Sunday, April 11, 2010

Class With Class

My acting class with actor/writer/director Paul Kampf is one of the highlights of my week.  It is consistently challenging and engaging, and it has made me an infinitely better, more truthful actor.  Just how I managed to find Paul and begin studying with him was quite serendipitous.  I may have relayed this story before, but if so it's been awhile, so here goes again...

Just days after moving to L.A. from Chicago, I received a phone call from a theatre director in Chicago, Kristin Schmidt -- who I had auditioned for once several months before ---who was now offering me a part in a new show she was putting up.  While I appreciated the offer, I told her I had just driven out to California to try my luck in LaLa Land.  During the call she mentioned that if I was looking for a class out here (and already I had heard horror stories about the difficulty of finding the right class in L.A...), I should get in touch with one of her theatre colleagues named Paul Kampf, who also recently made the move here from Chicago to transition into the film side of things.  I didn't know Paul personally in Chicago, but I was familiar with the theatre company he ran: Breadline Productions -- which he has since transplanted here as well.

Kristin gave a phone number for Nina, one of her friends who was taking class with Paul, and the next day I called her.  I asked Nina about the style of the class and Paul as a teacher.  She only had good things to say and put me in touch with Mr. Kampf.  We chatted over the phone and it sounded like I would really enjoy the class; one which seemed to have precisely the mix of practical exercise work, audition technique, and on-camera time that I was looking for.  He suggested I take his 6-week workshop to see if we would work well together, and if our ideas on acting would mesh.  Needless to say, our ideas did mesh, and I have been fortunate enough to work with Paul both as a student and occasionally under his direction as an actor for about two years.  Those experiences -- in class and on set -- have been among the most artistically fulfilling of my life, and there I have met some of the very best friends I've made on the Left Coast.

I'm very grateful that Kristin called that day way back when... I can't say enough about how I've grown as an actor since I began working with Paul.  I feel freer on stage, I have more confidence in the audition room, and I have learned many practical exercises and techniques that help in my preparation.  Anyway, if you're an actor in L.A. looking for a good, solid class that will inspire and engage you, or even if you need private coaching before that big audition, I would highly recommend checking Paul out.  He still runs occasional one-day workshops and has an upcoming 4-week intensive in May, both of which are good ways to test things out.  Oh, he also recently started a blog about the craft: The Right to Act.  If you have any questions about his class, or you'd like me to put you in touch with Paul, let me know! 

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