Teaching Philosophy

"What you have to ask yourself is, Where am I in all of this and how am I going to communicate that? That's when you begin to notice that you flinch, that you duck and pull away from those parts of yourself that you are unwilling to have other people see. But that's where the gravy is, where your talent is, where the life resides. You have to keep going back there, to trust that the terrible has already happened, that you've survived and that you're okay, exactly the way you are. You have to walk toward the demons, not run from them. And you'll find that if you put out your hand, not as a fist, but palm up, you'll go right through them like tissue paper. That's when you can be in the moment, any moment." - James Cromwell


Robert Weinapple

basically, what you are doing out there is you. When it comes down to it, what the people see, what they want to see, is not a role or a character or a piece of work. What they want to see is you: your breath, your thoughts, your laughter, your violence, your pain, all of it.

I always begin my interviews with actors by asking about their work: "What are you good at?" and then ask "What terrifies you?" Every actor must first understand where their strengths are, and then make sure that their trump card, the thing they lean on in their work, is a choice, not a habit. The first day of class, I usually ask students to put away, temporarily, the thing they are best at, not because it is a bad thing, but because often they lean on it to the exclusion of a whole other range of possibilities in their work. This requires courage on the part of the actor, a willingness to get up in front of their peers and feel helpless, to take a leap of faith, to endure temporary discomfort. There are very few places where we can risk this, feel safe enough to take this leap, and then get clear constructive feedback that enables us to move forward and go to new places in our work. That is what we seek to give actors at our studio - a safe place to explore.


"When the student is ready, the teacher appears."