This weekend I traveled to my home state of Nebraska to teach an acting Master Class! I've never been an acting teacher before, so I was super nervous! What kinds of questions would the students ask me? What if I couldn't answer their questions?? Would I be able to give them any help or new information??
I imagined walking into the classroom and having students scoff and whisper. "Who is this chick?? She's like, fifteen and she's going to tell ME how to act, whatever...."
I wondered if maybe I should change my image a bit to look more like a teacher. Maybe I could wear some kind of teacher-ish suit, throw on some glasses, and introduce myself as Ms. Kinney. But I don't have a suit and changing my image was gonna take a lot of time, so I decided to instead spend my time preparing a little lesson.
To start, I went back through a lot of my favorite acting books, and searched through notes I had gotten from cool directors I've worked with like Tina Landau and Michael Mayer. It was nice to revisit the words and help they had given me while putting together some very cool shows! (I always want to throw things away, and I realized that out of all my possesions, notebooks and journals from shows I do are something I must organize and find a way to keep.)
I thought about my first year in New York City, and I tried to put together some inspiration and information that might help student actors in the middle of Nebraska to feel excited and a tad bit more prepared for pursuing professional life as an actor. It was sooooo fun!!!
Despite my hoodie and converse shoes and fifteen-year-old style, the students seemed to really listen to anything and everything I had to say!! They had so many great questions! I also think my lesson went really well! Some of the students even messaged me to say they used a warm-up I showed them!
While on campus with the students, I listened to monologues and songs and attended classes. I even went to a show in the evening. They were soo good. I was very impressed, not just with the talent that I saw in the middle of Nebraska, but also with their eager, positive attitudes.
What a great weekend....I love acting, so talking about and teaching acting is really fun! Plus as a performer, giving advice, and breaking down what you do for someone else really makes you evaluate your own process. I was so excited to work on some of my own scenes for an audition after my weekend of teaching.
I mentioned how much I enjoyed the experience to a friend and he said he teaches some arts programs for high school students around the city, and thought maybe eventually I could help out! Who knows?? Maybe I will start doing more teaching! I still feel like I have to a lot to learn before becoming any kind of full time acting teacher and of course, my favorite thing is to be in shows! But it sure was fun to "play teacher" this weekend.
Just call me Ms. Kinney.
-- Emily Kinney