(scroll down for testimonials)
Ingrid Hart: An Interview
Toronto - Spring 2018
Hello Ingrid. Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from?
I was born onSeptember 21st, 1973 in downtown Toronto. I’m a first generation Canadian and my parents are Jamaican. My mother worked as a factory worker and assembled electronic circuit boards for a signage company. She has an eye for detail and is always prepared. My father worked as a garment presser and courier driver. He always made sure I knew where I was in the world. My mother loves children and teaching. Logic is her strength. My father is a singer/songwriter and an all-round comedian. He likes the spotlight.
What are your top 3 favourite movies/performances?
Denzel Washington in Malcolm X, Whoopi Goldberg and the entire cast of The Colour Purple and Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption. Growing up, these movies shaped what my idea of cinema was. Special mention to Harlem Nights with Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, The Matrix with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, Fight Club with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly and Gravity with Sandra Bullock. I like themes centred on the power of human perseverance, self-determination and risking it all to do what is right for you.
Tell us about how you got your start as an acting coach.
In 2002 I was invited to participate in a workshop with a Los Angeles acting coach named Ivana Chubbuck in Toronto. The practical tools I came away with, The Chubbuck Technique, became the foundation for my acting approach. Auditioning became ‘the work’ for me and I loved the process. I was always bothered by the fact that there wasn’t a Chubbuck Studio anywhere in Canada and not even one Chubbuck Technique teacher to work with privately. For years, I felt like I was the only performer in the city who’d even heard of Ivana Chubbuck. After a while, I realized these valuable tools for dynamic and compelling performance could be used for achieving goals in life too. I decided to focus on developing myself as a YWCA Life Skills coach as well as a Holistic and Spiritual Coach.
In the beginning, I mainly coached my friends and people I worked with in the food service industry, then I branched out to work with community youth programs, organizations for immigrants and new Canadians, refugees and abused women and family support groups. I worked with local art + design graduates through a Toronto art gallery program and eventually made my way back to working with artists, on-camera personalities and of course, actors - my first loves. Soon after, I heard the Chubbuck Studio in L.A. was offering an apprenticeship program for teachers and like Neo from The Matrix, I felt I was The One. I was compelled to enrol and doing so changed my life.
What’s the greatest challenge you face working as an acting coach in Toronto?
Many actors still haven’t heard of The Chubbuck Technique although it’s slowly changing now that I’m on the scene. Being the first certified teacher to teach the technique in Canada is an honour and so, I imagine it will take time to build my reputation as a first-class teacher and coach. As well, selling folks on the effectiveness of the technique takes time too. I find many actors don’t do any sort of script analysis or character breakdown before going in to an audition so, first I need to teach them the value of doing more work than they think is necessary. Second, I need actors to trust that their own psychology, experience and natural behaviour is enough to successfully re-enact the complex and nuanced life of a character.
Who are some of your most memorable actors to work with?
I'm most proud to work with my niece, Ashanti Bromfield. She has a strong spirit and her dedication and commitment to her acting and singing career is admirable. She's a multi-talented woman who knew she was a star even as a child. I've learned so much in working with her. We've shaped each other, really. She's funny too!
Vanessa Przada and her mom found me on the official Ivana Chubbuck Studio website and reached out to me. They live in Vancouver, British Columbia and so, to this day, we’ve only ever seen each other online. Vanessa was 12 years old at the time and had a very strong work ethic – one which could rival most adult actors I work with now! We worked together every week on a variety of scenes I assigned her. For one of her roles, we worked every day before she went to set. Vanessa’s reward for all her hard work was winning the 2016 Joey Award for Best Lead Actress in a TV Movie – the very show we so diligently worked on together. Her performance in the movie was outstanding and her award win is one of my greatest success stories.
Who are your most influential teachers?
Ivana Chubbuck created an opportunity through which I am now able to contribute to my community as an entrepreneur in a meaningful and valuable way. I’m grateful for her as well as Frantz Turner, Michael Monks and Chris Holder at the Chubbuck Studio in Los Angeles. As well, Sue Diplock taught the Coaching program at Transformational Arts College. Her esoteric teachings left a great impact on me.
What’s one thing not many people know about you?
