How Improv Can Help You!

If you want to lose weight, you should probably hit the gym as part of your weekly routine. If you want to be a working actor, you should definitely make Improv Class a regular part of your weekly activities.

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“Why, Lisa?”,  you might screaming,  “I’m not a COMEDIAN, I’m an ACTOR. What could I possibly get from taking an IMPROV class?”

A common misconception is that Improvisation is all about trying to be funny - in many places it is, but that was not the original idea. Viola Spolin, who taught at “The Young Actors Company” in Hollywood in the 1940’s before heading to Chicago and changing Improv’s trajectory forever, is largely credited for coming up with many of the Improvisation games and exercises that are still taught today.  They were her creative answer for getting students to listen better, to look at each other, to connect deeper, or to be more truthful on stage. The games ended up being very entertaining because they were inherently ‘alive’. Leaving the scripts behind gave the actors the freedom to explore their characters and create entire worlds in a way that had not been explored before.

Good Improv is funny because it’s honest. It was never Viola Spolin’s intention for the word “Improv” to be synonymous with “Comedy” or “Stand Up”.

SO, after all these years and iterations of what Improv has become, is it still a helpful tool for an actors’ belt?  YES!!! AND…here is how I use it every day as an actor and auditioner in Los Angeles:

  1. I am able to make all kinds of offers at an audition or on a set:  I see far too many actors waiting for the director to do their job for them.  I know I can come up with an endless amount of ways to say this line and I’m not scared to try them all out. A director knows that I can take direction to an extreme and not worry about doing it wrong or too big or too weird. Improv class is my gym where I practice being ridiculous, I make ‘bad pancakes’, I find out where my own edges are - how far I can go.

  2.  I remain still inside of chaos: No matter how crazy an audition gets or if the set is crumbling behind me - I have a leg up on others because I’ve practiced just being alive in this moment and keeping my wits about me.

  3. I know its a waste of time to apologize to directors for ‘mistakes’:  I know to just move on and do it again the way it needs to be done. (I see this a lot at auditions and on set where an actor is so apologetic it makes everyone nervous.  Just move on!)

  4. I have an array of tricks at the ready in my basket: You want me to sing? You want me to go really slow? No facial movement whatsoever? Be uptight? Be Shakespearean? Do an accent I am no good at? I’m up for anything.

  5. I make an offer to you, you offer back: It’s ping pong. That’s how I work with a director, I can give her lots of choices - even if she doesn’t like each one I know it might help her to narrow down what she’s looking for.

  6. I have an innate sense of story and ensemble: I play well with others and know how to find the fun. Improv, like Acting, is not a competitive sport. We all make each other look good.

  7. I say “Yes” to whatever or whoever comes my way.: I don’t have to be defensive of my choices, I can find a way to work with anyone to make a win-win situation.

I have taught literally hundreds and hundreds of Improv games in my lifetime. I have also made up hundreds of games because I need to solve issues with students everyday.  I know, because of Improv, that I am endlessly creative. I love helping anyone see that they have a never ending font of creativity inside them as well.

Improv has made me a better teacher, a better actor, a better poet, a better wife, a better human, and a better listener. So go ahead...sign up for an Improv class and see what is does for you!

Lisa Fredrickson is an actress who has appeared on The Guild, Desperate Housewives and Greek. She currently teaches Youth Improv Intensive at Keep It Real Acting Studios. Sign up now to work with her in our July Sessions!



Commercial Tune Up


As actors, we tend to have considerable downtime. You know, those days between jobs. 

But just because you’re between jobs, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working on your career.

Smart actors make good use of that time. It’s a great opportunity to give your career  a commercial tuneup.

What’s a commercial tuneup? It’s updating your materials and keeping your skills sharp by practicing them.

For instance, when was the last time you got a new headshot? Do you still look like the person in your current headshot? If not, time to get new ones. 

Is your resume up-to-date? Both on the back of your head shot, and at all online services. Did you list that movie you shot with your brother-in-law? Make sure it’s on there.

And get into a good class. Your skills won’t stay sharp unless you keep them sharp.

Think about it: athletes, musicians, dancers, singers, performers of all kinds  practice their art even when they’re not being paid for it.

You should be no different.



Introducing The Business Of Acting Online...

I am so excited to have The Business of Acting Online Course launch on my birthday. I can think of no better present for myself than to share the tips and tools I've acquired during my 40+ years in the business with actors across the country.

For years I have been teaching commercial and theatrical acting technique to Angelenos at all stages of their careers. During this time, I have noticed that the acting skills and techniques students were learning did not necessarily translate to the business skills requisite to land acting jobs.

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I started taking time out of class to tell actors how to make connections and get themselves noticed. I even started reaching out to agents to suggest they meet certain stand out actors in class. As I worked to champion each student's career, the gap between acting training and business training became more and more transparent.

I have had and continue to have a very active career, partly because of a great team of agents and managers, and also because I continue to market myself and find ways to stay on people's minds.

