KEN ANSWERS YOUR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 
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Can I audit a class?
To ensure a safe, concentrated working environment, auditing is not permitted except for our occasional specially scheduled Open House classes. They are FREE and great. If you are unable to attend an Open House, but would like to get a sense of what it’s like to work with me, another great opportunity is a FREE first coaching session — email studio@kenschatz.com anytime to schedule your appointment. My assistants and I are glad to answer any questions you may have.

Do I have to audition to get into your class?
Yes. It’s an audition and interview — a chance for us to meet and for me to see a sample of your work to determine if you and our master class would be a good fit for each other. It’s also a chance for us to talk about how the class works and your specific goals. Your first free coaching session can serve as your class audition if you like, or they can be separate events. For actors whose body of work is well-known, an interview is sufficient.

WHAT TO PREPARE FOR THE AUDITION
Please bring a current headshot and resume, and prepare one brief monologue from a play. The piece should run about two minutes, and it can be contemporary or classical, comic or dramatic. Please choose material for which you would be castable. To schedule your audition for class or for more information, email studio@kenschatz.com anytime. My assistants and I are glad to answer any questions you may have.

Do I need to audition for private coaching?
Nope, just email studio@kenschatz.com anytime to schedule your FREE first coaching session. It’s generally easy to tell from our first session if I’m the right coach for you.

Do you coach movement/physical character work?
Yes! A lot, for individual actors, groups, and projects. I trained for years with Moni Yakim, creator of the movement programs at Juilliard and Yale, and author of CREATING A CHARACTER, along with many other great Mask and Physical Acting Technique teachers.

Do you coach singing?
Yes! All kinds, I love it! I specialize in song interpretation for audition and performance. There is technique involved, of course, but if you are very new to singing, you may want to consult a separate voice/singing technique/music theory specialist as well.

Do you coach speech, accents, and dialects?
Yes! Detailed speech, accent, and dialect work is one of my favorite things to do. I can work with you generally to expand your performing range and improve your marketability, and I can also coach you for any specific audition, project, or role.

Do you do on-set/on-location coaching?
Yes! Special rates are available by the day and by the week for on-set/on-location/out-of-town work.

Do you do workshops for casts and companies?
Yes! We can arrange special technique workshops for groups and projects of a few hours, or a day or two, as needed.

Do you teach a particular technique or method?
There are as many ways to act as there are actors and moments. Through many years of experience, I have developed my own positive, dynamic, flexible approach to actor training. It is intentionally eclectic — informed and inspired by many different teaching systems, styles, and techniques. Organic and always evolving, my process adapts to each actor in each moment. It is always as simple, direct, clear, and precise as it can be. No formulas, no dogma, no snake oil, and no nonsense — just the right tool for the right job. And if the tool or technique principle we need doesn't exist, I’ll invent it — one of my favorite things to do.

Do you work with advanced actors? Do you work with beginners?
I work with every kind of professional actor. Many of my clients have lots of experience, degrees and certificates from schools and conservatory programs, and many pro credits. Some are famous and have won prestigious awards for their acting. Some are new to acting technique, new to certain kinds of work, and/or new to the industry. All of them are new to my approach. Whatever your previous experience, you will find an artistic home here if you are ready and hungry for the work.

LEVELS
I don’t distinguish levels — I don’t divide actors up into tiers called “beginner,” “intermediate,” and “advanced.” Every actor is different, every day is different, every artist’s relationship to training is unique, and every acting task is special. In class and coaching, I meet you where you are with whatever you’re working on, and we go from there, solving whatever problems you need solved in the moment. Our master class is ongoing, and just like life and the industry, it’s a mix: a community of experienced actors and newer actors each working on whatever they need to work on, meeting their own challenges while supporting and learning from each other. This is intentional, amazingly efficient and effective for everyone, and super important. It’s also fun. Our approach succeeds because it trusts people and it trusts the nature of the art of acting — I have never encountered a celebrity or technique veteran who couldn’t benefit from attention to fundamentals, and I have never met a hungry beginner who couldn’t grow quickly with exposure to advanced detail work. In our class, everybody learns from everybody else.

Do you work with celebrities?
Yes. Housecalls, travel, on-set and on-location work, and coaching and consultation for major film, television, and theater projects happen frequently, and well-known actors are sometimes in class. Sometimes celebrities prefer to keep a low profile when working with a coach — some of the well-known actors and popular projects I’ve worked with are listed in my bio, some are not. Relatively private studio space is available for our work when needed, and absolute discretion in every aspect of our work is assured.

Do you work with children?
Generally no — unless they are already professional working actors with representation who need help with a specific audition or gig. Then sometimes. Minimum age for our ongoing master class is 18.

