Some of my favourite web tools!

I often joke with my friends that no one warned me about acting being such an office job but it is true a lot of my work ("the job is getting the job") is done on my lovely MacBook and iPhone. So I would like to share with you a few of the web tools I use and how I use them. Some might be obvious, some might be completely new. I'd also love to hear what YOU use!

MailChimpEvery 4 to 6 months I use MailChimp to send a personalised newsletter to Casting Directors in the U.K., Germany and France. MailChimp allows you to track who opened your email, how many times and which links were clicked on. The program is fairly straight forward but you need a day to save all your contacts in the right lists and get a grip on all the features. I keep my updates short and to the point, nothing personal and I only write when there is really something new to share - starting usually  along the lines of "I'd like to invite you to watch" or "I am happy to share with you" etc. I strongly suggest personalising (not starting with "Hi everyone" but Dear *FNAME* *LNAME*) and not sending them out more than quarter-yearly. 

DramaQueenI have recently started venturing out into screen writing and DramaQueen is a brilliant, freely downloadable program that lets you write professionally formatted, Final Draft compatible scripts offline. Our own Michaela recomends for writing together.

WixI built my own personal website with There is a free version that comes with adds and it is super easy to use. The templates are simple and beautiful allowing you to create a very professional looking website. Albeit that it is not obligatory to have a personal website as an actor, I like the idea of having everything I want my professional contacts to know about me in one place. Check out my website:

DuolingoLearning a language has never been easier and as actors it is always useful to learn or improve foreign languages. Duolingo and its sister app Tinycards allow you to practice languages easily and fun on the go. Podcasts such as “Coffee Break” are also a brilliant get to get into a new language. This is how my French and Italian became fluent :)

AccentsFor any accent or dialect of English you might need there is a voice sample on this website:  If you'd like lessons on different accents go to

MeditationSometimes I do, sometimes I don’t but I know it only has benefits. Two apps have helped me: > Deepak and Oprah offer free 21 day guided meditation programs on a regular basis, a very easy way to get into it.Insight Timer > an app on my phone that times my meditations and ends them with a beautiful Gong.

IMDb pro
Having a pro account is definitely worth it once you have done some work in the industry. Not only can you add your own credits and control your pictures etc. but also you have all the industry contacts to your fingertips. Who represents who, who casts what? And what is their personal email address? In many cases you find all that on IMDb pro.

Casting Sites
These are the ones I use in Europe and have gotten jobs via:,, and of course This topic deserves an extra blog post ;)

10 x Scene study and On-camera Classes in NYC to check out now!

We all know that going to drama school can be an incredible investment in your career. Taking those years to immerse yourself in the history of plays, writers and actors, and taking on the challenge of becoming part of a repertory troupe can allow an actor to expand her wings and try out many different parts before emerging as professionals ready for the 'real world' of show business.

Meryl Streep at Yale Drama School

Of course, this investment is one of significant time and money- neither of which every actor automatically has at their disposal.  But whether you had the opportunity to go to drama school or not, most actors worth their salt knows how important it is to continue studying and keep themselves match fit once they're ready to embark on a professional career.

Learning on the job is an amazing thing (all those opportunities to work with and learn from new directors, cast members and crew) but there's no guarantee you will be working 5 weeks of the year,  let alone 50, to keep your skills honed. Ongoing classes can provide a much needed safe space to take on different challenges, observe your peers, try out new techniques in your work and make bold casting choices. This is the opportunity to stretch and make 'mistakes,' all the while growing.

It may take a few different attempts to find the teacher or class that suits you at a particular time in your career. Most classes will let you come in and audit (mostly for free) before making a decision to join. Chat with other pupils and alumni, do a cost analysis and ask yourself whether this is an environment which will challenge you as well as protect you and set you up for success - being an independent, smart working actor within a strong supportive community.

I urge you to learn from teachers who are or have recently been actively working in the business. You may be thrilled to get into a class with a particular coach, but if it's been many years since their last professional outing there's a chance that you may be working with outmoded methods, inflexible working practices and an unrealistic understanding of what the current industry needs and conversations are.

