The Susan Batson Studio sends out a huge hug full of pride and thanks for Cara’s contribution to the Studio and her continuum of generosity to the actors at the Studio, past and present. Congratulations Cara!
Also congratulations goes to Eric Colton for booking a guest spot on Oxygen’s series My Crazy Love,
and to Chloe Xhauflaire for booking a commercial.
I know that I do not have to write about gratitude. But let me share this story with you: I was walking across DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn with Spike Lee. From everywhere people reached out to him with such joy and pride, to simply say hello. The love and appreciation filled the air. I said, “It feels good, uh?” Spike said, “I stay in a state of grace. Even now walking down the street with you, I’m giving thanks for being with you.” Thanks resounded throughout Brooklyn that day, because I certainly gave thanks for being with Spike Lee.
Your challenge of being an actor has many difficulties—so when good comes as small as a blade of grass or as grand as an Oscar, gratitude lifts its voice from the depth of us.
This past Thursday, James Calleri was at the Susan Batson Studio for Industry Night. After viewing an actor’s work, James Calleri gave the actor the following adjustment: approach the scene with the conviction that your character is right, no matter how wrong he may be. James Calleri went further to suggest this tactic as a tool for the actor’s technique.
In life, I have been accused many times of approaching everything as if I am always right. I’ve been hurt by this accusation, because it is passion that I bring—not right or wrong. After watching the actor make James Calleri’s adjustment, my point was substantiated. What James Calleri’s adjustment did was help the actor to infuse his performance with confidence and indeed passion. Inadvertently, the actor found a way to handle the audition with confidence and with his passion intact, instead of being stuck in a very safe pedestrian performance.
It has always been a contention of mine that the great actor makes CHOICES! Daniel Day Lewis makes choices. Doesn’t the fun of building a character come from the multitude of choices given by the writer, by life and by the imagination? If acting doesn’t bring you joy perhaps it is the wrong choice for you? It is an art form that is predicated upon the ability and willingness to play. So, not having fun making choices and not just learning lines and repeating them aloud are the antithesis of what the art form of acting is.
I witnessed what James Calleri’s adjustment brought out in the actor. And, I would advise that if you are going into an audition feeling not one hundred percent certain of your choices— do the Calleri technique of “my character is always right—no matter how wrong he is.” If this technique is fully employed by the actor, the audition will be alive with confidence and passion. Now, for it to be art? Please explore and employ the joy of making choices in creating a character, and breathing life into the writer’s words.