In the beginning of my career, I did all kinds of things to get known in town, such as writing letters to producers, handing my headshot to personal assistants and dropping my Film Studios just to say "hello". Of course, the film industry has evolved since I first arrive in Los Angeles, and I have had to adjust to the ever changing business while maintaining the creativity and drive I needed to originally grow my business. With hopes that my students could do the same, I started teaching my Business Of Acting Class.

The first time I taught the course, I spoke out of a two and a half inch folder for four and a half hours, but still felt I hadn't covered all the material I needed to cover. Throughout the years, the folder grew thicker as the material grew larger, and I soon determined that the best way to share as many acting business insights with as many actors would be to create an online Business Of Acting Course!

The information in the online course is streamlined to target actors' exact needs. It covers everything from resumes to getting an agent to cultivating the relationship with the one you have to effective marketing tools.

I love helping actors and seeing how they apply these tools towards a big win. It happens daily! Emails and phone calls from actors who acquired new agents or took the perfect headshots or were called into audition for a casting director after sending them postcards...

Nothing feels better than hearing THIS STUFF WORKS and I look forward to hearing how THIS ONLINE COURSE WORKS FOR YOU!

Judy Kain is an actress, acting and business teacher in Los Angeles, California. She has appeared in over 400 commercials. Her theatrical credits include Hand Of God, The Odd Couple, Mad Men and The Fosters. Learn more about The Business Of Acting Online HERE and her book, I Booked It HERE.




The 3 BEST Ways To Stay On Casting's Radar!

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Actors always wonder “Why am I not getting more auditions?”

And I always wonder"what are you doing to make that happen?"

The truth is most actors work very hard to get an agent, but once they do, they rest on their laurels and wait for auditions to pour in.


You certainly can do this, but a more proactive method is to develop relationships with casting. I am not suggesting you become their best friend, but DO get your photo, name and work in front of casting as often as possible, and believe me your auditions will increase.




Here are the 3 most effective ways to get your work in front of Casting Directors:

1. Postcards: Inexpensive and effective way to announce, introduce, inform or stay in touch. The postcard should have a photo of you, contact information and news that they should know. Examples include:

  • I am working

  • I am studying (Where and with whom)

  • New agent ( within a year is new)

  • New manager  ( within a year is new)

  • New headshots  ( within a year is new)

  • Great achievement ( hiked a mountain, Graduation, Baby, Marriage etc)

For more info regarding postcards, check out I BOOKED IT


Actors always ask if they should send a thank you after an audition, and I say NO!

It looks too desperate. You want to create the illusion that this was one of many audition you had this week. However, you can send a thank you to the CD office and let them know how wonderful the session director ( name them )was for the audition ( name it ) and congrats on having a wonderful casting team.


Always include your photo in the form of business card or postcard so they remember who you are.


3. Social Media

Social media is another excellent way to be seen. Many CD’s have public accounts on facebook, twitter, and or instagram.Here are a few tips on how to stand out on social media:

  • Be a real person: Post about your dog, your kids or your baseball team on your personal page, and find ways to relate to castings’ posts on their public pages.

  • Be supportive: Share a photo on a set with another actor and talk about how wonderful it was to work with them rather than talk about how great you are.

  • Respond to posts in lieu of “liking”. Likes will go unnoticed, but casting may remember a funny or sweet comment on their page.

  • Congratulate CD's on their good work: Check out there websites for new commercials and let them know in a tweet or message how artful there casting choices were.  Acknowledge their accomplishments rather than constantly asking for auditions. Say something supportive, but do not be a suck up!

Commercial heavy events like the Superbowl and the Olympics are the perfect times to congratulate. Find out who cast the top 15 spots and get busy.

Good luck and see you on set!

Judy Kain is an actress, author and acting teacher in Los Angeles, California. She has appeared in over 400 commercials. Theatrical credits include recurring parts on The Fosters, The Odd Couple, Hand Of God, and Mad Men. For more information on networking and marketing, sign up for Judy's Business Of Acting Workshop.




Resolutions For The New Year

Judy Kain is an actress in Los Angeles, California.

Judy Kain is an actress in Los Angeles, California.

Happy 2018! For many actors, the the New Year and New Year’s Resolutions go hand in hand. Starry eyed hopefuls will imagine networking more, plan to nail every audition, and decide to look into that commercial class they have heard so much about. Unfortunately, keeping these resolutions is not always as easy as dreaming them up...not without the proper guidance.


The first step to keeping your resolution is to treat acting as a business and yourself as the CEO of said business. With this in mind, I have developed a system that enables actors, like myself, to accomplish small manageable goals in a clear and concise manner. I call this the Actor’s Business Plan. Give it a try and see how it works for you!


How to Write An Actor’s Business Plan:


Trim down your business plan to the absolute minimum. Do your best to omit unnecessary words and communicate your objective and strategy with minimal clutter.

1.    Describe The Struggles/Challenges You Are Having Right Now (no agent, not enough bookings, etc) Aim high, but also be realistic.

2.    Your Solution Where do you see your career going? What is the best case scenario? (to save money as I make my living acting. Or to get a recurring role on a hit sitcom)

3.    Business model Create a plan to accomplish your goals. (I will need to make $10,000 a month to live the way I want to in 5 years)

4.    Target Market With whom do you you need to network? Come up with a list of industry professionals (agents casting directors, producers etc) who could help you attain your goals and the ways in which you can meet them.

