Monday, December 5, 2011

Acting is a Tough Business

Image created by Artotems Co.

“Acting is a tough business, and you need to be in good shape mentally and physically.”

Juliette Binoche - French actress, artist and dancer.

Acting is a tough business as Juliette says. As actors our hours can be long and our efforts can be strenuous. Like many artists  in the act of our creative efforts we often don’t notice how we are treating ourselves and our bodies. We focus on practically everything but that.

We, like others often take our health for granted. It’s just there and then sometimes it’s suddenly gone. This attitude is common and fraught with peril for our futures as actors.

Let’s look at some basics of good physical health in this post. As you go through the list think about where you are with each of these basic categories.  What are you doing right? What’s missing? What can you improve on?

Some of the information we are using today comes from Thanks!

Do my habits really affect my health?
Yes, very much so. All of the major causes of death (such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and injury) can be prevented in part by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Don't smoke or use tobacco.
Smoking and using tobacco are very dangerous habits. Smoking causes 440,000 deaths in the United States every year. More preventable illnesses (such as emphysema, mouth, throat and lung cancer, and heart disease) are caused by tobacco use than by anything else. The sooner you quit, the better.

Limit how much alcohol you drink.
This means no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. One drink is equal to 1 can of beer (12 ounces), a 4-ounce glass of wine or a jigger (1 ounce) of liquor.
Too much alcohol can damage the liver and contribute to some cancers, such as throat and liver cancer. Alcohol also contributes to deaths from car wrecks, murders and suicides.

Eat healthy.
A healthy diet has many health benefits. Heart disease, certain cancers, stroke, diabetes and damage to your arteries can be linked to what you eat. By making healthier food choices, you can also lower your cholesterol and lose weight.

Lose weight if you're overweight.
Many Americans are overweight. Carrying too much weight increases your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, gallbladder disease and arthritis in the weight-bearing joints (such as the spine, hips or knees). A high-fiber, low-fat diet and regular exercise can help you lose weight and keep it off.

Exercise can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and depression. It can also help prevent colon cancer, stroke and back injury. You'll feel better and keep your weight under control if you exercise regularly. Try to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week, but remember that any amount of exercise is better than none.

Don't forget... We offer our Healthy Actor Meetup and the TASA Actors Support Group

The next meeting is: 

December 11th, 2011 - 4 PM to 6PM

TASA Studio 
2924 Knight Street Building 4 Suite # 411
Shreveport,  LA  71105

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanks to all our friends at TASA!

Nature XXVII, Autumn

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town. 

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on. 

~Emily Dickinson 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

An ounce of prevention....

Actors -I have been avoiding chiming in about this but must finally speak. There is a lot of manipulation and abuse out there.  I  strongly encourage you to talk with new and professional actors for referrals about their coach / teacher. Additionally, I publish video testimonials from many of my actors so that folks hear from my students first hand. I would also tell new actors to check out exactly where teachers got their training. I worked hard for the privilege of calling myself a coach and teacher.  While I have been an actress since my childhood, and have credits in theater, film, radio and television, I have also trained to teach acting. I teach because it is my PASSION and I CAN versus many who "teach " as a fallback because they aren't working as an actor.  This, I believe, is where so much damage is done to aspiring actors. Then toss in a few  agents who think they know what acting is and you add another level of confusion and misinformation. We have a handful of good teachers and some wonderful agents and CD's in the state. Do your research.   - TASA Studio, Mary Thoma

Monday, April 11, 2011


Kudos to THE RAT PACK for an entertaining and educational workshop on the basic skills of unarmed combat! We had a dozen men and women who learned to fall with grace, throw a punch, take a slap and more!  A great Saturday morning at the Studio!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The prize isn't " out there"...

Kevin Spacey on success.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011



TASA Studio JUMP START ACTING CAMPS offer a chance to get a jump-start on breaking into the film business right here at home!   Students leave our ACTING CAMP with the information and tools necessary to get a JUMP START into the business: web-proofs and a printed headshot/ photographer release, resume, a DVD copy of your performance, acting and audition classes and much more!
ACTING CAMP will be taught by TASA STUDIO director and SAG Actress Mary Thoma and TASA STUDIO staff.  Joining Ms. Thoma will be headshot photographer, Michael Boyd and BAM Casting Director, Tara Duncil.   A Parent ”Q and A"about the business and a review of student work will be held on the final day of camp for the student camps.
Registration is limited to the first 18 students who register with a 25% down payment to hold your spot.   
CAMP 1   STUDENT           June 13-17                          Ages 7- 17 years         10-5 pm
CAMP 2   STUDENT           June 20 -24                         Ages 7- 17 years         10-5 pm
CAMP 3   ADULT               July 25-29                         Ages 18 + years        10- 5 pm
Fee for the one week ACTING CAMP is $ 499. REGISTRATION DEADLINE:  TWO WEEKS prior to camp. For more information or to register, contact TASA Studio Director, Mary Thoma at 318.465.5374 or email  

Monday, March 14, 2011

True Greatness

"Greatness occurs when your children love you, when your critics respect you and when you have peace of mind." ~ Quincy Jones

Music producer
Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. (1933-), called "Q" by his friends, was born poor on this day in Chicago's South Side. Growing up, the music he heard on the radio stimulated his vision and creativity.

