Vincent Van Gogh"Your profession is not your job.Your profession is what you're put on this earth to do with such passion and intensity it becomes spiritual in calling."
If that’s how you feel about being an actor we’d like to help you.Check out Jim's welcome video!
Here’s a little secret about casting directors…
Welcome back! Another week together and again, I’m always appreciative. So…the continuation. If you haven’t been following, let’s say you’re just joining now, you’re going to have to back up because we’ve been doing a series about the audition process. And again, we’re not going too in depth.
At some point we’re going to offer an entire online series of how to go about doing this from our perspective, from the actor’s perspective. There are a lot of people out there teaching you from the casting director’s side, which is invaluable, wonderful stuff. But there’s wonderful stuff from this side of the desk too, obviously, right? Our perspective so…
This week as promised, I was going to share with you one of my answers that I came up with when they asked, “Tell me about yourself.” It started by accident, I guess. I lived in Manhattan Beach and an adorable ten year old neighbor girl named Jennifer came running to my door one morning and knocked on the door, and she’s yelling, “My cats having kittens, my cats having kittens, come, come!”
And I ran with her to her house, and her parents are very nice, and we all ran into her room and sure enough in the closet is the mama cat popping out kitten after kitten. I wasn’t raised on a farm or anything like that so I have never seen anything like this in my life and I was stunned at what I was seeing. And it wasn’t a Saturday; it had to be a school day because I had an audition that day. And when I went into my audition, I swear to God, the guy teed it up, he says, “Tell me about yourself,” and I say, “Uh, uh, okay…ready?
Have you ever seen a cat give birth to kittens?” and the guy says “Mmm…no.” And I say, “Oh my god!” And I proceeded to tell the story of the morning. Well he’s howling and laughing. I didn’t even tell him anything really about myself, other than the fact that I’m not a farm guy. I said, “I’m definitely not a farm, I’m a city kid.”
But the reaction, and it wasn’t just the camera guy, there was a casting person was in the room that day and thought to myself, “Oh my goodness, this is a very good answer and I proceeded to give that monologue, that answer, dozens of times over the next months as I would go on auditions, when it was appropriate, when it fit the mood and the temperature of the room, but I would act like it just happened that morning. I mean, we’re actors, we’re always pretending so I’ll do that one. And it was just such a wonderful way of introducing who I really am, my real personality to them, because it brought out…freedom, which is really what they’re looking for.
Freedom and confidence. Do you seem like you would be a nice person on a set? So that’s the kind of thing you want to come up with, versus just sitting there on the fly and making something up, so, get to work on that, get to work on that speech that works for you. Okay? So, tell me about yourself. Are you going to hit a base hit with your answer? A double, a triple, or a home run? Because I’m going to tell you something, you know what home runs do? As you can probably imagine, it gets everyone in the room’s attention and that’s a wonderful way to start that audition.
So, let me know how it goes. Okay? Cool.
I HAVE A GIFT FOR YOU
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Alright, we’ll see you next week. We’ll see what we can advance for you. Thanks for joining us.
Recently moved back home to the bay and was in search for an acting class that just felt right to me. After meeting with Jim in the interview, I got just that.
Well fears a funny thing, because at first I was scared of not knowing what I was really scared of but through the training, I was able to recognize exactly what the fears were and where they came from and take it head on, knowing now that it can ONLY make me better.
I’m not really sure what was going on through my head but I do remember that it was very different from anything else I’ve imagined and that I innately knew this was the start of something very special.
The greatest gift I’ve received so far is simply the CONFIDENCE to believe in myself. To me, working on that these two past years, its almost like giving myself permission to really go for it. Its a feeling like none else and it has affected all aspects of my life.
a man who believed in something much greater than himself.
I’ve realized that you have to have your “why” in all this, because that’s why we’re all here anyways. Nothing will ever drive you to work harder than your “why”.
Trusting my vulnerability, because that’s everything.
That all my fears are illusions and I, ultimately decide what’s real.
I feel like a broken record but really, my fears and insecurities have been and still is my biggest obstacles.
Be VERY honest with yourself if this is what you want. Because if you’re not serious about this, this place isn’t for you.
The Most LIFE CHANGING thing I’ve done as an adult!
It feels like it has to be the best acting school in the world, and that feeling I get… could very well be right. This school is one of the very few that teach the Meisner Technique the same way that Sanford Meisner taught it, the way it was intended to be taught because Jim Jarrett was the final teaching protégé of Sanford Meisner, learning directly from him not only the technique, but HOW to teach the technique!
Jim would never say this, but I feel I got even better instruction than any one did from Meisner himself, because Jim’s giving us everything Sanford Meisner gave him, plus the amazing life experiences and lessons of Jim’s life as well. Melissa is the other instructor and she’s been called the best instructor of the Meisner Technique by anyone that wasn’t trained by Meisner… and it’s not a contest, but she’s that good as well.
