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The Acting Podcast
Ep. 33: Why Acting Teachers Suck
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At their best, acting teachers have the ability to create a healthy space in which actors can engage in the consistent practice of their art, deepening their awareness and understanding of themselves and the world. And also, acting teachers have a legacy of falling short. There are amazing teachers doing the hard work of examining ego in the interest of facilitating growth in others. And on the other end of the spectrum there are actual abusive predators who leverage the unearned status and power that is sadly associated with the title "Acting Teacher." And in the middle there are all sorts of biases, ignorance of power structures, and social influences at play (often around gender, race, Queerness, ability), or even just a rigidity about what acting should be.
We hear actors' experiences about acting teachers, and there are conversations that need to happen around the dynamics at play. Every acting teacher, studio, school, or academy must examine their beliefs and practices. No acting teacher or studio is above this conversation. That includes us. And every actor must be aware of the dynamics involved so they train and grow in a healthy environment.
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“Acting teachers, friends, let's do better. Let’s check our shit, let's understand that we’re gonna fail, we’ve been failing, ego will creep up, and it's our responsibility to look at it, look at it, look at it. And when people have an experience that goes against our egoic identity, speak up, have the courage to speak up. The answer must always be thank you.”
- Steve Braun
“I just grew up at a time where I couldn’t name one female director…or not a single woman would get on stage to accept a producer award at the Oscars…representation matters because if you don’t see it, you don’t know that you can do it. Being a woman on the other side of the camera was not something that I ever saw.”
“Then the desperation went away and I had an ease in audition rooms that I’d never had before because I had a life outside of wanting someone to pick me.”
“It happened entirely because I was following the path that was put in front of me without a tremendous amount of judgment around it. And I’m a judgy motherfucker…if I can do this, anyone can.”
“Walk into every room, and everything you ever write, and everything you create, and just make it you, just authentically you. And most of the time, the people who’ll respond to it will love it because you’re being yourself and there’s only one of you in the world. And it feels amazing when you put yourself forward and people reward you for it.”
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