I was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, one of five boys for which, my Dad proclaimed that each son would be treated equally and would be given a college education. My father loved science and tried to raise his family based on scientific facts. Although he was very loving and kind, he failed to realize that everyone is different with different in personalities and that’s something to rejoice in.
In Michigan, sports were the thing all boys would do. If you didn’t play well, or weren’t strong enough, you’d be made fun of. That happened to me. I couldn’t find any happiness outside of my home. The only happiness I could find was escaping into the world of acting.
When I was 8 years old, I wished to be an actor because I wanted to be special. I wanted to be on TV and perform. That wish came true a year later in Detroit when I got my own TV show on WXYZ TV. I was so happy that this dream was reality, but on the other hand, it further isolated me and made me feel alone. Kids at school, who were not actors, would bully me. I stuck with acting and that became my life. However, the constant running around to auditions and flying to New York City for additional auditions, only to be rejected most of the time, played on me and left me feeling unvalued and unsettled. The acting classes that I took were about booking the next job and made me feel even more mechanical and less special. The idea of using life experience and improvisation to regain spontaneity wasn’t taught to kids and teens. The only acting technique I could find were theatre games and commercial acting. I longed for the real work of an actor but didn’t know exactly what that was.
I finally found it as a young adult of 18 when I went to NYU and studied through various conservatories in New York. I fell in love with the process, which seemed to have restored me to being alive and re-discovering all the joy for life, that I first felt at age 9. I also found a community. I found a place to fit in. So much so, that I created a studio for kids so they could have this before college.
I desperately needed the acting school that I created 23+ years ago. We get phone calls from kids and parents all over the world who just can’t “pack up and move out to Hollywood.” And quite frankly, we don’t recommend it. If you are in a small town, get some scripts and work with your friends. Write a screenplay and try filming it and promoting it on-line. If you feel alone in the town you are in, reach out to various institutions in your area or call us in Los Angeles. Many Hollywood acting schools are offering on-line options. These options allow you to connect to other artists in all areas.
Maybe you are alone and not quite knowing where to turn, or perhaps you are an actor in a town that doesn’t have a theatre or classes. If this is the case, I urge you to open the computer and reach out.
Come and share your stories, your writing, act in one of our readings, learn emotional preparation, poetry, and improvisation and celebrate in the joy of being alive and connecting. You are important. We need your acting and your stories to help heal the world and make it a little less lonely.
Wishing you success and happiness always!