Seattle Actors…

…don’t train much.

True or false?

I ran into a friend recently at Freehold who was teaching a class, and she noted that she and I were among the few Seattle actors (stage) who continue training mid-career. Last night I bumped into an actor friend who shared a similar sentiment – Seattle actors don’t train once they are working regularly – while telling me about a summer class she was looking into since some auditions did not pan out.

Now, it’s true, it’s difficult to WORK and TRAIN at the same time. If you, as an actor, are always working, first off, WELL DONE, and second, perhaps this post is not meant for you. But, read on…

I have been acting AND training since graduating from college in 2000. A lot of my “actor education” comes from doing, but plenty more comes from training in a classroom under the instruction of a teacher. In class you get the opportunity to completely screw it all up while working in a safe and supportive environment. In class the risks can be high while the stakes remain low, which makes discovery painless and plentiful. I love training. Some of my biggest breakthroughs have come under the tutelage of Larry Ballard, Tom Todoroff, Nike Imoru, and John Jacobsen (to name a few). And, after a completing a course under the instruction of the aforementioned John Jacobsen, I opened a show with Book-It Repertory Theatre, and received the best responses to my work yet. Coincidence? Perhaps…

One thing I have noticed is that Seattle “film” actors seem to seek out training more often than “stage” actors. At least it seems that way to me. Either way, I want to stress how important it is to continue training, even if it means taking a break from the stage or the set for a bit. Sometimes, just taking a break to experience life (take a vacation, learn something new, spend more time with loved ones) is important to recharge the soul and nurture creativity.

Happy Training!

7 thoughts on “Seattle Actors…

  1. Hey David S Hogan!
    Thank you for bringing forward this conversation – I am into training. Basically, I train constantly. You may not see me in a class at Freehold, however, as I train in studio alone, with students, with collaborators, and with other artists who have shown an interest in sharing space with me. I wonder a few things – a) with grand statements like “Seattle actors don’t train once they are working regularly”, where are the statistics showing percentages of actors in or out of training, b) how do you define “working regularly”, and c) is continued training only defined by classroom/teacher? Just some thoughts to add into the mix.
    However one defines it – I’m into it. Train.
    Rhonda J Soikowski

    • Thank you, Rhonda, for taking the time to comment.

      1. I am into grand statements.
      2. I don’t care much for facts on this blog. They get in the way of prompting discussion, debate, and inspiration.
      3. Perhaps clarification is needed on what “training” is, but, I think, for now, the idea is: “a concerted effort to improve one’s abilities under the direction of someone appropriately qualified.”

      PS – When can I train in YOUR studio?

      Thanks, again, for your input. It makes me happy!

  2. Interesting; holistically, I’ve heard it said many times that actors are one of the few artists who wait to train “on the job” instead of training in between jobs (this comment was made negatively, and I tend to agree.)

    I personally don’t know the training habits of my fellow actors, but I think the incredible amount of rehearsal time for stage actors *is* like an intensive scene study/ensemble workshop. For film, modified tools are necessary because it’s most important to come to set with the work already done.

    Regardless of the format, I agree that even breaking down a scene once a day is a huge help to actors.

  3. David’s grand statements tinkle with bravery, and bring the conversation out of our heads and into discussion with others.
    I too believe continuously training is enriching – and it’s fuckin’ fun! Take on “Beginner’s Mind” and it open’s you to a freedom, which now, you can couple with experience.

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