Acting class. You’re never too old. I say this from experience. When you’re just starting out, you are taking class everywhere and anywhere. Here’s a good teacher, there’s a good teacher. Your twenty-something year-old mind is taking in the information like you are cracking the code to the human condition. It’s freeing. I remember being at LACC Theatre Academy (a three year conservatory program) and having the teachers encourage us to talk loudly in the hallways!! WHAT!!! Be free, express yourself, don’t hold back your voice, etc. OMG… I have landed in Oz! You invest a lot of time in a lot of different classes. I started as a teenager and didn’t stop for the next twenty years.
Then, (and I speak from my own experience, but I know a lot of actors that have gone through this) you feel done. Ka-plunk! You’re done spending money, you’re done spending the time, you begin to see your teachers as people and not gurus, and suddenly the romance is gone. Now you’re older, wiser and you spend your time and your money building your life. Buy a house, get married, maybe have some kids, pay off your debt, look for gigs, work side jobs, or how about go on that vacation you’ve put off for the last twenty years. Everything shifts. But it feels a little lonely; a little empty. Maybe you audit a few classes. No one inspires you, everyone is young and excited. You don’t want to be the wet blanket in their beginning, but you know the teacher is only 50% present. So you figure you’re done with classes and you kind of fade out.
At least this was me…but then I found a teacher that was coming from a place I understood, coming from his own personal journey of not only being an actor but what it means to be an “acting teacher”. What it means to reach actors in the most organic way. This process speaks to the current me, because what you always want to keep fresh is your organic ability to tell a story, to communicate a character, to find the purpose of the scene, to hit the simplest note. The rest I can build upon… the hair, the makeup, the costume, the accent, the physicality, etc. But it’s the heart of the character, the soul of the character, the essence of the character, that I can and will spend the rest of my life working on. So I began taking class again this summer with someone I was in college with many years ago. Here’s the thing, he was special then and he’s special now. But now he is not only an actor, he is a teacher and every word he speaks comes from his heart and his desire to get you to the truth of what you as the character are trying to say.
It’s been a struggle for me to fit classes into my schedule. I have a very full life in terms of I’m not a teenager anymore without a ton of responsibility. Every month I work on taking his class. Some months I can fit it in but other months I can’t. On occasion, I do a private session with him that I can fit into my schedule. But he is now there, he is now a part of my acting world, I found my way back to a class that wasn’t a specialty class (i.e. UCB, Commercial, Voice Over etc). I found my way back to something that isn’t a beginning, middle or an end of a journey. It is the journey.
I never promote or suggest and I’m still not going to. I’ll just post a video of Scott Conte and if he doesn’t speak to you, then no harm. But if he does…you’re welcome!