Acting Tip #12: What Would Jill Do?

I just love David, one of my students!  He’s always coming up with great adjustments to make his auditions successful.  The other day in class I asked him how an audition went and he said, “GREAT!  I kept asking myself, ‘what would Jill do?’”  I immediately laughed out loud.

Man wondering1 Acting Tip #12: What Would Jill Do?

As actors, we’re the sum total of our experiences not only in life but in the audition and class rooms.  We learn so much from our good teachers.  Over time we learn techniques that never fail us, no matter whatever the part demands.  Short-term we remember things that they say that totally resonate with us and send us further down our chosen acting path.

I’m still telling stories about what Lee Strasberg said to this day.  How he always ranted about “if there were no script, how would you behave?”  Or the time he told a sobbing actress who insisted she wasn’t feeling anything, “darling, obviously you’re feeling something.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t be crying.”  Or Shelley Winters telling me, “you’re fantastically talented but over-trained.  Go out and find a job!”  They were the voices in my head all the time I was acting.

Taking what your teachers say to you to heart is the highest form of flattery and trust for them.  And why you come to class every week.  No actor can do it by themselves.  They need someone to guide them.  That’s why the Actor’s Studio was formed and flourished until Lee’s death.  I miss it, and him.  It was a forum not only learn from top teachers but from your peers.

I learned so much from watching Pacino and DeNiro, who were young actors in those days.  Amazing character actor Burgess Meredith, who I met there, became a friend.   I sometimes talked technique while riding his horses with him at his Malibu ranch.  I was also blessed to be guided by Shelley and Lee Grant, who were moderators when Lee was away.  There hasn’t been such a place since.

That’s why I’m so excited about  It may not be the Actor’s Studio, but it’s a place where you can learn so much listening to what so many top teachers would do.

So find a teacher, either virtually or in person, that you can trust, respect and listen to about your acting choices.  You’ll find that they’ll help you find your own unique style and guide you to those outrageous connections that are the cornerstone of thrilling acting.  Listening to them talking in your head will make you shine!

And . . . by the way . . . David DID land that part!

Leave Your Comments About What Would Jill Do? Below

Have you ever had the experience of remembering some tidbit of wisdom from your acting coach when preparing for a role or audition?  Have you ever asked yourself what s/he would do in this acting situation?  Please share your ideas and experiences with the Acting Intuitive community below . . .