If possible, don't be the most experienced actor in the room. Particularly when it comes to an ongoing class commitment that may stretch over a year or more, try to take class in an environment where you'll work and learn from more experienced and hard working actors than you.

So without further ado, here's a Top 10! a few of my favorite go-to places of learning, scene study and on camera acting class in New York:

1. Mimi Lieber's masterclass. Mimi is one of the smartest and tough-but-fair-est teachers I've ever been blessed to study with. An actor who regularly appears on and off Broadway, she runs scene study classes for students on Monday nights. (For more information:

2. Kimball Studios. Founded by TV writer-producer Kelly Kimball, this fast growing studio offers acting classes, on camera work, private career coaching and their signature 'Ballistics' class designed to strengthen preexisting technique through improvisation. Members are also invited to meet industry guests in casting director sessions. (   

3. The Barrow GroupFounded in 1986, TBG is a New York City theater company and performing arts training center. Artistic Directors Seth Barrish and Lee Brock oversee three plays per season in the main theatre, alongside the wide variety of programs and courses on offer for adults and young people - from day long intensives up to one year programs. Notable alumni include Anne Hathaway, Lola Kirke and Vera Farmiga.  (

4. Lyle Kessler Theatre Workshop. A lifelong member of the Actors Studio, Kessler has had numerous plays produced on and off Broadway, including 'Orphans' and 'Collision.' Lyle studied with Lee Strasberg and class focuses on building strong character work and strengthening an actor's theatre muscles. On occasion writers, directors, actors and filmmakers will pop into class to observe and participate.  Previous guests include Alec Baldwin, Malcolm McDowell, Larry Moss and Chazz Palminteri. ( 

5. The Acting Studio. This studio boasts its own resident theatre company Chelsea Rep, and runs the gamut: from introductory classes for the complete newbie, through to acting, stage violence, on-camera, accent, voiceover and auditioning classes and private coaching for the seasoned professional. There is a special series of classes dedicated to Meisner training, as well as separate workshops for playwrights and directors. Alumni includes Julianna Margulies and Ato Essandoh.

6. Maggie Flanagen Studio. Maggie opened her studio “to provide a small, intimate, and nurturing home for serious actors to sharpen their skills and solidify their craft.” Her work is rooted in the technique of Sanford Meisner, coupled with an emphasis on creating behavior organically and truthfully from genuine experience. The studio offers year long core programs as well as summer intensives. (

7. Ellen Novack's On-Camera Audition Class. Ellen has worked in film and TV in many guises - as director, casting director, producer, actor, acting teacher, coach, and manager. Her on-camera classes support actors honing their skills for the realities of TV and Film castings by offering a clear and systematic way of dissecting and analyzing audition scenes. Private sessions are also available, and for those desiring a bit of a reboot Ellen also offers ActorLaunch for personal career coaching. 

Alumni includes Alison Williams (

8. HB Studios.  Founded by Viennese actor director Herbert Berghof in 1945 and shortly thereafter joined by Uta Hagen as its master teacher, HB Studios is committed to providing a haven for working professionals, free from commercial pressures. Alongside their one year signature acting conservatory, The Hagen Core Training, there are a whole host of workshops and class choices on offer on everything from NYC specific accents to musical theatre, movement, Alexander Technique, improvisation and on-camera work. The illustrious list of alumni includes Anne Bancroft, William H Macy, Sarah Jessica Parker and Al Pacino  ( 

Herbert Berghof and Uta Hagen

9. Anthony Meindl's Actors Workshop. Commonly known as AMAW, this studio was founded in LA and now boasts locations in Atlanta, Vancouver, Sydney and London as well as New York. Tony's philosophy is rooted in actors trusting their artistic instincts, taking risks and stop 'performing' and reconnecting to their own human feelings. His work has reached countless actors around the world thanks to his bestselling books and addictive podcast series. Teachers at AMAW studios around the globe are professional jobbing actors and boast AGG's very own Scott Michael Wagstaff! (      

