Late summer as I returned from my 3 week work trip in Wyoming, I was looking to get back into an Improv class as I find that it’s the training that is the most complete for me as an actor. I had felt stuck for a while trying to find energy or a way to replenish myself from outside. It didn’t help to have lost a pet for sure and often it’s time that you need but I knew I needed something else… And by that I mean not to run around town driving and feeling like I was wasting my time, energy, and money to get it. I wasn’t completely convinced that I wanted to take a class somewhere too because I didn’t want to have to miss a class if I had to go to an audition or had to cancel because of bookings (a nice problem to have). There are always drop in classes but it wasn’t the kind I wanted to get into. When you miss something it’s difficult to catch up sometimes and you lose the momentum. That’s when “To Be or not to Act” popped into my face through an ad! It wasn’t the first time I had heard about it. It had been recommended to me through a fellow actor Giannina Toaxen, whose honest talk I respect, and through a magnificent short film called Grace starring fellow Swiss actor Carlos Leal that we had seen in L.A. directed and written by Jo Kelly who is the actual coach of the “33 Day Journey – Freeing your instrument” online program.
There’s Burning man and the burning actor (the nickname I give to Jo Kelly’s program) since my instrument needed some serious jackhammering to get back to feeling complete. And that’s my idea of Burning Man…I’ve never been there and I’m not sure I ever will…(note to self: Never say never though)Lol! I prefer to spend my money on traveling throughout the world with my hubby and discover different cultures. Anyway, I signed up for the “33 day journey” out of convenience and good faith! And also, because I had taken its free online session to give me an idea of what it was about.
From Resistance to Freedom
We worked on many things, such as defining my essence but most importantly my resistance and then freeing myself. Let me tell you that it was extremely primal and although the class had many participants from all around the world (we all communicate in English – Jo Kelly also coaches in French and Spanish). I’ve never felt more connected with myself than in any other classes I’ve taken because it’s an hour of intense work not watching others (you can of course but that’s not the point and Jo Kelly gets in your room and gives you directions so no rest for the weary) but being with yourself and figuring yourself out while freeing your instrument. Every day is a different approach because every day in life is different. And if you miss the session, you can catch it later online though your private link and login! Heaven!
I came out of this program energized and having the tools to replenish myself and most importantly recycle how I feel for the use of my craft so I don’t feel drained.
Since I know many fellow actors are struggling too I decided to share my experience and to ask a few questions to Jo Kelly because I think many of us would benefit from her coaching.
Interview with Jo kelly
How are you? Who are you?
JK: Hey, so I am Jo Kelly, acting coach & director. Rapt with wonder.
What’s To Be or Not To act? And why did you come up with it? JK: To be or not to act is the name of my business. I mostly coach actors but also singers and other artists and corporates. I chose this name because to me it sums up everything I believe about acting: You either BE or you shouldn’t ACT. Being is so much more interesting and rich than acting. It’s incomparable.
What’s your background?
JK: I have an MBA, specialized in human resources. I have studied acting & writing with many teachers in Paris, Madrid, NY.
For how long have you been coaching actors/artists? Why do you do what you do?
JK: I have been coaching artists for more than 20 years now. After my MBA and specialization in human resources I started doing some corporate consulting. I loved the content but I didn’t like the atmosphere. So I moved to Paris and started from scratch and started studying acting, painting & singing. When I started acting, I was “trying” to act… It was painful when I was performing and I didn’t know how to move forward to become great or book better work or even go about the industry. I was lost and felt like a failure sometimes. It felt horrible because I knew I couldn’t trust my instrument, myself, my instinct… So I felt like there was something to fix, and I kept taking class after class and nothing worked until I got wise and simply reset my instrument. Then my acting got easy straight away: I was free, instinctive, in the zone…At any time.
Even my meetings were great, booking was easy and I even got awards. The only thing I did was that I created a simple and radical structure to reboot my instrument and reconnect it to its power. And it worked. So then I created a simple 1 month journey to help actors do the same. And by now I can say that I can confidently promise an artist that if they trust me, I can make them reconnect their instrument to its power and instinct and as a result actors go from good to great. And that is the reason why I do it, I just can’t get enough of people actually going from good to great. It’s like a drug to me to see people take off their mask and just be who they are. There is nothing more beautiful to me.
What’s your best achievement?
JK: My children
How was it to coach me (I may as well..:P)
JK: So much fun, because you have such powerful crazy energy under your more appropriate mask. That’s delicious and limitless to me.
What else, would you like to say?
JK: Everything is going to be ok, nothing matters 😉
When is the next journey starting and where can people find you?
JK: People can find out about the next dates and watch the free webinar here.