1.You have had a very successful career. How did you stay in the game and make it happen?
From the beginning I knew that in order to survive in this business you have to be flexible. Being a character actor my whole working life, I was always prepared to do whatever came my way, as long as I thought it was worthwhile.
I worked the first fifteen years as a professional actor doing mostly theatre, with occasional opportunities to do commercials, industrials, and small independent films. I began augmenting my work as an actor by working as a teacher while still in college. After spending many years teaching University, College and private studio acting classes, I began coaching individual actors by request. And for the last eighteen years, I have concentrated on the on-camera working and auditioning process for small group and individual coaching sessions.
The success of my clients has provided me with the flexibility to pursue my own acting career through all the ups and downs of the industry. The best piece of advise I can give is be prepared to say “yes” whenever asked to help out or contribute to projects that the people you have met in the industry are attempting to get together.
Most of the work I have gotten in the last ten years came as direct result of favors I had done for people years before
2. As an acting coach, do find that actors lack the basic training? Is this laziness or a result of an industry that is more interested in fame rather than talent/technique?
There are people who arrive in Los Angeles fully believing that they themselves, as they are, deserve to be stars. And some of them feel there is no need to learn the craft; that all they need to do is meet the right person or attend the right party.
Crazy as it might seem, for a very unique few, it actually works: usually, because of great beauty, personal charisma, or raw, extraordinary talent. For the majority of people, there is a learning curve, and the realization that it takes hard work to look effortless. Obviously, the majority of people who come to me, those who are seeking out a coach to help them with their work, already have acknowledged that the more effort they devote to their craft the better results they will achieve. For the few who donʼt, I guide them towards other classes or teachers where I think that the exposure to a wider world view will help them to discover the best way for them. But I never discourage anyone who truly has passion for the work, because no one is omniscient about how talent will reveal itself or what the industry will decide to celebrate.
3. Which female actor do you find you are most like? Why?
Last year I had the pleasure of having dinner with the great Linda Hunt.
Her love of the work, her pure delight in language and the structure of story, and her honor for the skill of others seemed to create a warmth and glow of joy and fulfillment around her. The fondness with which she spoke of the people she has worked with and for, and her appreciation for the effort that has gone into the projects she has been a involved in, made me feel proud to be a part of this wonderful profession.
I am not sure that I am like her, but I will strive to be.