Acting Up With Ralf

Acting Up With Ralf

Ralf Jean-Pierre

Brooklyn, NY

5.0

Responds within hours
2 years in business
1 employees

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My service stands out because it’s an untamed, naive approach to acting that dares to imagine that no one has to learn to act, they merely need to remember. I believe that if we can tap into our bodies, our playfulness, or silliness, and quiet the grown-up, logical voices in us that we can remember how to play with the same investment we did as children. My approach is about how brave you can be, how alive you can feel, how hard you can pretend, how much fun you can have, not about measuring your “talent”, or getting you do it “right.” I can guide you through all the practical considerations of being an actor, of performing for people, and as part of an ensemble, without sapping all the fun out. On the contrary, working with me you’ll discover a capacity for fun it seemed you were ineligible for before.

I take a lot of joy in introducing people to their capacity for joy, playfulness, the ecstatic. I love giving people permission to feel stupid, which I feel in 80% of the job of being an actor. I love coaching an actor creating specific, nuanced, dynamic characters that fill and compliment the story being told. I love helping actors to learn to identify and solve the fascinating storytelling challenges a script can present through fun, imaginative, clandestine games. I love translating and demystifying the technical demands actors can be intimidated by. But mostly I love introducing actors to their silly, stupid, over-the-top side, and how that bold, feral side of themselves can be their greatest ally in any kind of work, because it opens their heart wide for any kind of make-believe, in any tone, style, medium or genre.

Lessons

Acting, Improv Acting, Film And Tv Acting, Film Acting, Scene Study, Shakespearean Acting, Speaking Voice, Spoken Word, Theater Acting, Stage Performance, Child Acting


Location

Brooklyn, NY 11221

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  • Adam Sokol

    Ralf was really good at helping me work through my weaknesses while at the same time helping me realize my strengths as an actor. I felt the part I was working on was well outside my wheelhouse but Ralf did a great job at helping me be comfortable doing something I’d never done before.

  • Tom Delgado

    Ralf is a talented, genuine, and fearless person that inspires others to be the same. He is also incredibly supportive and brings out the best in people.

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Q & A

What is your typical process for working with a new student?

I want to first get a clear sense of what the student’s goals are, what kind of help they feel they need from me, and if there are specific pieces or skills they want to work on. I talk to the student about the kind of work they are interested in, what kind of work inspires them, what makes them laugh, and their background in art, including but not limited to acting, so we can find as common a language as we can.

Then we ease into games stupid games that start to get them okay with feeling stupid, which is essential to acting, and games that will draw them to a closer relationship to their body and their intuition. We do the same for their their voice. Next we begin to break down whatever piece we are working on into what's fun, what's funny, or unusual about that piece, and use that as a doorway to explore the piece in an in depth way that doesn't just walk through the front door, but takes the individual actor's sensibilities into consideration. We'll work that way for as long as it's fun.


What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I started acting when I accidentally took an improv class in high school. I received a BFA in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art & Design, apprenticed with world renowned clown performer, Eric Davis and studied with Yale Physical Acting & Clowning teacher, Christopher Bayes. I completed programs at The People's Improv Theater,  Dance New Amsterdam, and the Actor's Movement Studio in NYC. I’ve also been a founding member of the indie improv team The Hand-me-Downs for 4 years.


Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

I charge $30 for my services, for up to 4 students at a time. Add 10$ for each additional student. Anyone's first hour of working with me is free.


How did you get started teaching?

I started teaching in 2006 when I came on as assistant director for Savannah's AWOL Inc. youth theater program. In this program which focused on arts education and mentorship for at-risk youth, I helped create material and direct the students in their devised theater revue.


What types of students have you worked with?

I’ve taught as an drama teacher in NYC public school afterschool programs, coaching students through performances in scripted and improvised material for Educational Alliance as well as CUNY Creative Arts team. These were student who came from backgrounds as diverse as New York, including many to whom english was a second language. Some of my students have been at-risk youth from tough background, with considerable behavioral issues, some have been cynical New York up and coming stand-up comedians.


Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I recently did a successful run of my one-man show”What Should Be the Fear” in Savannah, GA. The show chronicles true story of my year long tour of the United States on my bicycle, performing solo Shakespeare on the streets. This was really important to me because I performed the first finished draft of the show my collaborator and I have been laboring over for 3 years. People responded really strongly to it, and we got laughs in most of the places we wanted, and many we didn’t anticipate.


What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

I think New York is a deceptively tough place to find an acting teacher because there is a regime of teacher who are connected to an old approach and system that has become stale, perverted and cultivate teacher-student relationships that can become a bit sycophantic over time. I think there is a new approach that is less self-serious, that takes into account the new ways that actors work, the change in our tastes, or sense of humor, and our relationship to media. I’d advise you to work with a teacher who is firm, and decisive, but who builds you up, not tears you down. Finally I’d advise you to remember, no one teacher is going to make or break you. It’s up to you to decide how far you are willing to go, not for someone else to determine for you.


What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

Are you coming to a teacher to learn what they have to teach, or are you already settled on your own approach? How willing are you to make a fool of yourself? How willing are you to fail? Who are you in competition with, and why? What are your goals? What is your timeline? Who are your favorite actors and what do you love about their choices? What makes you laugh really hard? I think all this is important, because if you have freshly pondered these things, they are the pertinent questions to have in mind when you are weighing whether you and an acting teacher will vibe.