Jane has observed thousands of auditions in her years as a casting director. She knows what makes a great cold reading, monologue or on-camera audition. Plus, she has given great thought to attitude, dress, appropriateness of the material, headshots, resumés and more. Since the early 2000s her attention has been drawn to neuroscience as it pertains to acting. She focuses on building successful careers of craft and artistry.
Jane defines monologues as “an actor’s calling card” because they reveal the actor’s castability, their acting strengths and range. Being prepared with several monologues is as important as having headshots. Jane covers every step of the process; choosing and shaping material, personalization, pictures, resumes, what to wear and making the best impression. Jane works with actors in both classes and with private coaching.
If a monologue is the actor’s calling card, then cold reading is the final job interview. Being well prepared is essential, but very often time is limited. The silver bullet is Michael Shurtleff’s "12 Guideposts to a Successful Audition" which Jane has been teaching since she was his assistant many years ago. The Guideposts are fast, straightforward and clear guides for actors to solidify the training they already have. The technique makes cold readings as revelatory and unpredictable as watching a tennis match or a basketball game. She rounds out the class with the many less considered elements that make a standout audition.
Being prepared for the first day of rehearsal puts an actor at a tremendous advantage. Jane’s scene work with actors begins with The Guideposts and picks up where a cold reading leaves off. Jane incorporates the physicality of Superscenes with coaching and textual analysis.
Superscenes are physical/mental/emotional and textual explorations for actors and directors to bypass an overly intellectual approach to text. Jane uses her study of neuroscience and archetypal psychology to access the actor’s impulses within a highly physical series of exercises. This method combines text with physicality to create a unique system of discovery for artists and directors. Superscenes are best experienced in a weeklong retreat or collegiate intersessions. See Jane's book "Acting, Archetype, and Neuroscience."
Career & Life Planning for Actors
A common question for actors after graduation is “Now what?” Jane has watched many students deal with this dilemma and created a unique five-year life/career plan, featuring positive steps to a happy life as an actor and as a human. Her book, "The Actor’s Business Plan: A Career Guide for the Acting Life" is the basis of class work with newly hatched actors, as well as those needing to re-invigorate their careers. This class challenges actors to look five years into the future in order to realize their dreams. The forward planning looks at acting and also finances, personal needs and more. Career and Life Planning is taught as a class or workshop and the end result is a five-year plan of attack for success.
Camera: Film, TV & Commercials
Acting on camera is increasing since the advent of web series and the impressive emergence of production companies such as HBO, Netflix, Amazon, and the list goes on. There is also the less prominent world of industrials. The fundamentals of acting on camera do not differ from acting on stage, only the size of the space in which one is acting. Time in front of the camera where one can grow in the company of supportive actors is vital to mastering this valuable skill.
Small Camera Class
This class is limited to six students allowing more time on camera and less sitting and watching.
Offered to actors who wish to brush up on a monologue or prep for tomorrow’s on-camera or stage audition. Jane coaches both in person or live-by-Skype from wherever you are.
Superscenes in Action
Retreats are weeklong working vacations for actors and performance teachers. Two subjects are offered; one investigates Superscenes, the other focuses on Career and Life Planning for actors. Retreats feature a rural and relaxed environment at delightful bed and breakfast venues. Lodging, breakfast and lunch are included in this joyful and exciting get away. We limit this to twelve students to ensure maximum attention to all students.
Workshops & Classes (What’s the diff?)
Workshops are immersive 1–10 day learning experiences. They can be presented at:
College and university theatre departments during the school year. A perfect fit for intersession.
Semi-professional and community theatres
A venue where Jane offers skill training not available to actors in their city or region.
Actor’s Retreats in a rural setting where everyone can get away from life as usual to totally focus on experimentation and learning.
Classes are 6-10 once a week sessions of three to four hours. The subject matter and skills are similar to those taught in Jane’s Workshops. Classes are normally held in Chicago, but could be part of intersessions.
Coaching is one-to-one training between Jane and an actor working on a monologue or preparing for an upcoming reading either for film or stage. It can be done in person or using Skype.