Breaking Through An Emotional Block

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You have an audition for the role of a drug addict or someone who is suicidal. Or maybe the character is struggling over the loss of a parent or child. Or they are trying to escape an abusive household or dealing with PTSD. Maybe they’re battling a war in Afghanistan or inside their own community. Or they’re going through a divorce or dying of cancer.

Emotionally deep roles can be intimidating and scary – so much so that some actors shut down. They hit a block; something in them refuses to “go there” in an effort to avoid uncomfortable feelings like fear, pain, sadness and grief. And yet, that’s our job. If you’re going to represent humanity, you must be willing to experience the whole spectrum.

So when you hit an emotional block, how do you get beyond it?

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The Art of Listening and Being Present

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“You have to listen better,” your acting teacher says. So you really look at the other person, laser focus on them and say to yourself, “Listen….listen…listen….”

Then you see the playback and you look like a psychotic deer caught in alien headlights. You’re straining and bug-eyed and robotic. Why does the work look so inauthentic? The only thing you were focused on was listening better!

But not really. The only thing you were listening to was your own voice repeating that word over and over in your head until it lost all meaning. When you’re doing that you can’t possibly be listening to the other person.

This word “listening” is thrown around a lot. It’s often accompanied by “being present” and “living in the moment.” But do you really know how to listen and be present?
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From Torture To Playpen: What To Do In The Casting Director’s Lobby

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A million years ago, I went to my first callback. I was so excited, I did a little victory dance in my tiny apartment. “Clearly,” my naive mind told me, “this is just a formality; I’ve really booked the role!” I rode the subway running my five lines, beaming with pride, already imagining shooting the scene and accepting the director/writer/producer’s ecstatic offer to be made a series regular.

Imagine my surprise when I found there were other women in the lobby being seen for the same role. They were prettier than me. Better dressed. Looked more like the part. Were more seasoned. They were running their lines and chit chatting about agents and bookings…

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Why Actors Should Stop Planning

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Allison leaves an audition and pumps her fist. “I nailed it! I did everything I wanted to; laughed at the exact right moment, gave them that sarcastic look, put my hand on my hip…that was awesome!”

Sheena leaves an audition for the same role a little dazed. “I have no idea what just happened.”

Who books it? Probably Sheena. Why? She was fully present. So present and connected to the other person that she has no idea what she herself did. There was no room for self-reflection in the moment because she was so focused on the other person.
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Emily Torres (Fam)

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 8.41.11 PMI booked a pilot! And I believe that your classes are the reason I booked it.

The entire audition was “cold reads only.” All I had was the breakdown of the character and then I was given my scene 5 minutes before I auditioned. I went in with a confidence, excitement and the skills I learned working with you. After I read for the part of Rita, the director asked me to read for another part and again I only had about five minutes.

When I booked the job, I asked what made me stand out. She said that I was excited to just jump in, I wasn’t scared of the cold read and it didn’t paralyze me. Instead, she said, I got more connected and made every adjustment without getting nervous.

So I wanted to thank you! Working with you has really made me confident and even more excited about my craft! When I’m done filming you will see me again in class.

Jessica Sirls (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal)

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 8.42.33 PMIn L.A., acting coaches are abundant; exceptional acting coaches are rare.  Robin is one of these rare finds.  She challenges you without berating you.  She praises your milestones without accepting you’ve peaked.  She provides a safe place while pushing you past your comfort zone.

She gives you a set of tools to digs deep into the emotional life of a character. She allows you to grow as a person and an actor.  This translates to a better experience in the audition room and a richer life.

I recently had an important meeting/audition with a top theatrical agency I wanted to impress.  My coaching session with Robin prepared me for that and led to me signing with the agency.  Woo hoo!  As I continue to grow and practice my craft, I will continue to go back to Robin.

Kane Ritchotte


I love acting. I completely identify with the medium. I love great movies, shows, actors, directors, but until I met Robin, I’d never been as inspired by a teacher. I felt that Robin shared the same integrity I value so much.

Every minute of class was insightful, exciting, and personal. Along with teaching me extremely useful techniques to help dig into the story and character I’m portraying, she reminded me to trust my instinct and fuel my performances with my gut. I realized a lot about myself with Robin, both in private coaching sessions and in class.

I’m so happy to have met her and work with her. I HIGHLY recommend her to any actor who values the process, and not only the result. I’ll always remember my first great teacher.

Acting As A Spa Day

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You’re having a crappy day. Or a crappy week. Maybe even a crappy month. You’re going through a breakup or someone you love is in the hospital or your gross roommate keeps leaving his socks on the kitchen table. Whatever it is, it’s eating into your entire life, including your craft. So when you’re in class or on an audition, that terrible day or week or month is taking over your imagination and your ability to be present. So all anyone sees….is your heavy personal load.

Life throws curve balls. In fact, it throws curve balls most of the time. It can get in the way. So how can you do your best when life is crapping on your head?
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Learn Like A Baby

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I was half-way through my first improv class at the Groundlings and considering dropping it altogether. Consumed with dread about how lost I was, and not wanting to look like a weak improviser, I was seriously considering skipping out on class. I was utterly frustrated, disappointed and surprised that my work was not stellar. How could I suck so bad when I had years of previous improv experience? I co-founded three improv/sketch groups, directed one of them, studied at the New Actor’s Workshop in NYC and iO West in L.A., taught numerous improv classes to kids….I knew I wasn’t as experienced as many of my colleagues, but absolutely expected to be one of the standouts in class.
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