Photo courtesy of Amy Lyndon.

Looking to improve your booking ratio? Amy Lyndon, founder of the Lyndon Technique, has been doing just that for actors for years. The multifaceted acting/booking coach has worked as a performer —with more than 100 IMDB credits to her name— and as a talent manager and CEO of Gold-Levin Talent. Lyndon took time out of her day to discuss her signature technique and more – sharing plenty of advice actors of all levels can glean.

Can you tell us about a particularly challenging project you worked on with a student and how you helped them overcome any obstacles they faced?

I have this celebrity client who has only worked on light scripts for Disney Feature Films and Sitcoms. She was given an opportunity to play an extremely dark thriller type of stylized role in a Feature Film and she was going to pass on it.

I said, “Let’s work on it together first and then make your decision.” She was scared and hesitant as to whether she was going to pull it off, but luckily, she listened to me and we spent many hours breaking down the character and understanding why she would do what she does in each moment and she started to feel more comfortable. Then we worked on her personal connections to each person in every scene and then we did a marination exercise to get her to the core personal connection to the dialogue.

After all of that, she was able to make an informed decision. She ended up taking it, shooting it and it should release next year with the world seeing a completely different side to her. She proved to herself that she has range and can go deep on complex roles in a believable way. I was so proud of her. She opened herself up to the possibility and thrived.

What specific techniques from your technique do you use to help actors connect with their characters and deliver more authentic performances?

When you put the character first, then your imagination opens itself up to believe in what you tell yourself is the truth according to the character’s truth. If you put yourself first, then you are limited by your own experiences. I help actors know what questions to ask. Since I provide them a map, then they have a proven technique to always know what they are doing using a template to approach every character the same way.

It’s how you play the role according to genre, tone and style is what changes. By asking my ‘15 Guideline Map to Booking’ questions, every role will always be approached the same way. The “It Factor” is each individual actor. No one shares your DNA. That is what makes every audition you do special. Just don’t forget that after you’ve figured out who this person is, you must make that next step to relating it back to you. If that doesn’t happen, then you will never fully connect with the material and make it authentically your own. You will end up on top of the dialogue and probably go flat.

How do you approach coaching actors who are struggling with a particular aspect of their craft, such as memorization or emotional depth?

When you know exactly what you’re talking about, what you just heard from the other person from your character’s point of view, then it’s easy to get off book. You’re studying in a stream-of-consciousness way that’s truly connected. When an actor can’t get off book, that’s because they’re not truly understanding what they are saying or what they feel about what they just heard. Every line is a separate thought. I just gave you two of the guidelines. Actors who study the technique get off book extremely fast. It’s always going to be how you do your homework. I’m teaching actors the correct way.

Through deep understanding and connection, the actor will always “memorize” fast. It will be extremely logical why the next line comes next. And when it’s not, stop and figure out the connection before continuing on. As a matter of fact, when one of my actors that actually won an Emmy from a Soap Opera, called me from set after her booking to thank me for teaching her how to study. She was able to relax with all the pages she was given daily and not stress about getting the dialogue down.

Emotional depth comes from knowing your own emotional instrument. Every actor should play their emotional instrument with ease. They need to practice daily. Building an emotional journal is a great practice. Knowing your triggers as an artist makes all the difference in being good, great or brilliant. An Actor is a walking, talking emotional vehicle for the writer.

Can you walk us through your process for creating a customized coaching plan for your individual clients?

Every single actor’s journey is different. I teach each Actor exactly what they need when they come to me and we work together to build their career. I provide the original book, advanced audio book, online courses, Saturday intensives, master classes, The actors toolbox and the newly created actor club, which has four additional classes on self taping, accountability, aarketing, homework and so much more.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing for actors to keep in mind when preparing for an audition?

Read the script 10 times. Don’t make anything up. All of your “choices” are already made by the writer. Look for the clues in the action, environment, parentheticals, other actors dialogue, genre, tone, style, etc.

Try to come up with one word that describes what everyone is talking about, then you’re in the story. Don’t forget, you’re a storyteller! You can’t tell the story by only focusing on your own dialogue. Know your point of view. How does your character see the world? What is the one line of dialogue that sums up your entire reason for existing in the script? Why are you in the script? Phew. That’s a snapshot of about six Guidelines.

As a booking and acting coach, that’s actually a loaded question. Especially since my entire technique is about how to prepare for an audition and a booking.

How do you stay current with industry trends and changes, and ensure that your coaching methods continue to evolve and adapt to new challenges?

I watch everything on television! I’m a working actor, former talent manager and I’ve been teaching for 28 years a technique that has worked for 56 series regulars, an Emmy winner, an Imagen award winner and thousands of working actors around the globe.

How do you balance the need to push actors outside of their comfort zones and help them grow, while also ensuring that they feel supported and safe during the coaching process?

I only work with actors who love the craft, want to make this their career and become a big success. I work with winners. Actors who know how hard it is and aren’t afraid of the hard work that it takes to get there. Some might consider me part mama bear, part inspirational mentor, part Olympic acting coach and part friend.

I feel passionate about helping actors succeed and achieve their dreams. I track their success and help them cross the finish line. These are my people. We are a village and it takes a village to raise a star!

You can find more information about Amy’s classes and more at her website.

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