Pharrell Williams has everyone singing about being HAPPY – yet that’s not always the case when you take an honest look at the heart of young actors. It’s tough out there! And you face a ton of rejection! That’s why Kate Mueth made it her mission to help young people learn how to deal with the emotional rollercoaster ride known as the entertainment business.
Kate Mueth is an actor, director, casting director, choreographer, and founder of The Neo-Political Cowgirls. The inspiration for Neo-Political Cowgirls began with Kate’s desire to branch out and create work for women. She wanted to reach young girls and give them workshops based on a formula that is so mind-blowingly transformative that girls come in one way and leave another.
There is something transformative that happens when we are given permission to tell our story – to be seen, and to be heard. shares Kate. That is where the power of these workshops came from.
Having a sense of power at auditions can make a huge difference, whether you are a young female actor, young male, or in the middle of your career!
To help give NYCastings members a power boost in the area of self-esteem, Kate Mueth shared 5 of her workshop secrets with us…
1. Think of auditions as PLAY time!
I don’t want people to come through the door and lose all organic connection to who they are. They try to be what they think someone else wants them to be. So I transform auditions into let’s meet. Let’s play. Then I give them text to toss around and get the actor on their feet to see what they can do physically. The idea of how we feel about ourselves when we walk through that door is why we see so many unhappy people in this industry, even at the highest level, because there is this continual expectation to be something that we are not. We need to express ourselves more connectedly. Many times it is expected for us to be everything but who we are, and that is at the core of unhappiness.
At Kate’s workshops…
We begin with writing, with journaling. We do a physical relaxation exercise and journal for twenty minutes straight where they can’t put the pencil down. If they are too young to write, or don’t feel confident enough, they can draw or scribble. It is a way to get beyond all the things that are in your mind so they flow out of your mind and on to paper. Then we read through the writing three times as if it wasn’t theirs. Then they pull out the active words, the powerful words, and put it on a piece of paper so they don’t have to share everything personal but can get out words from their individual voice. They aren’t in competition with each other; we aren’t interested in the end result but the process. And to be in that process, they get rooted in their own experience and what they have to offer. To know that what they have to say matters, is important, and is welcome in this place.
3. Embrace your individuality!
In Kate’s classes, in the ages of 8-14, there are girls who come in and are bold and expressive and there are girls who come in with their arms crossed. They are scared ultimately. So Kate works on letting it all be OK in the room.
If you are going out for a film, know that you bring only what you bring into a room. You can’t be in competition with anyone else because you are only you. What you bring to the table is valuable, valid, and worthy. In our workshops, there is this one great exercise called the spectrogram. There is a big piece of tape on the floor. One side means no or never and the other means yes or all the time and the middle means maybe. It starts out silly with a question like – I like Pizza. And, gradually, the comments become more thought provoking like – I am kind, or have many friends, or have talent. We take a look at physically where we are. We notice each other, but don’t judge. We try to practice the rule of no judgment. Not that you have no opinion, just that you aren’t judging whether you are as good as another person. It helps you become interested in differences, versus judging them.
4. Be honest with yourself.
It can’t be about whether you get the role, because that is outside of your control. Ask – Why do I do this? Why do I audition? Is it for a paycheck? Approval? To be famous? What do you want to spend your time on, and how do you get artistic value? It is about creating art, and we all have to figure out what that is. It might be about a paycheck, and that is fine. It might be about getting approval, and that is fine but too. To be happy, whether you are a child or an adult, you have to find connectiveness into why you are doing it can be honest about that.
Meditating helps with this. I give my class a rule that they have to be honest in answering questions. And if they are not going to be honest because they are nervous or don’t want to expose themselves, I tell that that is OK but to note in their head that they are being dishonest. So, in your head, you are not fooling yourself into living a truth that is not really ours. You see that a lot. Even a lot of celebrities, they are unhappy – people at the top of their game who most would be thrilled to have a fraction of their career. You wonder why would someone act that what when there is so much to be gracious for, and that happens when your feet get off the ground, when you are not honest with yourself about why you are acting anymore. Because obviously it is not making you happy.
When you are working on your craft, there isn’t room for dishonesty. It is very much about being in your skin.
5. Create your own work.
I’m a huge proponent of making one’s own work- really at any age. Kids are so intrepid these days I find they are always inspired and should be encouraged to really put their voices out there artistically- writing, making their own stories/plays, choreographing, making films, etc. And this advice is imperative, I feel, for teens, young actors and older women finding there are fewer and fewer roles for them out there. Making your own work is very confidence building.
I go to this quote all the time by Ben Okri Stories help to combat fear, ya know. They make the heart bigger.’ And that is what I find. In telling stories your heart can become bigger, you become more honest, and your career becomes fulfilling. The purity of the joy from making the art makes me stronger, I feel better about myself. I am my own voice. Being my own voice, I am unshakable.
Thanks Kate for helping to make our NYCastings members unshakable!
For more information on Kate Mueth and Neo-Politcal Cowgirls visit:http://www.npcowgirls.org/