memorized.  I will work on the scene on-camera and Christinna will give me a couple things to “play with”.  I can’t wait!

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On-Camera Class

Class with Christinna Chauncey on Tuesday was great!  I returned to class with my memorized scene from “Boston Legal”.   In this scene, I play Sarah, a lawyer, who is being hit on by the opposing counsel.  While she has tried to be polite in the past, in this scene she decides to play his game to “get even”.

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On Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

Tuesday night I was back in class with Christinna Chauncey.  I was given a great scene from the hit TV show “Boston Legal”.  In this scene I play Sarah, in an episode entitled “Finding Nimmo”.   After our cold reading exercise, we watch the scenes in class. 

Next week we return to class for the “call back” with the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.  I am really excited to return with this scene.  It is a funny one.

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On-Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

Tuesday nights I take on-camera classes with Christinna Chauncey.  Last week I was given a great scene from the TV show “Bones” for a cold reading exercise.  This week I returned to class with the same scene memorized for a “call back”.  

After my on-camera read, Christinna gave me a couple adjustments that I might hear in the audition room.  First she asked me to read the scene as “a woman who loves being a woman”.  The second time she asked me to read the scene as “a damsel in distress”.  Afterwards we watched the scenes in class.   It was really interested to watch the 3 different takes of my scene on camera, and to hear the feedback from my classmates.  I am definitely going to take that exercise with me on my auditions this week.

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On-Camera Class with Christinna Chauncey

Jennifer Keller and Christinna Chauncey

Jennifer Keller and Christinna Chauncey

Tuesday night I was back in class with Christinna Chauncey.  It was great to be back in class and working on-camera.   The first and third class date of the session, we work on cold reading.  I was given a great scene from the TV show “Bones” where I play Karen Anderson, a guest star in an episode entitled “The Man in The Wood Chipper”.  After our cold reading exercise, we watch the scenes in class.  While watching my scene, I was quickly reminded why to stay away from white in auditions. 

Next week we return to class for the “call back” with the same scene, dressed appropriately for the character.

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Monkey Butler Class and Farewell

Thursday night I went to my weekly Improv class.  Only this week was very different because it was Sean Hancock’s last class.  Sean Hancock is our trusted Monkey Butler Instructor.  He has been invited to start a Monkey Butler Improv Troupe/Class in England and Spain and will be leaving for Europe for 5 months!  While I am very excited for Sean because of this amazing opportunity, I am disappointed he will be leaving because he is a wonderful teacher. 

As always, class was great!  The Improv exercises we worked on were “Freeze Tag”,  “You Seem…”, and “4 Person Scenes”.   The “4 Person Scene” exercise was really great.  It was all about relationship, relationship, relationship! In this exercise, 4 people were called to the front of the class and each person was given a situation or relationship to start off with.  Then Sean would ask us to “rotate” and we would have to start a new scene with a new person.  Throughout the whole exercise, Sean would call out “rotate” and we would have to pick up where we left off.  Super fun!

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Thursdays = Monkey Butler Improv

Once everyone arrived for class, we got right to work.  The Improv exercises we worked on were “Zip, Zap, Zop”, “Space work in 2 Person Scenes”, “Freeze Tag” and “Ba-Da-Ba-Da”.   It was great to concentrate on “space work” in the 2 person scenes.  “Space work” refers to setting up an acting in the scene before dialogue.  For instance, in my scene I was cutting vegetables, one of my classmates started cleaning the floor on his hands and knees, yet another classmate starting a lawnmower.  This was a great exercise.  I really need to be more aware of “space work” in my scenes.  I am still semi-new to Improv, I’ve only been in class for about 3 months, but I feel like I am growing every week!

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Monkey Butler Improv

Thursday night I went to Improv at Monkey Butler.  I missed class last week, and it was great to be back!  The exercises we worked on were “Go”, “Two Person Scenes” and “Freeze Tag”.

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Improv Class at Monkey Butler

Thursday night I attended my weekly Improv class at Monkey Butler.  I was pleasantly surprised when my teacher, Sean Hancock, invited me to perform in the student showcase at Monkey Fest, the monthly Improv Show.  As flattered as I was by the invitation, I decided to hold off until I have a little more Improv training under my belt.  Sean said he would follow up with me for next month’s show.  Very exciting!

Once everyone arrived for class, we got right to work.  The Improv exercises we worked on were “Zip, Zap, Zop”, ”GO!”  (Improv scenes)  and “Beastie Rap”.   I really enjoyed “GO!”.  In addition to the 2 people who started the scenes, anyone in class could “jump” in fill in a character as needed.  I really enjoyed that.  It was fun to bring a little color to the scenes as needed!

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Thursday Night Improv

On Thursday night I had a great time in Improv class at Monkey Butler.  There were a lot of new people in class, so each of us were given a  chance to introduce ourselves and tell why we were taking Improv.  The main reason I am taking Improv is to open myself up more in commercial auditions.  Most commercial auditions do not consist of scenes with a lot of dialogue, instead you are given a situation that you the actor must create, then end with one or two lines of copy.  This is why Improv is so important! 

I’ve been taking Improv at Monkey Butler for a little over a month and I am getting more comfortable with it!  The exercises we worked on in class were  “What Are You Doing?”, ”Three Person Scenes”  and “Freeze Tag”.

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Monkey Butler Improv

Thursday night I had Improv class at Monkey Butler.  I just love this class.  I arrived feeling a little bummed, and it lifted my spirits.  My good friend and fellow actor Tawny Metes has also been attending Monkey Butler regularly.  In class we worked on  “Zip, Zap, Zop”, “Two Person Scenes”  and “Freeze Tag”.   I may even check out the “Monkey Butler Fest” in Pasadena this weekend.

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On-Camera Classes with Christinna Chauncey, Week 8

Jennifer Keller and Christinna Chauncey

Jennifer Keller and Christinna Chauncey

In last night’s class I participated in a mock Network Session.  Again, I was “called back” for the role of  Samantha Cross, a series regular in a pilot called “Conspiracy”.  There were a number of people in the room who served as “studio execs”.  It  was exciting to watch the tapes and see how much my classmates and I have grown into our roles over the past couple weeks.  What a neat experience this has been.

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On-Camera Classes with Christinna Chauncey, Week 7

Jennifer Keller in class with Christinna Chauncey

Jennifer Keller in class with Christinna Chauncey

 

Last night in class, I participated in a mock producers session with my classmates serving as the producers.   I was “called back” for the role of  Samantha Cross, a series regular in a pilot called “Conspiracy”.  Samantha Cross is a great character, a driven attorney at a prestigious law firm who has just won her first big case.  However, after the sudden suicide of one of the top scientists at the pharmaceutical company that Sam represented, she finds her caught up in a cover up. 

After the “call back” my classmates and I watched the footage and Christinna gave notes.  Next week is the big mock Network Screen Test.  The room will be filled with “studio execs” to give us a sense of what it is like to audition for the network.  This is going to be a great experience!

 

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Thursdays mean Monkey Butler Improv

On Thursday night I went Improv at Monkey Butler.  We worked on 3  important things in Improv: 1) Choosing a Point of View or Emotion 2) Making a Physical Adjustment 3) Understanding your “location” .  The exercises we worked on highlighted using these 3 concepts.

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Thursday Night Improv at Monkey Butler

My friend Tawny Mertes and I went to Improv class at Monkey Butler last night.  What a great class.  The exercises we worked on were “Go”, “Beastie Boys Rap”, and “Two Person Scenes”.   Improv is even more fun with a friend.

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