I’ve studied the craft of acting with some great people in both Chicago and Los Angeles. Who’s the best teacher in my opinion? My answer might surprise you.
In Chicago I’ve learned from Steve Scott, Ted Hoerle, Eileen Vorbach, Jane A., the rare team of Erica Daniels & Claire Simon (who at one point taught together, yes they were amazing together), Kurt Naebig, Ted Sarantos and others as well as attended the Second City Conservatory for 2 1/2 years.
In Los Angeles, though most of my time was spent with Eric Morris at the Eric Morris Studio (one of the only remaining living master teachers in the states who, in turn, studied with Lee Strasberg and headed up his Directing Unit at the Studio for 3 years) I also studied and worked with Eric Kline at the Tony Barr Studio, the Larry Moss Studio, Margie Haber’s, and of honorable mention, individually, with Loren Chadima.
I have taken wonderful things from all of these coaches, as instructors and some as individuals.The best? The best teacher?? The best learning??? It came from the experience of doing. That, hands down, is the best teacher of all. If you can be honest with yourself about your work and have a growing awareness of what and where you are in your craft, your education can be endless, in a class, workshop or not. Should I be saying this seeing that I still teach No Acting in Chicago? Yes! I advocate for the actors to work not just with me but among themselves and by themselves. You can’t go to the gym Once a week or a month and expect to make gains, this is the same. Do your work. It’s not easy. I know.
By taking what they have shared with me, it’s only by and then doing it, applying it. It is only then can we move from education by application and deal with everything else that comes up.
I shared in a previous blog I did some work, but it fell short of the type of work I desired to do. As luck would have it, that actually begat some work and gave me another chance to learn by doing. And learn did I.
It’s up to me, the same as it is up to you, to continue your education with the best instructor there is – experience. With that I encourage you, as I have to remind myself, do do and do.
Do when you are inspired, do when you are not, take what you have learned and try to do it the best you can and learn from when it is not your best. Below is a quote that touches me so often, maybe it will resonate with you. It’s meant to inspire, so even if you are a veteran, be it at life, parenting, writing, acting, singing, dancing, sport or love, know we get a chance to forgive ourselves and be that “beginner” everyday, and thank God for an extra day to begin again.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
- Ira Glass
I hope this serves you as it has and continues to do me, in times of question, need, crisis, insecurity and more.