10. T Schreiber Studio Founded by Terry Schreiber in 1969, the studio has grown exponentially since then. Alongside the accompanying theatre which supports playwrights by by producing new short and full length plays every year, there are a host of acting classes (levels I – IV) Meisner, Commercial, On Camera, Auditioning and industry workshops. For those looking for intensive training with a flexible schedule, T S Studio allows an actor to customize their own conservatory program. In addition, the studio hosts a “Conversations With…” series with established actors, directors and playwrights in a very informal setting. Recent guests include Edward Norton, Cynthia Nixon, Peter Sarsgaard, Mary-Louise Parker and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Folks, this is by no means a comprehensive list - and there are new classes being set up all the time! Let me know  - who have I left out that should most definitely be on this list? Get in touch and we'll make sure to do a follow up on some of your favorites and top tips for New York City. Happy studying! @EdithKisAlacska

#TheSeoulBrotha: An American Actor in South Korea

by Kahlid Elijah Tapia

Building My Foundation In The Land Of The Morning Calm

Eight and a half years ago, I was taking acting classes and working for the University of Phoenix as a recruiter in Tampa, Florida (USA).  During my orientation, they sat us all down and asked us to introduce ourselves with our names and something unique about us.  One of the young recruiters said her name and that she had taught English in Turkey.  I thought to myself, “how interesting that would be to teach English overseas.” (I know this is an actor’s blog but bear with me.) After about a year at Phoenix (and realizing I wasn’t great at sales), I started looking at other options.

I was home one day reading a book called Think & Grow Rich.  In this book was a poem and it went like this:

“I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;

For Life is just an employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial's hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.”

I busted into tears and asked myself, “Kahlid, what do you want?”  I answered, “I want to be an actor.” “Do you want anything else?”  I said, “I want to live abroad.”

Immediately, I called that recruiter and started asking questions about Turkey. I realized that country had options, but not the best.  I went online and began inquiring about teaching English overseas, and South Korea, with its great contracts, excellent benefits and low cost of living, rose to the top. So there I was looking out the window of Atlanta International Airport at the biggest flying tank I had ever seen.  I was carrying my jacket, a small bag, and stomach full of the most active butterflies.  Before that moment, the only other country I had been to was the British Virgin Islands.  It hit me like a ton of bricks that I was going to be in a whole new world within the next 16 hours.

Once I landed in Korea, I used my passport for the second time in my life, found my group of fellow English teachers, went through teacher orientation, and was assigned to my first Korean Elementary School. I figured I was set.  "I’ll do one year of living abroad, and that will be it", I thought.  Fate had other plans.  I went out partying one night and met a young lady who is now one of my closest friends.  I let her know I was an actor and found out that she was too.  It was this young lady who recommended I put my headshot and resume on Craigslist to see what happens.  I looked at her in disbelief but made the post anyway, not expecting anything at all.

A young British film director and his girlfriend saw my post and asked me to be in my first short film.  I WAS ECSTATIC!  I emailed my four sisters, posted on Facebook and told every person I knew that I was going to be doing my first film.  A terrific experience, a wonderful director, a great short film, and the beginning of what is now my acting career.   I left my headshot and resume on Craigslist and phone calls started coming in.  It was literally a snowball effect.  However, I still had major issues back then, as I didn’t have the proper visa or the best flexibility in my schedule (I was a full time English teacher after all).  Regretfully, I didn’t get any paid roles because of this.  That same director asked me to come back and do another short film, but apart from that, I thought very little of what Korea could do for me.

A month before I was to leave Korea, a friend called and asked if I would be interested in being in a Korean feature film.  The production company was seeking foreigners for a scene which involved a political round table of global politicians.  Once again, I was on cloud nine.  Not only did I get to be in the film but I received lines and I got paid. (Hey, I was a month from leaving Korea what did I care of visa or schedules, I was going to be in a movie!) I played the American Representative in the movie Super Monkey Returns.  Before leaving, I had three credits to my name, not including everything I did at university in the U.S., and felt ready to tackle the world of acting as a career.  It was February 2010, my year in Korea was up, and I had a mission.

