A Letter to Susan Batson from Actor Rob Sampson

I’m standing up and shouting with joy for actor Rob Sampson! I’ll let him tell you the story in his own words:

“Thursday I had a dream come true–my first real scripted scene to speak of–a small scene where I played a father walking through the woods with his family and they come across a corpse hanging in a tree. The show is called “Redrum” (Investigation Discovery) directed by Ante Novakovic. After shooting the scene, one of the first things he said to me was that when he hires actors he looks at their training and when he saw I was a Susan Batson trained actor, he knew he was getting the real deal. He commented on how I had spoken from a center and that he got “father” and “husband’ connected to family. He said that it made his job easy that he didn’t have to direct and that it was really good stuff.

He went on to ask about you and if you were still doing your all night workshops and went on and on about your work. Of course  I mentioned Carl since I always do, and he knew him as well.

It was such a great experience that I had so share it with you and let you know that the work, the journey, the dream, all my hopes as an actor, I owe to you (and Carl), and when something connects with what I carry with me everyday– your training–I  wanted to share a real Susan Batson moment and tell you how proud I am that I’ve trained with you and that no matter what I’m doing as an actor, I always do my best to have something “operating” and I get that from you and your training. Thanks for everything that you have done for me and for creating opportunities during your Industry Nights. I really appreciate it.

Sincerely, Rob Sampson”

Always in the art! -Susan Batson

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July Workshops with Carl Ford at The Susan Batson Studio

Carl Ford is bringing his genius expertise(s) to the Susan Batson Studio! He is making the month of July an actor’s happening at the Studio. Carl Ford is taking Susan Batson’s process and is exploring and exploding it into 2014! As a film director and writer, Carl Ford is aware of the importance of an actor having a method, aka training. As the Founder of Black Nexxus and the Susan Batson Studio, he knows Susan Batson’s work better than anyone else. It is even said that he articulates her process better than she does. For sure, he is in touch with the industry on its rudimentary level as it exists today, and the needs of the actor to maintain and gain working status.

Many years ago, Lee Strasberg stressed the need for training because, as the coach to the stars, he recognized that show business no longer had the time or money to nurture actors’ performances. Lee Strasberg strongly advised that the actor train in the craft of acting in order to circumvent the ills of the ever-present commercial environment of show business.

July is the exact middle of the year, and it is perfect preparation time for the fall through pilot season. It is the perfect time with Carl Ford to get a refresher of the work done at the Susan Batson Studio and/or to begin my process that many working actors like Nicole Kidman, Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) use. I am convinced that those actors with whom I work arrive on the movie set, theatre rehearsals, television shows, and auditions ready and able to help their directors bring their visions into the light. If I am totally honest, where you get your training doesn’t matter, as long as you get it!

But, I will risk saying: there is nothing better than what Carl Ford will offer you in the month of July at the Susan Batson Studio! He’ll give you more than technique- Carl Ford gives passion, inspiration, and the liberation of your artist!

Check out the Susan Batson Studio (http://susanbatsonstudio.com) for details, or call the Susan Batson Studio at 212-226-4630. Happy 4th of July!

Always in the Art, Susan Batson

Putting the Artist First

Can we have an industry in which the artists come first? This is a question pressing against the left side of my rib cage. The conditions of our industry often seem anti-artist. Yet, I must encourage artists to create in spite of this because to create is to exceed oneself and one’s environment. So I cannot just have this pressure against the left side of my rib cage- I am obliged to move passed it and demand an answer. Can we have an industry in which the artists come first?

There is the fear that no one is listening and, therefore, there is no one to answer the question. Do not take my aphorism as one of a victim, but as one of a fighter determining his/her strategy. The role our industry is playing is one of commercialism- the mighty dollar first. So some of us have compromised our passion for art to fit into this sluggish reality of the big bucks busters. Make 520 million dollars in the first week of a movie, and they say that’s art! Yet, I must encourage you to fight for art and to put your artist first in an industry that has placed mad profit as their primary concern. So, do not make your only solution dissolution or compromise. Be aware and passionately assert your art amidst the shoot-‘em-ups, technological violence and innocuously loud humor. Those that have the guts break through enough to be seen and find the luck to establish their own perfect time and space.

All of this is being stated in generalities, but I am certain that will takes courage, and the courage to believe in one’s desired principle is worth the trouble of willing its realization. I know that I am talking to many artists who exemplify great passion for the art and have the desire to bring it into the world population. All of you are poetic, conscious, innovative, powerful, and with all the qualities to begin an artistic revolution. Yes, even with the state of the industry and the world today, I do believe in the creative artist. You are out there, eager, hungry, and deeply passionate. You are still dreaming, believing, hoping, and struggling to bring truth to your art. No matter where I go around the world, I see your eyes light up full of love, gratitude, and inspiration for the art form you love. It is for you that this pressure against the left side of my rib cage is released with the hope that I am able to instill in all of us the motivation and guidance to bring us an artist-first industry with a healthy environment to create.

