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When I was a senior at Buena Park High School in 1995 my Theater teacher, Joe Parrish took us to an acting competition at Fullerton College. At the time I had no idea of the scope or magnitude that would await me. We arrived in our separate cars so I was forced to find other acting students from my school amongst the myriad of tents, blankets, and campsite atmospheres. This was a big thing, people had slept overnight on the lawn, like I had done so many times on Boy Scout trips, or would later do for concert tickets. The performances were great the closer it got to the finals, and I was just so glad to be there. I have no idea the monologue or scenes I did that many years ago, but I do remember the feeling I got of being there, of experiencing life after high school drama. I knew instantly that this was the place that I wanted to go next, this would be further maturation of my craft.
The first day of acting class with the amiable Gary Krinke cemented my belief that this was where I needed to be. After meeting Bob Jensen who spoke about the theater experience not only being about acting, but about learning how to build the set, how to light the stage, and how to make a costume or apply your own make up being integral to the total experience I knew I had much to learn. The faculty taught me so much, from Steve Pliska, the amazing Mela, the infamous Jim Book, to the intimidating Chuck Ketter, who taught the most advanced acting class, and many, many more who taught you the full experience of putting on a live show several nights a week. The two faculty members that stood out the most to me were always Gary and Bob. Gary taught me to act; Bob taught me how to interpret the text. Both of them attended plays through a go to theater class that was my favorite class I had at Fullerton College. My one piece of advice for future or currents students it’s take this class. You get to watch a quality production at a wide variety of theaters, from small black boxes, to my favorite theater, South Coast Rep, to the crème de la crème of Los Angeles theaters, such as the Mark Taper and the Ahmanson, and then you get to have a discussion about it many times finding perspectives from others that you never even imagined.
The friends that you meet at Fullerton College with be some of the best friends you’ll have so make sure you participate, socialize, audition for that play coming up, the lessons you learn building those sets will be just as important as the lessons you learn on the stage. I was at Fullerton College for many years because I didn’t want to leave it behind, I felt like Peter Pan there, and life would inevitably change and get more difficult in the world of adults, but at Fullerton College I knew I could always have that love of performing and learning without the thoughts of getting paid. During those moments the people that I performed with, the people that I built those sets with, or went to class with became my joy. Reach out to positive people who have a passion for what they do, they might be one of your best friends one day.
"The friends that you meet at Fullerton College with be some of the best friends you’ll have... "