But life is truly stranger than fiction, because the American recession was now in full swing, and when I got back to America it was hard enough to find a job much less an acting job.  I found work at a photo factory and one day while packing the 1000th photo in its respected courier box I had an epiphany:  “Why stay in America working at a factory when I can go back to Korea and live the dream?” So I told my family I was moving back to Korea, got all my paperwork together again, signed a new contract with my old English teaching company, gave my two weeks’ notice, and I was gone.  Now here’s the best part: two days before teacher orientation was over, I got a phone call from another British director saying that he met me a year ago at the first "48Hour Film Project" in Korea, and would I be interested in auditioning for his film.  I knew that I had made the right choice to return, but that phone call solidified everything for me. I auditioned, didn’t get the role, but I got another role, and my acting career in Korea was off to a great start.
My first week back in Itaewon, just a few days before shooting with that British director, I learned that a Korean-American couple had started their own independent production company called Side Project Productions.  Through this production company I met two other American directors: one that had just wrapped his independent feature Fear Eats The Seoul, the other who started a monthly film-critique meet-up for up and coming filmmakers, called "The Seoul Filmmakers Workshop." My gift of the gab was in full swing.  I was networking my way into short films and independent features.
However, I began to realize some things very quickly. First, I didn’t understand the business of acting.  Second, there were no English speaking acting workshops available at that time. Third, I was in desperate need of stepping up my game if I wanted to get the attention of the Koreans. Fourth, being an actor in Korea was terrific, but if I couldn’t figure a way to incorporate my work overseas for the American industry, then it would pretty much be a moot point.

So I bought the book Acting: Make It Your Business by Paul Russel, and started learning the business of acting.  After having been recommended another great book, The Power of the Actor, I found out that the author, Ivanna Chubbuck, traveled overseas quite often and attended two of her workshops in the Philippines and Japan. I started learning Korean and although I wasn’t fluent (and still am not), I spoke enough to get the attention of my first talent agent.  Lastly, I paid to have a website built, and started paying very close attention to how strategies in America can be utilized overseas. I read books, lost weight, read more books, changed the way I dressed, received career consultations, applied for auditions daily on Craigslist and any other site I could find, networked at Korean film festivals, traveled for actor training and took a few online acting classes. In other words, the realization of what a working actor is started to sink in.  Taking action became crucial because as an expat actor you can’t sit and wait.  Now I know what you’re thinking, “What about the visa and schedule issue?”  “Were you still an English teacher?”   I’ve been an English teacher for the full 8 years I’ve been in Korea.  I found a legal loophole.  As long as I have a permission letter from my visa sponsor stating that I can do ANY & ALL additional work, I was good to go.  That letter opened doors.

However, my career took its most amazing turn when I realized that I had a niche, but needed a way to promote that niche, and #TheSeoulBrotha Blog was born!  (Yes, a typical play on words but catchy none the less).  In addition, I invested in "The Actor’s Business Blueprint" by Dallas Travers and began to understand the value of giving of myself and taking full control of my career.  As my creativity started to develop I realized that expat actors needed something to invest in and that’s when I created "The Actor’s Guide To Overseas Success":  A 15 page PDF of strategies I have used or wished I had used to propel myself forward in an overseas industry.

Today as I type this post, I’m eight and a half years as a working actor in South Korea. I’m down to my final month before I head to Thailand to train in Muay Thai.  I look back through my 35 IMDb credits, 3 awards, 2 years of blogging and my plethora memories in an overseas film industry and I think to myself, “I wouldn’t trade any of it”.  I wouldn’t trade being on set for 22 hours and only being in front of the camera for 2.  I wouldn’t trade freezing on a bus because there was no heater and no green room to do my first TV spot. I wouldn’t trade working 9 to 5 Mon-Fri as an English teacher and then 8a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends for my first independent film.  I wouldn’t trade being so busy with my career that sometimes I had to remind myself that I needed a life outside of acting.
I walk away from Korea with a solid foundation of film, television, and stage credits.  I walk away with ATL-wood and Hollywood in my sights. I walk away knowing that I did what I said I was going to do all those years ago in that photo factory.   I came to Korea and made mistakes and will make plenty more.  I came to Korea and I blossomed where I was planted. I came to Korea and I lived the dream.

