They’re Kind of a Big Deal
Veleka Gray and The Actors Alliance are full of talent
By Keeley KristinPosted May 16, 2012
Some people have that knack for redirecting an entire room’s attention upon walking through the door…and then there are those who have a knack for commanding it.
Meet one of the Deep South’s chief commanders, Veleka Gray – 2004 La. Hall of Fame inductee, professional actress, educator, writer, director, casting director, film and television judge, and award-winning producer with credits in film, television, and Broadway.
In addition to her infinite list of credentials, Gray is also a local acting coach who teaches our state’s budding stars. She travels all over the boot holding her industry specific and increasingly popular class known as The Actors Alliance.
“The Actors Alliance gives [local] actors an opportunity to showcase. Actors train for five weeks [with me] and then showcase in the sixth class to test themselves and to meet industry pros who can help them,” said Gray.
Each semester, Gray holds these classes in several cities throughout Louisiana, including Metairie, Covington, Baton Rouge, and (coming soon) Lafayette.
As part of her class, students learn everything from proper slating to how to behave on the job. If students are shy, Gray knows just how to teach them to come out of their shells and to gain confidence both in their performance and their personal lives.
“There is so much more to the training than [the] acting,” she said. “Students of the class will learn needed life skills, such as public speaking, knowing how to audition and interview properly, as well as how to market themselves [with an identifiable brand] and what it really means to be reliable [in the industry].”
Gray’s classes always come with a different focus and those of the next few semesters offer something new.
Over the next three semesters, The Actors Alliance will hone actors’ dramatic skills and help develop a pilot for a dramatic series, either a soap opera or a prime time show, to debut on local television.
“Right now there is a concept but it’s still being developed. For sure it’s going to be set in southern Louisiana [and will include] all people from those in government in Baton Rouge to wealthy New Orleans society scions to artists living in the Vieux Carre,” said Gray.
In addition to learning to produce and perform in a show that is good enough to be snatched up by a network or sold to a production company, actors participating in development will have the opportunity to be leading characters in the pilot.
“Students will practice everything needed to prepare themselves to develop their character as well as the pilot, from playing theatre games to scene study to practicing acting for the camera while your performance is recorded for playback,” she continued.
Actors will also study screenwriting and script analysis, along with various acting techniques – techniques that if you are proficient in will give you an advantage over your competition at auditions and on the set when you are hired.
“I absolutely love this class…and everyone else involved. I look forward to it all week, as terrifying as it is…and at the same time it’s a game changer. [Veleka] is amazing,” said Baton Rouge class member Jess Ordean.
Gray adds that in working together on developing the pilot, everyone learns flexibility, concentration, intuitive thinking, listening skills, communication, continuity, characterization, and, most importantly, teamwork.
“These are all critical and necessary skills for actors,” she said. “Anyone can be a good actor with good training. It’s a skill that can be acquired without your having anything special about yourself. Even star quality or charisma can be learned since that’s just letting your inner light shine out.”
Benefits of Joining The Actors Alliance
- Train with the top acting coach in the state.
Showcase for top industry guests in the sixth and final week of each semester.
Network with other actors, casting directors, producers, and filmmakers on a private Facebook page, created just for members of The Actors Alliance.
Get the seasoning needed to create personal charisma and star quality.
Have first crack at auditions for The Actors Alliance Productions and get referred to filmmakers doing other projects.
Baton Rouge classes start May 23 and will be held Wednesday evenings from 7-10 p.m. at the Wholly Ground Coffee House in Walker. Classes are open to interested parties aged 14 and above. For more information about Veleka Gray and The Actors Alliance, or to sign up for a class, visit them online at www.ActorsAlliance.com or call 504.812.3379. You can also email Veleka Gray at TheActorsAlliance@Gmail.com.