This blog serves to give acting ideas and advice to actors of all ages, especially young ones. This blogs author is J.T. Turner, actor, director, teacher and member of AEA, SAG and AFTRA. I hope you find the posts useful, and please pass along the blog address to anyone you think might benefit from it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


One of the big issues I have with many actors is that they can be indulgent. (Shocking, no?) By this I mean that an actor can sometimes take their lines as being more precious than they are. All deference to writers, but not every line has the same weight within the body of a play. It is important to keep a brisk pace, except where a director or actor makes a conscious choice to slow the tempo down.

Too often I have seen actors treat all of their lines as having equal weight and importance, and often they drag them out. And if we have 2 actors, or a stage full of actors doing it, it makes for a looooooooong scene or show.

So an acting exercise that many directors, teachers and coaches use is the idea of the waiting taxi. No matter your scene, see what would happen to the tempo if you pretended a cab just pulled up for you, honked, and now is waiting. Suddenly all your lines have a time constraint to them, suddenly there is new energy and purpose to the lines. This may not be the way you deliver the lines in the actual show, but the testing of new pacing and speed may be just what you need to find a better tempo in a scene.

Oh and to make a really interesting adjustment, try having that taxi waiting, but try to still keep your lines careful and deliberate, like you want to get to the taxi, but only have this one chance to get the conversation right and clear before you dash off. Again, new dimensions to the work.

So, what are you waiting for? The meter is running!

                                   THE ACTORS SENSEI
                          Acting and speech lessons for all ages

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


AEA LogoAFTRA logo

Hello readers! Today I am blogging a bit about Unions and preforming. I often get the question from fellow actors and performers, "Should I join the Union?" or "How do I join?".Lets start with what the Unions are and go from there.

Let's start with the Screen Actors Guild, called SAG. To be eligible to join, there are three ways. First, having a a speaking role in a SAG film, commercial or TV show. Or by working as a SAG-covered background player at SAG rates for at least three days, or by being a member of a sister Union,  (ACTRA, AEA, AFTRA, AGMA, or AGVA), for a year, and being a principal performer in that Union at least once.

For TV and Radio, there is the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). You can join simply by paying a fee.

For the stage, we have the AEA or Equity Union. Performers can qualify to join Equity by securing employment under an Equity contract; by being a member of a sister union (SAG, AFTRA, AGMA, AGVA, or GIAA) for at least one year and working as a principal, as an under-five, or for at least three days as a background player under that union's jurisdiction; or by working 50 weeks as part of the Equity Membership Candidate Program.

This is a simple breakdown, be sure and visit the sites of the Union you are interested in for more info, and of course, the list of fees. They all have fees, some pricing is rather daunting!

Next Blog, " To Join or Not To Join".

                              J.T. Turner, The Actors Sensei

Friday, April 1, 2011

Some Inspiration

Several years ago I befriended a Writer/Illustrator on Livejournal. We shared a lot of passions; comic books, Tolkien, Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, C. S. Lewis, dietCoke. James A.Owen has had a remarkable life and career, and is perhaps best known for his series of books called The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, which started with the best seller Here There Be Dragons. Ok so why am I mentioning that in an acting blog?

I have written several times about inspiration. Inspiration is a muse that needs to be fed constantly. Especially as performers, we must try constantly to stay in the positive creative zone that makes our work great, and puts us at our best. I preach staying in that zone by surrounding yourself with good people, watching great plays and movies, and reading inspiring books.

James has released a downloadable book, simple format, way underpriced, where he relates a bit of his life and philosophy. It is a fast read, and a compelling one you will feel driven to complete. The work is; Drawing The Dragons; A Meditation on Art, Destiny and the Power of Choice. It is a great piece, and I recommend it to all of you. I also recommend you share it with any High Schooler, or Middle Schooler you know. It is great for adults, don't get me wrong, but so inspiring I want kids  to read it as well. The link is below:



J.T. Turner
The Actors Sensei