Acting Classes: The Disney Channel Part 1

What do you do when you realize that your child’s dreams and passions are attached to the fact that he or she wants to act on television like in shows on the Disney Channel and Disney XD?

In this six-part series I will talk about steps that you can take right now to actively start your child on the path of achieving this goal, no matter where you live.

The first thing that must happen is that as a parent you should understand that dreaming of becoming an actor especially on programs on The Disney Channel and Disney XD is a very strong desire in a lot of young people throughout the world.

Acting is as valid a pursuit as sports, arts programs like dance, singing, or playing an instrument, and more encouraged studies like academics and the sciences. And the truth is that learning the craft of acting also can take just as long as these other interests to master. So have a very clear vision about taking your budding actor’s goals as seriously as if your child was committed to one day playing professional soccer or becoming a robotics champ.

So your child has the passion. And you are committed to helping them achieve it. Now what? You should enroll them in an excellent on-camera acting class like Gary Spatz’s classes for acting here in Los Angeles. However, what if you don’t live here. Then what?

Step One – Speaking Skills:

Diction: the use of words, especially with the regards to correctness, clarity, and effectiveness.
It doesn’t matter where you live. You can help your child start their path to wanting to act on The Disney Channel or Nickelodeon from anywhere.

In Gary Spatz’s The Playground acting classes, one foundational thing we emphasize is articulation. We do this by warming up the articulation muscles in the face, practicing diction by warming up with tongue twisters, and giving out tongue twister challenges and diction tests.

I expect my students to have a weekly schedule to work on their diction so that each week they come to class I see steady improvement. At the acting school I am fine- tuning and taking speaking skills to a professional actors level. If you have a budding actor, start the process of clear speech right now.

There are things that any new acting student could be working on and practicing right now. Here are a few wonderful ideas.

Work on Tongue Twisters: There are tons of examples online and in books. Pick one a day and really master it. For example: Licorice Wristwatch. Can you say it clearly? Can you say it three times? Can you say it three times fast – clearly? Can you say it ten times? Can you say it ten times fast while running in place? You can see students from Gary Spatz’s The Playground practicing tongue twisters on YouTube at: Have fun! Create your own.

Practice reading out loud with your child: Find a great book, comic book, magazine article… anything! Set aside a scheduled time for them to read, out loud, to you. When I was a young teenager I would read articles and advertisements out of the newspaper. Now, the tricky part is to not be too critical. Do not expect them to be perfect. That is why I called it practice.

As a teacher I am always aware that too much correction can be overwhelming to a new student. So I recommend you start only with one correction. And you must make that correction from a genuinely kind and helpful place. For example, if your child doesn’t clearly articulate the last letter of a word like “great” and it sounds like he or she is saying “grey,” then only correct similar sounds like this. Then, allow your child to practice on their own for a few minutes on that correction. Then read it through again. Praise your child when you hear improvement. Praise your child for trying even if there isn’t improvement. Eventually, there will be.

Practice reading out loud to your child: Giving your child an opportunity to hear good diction and/or improving on your own diction can really inspire your child. Same rules apply. Your child can only correct you on one sound. Your child must only state that correction in a genuinely kind way.

Watch television with your child: Of all the homework I assign at Gary Spatz’s The Playground acting classes, this is always my students’ favorite. The kids make me tell their parents the homework in person so that the parents will believe them! Now there are a few rules that go with this homework:

It must be a show that you approve of them watching, like Disney Channel, Disney XD shows, like Nick at Nite’s hit show See Dad Run starring Scott Baio and my private student Ryan Newman, whom I have been teaching since she was six years old. They both have excellent diction skills. The show has very funny story lines that both adults and children can relate to. Sit down and watch the show. DVR it if you need to.

Discuss the diction. After the show talk about if you were able to hear all the lines, and if you were able to understand everything that every actor on the series said. Learning acting skills to prepare for auditioning for such networks as Disney Channel by learning to improve on diction is also learning skills for life. You might watch your young actor start to participate more at school, do better on oral presentations and feel more confident expressing themselves. These are always bonuses.

Realizing your child’s dreams and passions are emotionally involved in becoming an actor on television networks like The Disney Channel or Nickelodeon can sound far- fetched at first. However, taking these dreams seriously no matter where you live, starting with foundation step one: good diction, by finding creative and fun ways to practice can start you on that pathway. This will show your child and maybe even yourself that you are serious about your child wanting to act on TV. Not just dreaming about it. Learning acting can be fun! Even if you have to speak clearly!

Look for our next article in the series “How To Get On The Disney Channel Part 2: Emotional Words”

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