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The Acting Business Boot Camp Podcast

Episode 231: Incredible Improv with Peggy Etra

acting training May 10, 2023


For over 40 years, Peggy has studied and performed Improv with The Groundings, Gross National Product, National Lampoon Players, TheatreSports, and Improvatorium.

She is a current performing member of Puppet Up! (Adult Improv Puppet Show produced by The Jim Henson Company).

She can be seen in The Barbarian and The Troll (series regular), Seinfeld, Boston Legal, Crash and Bernstein, The Last Champion, Earth to Ned, among others...

She studied at San Francisco State University, Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, American Conservatory Theatre, and holds a degree in Theatre. 

She taught short form at Improvatorium.

It's also great for learning communication skills in your day-to-day time. Listening in your day-to-day.  

The power of Yes and. 

Let's try that again, but this time with a yes, try with a yes.  

The Who, the What, and...

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Episode 230: The Strike

business tips May 05, 2023

So now what?

"Few situations, no matter how greatly they appear to demand it, can be bettered by going berserk."

It's important to put all of this into perspective.

This is survivable. It's going to be survivable. Is it tough? Is it a pain in the neck? Does it potentially throw off some of our career plans? Does it maybe stop some stuff that we hoped would go forward and now isn't because of the strike?


Is it survivable? Is it manageable? The answer is yes, it is.

Us freaking out about it doesn't do us any good. What I would say is, Let's try and move into accepting it.

I need to do what I can to be proactive in supporting the writers and keep the focus on myself.

I need to take care of myself, my finances, my family, and especially my sanity.

So let's look at how we deal with panic and uncertainty during this time.

"Don't panic. If panic strikes, we do not have to allow it to control our behaviors."

I don't have to let this strike control my behavior.


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Episode 229: Aging and the Actor

Uncategorized May 03, 2023

Ken Rea’s Outstanding Actor Workshop

Well, this week, I turn another year older.

In the 30-plus years, I've been in this industry, I've watched it change dramatically.

Age is wisdom

Age is an advantage

Aging is beautiful

Aging is a privilege

“The walls of your comfort zone are lovingly decorated with your lifelong collection of favorite excuses.” -Jen Sincero

I was using age as an excuse.

When you see what you're weak at, you don't want to shy away from it. You want to lean into it. You want to practice it more. You want to get stronger and better and master it.

I've learned so much through getting older.

They are looking for everything. They just want real.

Start saying to yourself. “Why not me? Why not now?”

What is stopping me? What is stopping me because if it's age or any other lifelong collection of excuses, then keep in mind you're the one who's making those excuses, and you can just as easily choose to overcome them.

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Episode 228: Control and the Actor

core work Apr 26, 2023

Ken Rea’s Outstanding Actor Workshop

Wendy Alnutt Class

Last week I talked about the potential writer's strike, and I also talked about control.

This is a business of practicing self-control.

But what I think is far healthier is really learning how to keep the focus on ourselves. 

The Language of Letting Go

“Control. Many of us have been trying to keep the whole world in orbit with sheer and forceful application of mental energy. What happens if we let go? If we stop trying to keep the world orbiting and just let it whirl? It'll keep right on whirling. It'll keep right on whirling. It'll stay right on track with no help from us. And we'll be free and relaxed enough to enjoy our place in it.” 

“Control is an illusion. Especially the kind of control we've been trying to exert on our acting career.”

Your exercise for this week is to list out what are the things that I am trying to control in my acting career that will happen whether I try to...

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Episode 227: The Potential Writer's Strike & What You Can Control

business tips Apr 19, 2023

Ken Rea’s Outstanding Actor Class

So people have been asking me about the writer's strike.

Keep the focus on yourself.

But what can you do? Use this opportunity to let go of drama.

There's a great Michael Jordan quote, “Why would I worry about a shot that I haven't even taken yet?”

Everybody is worried about something that hasn't even happened yet.