"Everything starts with a song or a story," he declared. "That drives everything."

When he was 41, Q survived a brain aneurysm and two brain operations. The experience inspired him to celebrate life daily: "God has given each one of us approximately 25,000 days on this earth. I truly believe He (or She) has something very specific in mind: 8,300 days to sleep, 8,300 to work, 8,300 to give, live, play, pray, and love one another."

Over the past five decades he has creatively fused music with his own style. Injecting soul and jazz, experimenting with synthesizers, innovating the mainstream pop world.

Q produced the historic We Are The World: U.S.A For Africa in 1991 to raise money for famine relief. He advised the multi-million dollar chorus of superstars to "check your egos at the door." They did.

"The only two people Quincy doesn't know in the music business are Beethoven and Bach," observed singer Lionel Richie.

Highly-respected and multi-awarded, Quincy Jones knows what makes greatness, true greatness: love, respect, and peace of mind.

~~True greatness is having love, respect, and peace of mind.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Wholeness and Balance

Health is wholeness and balance, an inner resilience that allows you to meet the demands of living without being overwhelmed."  - Andrew Weil, MD

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A New Beginning

I found this blog yesterday and thought it had some great things to say about life-crafting.

A Tragedy

My wife and I graduated from Keuka College, a beautiful college on Keuka Lake in New York.  Graduation weekend is always held on Memorial Day, so my family and my wife’s family decided to rent a house on the lake for the weekend.  Ever since then, we’ve made it an annual family tradition.  Every Memorial Day weekend we rent a house on the lake together as a family.
In 2009 during our annual stay at the lake, through a long series of events that I feel were truly meant to be, our dog Athena ended up getting hit by a car and died.  Looking back it seems as if my whole life’s purpose flashed before my eyes in this one solitary moment.  The events and occurrences of my life up to that point seemed to fit together like an unsolved jigsaw puzzle – everything fit, but the message of the puzzle was still unclear.  But in that moment of tragedy, the different pieces came together in a more enlightening way than they ever had before.
Needless to say it was a pretty sudden and unexpected death that affected my wife and me greatly.  I could not shake the feeling it was somehow meant to be and immediately tried to decipher why that was.  What I learned, summed up in one sentence is, “Life is too short not to follow your heart.”

A New Beginning

And this is what my blog is all about.  I decided that I wanted to spend more time with my wife and kids.  I wanted to work for myself and stop making other people rich from my efforts.  I came up with a plan to do this and I have now implemented it.
This is not an easy thing to do.  Athena died almost two years ago.  This plan was supposed to be implemented within one year and I am just beginning to make significant progress now.  I feel a bit guilty I did not get it done sooner.  Unfortunately, life is like that.  We all have the best intentions, but ultimately life gets the best of us and we find ourselves 15 years later asking, “How did this happen?  Where did the time go?”
In the end, happiness is different for everyone.  It could mean any number of things.  I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice we can make.  Whether it is being happy with our self, our spouse, our job or something else.  To find true happiness you have to follow your heart and intuition.  You have to be who you are and follow a lifestyle and career that fulfills you; no matter what that entails or what people say about it.  And it is never too late to do so.
After Athena’s death, and in my search to help it all make sense, I put together a personal action plan that followed six simple steps.  It helped me take a snapshot of my life and analyze where I am now and where I want to go.  So I want to leave you with this 6 step process to getting what you want out of life.
  1. Create a mission statement. – Mine was simply “To translate what gives me joy, fulfillment and makes me genuinely happy into a career that will allow me to work for myself and spend more time with my family.”  This meant starting my own business as a coach to help individuals and small business owners get what they want out of their life and business.  Formulating this sentence allows us to create a short mission statement that summarizes exactly what we want from life, which will help to keep it in the forefront of our minds when we’re making important decisions.
  2. Make a list of your primary priorities. – This list will make your decisions easier as you will know what’s most important to you.  Anytime there is a conflict consult this list and make the decision based on your priorities.  Here is an example of my list: Family, Church, Health, Work / Money, Service to Others, Hobbies.
  3. Take an inventory. – List every single major entity in your life – the people, organizations, career, hobbies, and anything else you spend time on in your life.  Write a short summary of each.  Explain what each one means to you, what you get from it, and if you are neglecting other areas of your life because of it.
  4. Make decisions. – Take this list and make a decision on every aspect of your life.  Decide whether time you spend on certain activities could be spent helping you achieve goals in other areas of your life.  Decide if you will continue some activities, change others, or start a new one.  Time is the most precious commodity we have; do not waste it.
  5. Develop a plan. – Develop a game plan of what has to take place to reach your dreams and make things happen.  Setup measurable goals for your life.  Break it all down into time frames of a week, a month, a year and then longer - 5, 10, 20, 30 years out.  These will constantly change and evolve so check them and update them frequently.
  6. Schedule it, tell everyone and take action. – The most important step.  By scheduling your goals and your action items it allows you to set definite deadlines.  That gives you a better chance of sticking to it.  If you tell everyone what you are doing you are now creating ownership of your goals.  And of course nothing can stand in your way as long as you’re taking decisive action.  If you find yourself making excuses, stop!
I know it may seem crazy that some dog changed my life, but it was the lessons I learned from Athena’s accident that changed my life.  We all learn differently.  And despite my loss, I’m grateful for the lessons and the opportunities that have risen from it.
If you liked what you read here please feel free to visit Chris Gaddis’ website at 

