What do you teach people?

What do you teach people?

It’s a good question and one that I teach people – pragmatism. I’ve been in acting classes. I’ve read many acting books. I’ve trained as an actor, before becoming a director and an acting coach. The trouble I found was a lack of pragmatism. Advice to actors was always given in such airy-fairy ways that I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. And of course, I felt like the idiot, like the bad person, like the moron for not understanding. But how could I understand? They were teaching me stuff that didn’t connect ‘training’ to ‘practice’.

So when people ask what I teach, I say I teach pragmatism. I want the actor to know HOW to get better, without getting lost in the ether of creativity, feeling, emotion, and etc etc blah blah blah. This pragmatism comes from Practical Aesthetics, which as my new friend Mark Coleman says is “repackaged Meisner or repackaged Stanislavski”. Well  I partly agree – it’s a lot of things brought together into something unique that works, and something that works ALL the time, rather than just when the muse strikes or the crow flies.

What I teach are very simply techniques, they work pretty much straight the way. Depending upon the student, they may take some time, or one student may take longer to understand something than another, or a younger student may be less inhibited, or an older student may have a sharper mind for scene analysis. I don’t teach a system. I teach an approach: a way of thinking about acting, a philosophy of acting which believes that it should be simple and fun.

I’m teaching common sense. I’m teaching tools that can be picked up and used immediately. It’s true that you will need to use the tools for many years before you gain complete mastery, but you will gain mastery. You will have control and you will know how to use them to get the results that you want.

I teach Common Sense. I can’t explain it any different.

 

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