Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don't feel like doing them." -- Julius "Dr. J." Erving

What makes you a professional?  I like the above quote by Dr. J.  

When do you turn into a professional?   As a coach, director and teacher, I watch student after student and there is a moment when they start to work like a professional.  Here are some of the signs:

A professional works constantly on improving his talent.

A professional scrutinizes herself after each performance, audition, and practice or rehearsal.   

A professional knows that if you are standing still you are really falling    behind.

A professional believes in “the team principle”. He realizes that for his optimal performance it does “take a village”. He knows that even the top professional athletes still have coaches and other people who help him perform at a optimum level.

A professional realizes what he knows AND what he doesn’t know.  And nothing will stop him from learning what he DOESN’T know!

Why am I talking about this?  People ask me why actors continue to study their craft, why they practice and rehearse?  As if somehow learning to act is like taking 2 aspirin. And yet everyone understands that the best professional athletes continue to practice and be coached. Just like athletes actors and writers need to strive to be the best every time they perform their craft.  They need to continue to understand human nature and to explore the reasoning of their characters.  And every time they work on a new script it is like starting over – once again. 

I do think you will get a great work out as an actor, director, and writer when you come to my workshops but most important is that as a professional artist you need to find ways to continue to grow. 

You can work on your craft in many ways.  The point is do you do it? I teach you new techniques and also show you how to practice those techniques.  Practicing has no substitute.   You can’t learn to become a first class soccer player or basketball prayer unless you practice.   You can’t just think about it.  You need to work the muscles and that is true for actors and writers as well. 

So find a way to practice and learn about your craft.  I welcome you to come study with me. 

If you can’t do that, find other ways to practice your craft.

It can be a joyful and enjoyable journey – learning about your craft.   Also find your community – your artistic community of people who understand why it is important to continue to study and practice.   It’s your club!  They understand you and will be of support to you.  It is also a great way to “network”.  Let people know what you can do and what you are willing to do to help them realize their dreams as well as your dreams. 

John Lennon said, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

Technique Talk


Look at the relationship between your character and the other person in the scene. Have you taken as much time to determine who is the other person to your character as you have looked at your own character? I am sure you are going to tell me that you did that already. But did you go far enough?

You say to me, “She is my wife.” That is just the place you should start, not stop. You need more details, than just she is my wife. Is she your wife who has just done something you hate? Is she your wife who is hurt or injured? Is she your wife who you trusted yesterday but now in this moment you don’t trust? You must add details – both past history and your current thoughts. Exactly how are you feeling about her at this moment?

Take some time, grab a notebook and write down how you are feeling about her before the scene begins. Pretend you are talking to your closest friend and confide in him about her. Tell him everything you are thinking and feeling at this very moment. Tell him about her as if he has never met her, describe her and your relationship to her. Yes, your feelings and opinions may change but fill yourself up with how you feel about her at the beginning of the scene. Once you have actually done the work, it is there in the back of your mind, so when you see that person you will see her through this filter. If you do, the scene will start in a very believable moment.

Why is this so important? I cannot tell you how many times I have seen an actor start a scene without knowing this information. It is as if he is starting in “neutral”. Well that is not believable because real people, believable people, always have opinions about the other person even a stranger. That is your goal, to be believable, so believable that your listener, the audience, is driven to watch you. Can’t take their eyes off you!

In real life we have all this information in our mind and memor about the people that are in our lives. We are not aware of it but as an actor you need to make sure you have filled up the “memory disc” of your character with everything you need to make me believe you are this character and a very important part of this information is the relationship you have with the other person.

So add this to your tool box and remember