For more on Kahlid, visit
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Christina’s 10 Favorite Things #LASTYLE

Julie Andrews sang in The Sound of Music

Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

and I believe…

So I am here to share with you my top 10 favorite things in Los Angeles for the Actors out there

1.  Dallas Travers.  Dallas is the actor’s advocate, a creative career coach that helps you impact more people with your stories and go out into the world and tell people who you are.  She empowers actors to master the business side of your career and it is Show Business after all so you gotta understand the business side of it.  You can be an amazing actor but if you don’t know how to really share with the world who you are and that you are interested in working, how will they know you exist and what you are about?  Some of my favorite lessons are from her and through her teachings, I booked a ton of TV and movie roles and built long lasting relationships in this industry.  

2.  Wendy Braun Wendy taught me the number one key to booking more work as an actor…Through her guided meditation and visualization audios I have aligned my mind and learned to let go and be even more present in audition rooms and tame the critical voice within me that says, “I am not enough.”  Wendy is living proof that when we get inspired, feel confident and step into the spotlight of who we truly are, we can create success!

3.  Bill Coelius I adore Bill!  He is the kind of guy you want to have over for a plate of pasta and just lol.  No wonder he has booked over 50 national commercials.  Ever since I took his commercial class, I became a callback queen and a booking machine myself.  His simple classes are exactly what you need to book your next commercial.  He has taught me the power of tagging, u-turns and how to truly be in service at a casting opportunity.  My commercial agents and managers thank him for his classes!

4.       Crystal Carson I recently discovered Crystal and I am so grateful for that referral.  She has helped me tremendously coach for specific roles that had me stuck.  She helps actors find the heart and soul of the character and accept the circumstances as your own truth.  To me, she is magical and I am thankful she shares her gifts and talents with us actors.

5.       Taylor Loeb My high booking rate for self tape auditions is thanks to Taylor.  Not only does she provide an incredible professional studio to tape your audition, her love of story and imagination helps you create the perfect tape to send.  She will sit with you afterwards and decide the best take to send and since she is a professional actor and indie casting director, you are getting top level expertise from an actor who gets it.

6.       TV Academy For years, I thought you had to own an Emmy to be a member.  Not the case.  I have been an active voting member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for years now and it is such a blessing.  As a member, we are actually voting for the Emmys every year, invited to powerful networking events with fellow members and invited with a guest to all the Emmy nominated events by each specific network.  The relationships I have made through the Academy are incredible and I am so grateful someone told me about this, so that’s why I am telling you.

7.       Robert Campbell For as long as I can remember Robert has been editing my reel.  He is affordable and easy to work with and he knows exactly how to have your reel, be about YOU!  Not the other actor, that we think is so famous.  Yes, keep them in the reel, but it’s still YOUR reel. 

8.       Darrin Van Gorder Darrin has been shooting my head shots for as long as I can remember and he has such an eye for detail.  He was a scientist for 7 years of his life and it shows in his incredible art. He uses only the best equipment as well as the best and latest software.  He will help you create a vision for your career.

9.       Lewis Smith This is a rare experience for the working actor.  It is not your average scene study acting class but this class sets you up to be on set.  The environment is run like a set and the training is all on camera so you are learning situational training to become master story tellers.  You receive your footage after every class so you can constantly study your work on camera. 

10.   Face Forward I am on the board of a non-profit called FACE FORWARD.   Although this has nothing to do with acting, it has made me an even better person to support a cause that matters to me.  Face Froward provides reconstructive surgery to survivors of domestic violence pro bono.  Through my contacts, I have raised over $55,000 this year for the cause and that is by far one of my most important accomplishments of 2017.  If you don’t have a cause that matters to you, I feel it is as important as a great acting class!
I sure hope you found this list helpful and please drop me a line and let me know your top 10 list, or top 3, if you are in a rush….

If you found this list helpful, please let me know, love to hear from you!

Here’s to forming your tribe and going out in the world and sharing who you are and all the people, places and things that make you thrive.

