Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing/suditioning and the filed

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Question
Hello Mr. Sheppard, I'm Gale and I have been having some confidence issues while starting to audition. I feel so out of my league and so far from ready to start. I wanted to start in musical theatre but I havent been trained in the field and all the singing and dancing I do is self taught. Should I go back to school for a 4 year BA or should I just push through it or figure it out? I also feel like I dont have a commercial "look", should I even continue?

Answer
Hi Gale,

Sounds like you suffer from "paralysis by analysis"...meaning you are thinking too much. You can think about something until you get blocked in your mind and doubt everything.  There are two occassions in acting that I can think of where you need to act on more than one level simultaneously, this is one. I had terrible self-confidence issues, nerves, when I began. Luckily, it only lasted a decade or so! Lol! It took a combination of working on the mental tapes and Ithink, experience that took care of it. I just got bored of worrying about it. Everyone has little pre-recorded scripts in their head, or tapes, which plyback things parents or other people said, mostly as a kid. Sometimes the things we were told were wrong, sometimes they get distorted. Somtimes, our minds choose to take the thoughts and use them to help talk ourselves out of doing something stressful and scary. If you quit, or sabotage yourself, you dont have to stress anymore, you can just go home and eat chips on the couch where its safe!

If you already have a degree, I wouldnt go hide back in college...unless you want to teach someday or work other than as an actor. I havent met any actors who have BAs in theater...not stars, anyway...If it makes you feel better, go take a class in auditioning! I think  it is a must do, BUT...get to work going to auditions...donnt turn any down! Even if you arent right for the part or want the role, because the more you are exposed to it, the more relaxed you will get. I

Careers: Acting, Performing, Directing

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Taylor Sheppard

Expertise

I can answer questions: on starting a career in acting, mistakes in acting, etiquette when dealing with industry contacts, finer points on how to act, and things to avoid in the field.

Experience

I have been a professional actor 21 years, with appearances in TV, Film and commercials. I have made good decisions and potentially damaging mistakes. I believe anyone who has a dream deserves to explore it, and I take their aspirations seriously. That being said, I do not pull punches. I try to be tactful, but I will not lie to someone, honesty is more effective. My last film role was in "Teeth" which was picked for Sundance in January 2007. It was sold to Lionsgate and Weinstein Co. for somewhere over 2.5 million. The role was "Mr. Griffith", a sex-ed teacher.

Organizations
Ciao Agency-Austin/Georgetown, Texas. (Formerly known as Donna Adams Agency. Matthew McConaughey was a good friend and fellow member. I also have belonged to agencies in three other Texas cities, but they have since closed.) TXMPA -Texas Motion Picture Alliance. Various other internet networking web rings as well as Actors Access. I was instrumental in advising actress Krista Allen on getting her career in acting started in Austin,Texas (we worked at the same Health Club in the early '90's).

Publications
Previously wrote on a now defunct website such as this one. I enjoyed helping new actors.

Education/Credentials
I have acted for 21 years. I studied under James Nelson Harrell as well as other talented actors at Southwest Texas State University. After college, I have taken classes with Julliard graduate Mona Lee, Bill Johnson, Van Brookes, Marco Perella and others in Austin Texas. I am constantly attending classes to maintain my edge and explore new directions. In addition to attending strictly acting classes, I have also taken business workshops with respected casting directors, such as Shari Rhodes ("Jaws","Close Encounters", "Raggedy Man".) Barbara Brinkley, Jo Edna Bolden and Donise Hardy, (Castingworks LA).

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