WARNING: as amazing as this school is, it’s not for everyone! I’ve taken acting classes for years prior to this and never felt near the growth and life changing transformation this school has brought me and just about every other graduate. However, you have to be willing to completely commit, sacrifice, and not let your ego get in the way of anything. It’s not an exaggeration when people call this school Life Changing.
Good morning and happy Sunday to you!
Last week’s newsletter created the strongest response to date from all of you in terms of feedback and emails (in fact I’m still digging out so thank you for your patience). And that’s what I’m grateful for this morning: YOU. All of you who are kind enough to take the time to read what I’m sharing.
And I’m especially grateful to all of YOU who take the time to share back. You keep me really going so thank you.
What are you grateful for as you read this? This is more than a question. It’s truly a gift to take a moment to answer so I suggest you don’t read any more till you really answer it.
Last weeks newsletter asked the question, “What is your most limiting belief?” It’s an important question for anyone but especially if you’re someone with a dream because whatever “it is” it WILL limit you.
I’ve been pursuing my dream for twenty-nine years now. Along the way I have had the highest highs and the lowest lows and everything in between.
And a great deal of my struggles have been and are due to my limiting beliefs.
One of my favorite teachings is, “The only way out is through” and so through it I go.
I’m doing my best to address these things so I can step into the fullness of my gifts and my life.
“It’s one thing to have a dream. It’s quite another to pull it off.” … Sanford Meisner
Next week I head to LA to do my play, MEISNER (I am incredibly excited to bring the show back to the Playhouse West in Los Angeles. An extraordinary man and teacher, Robert Carnegie, founded the Playhouse. Bob has been a dear friend and colleague for years now and I’m so honored to share “Sandy” with his students – thank you, Bob!).
The play is not about the Meisner Technique. It’s about what it was like to be a student in Sanford Meisner’s class. What it was like to be in the presence of this artistic genius that demanded more out you than you ever thought you had.
It’s a play about courage and dreams and artistic integrity and standards and respect and work ethic.
Most of al, it’s the story of a teacher whose passion changed your life forever.
The play was written from my four years of notes with Sandy so I didn’t really write it. He did. I just wrote down everything he said during my time with him, filling fifteen notebooks of his teaching brilliance.
When it came time to create the play, I poured over these notes and intentionally omitted all of the teachings that only actors would appreciate or understand. I wanted anyone who came to be impacted by Sandy’s passion and life-changing brilliance.
I mention this not to promote the show but to get to the heart of todays topic – Sandy’s quote, “It’s one thing to have a dream. It’s quite another to pull it off.”
His subtext was clear, “Good intentions aren’t enough. You must have your shit together to go after your dreams.”
This was news to me twenty-nine years ago. You see, I thought going after your dream was going to be easy.
Well, fairly easy anyway.
That’s what everyone kept telling me anyway, “Figure out why you’re here and you’ll never work another day in your life … the key to happiness is to figure out what you’d love to do and then go do it.” … blah blah blah.
What no one told me was how difficult, lonely, scary, intimidating, overwhelming, humbling, frustrating, and flat-out ass kicking – at times – it was going to be.
But I’ve learned how right Sandy was. To go after one’s dreams you really do have to be as healthy and solid as possible to hang in there “during the desert of your dream” as he once said.
But if you can face your stuff and keep doing the work on yourself then “they’re” right – going after your dream is the greatest life you can possibly live.
Next week I get to go to LA and live my dream. I get to share the fruits of my dream with a lot of people who have the exact same dream and I am so grateful and excited for the opportunity to be living mine.
On the back of my business cards it says, “How’s your dream doing?”
I’d like to leave you with that. How’s your dream doing? How’s your plan of action towards that dream? What are your beliefs limiting you? What scares you about it? What are your biggest fears surrounding it?
Chop. Chop. Chop.
Keep doing the work on yourself because if your foundation is not solid this dream-chasing business will overwhelm you.
I don’t want that and neither do you.
I hope to hear from you.
Your friend, Jim
PS – views the teaser/trailer and purchase MEISNER HERE
A few years ago Natalie Portman gave an incredible Commencement Speech at Harvard University. In light of the disgusting revelations about Harvey Weinstein, I wanted to share some of her beautiful speech - especially for every female actor out there.
Last week we hosted actor, Mark Palladino to our Studio and he was a HIT! Mark has created a beautiful career in Hollywood his talk helped every single one of our students who attended. A few highlights: Actors should be in constant training Support each other and get healthy because some of your acting friends will rise up faster and higher than you - instead of becoming jealous and petty embrace that that is their ride Learn to love auditioning by getting really good at it There was so much more and we can't wait to have him back with us someday soon!