Trusting in Opportunity : When motherhood meets the career you’ve always wanted

Guest Blogger from New York: Pearl Thomas

Once upon a time I decided to quit a career I’d been working to build for 8 years. I’d just had a baby. My husband was supportive of my choice to be a stay-at-home-mom. And I thought I was ready. I thought it was the right time to take a big risk.

In someone else’s storyline, that would be the moment they became an actor. But the career I quit? Was acting.

In hindsight, quitting acting wasn’t the right option financially, but more importantly it wasn’t the right option for me as a person. Acting isn’t just something I do; it’s an important part of who I am. And I was disconnected from that part of myself right at the same time I was trying to navigate the role of new mom. It was hard!

Eventually I realized that I couldn’t just give up who I was. But there was me, less than a year post-partum, still carrying 20 pounds of baby weight and really disliking myself because of it. On top of all that, I was dealing with an autoimmune disease.

Now if at any point in all this I was thinking I’d be able to go right back to work like I hadn’t taken a break, the reality of the situation crushed that idea pretty quickly. I was cold calling people I’d worked with in the past, sending them my new headshots and letting them know I was available. I wasn’t making any money, and I was struggling with my self-image in a big way. The callbacks weren’t coming. I was just a little terrified!

But then I had a breakthrough. I realized that if I was going to meet my goals, I had to acknowledge how much I really wanted to be doing TV and film and then I had to be totally serious about it this time. It wasn’t a matter of waiting to land that perfect role; it was about putting in the work and trusting that opportunity would follow.

I started taking classes at Kimball Studio with Kelly Kimball and Janine DiTruillo and, not having any material that I felt showcased what I can do, was inspired to write, produce and star in my own short film, Carry On. Thanks to an introduction from a friend (stuntwoman and producer Nikki Tomlinson), I was able to start stunt training very seriously and it was a huge confidence builder.

There I was, a new mom doing these intricate fight sequences and knocking people down!

Behind the scenes of the film "Betrayal," with Stunt Coordinator, Chazz Menendez and Director of Photography, Mike Flanagan. 

I’d love to say that it all worked out in the end but there is no ‘end’. I’m still chasing success and at the same time, I’m living my success every day. I’m where I need to be and I’m connecting with the right people as I continue training, auditioning, networking, and building my brand. I’m prepared for any opportunity that comes my way.    

That said, I could easily give into the temptation to be angry at my younger self for wasting time. And it would be just as easy to put a smile on my face and pretend that I don’t have any regrets at all. I used to work so hard to make everyone around me think I was okay 100% of the time but I don’t do that anymore. Now I work hard to be honest with other people and with myself.

I know I’m leading a blessed life, but acknowledging my mistakes openly is allowing me to dive deeper into my craft. I can be present without fear because I’m working hard every day to accomplish my goals. This approach is so different from what I was doing in my 20s when I was coasting along on my talent. Being “a natural” only takes you so far - that’s when you have to step up and start putting in the work.

Fitness Portfolio, riding in the hills of Massachusetts

That’s what I’m doing now and I’m seeing the payoff. This week, I booked my first paying job (the lead in a short film) since coming back to acting and it’s a role that I believe will lead to bigger and better things. But more important than that is the fact that I have grown so much this past year - more than I did in my first eight years of acting.

I can honestly say I have never felt so comfortable in my own skin as I do right now, on and off camera. My ability to understand what a director is asking for and to deliver it is beyond what it ever was. I’m proud of myself because I know that it’s all because of the training I’ve been doing. I have learned to focus on what I can give to a project - to act with generosity. And I actively look for every chance to grow, whether I’m training or working, because I’m once again where I belong.

Is it easy? No, it’s actually one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve been turned away by people saying I’m too green for my age. Finding representation has been a challenge. But if I’m truly dedicated to achieving success in this industry I can’t just wait around for something to happen to me. That’s what I was doing eight years ago and as a strategy, it just doesn’t pay off in the long term. I need to be the one making things happen.

With baby Ellary - on the hottest day of this past summer, we still played outside! 

I like to remind myself that when you really commit to acting, it takes time. And for the first time in my life, I’m truly committed.

Florida fun in the sun