Now let's talk about how that affects us as a human being.

We're going to talk about that in a moment. But I just want to talk about this subject and my own experience with worrying about a bunch of stuff that I cannot even control. What it does is it uses up my energy. 

When I am worried about something that is truly probably, if you think about it, none of my business.

If I am trying to get somebody to do something, I am out of myself and into control.

So when it comes to this "potential writer's strike," I again urge you to think about keeping the focus on myself, and taking care of myself pays enormous...

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Episode 226: Guildhall's Ken Rea Returns Part Two

acting training Apr 12, 2023

Ken Rea's Outstanding Actor Workshop

Ken's Theater Troupe

So we wanted to do something that challenged that, that could excite and inspire young audiences and people, people who didn't go to the theater.

There was such an amazing optimism, upbeat, warm energy. And we just got on and did it.

Is it possible to have that attitude again in the world as it is now?

I'm not looking to change the world anymore, but if I can help someone else change themselves, they will then be able to help change other people.

Our first duty is to ourselves.

What can I put back to the planet as a kind of legacy for being on this earth?

Actors have a very important job to do right now in that by telling stories that are powerful and that are going to uplift people and give people hope and inspiration that can hopefully make the world better and better. 

How do you step up to that next level?

How do you inspire people to find the courage to get up to that next level?

So the first thing is to create an...

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Episode 224: Is This Good Enough? The Self Tape Saga

core work Mar 29, 2023

Money Mastery for Actors

We have a problem because we are looking outside of ourselves to get validation.

The only validation that counts is getting validation from the hardest person on the planet to get it from, which is ourselves.

What do you need?

And it's the same for our self-tapes, and it's the same for auditions.

I also need to say, from a casting point of view, from a casting director's point of view, if I see somebody posting something and asking if it is good enough on social media, I am immediately not interested.

Because what that tells me as a casting director is you don't think it's good enough and that you need to go and get validation somewhere else. 

As a casting director, I am only interested in auditioning and only interested in booking actors who know that their work is good and doesn't don't need to put it out on social media.

You are good enough.

I always say that I am good enough is the one affirmation you can't say enough.


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Episode 223: How to Set a Boundary

core work Mar 22, 2023


Money Mastery for Actors

Ken Rea

Katie Flahive

Setting Boundaries

The Language of Letting Go

"Boundaries. Sometimes life and people. And the business seemed to push and push. But because we are used to so much pain, we may tell ourselves that it doesn't hurt. Because we are so used to people controlling and manipulating us, we may tell ourselves that there is something wrong with us. There is nothing wrong with us. Life is pushing and hurting to actually get our attention. Sometimes the pain and the pushing are pointing toward a lesson. And the lesson may be that we've become too controlling, or maybe we're being pushed to own our own power and take care of ourselves. When this comes up, the issue is actually boundaries. If something or somebody is pushing you to your limits, that's exactly what's happening. You're being pushed to your limits. And a different way of thinking about it is we can actually be grateful for the lesson that's here to help us explore and help us to...

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Episode 222: Realizing Your Full Potential

core work Mar 15, 2023

Chiropractor for the Mind

Money Mastery for Actors

The longevity of the work.

You helped me to see how strong I could be and how secure and how confident, and how you have to teach people how to treat you.

And from that advice, I have continued to use it when negotiating clients and contracts and, you know, dating, you can't assume people are going to treat you right, and you have to stand up for yourself and ask for what you deserve.

You just gave me the right tools for me to realize that it was all in my control. I didn't have to be a victim of other people's bad actions or negativity holding me back.

You stand in your own way.

Let's say when you came to coaching, you were operating at 30%. Of where you were at, of where of what your potential was—30%. I helped you to see—the other 70%.

And on the good days, it's 100%. And on the bad days, it's 80 or 90%. But it's a heck of a lot more than the 30% that was being operated with.

Life and work are hard enough. Why...

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