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

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Dear Prospective International Students, We Now Offer a VISA Program!

Dear Prospective Students,

I am very pleased that you are considering the Susan Batson Studio VISA Program. We are excited about your interest and grateful for this opportunity to share our process with actors around the world.

I coach powerful actors such as Nicole Kidman, Juliette Binoche, and recently Zac Effron has started to use our process as well. This is the work that we offer you.

I recognize that the yearly cost of the program can be a hardship. However, if you are dedicated, this investment can guarantee you tools, comprehension, and confidence in your craft. At the Susan Batson Studio, we give you the real world experiences by exposing you to agents, casting directors, and directors.

If you are ready to come to New York and embrace this very challenging work, we at the Susan Batson Studio will commit to accompanying you on your journey to find the great actor within you!

Please don’t hesitate to email (SBSinformation@gmail.com) or call (212-226-4630) if you need further guidance in making this choice.

Always in the art,

Susan Batson

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

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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
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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!

The Universal Language!

The Susan Batson Studio has always had a diverse population of actors. The United States Government has now given the studio the honor of offering Student Visas to our International Actors. For years I have been sharing the work around the world learning not the many languages of the world; but THE LANGUAGETHE LANGUAGE made it possible for me to exchange our acting process with much joy. THE LANGUAGE comes from the Second Brain- Absolutely not from the head- But from the Becond Brain which expresses through sensations the depth and truth of what we feel. When that is done, there is no language barrier, only the art of acting using the sensations and behaviors coming from the second brain which always expresses THE LANGUAGE– The universal language.  If we listen and watch Putin’s Second Brain expression- Avoiding the chatter of his head- We would be far more aware that we are dealing with his feelings of fear and his sensations of not being good enough or strong enough. Then the universal language would move to an exchange with this awareness present.  Perhaps this could change the course of history.

So now politically- Legally the International Actor can come to the Susan Batson Studio with a Visa. But they should know we speak at the studio, The Universal Language- THE LANGUAGE  of the Second Brain. Please join us at the Susan Batson Studio without fear of not being understood. May I suggest to the American actor to also participate in the diverse world of the Susan Batson Studio, and learn The Universal Language- THE LANGUAGE!

Always in the Art, Susan Batson

Practical Advice for Actors From Marius Bargielski of Metropolis Artists

Again I have had a rather informative evening with Marius Bargielski from Metropolis Artists. Marius Bargielski stressed what “The Starters” must do to get a career off the ground. I have been known to quote two unlikely sources: Cameron Diaz, who said she did something for her actress every business day starting at 10 AM; and Richie Sambora, who said just make sure you show up- That’s all, show up. The following are all suggestions from Marius Bargielski:

  1. Immediately following substantial confirmation of attaining a job, put it on your resume.
  2. Build a website and make sure it has multiple pictures of you on it. No matter how meager your work is, put it on the website. DO NOT string a bunch of scenes together, use short clips in thumbnails, then all your work will be viewed, even if only seconds. Time is essential, no piece of work should be over three minutes, the auditioner will probably spend only seconds viewing it.
  3. Make sure that the work you have attained is also on IMDB.
    NOTE!  In today’s world, technology is your means to gaining professional status. Having any proof of your work allows ‘The Starter’ to be seen!! The days of agents going to a showcase is obsolete, today they go to the computer- Google and click on websites, wander around cyber space for information. It is important to develop technological skills from running a camera to building and updating a website.
  4. Human contact is still in vogue and it is called Networking. This is mandatory as establishing territory in cyberspace. Marius Bargielski suggests that you go to directors and writers conferences… Not necessarily as an actor, but as a “Starter” writer or director. Donate your time to various organizations that support the arts, and perhaps rub elbows with the elite of the industry. Don’t be afraid to use your attractiveness- no you are not prostituting- you are a “Starter” who is building a career, getting to know as many people as possible in the business and learning to show-up! Be cautious, but social media can also be helpful if used with discretion.
  5. ACTORS ACCESS IS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY FOR “THE STARTER!!” You can submit yourself for jobs that will help you to build a resume.
  6. For “The Starter” with very little on your resume, the section where you can list your skills is very important. Having a particular skill, and no credits could possibly be the very thing that gets you an audition or the job. Do not treat this section frivolously. Spend time selecting your skills, which are distinctive and usable for theatrical purposes. Don’t list commercials, write: List upon Request.
  7. “The Starters” have another avenue to meet people: it is to watch television, determining the television show you are right for, then noting, who is the casting agent, for that show and contracting them. It may seem an exercise in futility,  but you may get lucky. This is at least one thing you can do at 10 AM on a business day!
    NOTE! Marius Bargielski said he would come back to do a business workshop for all the talented people at the Susan Batson Studio.

It is very clear to me that I must do these industry nights. My concern has always been for the art/craft of acting, never for the business. I cannot encourage you enough to recognize that you are in Show Business! Without neglecting the craft, we at The Susan Batson Studio are more and more challenging ourselves to bring to the BUSINESS great artists! I am sure it can be done!

Liz Lewis Casting is coming to our Industry Night. I can’t wait… What a wealth of knowledge we will gain! Show up… Just show up!

Always in the Art, Susan Batson

P.S Marius Bargielski strongly suggested to skip getting the 0-1 Visa and take a risk and apply for a Green Card.