A Short Q&A with Ryan Garcia​

A Short Q&A with Ryan Garcia

Ryan Garcia has been acting professionally since he was but a child in Miami, FL. He’s been on stage in LA with 30 Minute Musicals, Ravenswood Manor at the Celebration Theatre, Lottie Platchett Took a Hatchett at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the musical FOUND with IAMA Theatre, and Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations at Geffen Playhouse. He has guest starred on Community, Nickelodeon’s Side Hustle, and recurred as René Morales on The Lincoln Lawyer. He voices Ricardo in the animated feature Fireheart and is currently recurring as a multitude of roles in the new animated Nickelodeon series Big Nate. Ryan has been teaching and coaching at JRS since 2013.  We were thrilled to be able to get some of Ryan’s time for a short Q&A.  Enjoy!

What do you love about coaching and teaching?

My favorite aspect of coaching and teaching is the collaboration. I live by the mentality of “Best idea wins.” When an actor comes to me with a specific and strong idea, I become inspired to work together with them to find the best way to execute that vision. 
The most fun comes when there are a variety of opinions on how a project is meant to play out. These moments offer us an opportunity to be flexible and listen, and arrive at a discovery we never could have imagined on our own! 
Teaching and coaching have been an incredible gift to me, reminding me to have strong convictions and my own point of view, while at the same time remaining curious and open to all other perspectives.

How did you become a coach at JRS?

I devoted myself to being the most prepared and rehearsed actor in class that I could be. I explored not only my own material, but the material of my peers as well. I listened to more than just the notes being given to me. I became curious about everyone’s process, and marveled at those who were experts in arenas I had never touched. I believe this celebration of my fellow actors strengths helped me to be a more well rounded actor, as well as a versatile teacher and coach.

How has coaching improved your own work as an actor?

In the plainest of terms, coaching has made me a better reader. When coaching someone, I read EVERYTHING available to me. I become a detective for circumstances, even those which seem to not apply to me. The answers to all my questions as an actor are within the greater text at large, not just in my own lines. Coaching has helped broaden my search when working to create specificity in my acting.

What are the things that you really try to instill in your clients?

There are a few principles I really try to instill in my clients:
  • Do your homework, and throw it away. Nobody cares if you’re a good student.
  • Listening is about so much more than what you hear.
  • Be open and available to “mistakes.” Incorporate them like jazz musicians incorporate “wrong notes.”
  • Allow yourself to be surprised by others, and more importantly, to surprise yourself.
Ryan Garcia

Clearly the industry has changed in the last few years, how has that influenced your perspective?

I think now, more than ever, actors must become multi-hyphenates. Actors should always be stretching into other aspects of their creativity, and incorporate it into their work. Either as a director, writer, sculptor, painter, novelist, dog trainer, pickleballer, WHATEVER! Follow your passions. There is no direct path to success. There is no final destination. Create. Create. Create.

What is your favorite type of client to work with?

My favorite type of client to work with is someone who commits to everything, and marries nothing.

What are some of the walls you personally hit as an actor and how do you help your students navigate those same challenges?

My biggest walls as an actor where my biggest walls as a human. They were one and the same. To be blunt, I am a perfectionist. I wish people to see me as perfect. And so I have survived for a long time by wearing a mask to protect my vulnerabilities and ugly parts. This bled into my acting, leading to vanilla, safe, two dimensional characters. This needed to change.
I changed it by accepting my own faults. By falling in love with my eccentricities and pit falls as a person. Instead of hiding them behind the mask, I gave those parts of myself a voice. Acting has now become a safe place to let those parts of myself which used to inspire shame, to be the most interesting and human parts of the characters I play.

From your perspective, what are some of the traits that someone needs to have an enduring career?

Get. A. Life.
Find or create work that sustains you and that you like. Make your home a comfortable and welcoming place. Live in a neighborhood that suits you. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and you enjoy. Have a system of accountability.
There is no career milestone that will lead to enduring happiness. You have to build that foundation first.

How would you describe your teaching style?

This brings me back to my first question, so you can refer to that one for the answer. But to add just a bit to it: It all comes down to collaboration and celebration.
Best idea wins.
Celebrate success and celebrate failure. 
And fine… one more. Growth occurs during discomfort. If you’re in a class and never feel a little discomfort, then it’s time to shake things up. Throw yourself into the unknown. That’s how I love to learn, and that’s how I love to teach.

Are you ready to meet us?

Are you ready to meet us?

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