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Little Better All the Time

Healthy Actor Meet-Up we all feel a little healthier? I should say so!  Dr. Jason Maggio really delivered on his presentation at the first Healthy Actor Meet-up. 

Dr. Jason had us at hello when he started doling out his obvious knowledge about general health, diet, stress and ways to make it all better. Not another "guy giving a talk so that you'll hopefully patronize his business", Dr. Jason was passionate, engaging and very knowledgeable; and, not to mention, very easy to listen to. 

A good turn out of actors posited questions about the average troubles we all suffer from. The difference - the answers weren't average at all. He had the patience to be technical to a point without losing any of us in the audience. Simple things too, like explaining the role of water and the importance of being adequately hydrated. Did you know the number one cause of headaches is slight dehydration and that most people are a little dehydrated? Neither did we. 

He explained the dangers of sugars (not merely in weight gain, but in blood chemistry issues that could pose long term problems). And my favorite were his discussions on stress. He offered really easy solutions that affected a number of the body's systems all with the aim to regain balance. And guess what, they are things you can do that cost you nothing. What a gift his seminar was. We look forward to seeing him again. Encore!
All the Way Chiropractic
Dr. Jason Maggio
8575 Fern Avenue
Suite 101
Shreveport, LA  71105   

Monday, January 31, 2011

January Check- In

Greetings, Friends!

I logged on this morning and was shocked to discover it was the final day of January.  How can that be?
If your January has been anything like mine, it has been a combination of the "dailiness of life" as well as surprises,  new ideas, unexpected events, steps forward and steps backward toward achieving goals and dreams.  As John Lennon said, " Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans."

Today is  great day to take stock of your feelings about the first month of 2011.  Have your found your energy increasing or diminishing? Are you encouraged by your progress or discouraged ? Perhaps  a little of both? Many people set unrealistic goals for the new year and then go through a cycle of self-criticism when they falter in moving forward at the unrealistic rate they set for themselves.  Others dream of changes but feel overwhelmed by them and frozen in place, unable to move forward.  As actors, we score high on imagination but sometimes falter with follow-through. Instead of giving in to discouragement, get active! Research goal-setting and learn where you might have stumbled along the way.  Get more information and get going!

Are your goals SMART goals?  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely? This is not a new idea. If your goals do not fit this concept, google SMART Goals and take a look at how this process will make your goal-setting and follow through much more efficient and effective.  Here's a link for a free SMART Goals worksheet to get you started:

Your passion and excitement will fuel your goal-setting and ultimately provide you with the energy to move forward. Don't give in to self-criticism.  Start afresh and let's get going!  I'm cheering you on! Let me know how it goes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. - Creativity, Love and Dr. Martin King, Jr.

Creativity, Love and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by Plish on January 20, 2009
We often think of creativity and innovation in terms of the needs of business.  Yet, in everyday life, people are continually being creative, risking and innovating.  This type of daily creativity, driven directly by the needs of others can result in powerful innovation and the betterment of humankind.
This beautiful story of graciousness is about a man, who upon seeing a guest at his table eating peas with a knife, also eats peas so as not to make the guest feel badly. 
What the man in the story did was more than graciousness, it was  Love - a profound, deep act of love that was willing to break rules of etiquette so that the other person would feel acknowledged, respected…
… loved.
Dr. Martin Luther King (whose birthday we celebrate) once said of this love in his sermon, “Loving Your Enemies,”
“(this deep love) is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love…”
He uses the word “Creative” and it is fitting. 
There were many ways the man in the story could have taught his family about loving others, about respect, about graciousness, yet in a moment’s twinkling he led by example, in simplicity, by eating his peas with a knife!
Dr. King continued:
“…when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life.”
 Truly powerful words and they should be taken to heart. 
While Love creates an environment of creativity, hate inhibits creativity because it destroys the core of the human which is called to Love.  A person who is diminished in this way is not operating, creating, innovating from a position of power, but from a position of weakness and frailty - the person is no longer being authentic to the depths of human beauty.
When there is a lack of beauty within, the corresponding lack of an authentic generative creativity leads to a world  devoid of innovation, devoid of graciousness, devoid of justice, devoid of peace, devoid of Love.
So next time you’re struggling, lacking in creativity, try digging deep and seeing everyone, including yourself, through the eyes of Love.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


