Brooke Thomas & Mary Callahan

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Entries in Brooke Thomas (2)


The NO Story

I remember when we first started teaching, Brooke would talk right away to our students about rejection. At this point she had 2 kids under the age of 6 and I was in a beautiful, young and fun relationship with no clue about kid-dom.  I found the story truly inspirational and funny. I call it the “NO” story and I still reflect on it pretty much daily. It goes a little something like this.

From the moment we are born we hear the word no. Yes, most of us are lucky and have parents who want to swaddle us and make us as comfortable as possible, but we are still told we can’t eat the ice cream, we can’t eat the legos and it’s time for bed.  As we get to be toddlers, we decide that we don’t like the word no at all, so when we hear it we throw a raging fit on the floor in the middle of Target because we can’t have that ridiculous toy we will never play with anyway. Even if our parents drag us out of that Target by our un-brushed morning hair, we still feel better to have gotten that rage out. Imagine if we could do that as adults.  Well, we can’t or we certainly shouldn’t. We are adults and it is unacceptable to do that anymore. So to deal with the pain of hearing no, we avoid it. So we stop asking. We become fearful of “NO”.

Actors, writers and creatives have it the worst. You will be rejected constantly. Know this, practice yoga or meditation and deal with it. Clearly, in casting, we see it every single day. Rejecting is part of our job and we don’t get giddy doing it. We simply can’t see every actor. How do we decide whom to say yes to? We say yes to who we think is right for the job. Not who our best friend is or whom we like the most but who is closest to the character breakdown given to us by the agency.  Our job is to show the director and the advertising agency a perfect fit. They pretty much decide from there. Someone wins the part- and the other 99% don’t. 

Listen, this business is for tough bloods, gamblers, believers, survivors. I’m glad to meet them every day. I could name the many thousands of talented people I have seen been rejected for a Verizon, Bud Light, Olive Garden or 1-800-Carsforbars commercial but there are (Ed Helms), JUST (Jim Gaffigan), TOO (Hayden Panettiere), MANY (Ty Burell), TO (Nick Kroll), NAME (Aubrey Plaza,Kate McKinnon, Matt ServittoGeorge Clooney). Okay, maybe not Clooney.  The point is, they kept asking. And you should too. Now, shut the front door and scream into your pillow, it’s cold outside.


Getting Risky and Frisky with Mary Callahan

Hello my fine people. Mary here. I’ve decided to start blogging. In the past Brooke has posted a few things, but I have some deep thoughts I want to share. And it’s not often I think deep.

Brooke and I have been teaching our classes for over 13 years now. I think. Isn’t it funny that we honestly don’t know how many years we’ve been teaching? It would require a small amount of research, and we just can’t bring ourselves to get that job done. (I blame Brooke) We do have a polaroid picture of us with our first check from our first student. (back then checks were the thing!) It’s a beautiful picture. My hair was kind of orange and I wore dark red/brown lipstick. Brooke was Pamela Anderson blonde. I’m 98% sure one or both of us was wearing a turtleneck. And although we had big grins on our selfie faces (yes, it was a selfie- B and M invented those) -we were scared. Start our own business? What if it didn’t work?  Two people teaching together? What if we didn’t teach well together? What if everyone hated the class?


Here’s why I’m talking about risk taking. Many of you are doing it. I see it in emails, I see it on television and I see it on Facebook. It makes me so happy to stalk you. And you should be darn proud of yourself. It doesn’t matter if you end up famous (although I like that some of you are now and still message us and stuff), I don’t care if you risk creating your own web show, taking a stab at stand up, or having a baby in the middle of your career. I just love to see that you are making bold choices. Getting it done. Y’all are getting risky and frisky. And I Love it.

I’m so proud of myself for the moment Brooke and I decided to go full force with B and M. We did it and never looked back. I’m proud when people from my neighborhood ask me about it with surprised eyes.  I’m proud to tell my parents how successful the classes are going. I’m proud to tell my daughters about it in a few years when I get to give them the “inspirational” talks about fighting for what makes them happy, because teaching all of you does just that.  And of course, I’m proud to be an American. (had to)