Be it an actor, performer, or entertainer, we really try to encourage the continual growth & development for everyone on our books. Like life, art is something that you’ll constantly need to evolve in. Learning never stops, despite the misdirecting phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Here at Human, we believe you can, and part of being in the screen and entertainment industry means continual growth is a necessity.
Training is offered all over NZ – in person, in workshops, or even online nowadays. There’s a misconception we occasionally come across that suggests once you’ve graduated from a performing arts diploma/degree you suddenly know technique, and will get work. It’s great to have confidence from these courses, but it’s of vital importance that you remain a humble servant to the craft. The other one is that good actors are ‘born’ with a special something. Yes, it helps to have a natural, strong instinct, but like an Olympic runner, you can’t stop training – the body, the mind, the emotional being needs constant feeding and shaping, and to learn, learn, learn. This is something we cannot emphasise enough if you really want to give a career in the arts a worthwhile shot.
In terms of workshops and classes for actors, there are a number of great teachers, workshops, and weekly classes in NZ. Peter Feeney, Vicky Yiannoutsous, Kacie Stetson, Elena Stejko, Michael Saccente, Juliet Furness. For dancers, IndepeDANCE for contemporary dancers (curated by HA dancer Emma Cosgrave), HA member Rina Chae’s classes for Commercial dancers, The Dance Studio for Hip-Hop/Jazz (Setup by the Cesan brothers, who are also on our books), and plenty more great place to keep technique, repertoire, and body/mind in shape.
If you can’t afford continuous training through weekly classes, there’s also one-off workshops that pop up every so often, OR you can try being your own teacher and source things online. For example if you’ve done an American accent course with Jacque Drew or Chris Stewart, but need to brush up, this accent tutor has some great videos. Record yourself, playback, and start to teach yourself the art of accents. Another way of training is to get a bunch of like-minded friends together, and create a short web series – even if it doesn’t go up online, it’s a great exercise to do – especially if you can get one or two members in the team who have experience directing actors and know how to get a good performance out of you. Technology makes it easier too – though phone camera’s aren’t ideal, they’ll do the trick! Finally, Equity has some great talks, one-off workshops, and insights from industry professionals and if you’re a member they’re usually free. Also, remember, if you’re an Equity member they have a self-test room you can use, offer free legal advice to members, and help rally for better treatment of screen workers.