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Dance-tress Acting Up: Are Workshops Worth It?


Welcome back

I’m not going to lie, I was pretty flattered at how many people actually read my last blog. Such positive feedback! There is so much I want to talk about so this is a great place for me to just blurt out whatever is on my mind. We’ll do this journey together. Feel free to write below if you have similar feelings, disagree, or just want to say hello.

I mentioned in the last blog that I was putting dance and all my extra curricular activities on the sideline and focusing 100% on acting. This year I am here to play the game, and by that, I mean do everything I possibly can to push my career forward. Even things I don’t really agree or believe workshops. I have always heard a lot of mixed feelings on whether they were a scam or a great way to get your face in front of agents or casting directors. I personally have always felt that it was complete bs. Pay to play? Are you kidding me? Everybody already knows entertainers are “starving artists”, but now we have to pay ($30-$100 each one) in hopes of making an ever-lasting impression so they will remember us for the next audition? Of course you don’t HAVE to, but I’m playing the game and considering I’m not auditioning all that much right now it can’t hurt. Well, just my bank account.

So I went to my first commercial workshop the other day and actually enjoyed it. It went like this- the casting director came into the room and introduced himself, gave us all some sides, we left the room and then came in one by one as if it were a real audition. Then we came back in as a group and reviewed the tapes of our mock audition. It was more of an audition practice class I guess you can say. A good time to learn and figure out what did and didn’t work. I genuinely believe the casting director wanted the best from everyone attending. He is a fellow actor himself so he has a general idea of what the audition process is actually like. He was also very gracious and left his email inviting us all to keep in contact with him and ask as many questions as we like. Not too shabby, huh.

The following week I went to another workshop. This was a little different. My scene partner and I had spent quite a bit of time working on a prepared scene. There were 8 casting directors attending. I know it shouldn’t, but it felt like judgment day. If I mess up, I will be blacklisted and never want to be seen again. Everyone will laugh at me not with me. My scene partner will hate me and my teacher will ban me from class. Eh wrong, but that’s how it felt for me. Maybe because it was my first “big” one and I tend to build up stories and standards in my head. I felt pressured and slightly nervous. All of the scenes that went before me were rock star! So of course, I started to second guess myself, ah bad idea. Overall, I think we did a pretty good job. There were some chuckles in the audience. The good kind I believe.

Thank you letters from the workshop.

Thank you letters from the workshop.

I ended up having to leave immediately after my scene to make it to an audition on time. I didn’t have time to get any feedback from my classmates or teachers, which left me anxious the whole rest of the day. Well, Monday afternoon comes by and I get that long awaited feedback email, “Nice job, good look, funny, cute work with the scene, nice job, good connection, nice reveling in power”. Yup, that’s the email, and that’s all it said. Pretty generic responses. I get that they are busy, but I would have liked to have heard something else. Not sure what, but maybe more than “nice job”. That’s something I say to my 5 yr old students when they sort of make their cartwheels on their feet.

I don’t know, I still have mixed feelings on these. I do agree that if you’re not auditioning, it’s a good way to get your name in front of them, but taking off work and paying for a workshop is not ideal. You never know, maybe they are in the midst of casting a project that you are right for. So, I will continue taking one or two a month. I’m playing the game and I HATE losing.

Slightly paranoid.

As a former competitive gymnast/dancer, I will be sharing with you my journey as I transition into acting full time. I want to share my experiences and hopefully give you insight and tips on some things that I wish someone would have told me BEFORE I moved to California to start my journey. Some times, you have to live to learn, but always remember that you're already living the dream. - Caslin Rose