Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tim Rossi lands role in indie film Sedona's Rule

I just heard from Mother of Invention alum Tim Rossi that he will be appearing in the indie film Sedon'a Rule, shooting this June in San Francisco. The film is a thriller with sexual intrigue. More information here at

Congratulations Tim! Looking forward to seeing it!


(This post is from the blog of the Mother of Invention Acting School in Los Angeles and San Francisco ( an acting class in Los Angeles and San Francisco for serious, motivated students.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

the Beatles' apprenticeship

Fareed Zakaria (CNN) had Malcolm Gladwell on today. Gladwell, in case you don't know, is the author of Blink, Outliers, and The Tipping Point. He was on to talk about his newest book, Outliers. This is a study of what makes for success in a variety of disciplines. He tells an interesting anecdote about the Beatles: in 1959, they went to Hamburg, Germany for two years to play in a strip club for eight hours a day, seven days a week. Gladwell maintains that this period of intensive practice was, in fact, an apprenticeship that allowed them to develop virtuousic skill, mastery of different genres and boundless experience collaborating with each other. He says that this is what gave them their edge.

He goes on to argue that talent is not some inborn, native ability, but simply the desire to practice, to make enormous sacrifices and compromises to be able to do what one loves. He says that it was the Beatles' genius to see the Hamburg gig as an opportunity, and not as an invitation to indentured servitude.

Few people recognize this as the truth about acting. What we associate with actors is the glamour and the slick presentation of the movies, but most actors never see even a moment of fame, and the ones that do find that it isn't what it's cracked up to be. What doesn't get seen is the endless hours of blood, sweat and tears that go into doing anything well. My class gives people a taste of that: an enormous amount is asked of the students in the way of time and preparation. I do my best to communicate the happiness of this challenge, this burden. "We must do what is difficult because it is difficult", wrote Rainer Maria Rilke. It is a message that not everyone is ready to hear, much less to embrace. But it's the ones that can lap up that vinegar like it's honey and ask for more that will come to know the true rewards of a creative life.

The Gladwell piece:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

we don't know what we know

I had resolved to make it to the gym on Tuesday, as part of my current campaign to not have to buy larger jeans. Then, a coaching session materialized. For the coaching session, I was going to the actor's residence, which was in the part of the Mission closer to Potrero Hill. Now, I usually go to the gym at the 24 Hour Fitness near Church and Market. It occured to me that I could instead go to the 24 Hour Fitness at Potrero Center, which would be on the way home from the coaching session, whereas getting to Church and Market from the studen't place would be a bit of a production. But i found myself unsatisfied with that solution: I didn't want to go to the Potrero Center 24 Hour Fitness, although it wasn't immediately obvious to me why. At first, it seemed like perhaps I just want to go to my usual place, for the familiarity of it. Also there is a pool at the 24 at Potrero, which means the locker room smells like chlorine, and in general the facility is not as nice. But were these reasons for an out of the way effort to get to Church and Market?
Then it dawned on me: Church and Market is close to the Castro, and there was some part of me that was looking forward to ogling, and being ogled by, the other gays at the Church and Market 24. But the funny thing is, my thoughts prior to the coaching session materializing about going to the gym had had nothing to do with this: I had been dreading the hour on the bike and the accompanying discomfort of the bicycle seat, the ennui, the CNN rightwing spokesmodels on the monitors with close spationing that didn't work as often as it did, and hoping the podcast I had in my iPod would make the time go by. I wasn't aware of contemplating potential eye candy ogling. And yet, somehow, I was banking on that prospect, because when it was potentially yanked away by the prospect of going to Potrero instead, I found myself mentally bemoaning that loss.

The point is that we have instinctual, preconscious ways of weighing prospects, possibilities, people, relationships, and courses of action. This is a big reason why the work of finding appropriate objectives to pursue is as challenging as it is: our real investment in our world and our practices and activities is often grasped only at this preconscious level, and yet grasping these things is often precisely what is necessary to unlock a scene. When it is our own world, we understand these things instinctively and, of course, require no explanation, except, perhaps, in situations where we find ourselves inclined to conduct ourselves in way we neither understand nor desire. But when embodying a character in a fictional world, we don't have the same automatic understandings, and often need to work things out in order to fully enter into them.

And that, my friends, is what they pay me the big bucks for.

(This post is from the blog of the Mother of Invention Acting School in Los Angeles and San Francisco ( an acting class in Los Angeles and San Francisco for serious, motivated students.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

you never know

According to this article, 10 women across America were asked about how they met their current boyfriends.

Here's what one of them said:

“He sat next to me in my acting class. Our instructor paired us up for a scene, so we exchanged numbers to rehearse. He kept sending me flirty texts and asked me out that weekend. Our first date was a picnic dinner in Griffith Park and a visit to the Griffith Observatory. We had an amazing view of downtown LA and the Hollywood sign. We kissed under the stars and were surrounded by city lights. It was so romantic and felt like it was straight out of a movie.” --Adrienne Tilden

And as a dating pool, you can't do better than my students. If I do say so myself.

(This post is from the blog of the Mother of Invention Acting School in Los Angeles and San Francisco ( an acting class in Los Angeles and San Francisco for serious, motivated students.)

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