How did you come to be a part of the faculty?
Tiana Brown: Well the executive producers and the producers of the show put out a call and they called agents and they had a variety of people come in and talk to them and tell them about our experience and how we felt about working with children. We all fit the roles they were looking for.
What was some of the most surprising things that you discovered while you were out searching for talent for HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: GET IN THE PICTURE?
It was definitely the variety of how people really performed. Everybody is different, each style is different. In the Midwest, it’s a little bit more reserved as well as the other people, and then you get to up north and you have the brothers there and they’re supporting, and you got a different vibe.
What is some of the best advice that you’ve been given that you were able to pass along to the kids?
Oh my goodness. There was so many different times when we really got to talk to the kids. I wanted to relay to them that they only thing permanent in this world is that everything is temporary. Because a lot of these kids, it’s a major process to go through and some kids feelings would get hurt or they would do a little bit much and for reasons I don’t know or for reasons they don’t’ even understand, I always tried to remind them, you know, nothing’s permanent. Don’t dwell too hard in what happens today, just learn, and keep pushing through. I think that they got that concept, I think that they were understanding. I definitely wanted them to find their own characters; not just through dancing, but really define who they are. At that age, you’re trying to blend in, you’re trying to fit a clique, and they already came in as individuals, but because we were getting deeper and deeper and deeper with them, they definitely grew to find out who they were.
How exactly does the show work?
You’re going to see the whole group do what we call live and learn, and that’s basically an on location performance of some sort. Last night they performed in Kmart where they had to sing out loud one of the HSM songs, but no one in the store heard the music, so they kind of had to be a little awkward and be boastful. You’re going to see different situations like that, where the kids have to, in real life situations, not just on stage, be performers and who’s going to rise to the occasion. From there, they’ll go through classes, sometimes you’ll see them, sometimes you won’t, but there will definitely be a performance. And from the performance that we help them on, and we work on them vocally and staging and concepts of why they’re singing these words,rather than just singing these words, we make the decision on who’s going to the chorus. The kids don’t get eliminated, they get to go into the chorus.
For the faculty, do you all have a particular expertise that you’re mentoring for?
I can say for the most part that we all have worked in each field. Each one of us has done musical theatre, each one of us can dance, each one of us can sing. It’s just easier to pinpoint what our strengths are. My strength was choreography and dance, as well as Regina. And with Montre, I believe he was on the acting skills. I think the other three are in the same boat. We just honed in on what we could work with kids best. We all do have the experience to talk about everything.
What is your background? How did it all start for you?
It started so long ago. While in my mom’s womb, she would go to Prince concerts. I think I was destined to dance. And then when I was really young, she took me to the MC Hammer concert, and they wanted to get kids on stage and it was general admission and I was like “Mom get me up on stage”. from them, I just had a taste of what it’s like and I knew for a fact that that’s what I wanted to do. So I danced in studios, dance competitions and dance teams. I always found a way to keep dancing. I did musical theatre when I was younger too, up until I was a senior. From there I just focused on dance in NY and a talent agent, such as myself, but more for dance, came and found me in a dance class, and they were like, we’d like to sign you. From there, I was so randomly working in LA, I was doing this gig called Carnival, they were like, can you audition for Britney Spears? And I said, but of course. [laughs] and I auditioned for Britney Spears I’m a Slave 4 You music video and VMAs and I booked it. All that hard work came with that booking my first job with Britney. From there, I kind of haven’t stopped. I moved to LA. I’ve danced with every pop artist of our time. Like J. Lo, Christina Aguilera, Outkast, The Game, and Pussycat Dolls, Christina Milian, Fergie, the Black Eyed Peas, Toni Braxton. I literally have danced in every venue, every stage, every sort of way that an artist can promote themselves, I’ve been there.
As a dancer, you probably had to build up a thick skin very quickly because I know that it‘s a tough world.
Oh it is. It is because there’s a lot of artists, and there’s always like a certain style that you’re going to fit. Obviously, I’m not going to dance for Rihanna. I’m 5’2”, ya know, she’s a tall young lady, so I have to realize. I’ve been told no a few times and I have questions myself. Because I realize the pattern of when you’re a starving artist, to trust yourself, trust your talent, when you keep pushing on, a big surprise is on the other side.
What do you hope to see in the future, both for the kids and for yourself?
For the kids, I definitely want them to pursue whatever is destined for them. I think that they learned about performing, they learned a lot about themselves. I think they’re going to be strong characters in this world and I just want them to keep doing what they do. If I see them here, and I end up working with them, that would be the coolest thing ever. To be on set and working. The show was so not about what even can I do, I just wanted to see what the kids can do. And how much could they learn? I hope for the best for each one of them.
I hope for myself, I am in the middle of creating and producing this show on the internet. I hope it really takes flight. It’s called The Get In or Get Out Show. And it’s me and my best friend hosting about all the cool things that happen in Los Angeles. Dining, shopping, pop culture of our city, anything and everything in between, and I hope that does something because we’ve put a lot of effort into it. I do hope to be hosting my own TV show. I’m a very inspirational kind of girl. I just hope that a lot of people in this world don’t get defeated and I can totally see myself doing that. It’s what my mom did, so as long as you follow your parents, I feel like your life is successful.
The internet seems to be taking off. Series created for the internet seem to be taking off where they didn’t use to.
Oh yeah. There’s definitely a better chance. It’s cool because there’s another creative outlet. I think a lot of people are getting their chance on the internet. I’m always on the internet, I created my own website. I love it. I hope it doesn’t take away from television because I think that’s a great thing too. I think it’s another way to make the industry bigger.
Is there anything else that you’d like to say to the readers of theTVaddict.com?
As far as the show goes, I just want people to take into consideration how hard these kids are working. I don’t know if we were working that hard when we were kids and we’ve just got to give it up to them for putting themselves out there and pushing for something that’s super cool. And to know that they’re just kids. This isn’t some sort of awkward ghetto dating show that we’re all addicted to in some way shape or form. And it is a form of reality, but it’s a form of hope, and I think that people can get into it.
For more info on Tiana Brown, check out her web site at www.tianabrown.com