How many actors are in your classes?
We cap the New York master class at around 16 in each section each month — that number varies, because we organize around the number of working slots we can accommodate, and we factor in scene partnerships, actors on flexible date plans, and alumni drop-ins as well. Sometimes classes are full, other times less so, but even in full classes, we work hard to make sure everyone gets time to work in-depth and an equal number of opportunities to present each month.

How often are you in Los Angeles?
Beginning in January 2018, more often! In addition to coaching actors and projects as needed in LA, I’ll be going there a few more times a year to teach a weekend master class and be generally available for a week of in-person coaching. Exactly how often I can do that will depend on my project schedule in New York, LA, and other places, and every season is a little bit different. We’ll announce each set of dates as soon as we have them — next set: January 10-17, 2018! For more information on general coaching and class in LA, email studio@kenschatz.com anytime. My assistants and I are glad to answer any questions you may have.

I don’t live in NY or LA, can I still work with you?
Yes! I coach via Skype/FaceTime as actors need, and I travel for workshops and projects.

Is the work challenging?
Absolutely. It is. Our work is custom-tailored and extremely challenging for every actor at every level. We work in depth and in exacting detail to professional mind-boggling, award-winning, rave-review standards of brilliance and perfection. We will take you as far as you can go in every aspect of your craftwork and as far as you can go in the industry. Then further.

Is the work safe?
Yes it is. Unusually so. Though the work is often intense and always challenging, we believe strongly that it is not necessary to compromise anyone’s safety or sanity in order to make great art. In our classes and coaching, no matter what we’re working on, the physical, vocal, and emotional safety of everyone involved is our primary concern and first priority at all times.

Unlike many schools, teachers, and coaches, I deal with emotional safety very specifically as a matter of technique, and I have dedicated my practice to pioneering new safe, effective, and efficient methods for actors. You will not find a safer professional approach anywhere.

My audition/gig is tomorrow! Can you help me?
Maybe! Often, coaching on short notice is possible. Generally my schedule fills very quickly, so it is advisable to book sessions well in advance, but actors’ schedules change all the time — there is always a chance I’ll have an open hour or day when you need it, and I do prioritize coaching for major film, tv, and theater projects. So it’s always worth asking.

My project or acting task is weird and/or particularly challenging — can you help me?
Probably yes. It would be difficult to surprise me. I could tell you some stories.

What days/hours do you coach?
Coaching — both in-person and via Skype/FaceTime — generally happens weekdays, Monday through Friday. Evening and weekend times are reserved for acting emergencies and major industry projects only. If you have a real acting emergency that has to do with an important film or television role or a Broadway show, for example, then let me know — we may be able to arrange special evening or weekend coaching time. Otherwise, I have to keep it to weekdays.

I do also have to take occasional vacation breaks. During those times, it’s no coaching at all and no acting questions except for real emergencies — urgent situations with major projects only. If I’m coaching in Los Angeles or away for a while working on a big project, it’s often possible to fit in virtual sessions at odd hours.

What happens if I have to miss class? Or arrive late?
Our master class is an extremely (unusually) supportive professional working environment. Actors are expected to show up on time and fully ready to work for all class times. We understand, though, that an ongoing private class is not a conservatory, that emergencies, gigs, and auditions happen, and that it is sometimes truly necessary for working actors to miss class or to arrive late or leave early. So we rely on the honor system. We trust that our actors recognize our class as a professional commitment, that they will prioritize our work together, and that they will always be fully present for class unless something truly extraordinary comes up.

MISSING CLASS FOR PAID ACTING WORK
We cannot offer makeup time or credit or refund for missed classes, even for understandable reasons like serious illness, injury, or family emergency. HOWEVER, our studio is committed to supporting actors in the industry. If you ever have to miss class because of a direct time conflict with paid acting work, then you get to make up that class at your convenience. If (when) that happens, our studio assistants will be glad to work with you to arrange suitable makeup time, even if it needs to be sometime in the future.

What’s class like? How is it structured?
Our New York class is ongoing, until the end of time, with holiday breaks and occasional creative scheduling around my work on various film, television, and theater projects. New actors are admitted by audition and interview at the start of each month (each four-week session). Once admitted, you are welcome whenever your schedule permits — choose once, twice, or three times a week for as many months at a time as you like. Flexible date plans are available for actors with tricky schedules, and class is sometimes available on a drop-in basis. Every actor’s life is different — you might be in class for a few months, away for a month, then back for six months, then away for a year, then back for a few months, and so on. Class is here for you whenever you need and can do it, for as long as it serves you.

Each class is four hours long, with quick breaks as needed. We work in master class format: actors take turns presenting work in front of the class, and we work together on whatever they need to work on, while the rest of the class actively observes.

