A new series…

No, not a TV series, but a speaker series!

I teach at Cal Lutheran University here in Thousand Oaks, Ca. and as the new guy I wanted to give the students what I could from my world, so I asked for and was granted the opportunity to have actor friends come in and speak about the life of the actor.

I did this same thing a while back and the students got a lot from it. It was also really fun. My guests then were Alan Ruck, Anthony Zerbe, Carol Burnett and Bo Hopkins. They spoke and were so honest and upfront about their careers that it made a wall of fear come down for the students. It connected them to that seemingly insurmountable world of acting for a living. Alan Ruck in particular brought us to hysterics telling a gruelling story about having to go to work in a warehouse 2 years AFTER Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

The idea of making the acting world less scary for young artists is the theme of my book and having good folks come in and donate their time using the art of conversation is an expansion of that mandate. I find that actors really like the act of giving back to those who have the nerve to ascend to the rank of artist. The talks are for the benefit of the students but are open to the public. I hope actors from all the local colleges and programs come and listen and take advantage of the Q&A session to have their nagging fears quelled.

My first guest will be  Jack McGee who everyone knows (and loves)  by face, but very few have heard his pre shooting doo-wop warm up on set or had the pleasure of hearing his take on life and the biz. He's truly fun, funny and uplifting. He's also in an Oscar nominated film and was nominated as a cast member for a SAG award. He's the total package.

I will do three "Spring Semester" talks and more in the fall. Next month I have Doug Jones, the most workin-est actor I know, who no one knows by face because the guy is almost never seen. He specializes in playing sci fi/ comic book/ superhero characters that cover him in make up.

Underneath all of this is the idea that we artists take a little time to discuss with those that are about to leap into the fray what we have learned about it. We make up the whole thing as we go don't we? Why make it all about "paying dues?" It's only insecurity that makes someone take it out on the new guy. The fear that the new guy will take my job is what makes me treat him poorly, isn't it? Well, the younger guys have taken my job. The job of being younger. They have no idea yet how cool it is to be wiser.

So I try to influence those I can with what I think is good advice and positive thoughts about this very, very, very negative business. Jack and Doug (and an April guest) and the University are going to help me do that.

Maybe some of you will come along for the ride with me starting on Feb 24, or maybe you will start talks in your own arena. There are so many actors out there that could make the journey clearer if they were just invited to talk about what they know.


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