Moving On


For the past 5 years, I’ve been resisting taking an improv based acting class. I haven’t been class-free for those years (I’ve taking auditioning and commercial classes), but improv was out of my life. And just this week, I was finally able to add improv back in. And it’s something that I’ve needed to do for a long time and have been resisting it for far too long.

The reason improv was out of my life was that I’ve been dealing with the death of my beloved acting coach, Kip King. I studied with Kip from the time I was 19 or 20 until right before he was hospitalized and passed away. I took his death really hard because Kip was the first teacher who I really connected with. He got things out of me that I had no idea I had within me. I know that I grew leaps and bounds in his class. In Kip’s class, it wasn’t an improv class with games or anything. It was more freeform with creating characters and being interviewed to just let go and not think about being funny or clever. It was unique and I loved it.

Every time that I thought about taking an improv class, I thought I was betraying Kip’s memory and somehow saying that he didn’t teach me enough. That fear was enough to keep me out of improv classes for over 5 years.

I was terrified that walking into another improv class would make me sad. And I knew that I couldn’t take classes at The Groundlings because Kip’s memorial service was held in their theater (and their classroom was dedicated to him at the memorial service). So with Groundlings not an option and knowing that I needed to take an improv class at one of the big schools to impress casting directors, I decided to take class at UCB.

My first class covered a lot of the basics (some of which I knew, some of which is specific to UCB) and I got to know my classmates. And all the stress that I was feeling prior to class melted away. I missed improv and it felt so right to be in class again.

I’m not sure why I had such an issue moving on to a new acting class. Changing things up in your career is pretty common for actors. Some people move from agency to agency without issues (I’m odd because I’ve been with my agents for almost 8 years). I’ve switched headshot photographers tons of times and never thought twice about it. I’m even changing tax guys this year and didn’t think for a second about leaving the guy who has done my taxes for forever for someone new.

I’m not sure why moving on from one acting class to another was so tough for me. It might be because my time with Kip ended traumatically. I don’t have the option to go back to him if I don’t like a class or to see him socially to still be around him. I’m just glad that I finally pushed myself to move on and get over my fear because I know that this is going to be a great thing for me as an actor and for my career in general.

I’m curious if any of you have had similar issues moving on to someone or something new within your career. I’d love to hear why you had trouble moving on and how you got past it. Please let me know in the comments!