We work on all kinds of film, tv, and theater material and all kinds of acting tasks. Every night (or day) is different. I’ll zoom in and say something like, “What have we got?” Our excellent studio assistant will reply, “Well, Ken, we’ve got a great lineup tonight. It’s a full house, we’ve got a couple of scenes — these folks are bringing a new scene in, these others are bringing theirs back from last week — then we’ll see a contemporary monologue (she's prepping that for a big audition coming up), a classical monologue, then some commercial copy, and if there’s time, I’d like to work on that song from the show I’m in.” That kind of thing. And we dig in.

Generally, you pick your own solo material: contemporary and classical monologues, film and tv sides, commercial copy, songs, etc. Sometimes I will recommend solo pieces for you. You also generally pick your own scene partners from among your classmates, though sometimes I’ll suggest you work with a particular partner. For each new partnership, I’ll suggest a few scenes that would be great for the duo. It's an ongoing dialogue between us what kind of material might serve you best in auditions and for each moment of your craftwork. I encourage people to work on lots of different scenes with lots of different partners.

Actors often use class to prepare for specific auditions and current gigs, and we do prioritize that work when we can. Please keep in mind, though, that it's a complex system, and most working slots for each month are set before the month begins, so we can never guarantee that if you have an audition, say, Tuesday morning, you'll get to work on it Monday night. Our stellar studio assistants are responsible for scheduling and for making sure everyone has equal opportunity to work each month.

OBSERVING
Some teachers advertise a working slot for everyone every class — we find that leads to actors working for just a few minutes at a time on not very much. In our master class, there will be days in which you only observe. So when you’re up, you’ll be working in extraordinary depth and technical detail, and then when you’re observing, you’ll be watching all kinds of other actors working in extraordinary depth and detail. We find the combination format to be ideal — the work is fascinating and everybody gets much better at everything much faster.

What’s coaching like? How does it work?
It depends on what you’re working on and what you need. No formulas here, and we don’t take anything for granted — every actor is different, every day is different, every artist’s relationship to training is unique, and every acting task is special. In class and coaching, I meet you where you are with whatever you’re working on, and we go from there, solving whatever problems you need solved in the moment. Along the way, you’ll learn powerful principles of technique and how to apply them, and vocabulary, tools, and skills to help you grow your own working process.

My coaching style is energetic, clear, precise, organic, effective, and efficient. It is custom-tailored for every actor and nonsense-free, challenging, yet safe. And because it works, it’s generally a lot of fun.

We can work together by the hour, day, or week as needed to prepare you for a particular audition, project, or role, and/or we can set up regular coaching time to develop and hone your skills. The first coaching hour is FREE for new clients — email studio@kenschatz.com anytime to schedule your appointment. Once we start working together, anytime you'd like to book coaching time or discuss a project, just let me or any of my assistants know, and we’ll arrange it. Most regular one-on-one coaching hours happen in convenient Manhattan studios. Occasionally I'm available in LA for general coaching too. We can also work online via Skype/FaceTime, in rehearsals, or on-set/on-location anywhere, as you need.

Generally my schedule fills very quickly, so it’s a good idea to book sessions in advance if you can. If I’m fully booked, but you need coaching fast, and you’re in New York, you can ask for a drop-in working slot in one of our master classes — we may be able to squeeze you in then, depending on the day, for less than the price of a one-on-one coaching session.

It’s easy to cancel or reschedule a coaching session anytime if you need to. Please keep in mind that twenty-four hours advance notice is required to cancel or reschedule without being charged the full amount for the time.

TECHNIQUE SUPPORT
Once we start working together regularly, you can feel free to contact me directly outside of class or coaching time with urgent acting questions if you need to. No question is too big, too small, or too weird. If it’s complex, we may have to wait and address it in our next class or coaching session, but generally I’m up for the quick question or technique emergency. Email is fine, calling is ok, text is often faster. Though I’m mostly NOT available during our announced studio vacation breaks, my assistants are. They know lots of things, are glad to help you anytime, and can reach me if necessary.

My availability to the actors I work with outside class and coaching time is limited, and it is a privilege. I ask all of my clients to please exercise good judgement about when to message me for help, and to please understand that, as a resource for so many working actors, I am working almost all the time — it’s not unusual for me to be coaching long days without a break. I also have to prioritize emergencies and messages regarding major projects. So if you don’t hear back right away, know that a lot is happening, and I’ll connect with you as soon as I can. And of course, you can always reach out to any of my assistants — they’re glad to help you anytime.

Why do you call your clients "Super Actors"?
“The word superstar really turns me off — and I'll tell you why. The word star, man, it's an illusion. It's something the public calls you. You should look upon yourself as an actor, man. I mean you would be very pleased if somebody said, ‘Man, you are a super actor!’ It is much better than, you know, superstar.” — Bruce Lee

Also, because they really are that great, and I love working with them. My assistant Luke draws the cartoons. The skull's name is Yorick.