Acting Tips

A Memory of Jonathan

We lost a great talent in the film business a few weeks ago. Jonathan Demme. Jonathan had a big influence on me when he was on the verge of breaking out. He had pushed past his early Roger Corman years. When we met, Melvin and Howard had just been released and was considered a gem.…

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Feelings Are Not Your Friend

Originally published backstage.com Nov. 28, 2014, advice for actors series. I was working on a production of “The Glass Menagerie” many years ago in upstate New York. We were rehearsing Tom’s “drunk scene.” The director called up to the stage, “What are you two doing up there?” I shouted back, “Acting!” He said, “I know…

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A New Lesson From Long Ago

First Published backstage.com Oct. 30, 2014 I was a student in graduate school at the University of Illinois. It was the first year of its master’s program in acting and, consequently, they didn’t have a handle on who would teach what. They lassoed in a woman in her late 70s or early 80s to teach…

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Golfing Tips for Actors

Originally posted October 24, 2013 at backstage.com. I was watching the British Open on television. It is notable in that it is the only six-hour television show I know that starts at 3 a.m. They don’t care about ratings. They are only competing against the weed whacker infomercial and the guy selling nickels. I got…

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The Why Of Acting

Originally posted October 10 , 2013 at backstage.com. I was asked to be in a SAG Low Budget movie. I think that is what it’s called. SAG-AFTRA has developed so many new subbasements in its contract hierarchy , I wasn’t sure how it defined the official agreement I signed. It could have just as easily been a “SAG…

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The Two Kinds of Nothing

Originally posted Sept. 26, 2013 at backstage.com Photo by David Chen. When you study acting you are likely to do scene work. You may do improvisations. Monologues. Animal exercises. All useful. However, none of these tools can help you handle the most difficult things you have to face as a professional actor: the two kinds…

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The Things We Saved From the Fire

Originally posted Sept. 12, 2013 backstage.com (Photo from Los Angeles Theatre Center production of The Three Sisters, 1985.) The synagogue asked if I could step in as an usher for the Saturday morning service. I said yes. It feels good to help out. You get to wear your nice clothes. And it becomes an act of…

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