Sage’s Awesome Acting Camp- Day 1

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As I approached Burbank, Calif., on the “5” as locals like to call it, I was feeling a bit like a blind person in a fun house. What was going to happen tonight? Tomorrow? The next week? What do I do? How do I structure these three weeks so Sage begins to develop industry relationships? How do I make the most of this expensive adventure? Which I do want to thank everyone who helped make this happen by purchasing a cool Ski. Play. Live. T-Shirt. J

I told myself to trust that the “Awesome Acting” summer camp itself will be enough; that even if she doesn’t have auditions or meetings she will gain so much from this experience. Still, I felt I didn’t have a real gameplan. I hate that. Yet, I tried several times over the past year to ask other mothers about their experience and what they did to help promote their kids. I might as well have been interrogating a criminal mastermind. No one was sharing anything. No one offered guidance and the little info I did glean was always guarded. WTF? Are we going to be competition? It’s not like there aren’t thousands of kids here doing the same thing.

I will therefore be that storyboard for future mothers and fathers that are considering bringing their kids out to Los Angeles to be an actor. Maybe you will learn a few things- what to do; what not to do. Maybe this will turn out to be a total waste of time. Maybe Sage will hate acting and want to be a professional lacrosse player by the fall.

It started when she was a baby. I dragged her to all of my auditions and classes. Little baby Sage in her stroller or car seat. Casting Director Catrine McGregor will tell you how I met her at the Salt Lake International Airport for a private coaching session while she sat stranded for hours in the JetBlue terminal. Sage slept quietly in her stroller. She ski modeled with me and when she was old enough to remember lines she joined my agency (TMG) and started auditioning herself. It just seemed the natural thing to do because I was going anyway. People wondered if I would be able to handle her booking a part in something but not me. I had that one hit hard when we both read for Hallmark’s Christmas Under Wraps and they cast someone else (IOW someone younger) to play her mom. I felt a sting…and then I went kayaking in Oregon, let Ryan take Sage to set while I was gone and I got over it. We both had a blast that day.

This month is all about Sage. Sage has the agent in LA; not me. And that’s just fine. It’s her time. I love watching her work and grow. Robin recommended that she come out and stay a bit so here we are. She referred us to Jack Turnbull and his TheActorSite.com and so we did. From what I saw today- our first day- I couldn’t be happier.

Awesome Acting Camp Summer Intensive

A young girl in her 20s named Amber corralled this bunch. Amber had taken classes from Jack and eventually he trained her to coach there. With kids, your ability to engage is more important than your resume. Of course, parents are going to want to know that the coach knows what he or she is talking about and I can assure you that Amber was spot on.

I was instantly impressed with her ability to connect and be one of the gang while at the same time commanding the level of respect to keep the modest room in check. Controlled mischief. This is class and it’s supposed to be safe and fun. It’s ok to be goofy and laugh and make mistakes. Amber was selective in her feedback so they never felt like they were being lectured. Plus, not everything needed pointing out 24/7.

There are kids from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, LA and Utah of varying levels of experience. Most are here for the entire summer. Only six attended this morning so they had plenty of time to play improv games, talk about commercial auditions, slating and learning lines, and practice auditioning. Sage was nervous on her first day, she told me tonight. The other kids knew each other because they did the camp last week too. And she felt alienated. I didn’t see that. Sage held her own and seemed to be having a lot of fun. She jumped into the games, listened intently to instructions and directions and learned a few things along the way. The class lasted two hours. We met a writer friend of mine for lunch around the corner at sweet little café called Aroma, went grocery shopping at Target then took a nap back at the AirBnB apartment. We would be back at the Awesome Acting Club for one hour at 6 p.m.

Fast Track

The evening “fast track” classes have more seasoned kids in them- and more obnoxious boys. I felt a little sorry for their coach. Each night is a different genre and tonight was improv. The kids were not really understanding the concept; but again she was not quick to critique or interrupt when they got going. For example, one of the first rules of improv is never say, “no” to your scene partners. It’s “yes, and…” One actor says, “Boy it’s hot in here.” And the other better not say, “No it’s not.” You can’t build a scene from there. Instead you wind up with an argument. They should say, “Yes, and my Momma told me when it gets this hot I should stick my head in the freezer.” I heard a lot of nos tonight but the coach left it for discussion after the scene rather than stopping the action and calling them out.

When we got to the apartment our “landlords” had made us a welcome dinner of Pilipino Cajun shrimp. After dinner, Sage voraciously attacked her homework- a chewing gum commercial.

So we made it. Day one of Sage’s Summer of Acting is down and out. And so is she by the way.

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