In January of 2012, I enrolled in John Jacobson’s film course for actors and directors at Freehold Theatre.
The class had an enrollment of 18, I believe. 6 directors and 12 actors. Actors were grouped into pairs, and matched with directors for scene work. During the course, I was able to shoot four scenes and work with three different directors. The scenes were rehearsed in class, where we (actors and directors) received instruction from Mr. Jacobsen. When we were not rehearsing scenes in class, we were reviewing and critiquing scene work (filmed off campus, typically), or enraptured by Mr. Jacobsen’s brilliant lectures on craft, technique, and film history.
As a professional actor, with 12 years of stage experience, I found this course highly informative, empowering, and inspirational. For me, the most powerful lessons learned were: pursuing a need, dealing with obstacles (internal and external), and the importance of understanding and living through the character’s evaluation and expectation. These lessons – foundational principles – informed my choices during my preparation of Enzo in The Art of Racing in the Rain, a show I did with Book-It Repertory Theatre shortly after the conclusion of the course. In the rehearsal, as Enzo, I found myself using what I had learned to class to drive my choices. I truly believe that having just come out of class (continue my training), helped me create a unique and celebrated character. At Freehold, not only did I learn new techniques which I could apply to my work on film, but my understanding and appreciation of foundational acting principles were refreshed and strengthened by Mr. Jacobsen’s instruction.
I could not recommend Mr. Jacobsen’s classes any higher.