All artists seek specificity. To be specific one must be awake, alive and available to respond moment to moment to moment. Specificity can only be found in the present moment. - Mary Thoma

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Healthy Actor Tip #5

Acting in Joy - As an actor myself, and one who has worked with and taught actors of all ages for years, I’ve seen a lot of unhealthy approaches to working with actors and a lot of damage done. Actors have a deep desire to give of themselves and share what is most important to them. Acting requires a vital vulnerablity and tremendous courage. Do not settle for less than complete respect and an approach to your work that strengthens and does not abuse your gifts.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Art and Soul of Acting

New to acting or an experienced artist? We are dedicated to the development of impassioned students who seek to possess powerful imaginations, intense intellects, and an open and joyful heart deeply connected to the people and the world around them.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Closed doors

Rejection? Standard fare for the working actor. It is crucial that actors learn healthy responses to the pain and self-doubt brought about by Approval's constant twin, Rejection. What tools have you put into place in your life to deal with rejection? What if you could reframe rejection and turn it into powerful fuel to propel you to the next level? The Daily Disciplines of the Healthy Actor will strengthen you in your process and keep you steady on course building skills and a meaningful career while caring well for yourself and others along the way.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ready to take the LEAP?

Dear Actors,

There are lots of things you CAN do as an actor to build your business career and grow as an artist, and I know you know that you must focus on both, each and every day! But do you know what these actor habits are? Do you have a specific PLAN to address all the important areas? Are you running around putting out fires? Wasting energy in the wrong places? Do you know what your strengths and challenges are? Have you set goals? Do you know where your priorities lie?

If not, we are gathering Wednesday , Jan 5 from 7-9 pm in Shreveport at TASA ( The Art and Soul of Acting studio) to assist forward-thinking, dedicated actors to identify their challenges in 2010 and turn them into fuel for 2011. Wouldn't you like to LEAP into 2011 with a doable, specific, exciting and inspiring plan of action tailor- made just for you and your acting career? Would you like to leave with a calendar and a plan of acrtion that you can begin to implement immediately - one that doesn't depend on lots of extra finances? Ready to stop playing around and put yourself in the strongest possible place to go after your dream? Let's do it together!

Ready now? Contact me at

You will leave inspired to push past your current self-imposed limitations while also ready with specific steps you can take daily! ( And guess what? It's really a blast!)

Biggest mistake most actors make? WAITING. Let's get going!

LEAP!! event : $10 for non-studio members and Free to TASA studio members. Happy New Year to us all!

More info or to register? Email mary@marythoma. com or call/text 465-5374! Act now and save your spot!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Healthy Tip # 4 : Care of your instrument

" You are your instrument." This is a simple truth for actors. Don't you want your work to resonate with health and vitality? The healthy actor must focus on much more than good nutrition and exercise. if you would keep your instrument whole and healthy, you must treat yourself with care and respect. You must begin to fully believe that you are a priceless gift. Would you allow someone to leave your priceless Stradivarius violin lying on the floor? You too are worthy of great respect. Actors become so focused on "landing the role" or "booking the job" that they often neglect attending to the needs of their body, mind and spirit. Take time today to consider what your instrument needs to play at it's best.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Heathy Tip # 3

Pay attention to how your mind and body react to your daily tasks. Breathe! Do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking can take you out of the present moment.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Healthy Actor Tip #2

Tools for the Healthy Actor: 

Create your Encouragement File
Had this experience lately? You feel great about your audition and walked out feeling powerful only to find out later that you didn't even get a callback? Whether you are new to acting or a veteran in the business, we all have days when disappointment  and discouragement feel overwhelmingly heavy.  In these moments, who hasn't occasionally given in to one or the other extreme reactions: You either immediately begin to tear yourself down and demean your look or abilities, or you rant about those idiot Casting Directors for not seeing you clearly in a role you were born to play! 

 The Encouragement File is an easy solution and a creative tool to remind you of the goodness of you!  It's easy to set up and as it grows, so will it's power to encourage you when you need it most!  What is it? A file to keep any especially meaningful emails, notes, letters, Facebook or Twitter posts, etc from people who matter to you.  Collect these items to remind you of who you are and what you do well.  Sound too simple? You might be surprised. And no, you don't have to tell anyone you are doing this.