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Home » Podcast Episodes » Actor Muscle – Building An Acting Career|052

Actor Muscle – Building An Acting Career|052

Actor Muscle author, Actress Beverly Leech

by Tommy G. Kendrick

Listen To This Episode Here (00:33:16)
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Beverly Leech – Building Actor Muscle

My guest for this episode is actress, teacher, writer, dancer and failed childhood clarinet player Beverly Leech.

Beverly is a busy Los Angeles based actress, who has written a most excellent book called Actor Muscle – A Professional Guide to the Business of Acting.

Beverly got her early training with the legendary Stella Adler. The material in Actor Muscle was taken from Beverly’s 30 years’ experience and was developed in part through classes she has taught at the Stella Adler Academy, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and South Coast Rep. as well as from many private coaching sessions.

Building an acting career is not an exact science. You won’t find any hard and fast rules, but there are basic, established methods and protocol. I’ve shared those that I’ve found most useful, to show you a path toward a career worth having.

Beverly Leech Actor MuscleYou’ll find that quote among the information about Actor Muscle on where you can purchase the book and also the companion audio CD Actor Muscle: Nuts & Bolts of Audition Technique which I myself purchased and recommend highly.

Actors Talk is sponsored in part by your purchases on so if you like what you hear today and want to pick up a copy of Actor Muscle I would appreciate you doing so by clicking on the link above or the Amazon banner in the sidebar.

You won’t pay any more for any purchase on Amazon and a small commission will flow back this direction and help keep all episodes of Actors Talk free for your steaming and downloading pleasure.

“It’s not about failing, it’s about getting up.”

Actor Muscle – Why Beverly Wrote The Book

The book itself came out a class I’d been teaching at AADA and South Coast Rep for a number of years. It was a big success, and in demand. BUT it was clear to me that the information needed a broader base outside of the campus. Once upon a time, I’d been a starving actor, and for a long time, too, so I’m empathetic to the life of most young actors. Not many newbies pounding pavement in LA and New York can afford the $800-$1200 registration costs that the schools were charging, and the hundreds that couldn’t afford to take such a class were getting bamboozled by scams and hit-and-run classes currently offered in LA. I felt it was my duty to pass on a modestly priced book that every actor could afford; that didn’t just give broad strokes by talking “about” the business, but gave step-by-step, in-depth actions to take to build a legitimate path for an acting career. I’m still a working actor – I honestly feel that if you want to act like a pro, you need to train with a pro.

Below are some notes on just a few points Beverly Leech and I discussed:

beverly leech classes

Actor Muscle – Audition Traps For Beginning Actors

I asked Beverly Leech if she was finding, in her classes and coaching, mistakes or traps common to young or not so young beginning actors. Here are her ‘top three’ traps:

1. Lack of Training
2. Lack of Self Discipline and craft. The real goal is craft.
3. Memorization

What does she mean by lack of craft? Here are a few elements:

Lack of awareness of the camera and mental toughness and preparation for the technical elements of the room.

They’re still acting as if they’re on stage.

They go profile, or their gestures are wild and large.

A lot of times they’re so shut down and frightened of the camera itself that their talent can’t be seen.

Memorization? Aren’t you supposed to MEMORIZE your lines?

Too many memorize a scene like they’d memorize a multiplication table. They [the people who are going to hire you] don’t want to see an actor who knows their lines. They want to see a person, a character who is having a human experience.

Work on story and character first and the lines will naturally come.

Actor Muscle – What If I Blow The Audition?

What if you really screw up? You take the bullet, you tuck and roll, you get up and you move on.

What if they call your agent and tell them how terrible you are?

You take the bullet, you tuck and roll, you get up and you move on.

What if you really don’t know if you want to be an actor?

You take the bullet, you tuck and roll, you get up and you move on.

If failing out loud like that means it makes me a better actor because I learned something really, really good from that one – boy, that’s dumb, that hurt, I’ll never do that again – then I take the bullet, tuck and roll, get up and move on and the next time I get up it doesn’t affect me again.

Actor Muscle – To Do List BEFORE you move to Hollywood

Seven things to get straight before making a move to Hollywood

      1.You need to be smart (about the move) – Don’t just drop everything and quit your job and come


      2.You need to have some training


      3.You need to have some experience


      4.You need to have a car in Los Angeles


      5.Have marketable skills for a decent survival job


      6.Have a savings account


    7.Don’t let your ego tell you that you’re not an actor just because you’re working in a survival job.

It will [likely] take a year or more before casting directors get use to your submissions, use to seeing your face, before they start to bring you in and cast you.

Don’t live off your savings account or retirement account.

It’s easy to bleed money here (Los Angeles)

It’s about being practical and disciplined with your time and your money, making sure you have your basics set up so that you feel secure. Because that will undermine your sense of security and self respect.

I’ve already done the starving actor thing, living hand to mouth and week to week and it’s no fun and it bleeds your energy in auditions when you need it the most.

“I consider myself a worker bee. I work all the time but I’m not famous and I gotta tell you, I’m really happy with that.”

Photo by Denise Duff
Photos of Beverly by: David Muller and Denise Duff

Find Beverly Online:

Email Beverly


I recently attended Podcast Movement, a convention for podcasters (duh!) that was held in Dallas, TX. One of the keynote speakers was Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group. Brogan’s keynote speech was outstanding and thus got me interested in checking him out online.

Owner's Mind PodcastIn doing so, I found his podcast, The Owners Mind with Chris Brogan. The day I first checked the podcast Brogan had uploaded a short episode entitled Start Start – Everyday is Day One. It’s an excellent episode that runs under 10 minutes.

The reason I’m posting this here is because Brogan and Beverly Leech had very similar advice on overcoming obstacles:

Brogan, says Start. Get going again, to paraphrase.

Leech says: You take the bullet, you tuck and roll, you get up and you move on.

I’ve pulled a few seconds of audio out of the Owner’s Mind podcast episode and dropped in into the outro of this episode. I highly suggest listening to the whole episode on Owner’s Mind Podcast.


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