Our work as actors is undoubtedly inspired by various life experiences and observations. No two actors are ever the same – THANK GOD! We all have our own reasons and motivations for doing what we do. For an actor pursuing a career in LA it is important to find a support network that resonates with your own journey on every level. Finding an acting teacher who brings out YOUR best whilst inspiring you to BE YOUR BEST is the first step in cementing your unique road to success.
When I first came to LA I found the number of acting teachers in the city incredibly overwhelming. As a formerly trained actor I was looking for an acting coach who would get straight to the point. Primarily a stage actress I knew I needed to direct my focus to learning critical on-camera skills and I wanted an acting teacher who could instantly recognize the techniques I needed to apply in order to book the job.
I quickly found Annie Grindlay, and from the moment class started I knew she was exactly what I was looking for. Her teaching is selfless, no fuss, and completely brilliant. No matter what your level is, I guarantee you that after one class with Annie you will not only feel more confident with your work as an actor, you will be well on your way to booking more work.
If LA is a magical city where anything can happen, Annie Grindlay is the Fairy Godmother who will guide you to your dream destination. With students currently starring in Saturday Night Live and playing the lead in the soon to be released Bohemian Rhapsody she is a constant reminder to all of us that with the right tools our dreams really can come true.
Alixandra: What separates a successful actor from the rest?
Annie: I think what separates them is the difference between being an actor and an artist! The true artist is not content in just regurgitating the dialogue on the page but instead wants to tell the story in their uniquely own way by being creative!
Also success comes from not giving up and not letting a booking rate or callback ratio determine the validity of your talent. That is something you must own and believe in or no one else will. Confidence is sooo attractive so the artist must truly learn his craft so he has something to be confident about.
There are many teachers in this town who believe that all actors are neurotic and insecure and I could not disagree more. My most successful clients sure have the odd moments of doubts sometimes between jobs, but they are minimal and brief. No one is attracted to or wants to work with an insecure artist!
Alixandra: What can an actor do to make the casting process easier?
Annie: If you want to make the casting process easier simply accept the fact that auditions often come in last minute, especially in TV and to be honed enough with your audition skills… especially the skill to prepare with limited time, which is one of the things we teach at my studio!
Also, I had a client who said they get freaked out because they never know what will happen in the room…. such as thinking it is a pre-read and there are producers and the director in the room…. or vice versa. Or not thinking they will be put on tape and then they are… or vice versa again!
I told this actor that isn’t that part of why you chose this profession… because you don’t know what is going to happen? If you had a job answering phones in a cubicle you would know what is going to usually happen all day. In essence, enjoy the excitement of the unknown as opposed to shying from it as the casting process is what it is and there is nothing an actor can do to change that!
Alixandra: How can an actor identify the right roles for them?
Annie: As far as identifying the correct roles, when an actor is watching film and TV, take time to make note of the roles you identify with and the lives you are excited to live! It is also important that you are realistic on what your type is and not to fool yourself as far as age range. Youth is not the only thing that books in Hollywood and you will see many varied types and ages needed to tell every story. One type or age is no more valuable than the other!
Alixandra: Actors come from all around the world to Los Angeles. What’s your advice to someone arriving with an accent?
Annie: I have many clients come to study with me from all over the world, sometimes just coming for the month to take my Intensive as I am told that they can’t find the same audition training where they are from. Ideally they would get some accent reduction before coming to Hollywood but if not that is definitely something to work on upon arriving. It is great that they have their native accent but if they haven’t mastered the Standard American accent at some point it will greatly limit their ability to go out for those roles and agents want to have a broad range of parts they can send their client out for.
Alixandra: Can you share with us a great student success story?
Annie: I have very many success stories but the most recent is for a client I taught for over two years! This actress was amazingly talented but had more training and success in drama so comedy was a somewhat unfamiliar genre for her. But, she kept at it and week after week she kept finding the comedic rhythms, points of view and the physical freedom that comedy requires. I remember so clearly the day she got it and the rest is history. She then began to study at UCB to hone her different characters and develop her one-woman show.
She is now a regular cast member of SNL!
Her name is Ego Nwodim and I could not be more proud of her success!