I’m most intrigued with the existential metaphysics of life. I put my greatest efforts in practicing mind mastery as well as cultivating a sense of equanimity - particularly in stressful or challenging situations. When you’re able to master your thoughts, you become better able to master your life. It’s the foundation of all my work.
What are you reading right now?
John. C. Maxwell’s Developing the Leaders Around You
Do you binge watch any online series programs and if so, which show(s)?
Yes, I binge watch when I feel I deserve a staycation with Netflix. The Crown is a favourite. I enjoy Suits for it's quick wit, aesthetic style and humour. I’m also completely addicted to Downton Abbey. Black Mirror is a good one too.
What do you want to do which you haven’t accomplished yet?
I'd like to incorporate The Chubbuck Technique with other personal development programs. Identifying and leveraging your own challenges and going after what you want despite any fear or insecurity is the sort of inner work actors have to do in order to give a compelling performance. Moving through personal blocks through a character can heal deep emotional wounds and trauma. Healing is what the arts are for.
I’d also like to produce and direct a dramatic soap series so I can better showcase the amazing actors I work with. Everyone loves a juicy and well performed soap opera and Toronto needs a good one. I know soaps. I grew up watching soap operas and I worked on a unique improvisational soap called Train 48 for Global TV where I appeared in over one hundred episodes. A soap opera is the ideal platform for continuous talent showcase because it’s easy to shoot and it never ends!
What skills have been the most beneficial for you as a coach?
Effective questioning and patience allow the actors I work with to come to their own understanding as well, I have the ability to envision an actor’s ultimate greatness - sometimes even before they do.
What’s the greatest lesson you learned about yourself in building your business?
I learned developing myself IS building my business. Also, I learned to look at my life and all my relationships in terms of finance and investments. The people who are around me either bring value to my life or else, they cost me my time and energy and with no foreseeable benefit, I’m inclined to cut my losses.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to any actor?
Do your research and know your character. Your job is to bring life to the words of the script. Your life. Don't judge your character but rather, stand behind your character’s emotional journey. At the end of the day, it's your face on the screen and it’s you, the audience came to see so, give them your truth and they'll want to see more of you.
Taken April 2016 on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
"I've been working with Ingrid my entire life. She has added a richness to my artistry and purpose to my craft. She understands this art in a way I have never seen before and there is no one quite like her. She lit the spark of potential within me that transcended my career and my work on and off screen. My life is richer having worked with Ingrid."
Asha Bromfield - Actor, Coach
"Ingrid makes you a much better, watchable and compelling actor. It's like the best gym for an artist."
Mihaly Szabados - Actor, Director
"Thank you SO much!!! You actually saved me HOURS of figuring this out. I totally understand what I need to do now and I can't wait to work on my script!"
Vanessa Przada - Actor from Vancouver, British Columbia
"The Chubbuck Technique being taught by acting coach Ingrid Hart...what a great experience for me as an actor...Using this technique has taken me places I never thought of going...working with you is a master class."
John Phillips - Actor
"I've been on a journey to find more truth in my work. In my class with Ingrid, I discovered true emotion using a substitution from my own life. I recommend this class."
"So grateful for your amazing coach session with the cast and crew. What a great workshop. I look forward to more collaboration with you."
Colleen Taffe - Writer, Director of the play, "Piece of Mind"
"I went to one of her classes and honestly, it's not just for actors. I have never been taught how to connect quite like this before. Really amazing and a teacher that has found her calling. Ingrid Hart, great job, sugar!"
Angelina Williams - Food Enthusiast & Director of Business Development at Skylar Projects
"Love this class, The Chubbuck Technique and I have to say with confidence Ingrid Hart is the best acting coach I have EVER worked with!!!"
Sunnie McFadden Curtis - Actor, Filmmaker, Human Rights Advocate
"Such an amazing experience! Ingrid Hart is a talented, dedicated and detail-oriented coach! Please check out her classes!"
Sylvie Normandeau - Actor
"Thank you, Ingrid. Honoured you took the time out. Your insightful analyses are brilliant. Great mind you have."
Jude Idada, Toronto Playwright, Poet, Novelist and Filmmaker