Always in the Art, Susan Batson

If Loving You is Wrong- I Don’t Want to be Right!

I like that these days I’m wrong- Every once in a while I’ve been slapped into humility My arrogance splattered floor before me, stinking like vomit. Righteousness and arrogance amongst artists are violations of the unwritten artist’s code. A real artist is quite aware of how humane an artist must be to achieve their craft. Like all beings they are flawed, but even with a multitude of imperfections their struggle for truth integrity authenticity and humanity in their art gains them grace. It is understood that there is no such thing as perfection. Failure is always a lesson in art. And you can’t please all of the people all of the time. What speaks to you may not speak to me- And it is not a reason for condemnation.

So, I don’t want to be right if I don’t like all of Tyler Perry’s movies. If the truth be told, I honor and respect Tyler Perry for all that he has achieved, and when I walk on the grounds or through the halls of the Tyler Perry Studio, his passion and acknowledgement of all who have gone before him is not only informative but touching. Although our drummers may differ, Tyler Perry opens his ear and shares with me our differences and our commitment to what we love doing. For this feature, I am most grateful. Tyler Perry has many detractors, perhaps they are jealous or sincerely critical of Tyler’s work, but let us put our harshness and arrogance aside and share with Tyler Perry his commendable achievements. So if deep appreciation, gratitude and respect for Tyler Perry is wrong…  I don’t want to be right.  Good luck Tyler on your new project, If Loving You is Wrong.

An Open Letter from Laverne Cox of ‘Orange is the New Black’ to Susan Batson- And Susan’s Response!

Dear Susan,

I just got a Critics Choice Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy for Orange is the New Black. Thank you so much for all your guidance, support and for a process that truly serves the art. Love you!

Stay in the love,

                          Laverne Cox

………………………………………………..

Dearest Laverne,

For me this Critics Choice Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress is the equivalent to a victorious civil war like the French Revolution, or like Toussaint L’Ouverture in Haiti, or Nat Turner’s insurrection in the United States. This nomination is an equivalent of this type of victory!  You demanded, commanded, battled every obstacle, every taboo, every no, and you won. No one will ever know the sacrifices you made, the fear that you experienced, the hurt and pain that you endured but how fortunate you have made us all by sharing this victory with us! From the days of Black Nexxus to the Susan Batson Studio we’ve always been proud of you as an artist and as a teacher, and now you fill us all with joy!
Always in the Art… Love,
                                          Susan
 ………………………………………………..

Susan Batson and everyone at The Susan Batson Studio would like to congratulate Laverne on her much deserved nomination! Here’s to many more… We are rooting for you!

The Only Rule in Acting

Have you ever stopped to contemplate the full implication of the life you have chosen? Stumbling dangerously many times along the road to success- Do you ask yourself, “Should I continue?” The hardships of the profession have broken many a brave contender, but those who persevere, no one or nothing can kill their spirit. They have learned that the survivor is one who keeps on creating, inventing, believing, changing and renewing.

A continuum of practicing and training our craft is one of our most powerful weapons. Reading biographies and autobiographies, not for the chronological events of the actor’s life, but to use as models to help build your own career- Recognizing you are so very fortunate to be a contributor to culture through your creativity can be a strong motivator- Seeking exchanges of criticism in order to grow as an artist- Risking to avoid the conventional to discover new and exciting experimental art forms.

Your art exists in the realms of truth, creativity, imagination, belief, passion and generosity. Perhaps the only “rule” in acting is to honor the human being you are playing. Care enough to create a person with the purpose that other will also honor that human being. You trivialize humanity if you think acting is about learning lines. Acting is about Life and Death- Needs and Wants- Masks and Personas- Tragic Flaws- Actions and Objectives- Conflicts- Crisis- Resolutions- Circumstances- and much more. The human being’s words, who you are playing, enters the actor through the actor’s heart, soul and veins first, and then the brain, along with all of the senses.

Nothing in art has anything to do with rote memory. Actors, beware of anyone who reduces your art form to just learning the lines! Forgive them, for they know not what acting is! The profession of acting is difficult, complicated, complex, but an intriguing way to build character- yours- and other human beings.

Always in the Art,

                          Susan Batson

Congratulations Pamela Afesi! We are Proud of You!

Susan is grabbing her breasts and has a big big smile!  She is so proud of her student Pamela Afesi who just got a wonderful review for her film debut ‘Welcome to New York,”  directed by Abel Ferrara starring Gerard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bisset.  To read the review click here!