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Studied at Fullerton College 1996-2012 (part time)
In 1996, after completing two years of training at the Stella Adler Theater, I found that I was lacking two classes, Movement for the Actor and Voice for the Actor. By that time, many years had passed since earning my degree in electrical engineering, but my recent studies were in acting. To take a break from the drive to Hollywood and Highland, I thought to look at what FCC offered in their theater department. That is the main reason that I chose to continue my training in acting at FCC. It was a good choice. It was a great choice, maybe for not the best reason, but a great choice.
My main reason to attend college was to continue my studies and training in acting. I checked that box titled “College Days.” I attended college (FCC) this time to hone and practice what I learned at the Stella Adler Academy. My teacher in Movement for the Actor was Dan Lemieux. I found the class very interesting, challenging and rewarding. I also discovered that I took higher and more risks (within the realm of theater) than most of the other students. Was it because of my age (being generally older) or because of my studies at the Stella Adler. I believe that is from both factors. I must say that have served in the Marine Corps for several years as an officer also gave me the confidence, wisdom and awareness of why I was taking the class. It was not a social matter, but a safe place (creatively speaking) to grow as an artisan. One of the great spin-offs from that class was Dan playing one of the main characters in a short film that I produced called Tasteless, now an award winning comedy short. Dan and I are still friends. Dan also was the stage combat coach for Wallenberg. His training in one scene where my character is beaten and killed by the Arrowcross stills gets great comments.
Of course, the professors and geniuses with whom I had the pleasure to work with include Gary Krinke, Chuck Ketter and Bob Jensen; Gary and Bob having directed me a few plays at FCC. The most significant event for me as an actor at FCC was playing five roles in Bob Jensen’s Wallenberg. I was grateful to be asked at and looked at the assignment as a job to be accomplished, like I would many other tasks. What it turned out to be was my first confirmation of the choice I took of becoming an actor.
One of the events that is memorable is starting a program between the FCC Theater Department and ER, the TV show. I was allowed to take two FCC students every other week to the set of ER as an informal educational program that allowed students to get an idea of another real world in the performing arts.
The event also enhanced my life for I was able to meet a Holocaust survivor — one of the characters that I played, Thomas Veres. After talking to him on the phone, I sent him a copy of the script, photos of the cast and posters used to promote the play. He read the script and corrected a scene that took place in a blown up bank. After rehearsing the scene from Bob Jensen’s rewrite, I felt a great surreal feeling. One that I have never felt before then, or since then.
I am still working on a documentary about Raoul Wallenberg, and have learned a lot about what happened in Budapest at the end of WWII. I have also met some survivors who were saved by Wallenberg’s efforts and one, Andrew Stevens, who was the main forger of Wallenberg’s Schutz-passe.
For students in general, I have this advice. When somebody says “You can’t do that.” Or provides negative advice of dreams or visions that you have, find out why they are saying that. Ask what their experiences are in the field, and, then check out the answers you get. You might find out that you’re vision is a in a new world which few have experienced.
For the actor-student, take the time to find out what Method Acting really is. Do the research. Find out who Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner are and how they relate to Stanisvlaski and how they differ in their teachings. Know that using your imagine to create the character, to bring life to the character is the most important skill you can have and sharpen. It certainly is not the only one, but it is the most important. The talent is knowing that these skills exist in all of us, learning them and then using them effectively. We are all born with this talent. You just have to learn how use that in-born talent of the imagination.