5.    Competitive Advantage What makes you special? Do you speak Spanish? Are you very funny?  Find ways to let your target market know you have these skills. (Skill clips, Video, website etc.)

6.    Management Team Who is helping you achieve your goals and do you need to gather more people on your team? Teams may include teachers, coaches, publicists, web designers, etc.

7.    Financial summary What does it look like now and where you want it to be? This is a cost breakdown of what you need to invest in ( classes, tapes, etc), and how you expect to make it back.

8.    Funding Required Establish a way to make the money requisite to fund your plans for the business. (Get a job, find donors, etc.)

Once your resolutions are set and the Actor’s Business Plan is written, start tracking your results. Compare the number of auditions you had before and after your new headshots, write down the casting directors you have met and the amount of times that have called you in, and make a list of interactions you have had with your agent.

Endeavor to be all that you can be in 2018. Create your Actor’s Business Plan and you will be a whole lot closer to making your resolutions a reality!


About the author:

Judy Kain opened Keep It Real Acting Studios in 2012. She teaches The Business Of Acting, Wednesday Workouts, Advanced Callback and A-Z Commercial Technique. Judy currently plays Lauren on The Fosters.



The KIRA Bunch: Meet Judy Kain

Here's the story of a lovely Judy who was running a Studio of her own! She had booking tips like no other, which she shared with all boys and girls...She truly is the Alice that keeps our KIRA Family together. Right on! Before you book it out of here, let's learn more about the groovy booking queen who has starred in over 400 commercials, movies and television shows. Can you dig it?

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Name: Judy Kain

Classes: Advanced Callback Class, A-Z Commercial Class, The Business Of Acting, Wednesday Workouts

Favorite Class Memory: Running into a student at an audition, and having him tell me he booked 9 commercials after taking my class. I love seeing my students succeed!

Favorite Holiday Tradition: Walking around tree farms with my son and cutting down our tree.

Hopes For The New Year: That my students continue to work hard and up their booking rates!

Follow Judy (and KIRA) on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram, and learn more about Judy HERE!



The KIRA Bunch: Meet Hannah Cooney

Here's the story of Hannah Cooney...she has golden hair like the Brady Mother...she's truly a far out girl. Golly, this actress and social media coordinator sure is cherry! Want to learn more about her? We'll clue you in...

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Name: Hannah Cooney

Classes Taken This Year: Advanced Callback, A-Z Commercial Class, The Business Of Acting, Castable Actor

You Know Her From: Wednesday Workouts, Kids Commercial Class, Teens Commercial Class, Next Step

Favorite Class Memory: I loved applying what I learned in class to auditions and meetings. Right after taking classes, I signed with my commercial agent! My favorite memory from the kids classes is singing, dancing and improvising with the kids. 

Favorite Holiday Tradition: Opening one present and then watching A Child's Christmas In Wales with my family on Christmas Eve, cooking with my mom, sledding with my friends and family.

Visit IMDB to learn more about Hannah!





The KIRA Bunch: Meet Tremayne Woodard

Here's the story of a Tremayne Woodard...Gosh, is this chick talented! She is a cool actress, worker, basketball player, all around hip person. Here's the rest of her story...

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Name: Tremayne Woodard

Classes Taken This Year: Advanced Callback, Mastering The Theatrical Audition

You Know Her From: Wednesday Workouts, Kids Commercial Class, Next Step

Favorite Class Memory: Watching my classmates do their dancing auditions in Advanced Callback Class.

Favorite Holiday Tradition: Watching movies with my family after Christmas dinner.

Hopes for the New Year: To book more theatrical work!



The KIRA Bunch: Meet Donna Rusch

Here's the story of a talented lady who was working with some very lovely kids...Donna Rusch sure is swell. Not only is she a far out actress and teacher, but she is a dynamite paddle boarder! Boy, are we excited for you to learn more about her...

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Name: Donna Rusch

Classes: Next Step & Kids Commercial Class

Favorite Class Memory: The crazy unpredictable energy! A five-year-old boy once said to me, "You're pretty. But you need some lipstick."

Favorite Holiday Memory: Decorating the tree, eating Christmas dinner as a family, and celebrating the New Year with my daughters and husband!

You can follow Donna on Twitter & Instagram, and learn more about her work HERE.





The KIRA Bunch: Meet Paul Hungerford

Here's the story of Paul Hungerford...This sweet sweetheart will always be your friend. Just join him for an improv class or a commercial class or just keep reading to learn more about him!


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Name: Paul Hungerford

Classes: Improv-A-Thon, Daytime A-Z Commercial Class

Favorite Class Memory: I love watching how my classes bond over the course of the 6 and 8 weeks they are together. It's also so rewarding watching their final performances and remember how much everyone has grown!

Favorite Holiday Tradition: Spending as much time with my girls as possible! There's something so magical about experiencing the holidays with my daughters.

Follow Paul on Twitter & Instagram, & learn more about him HERE.