The other night I was watching an episode the new sit-com, Guy’s with Kids.  In this particular episode one of the characters is presented with an anniversary gift of a 60 inch flat screen TV.  As it is being uncrated he calls his children in to see his gift.  The two boys run in and joyfully exclaim, “Wow, a cardboard box.”  The next we see the very large cardboard box it has been converted into a space ship. Continue reading

Why do I teach?

Or a better question: why do I continue to teach?

[Editor's spoiler: It's about the student.]

The answer is simple: I have to.  It’s in my genes.  Here is a short “teaching” autobiography.

When I was thirteen and taking dance class my teacher saw me helping a younger child with the opening routine in her beginning class.  Continue reading

It’s Off to Work We Go

By Adam Hill

Recently I had the guilty pleasure of viewing, for the first time in many years, Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  What a delightful experience.

I especially got a kick out of the seven little men and their joy of life.  In particular was their daily march off to work.  They sang as they strutted through the forest “Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it’s off to work we go!”  Arriving at the mine wasn’t the end of their enjoyment only the beginning.  While there they “whistled while they worked.”

Acting is work.  It is a job.  It is true that acting is an art, but who ever said that art wasn’t work?

For those of you interested in a career in acting, it is important to remember this.  Acting Continue reading

Objectives, Objectives, Objectives

It’s all about objectives. The first thing we learn in Acting 101 is that the most vital acting tool is the objective. Without an objective there is no theatre. There is no play, movie, or television show. The objective makes theatre possible.

So what exactly is an objective? An objective is what the character wants. Each character has a series of wants that connects to more important wants, that connects to the most important want. That most-important over-arching want is called a super-objective. Continue reading

Hitting the Brick Wall

I remember all too well the moment in my career when I seemed to have slammed into a professional brick wall.  It was more than uncomfortable, it was debilitating.

What I also remember was my survival instinct took over.  I loved my craft and refused to sacrifice myself on the altar of failure.  What did I do?

First I gave myself a week to indulge in all my negative feelings.  I wallowed in self pity.  I enjoyed this self indulgence primarily because I knew that at the end of the allotted week I would be denying all this feelings.

The beginning of the second week I asked myself the following questions:

What about my career was working?

What about my career wasn’t working?

What is it I need to do to make it work?

I then asked myself the most difficult question:

Am I content with my level of craft?

And, if not, why aren’t I doing something to increase my expertise?

I got a part time job as a bartender to pay for some new classes and enrolled with a teacher who I believed would support me in the areas I needed to grow.  In other words, I decided to strengthen my weaknesses.  It was during the second month of this incredible experience that I auditioned for and got a Broadway show.

During this same period, I changed representation and became more active in my career.  I got off my butt and became more active, more than any agent or manager could be, in my career.  I became current on everything happening in my business.  I told my new agent what was casting.  I sent out pictures and resumes.  I included a note that said I was sure my agent had submitted my picture, but in case it was lost in the mail, here was another. I wrote that I believed in their project and that a role in their production was worth fighting for.

My short message here is – do something.  I didn’t ignore my feelings.  I gave them their due.  Then I dug deeper, to what my true feelings were, and honored them.

From a strictly selfish point of view – I do not want to be deprived of your talent.  So for my sake, do something.

Opposites Do NOT Attract

Too many actors get together to complain about their careers, the state of the business,  how much they hate their “bread-and-butter jobs”.  If you don’t believe this drains you of a positive self image you are greatly mistaken.

It’s people of like mind that attract each other.  If you find all your friends wallowing in gloom and doom, know that it was you who attracted them into your life.

Make new friends.  This idea that opposites attract is nonsense.  Continue reading

Making Effective Physical Choices

Physical Actions, or choices that you make to do something physical as your character, can often come across as gimmicky.  To be effective, they either happen spontaneously in a moment, or are well thought out and/or worked on during rehearsal.  They’re an asset only if they don’t intrude on the story or upstage where the focal point should be.  They can be extraordinarily effective but must be used sparingly and creatively.

The substance of a physical action must come from within the play or from the life of the character.  Otherwise it is nothing more than a gimmick.

Continue reading

Go to Work

To have a successful career in stage, film, or television, you can’t treat your career casually.  You must work on your instrument daily.  If you are not in class or working, your instrument atrophies.  You can delude yourself into believing it doesn’t, but deep down you know it does.

It breaks my heart to see talented actor’s careers go down the drain because they treat their talents with an indifference, apathy, or simply unwise behavior. Continue reading

Adam Hill’s NYC Acting Class – Preparation

In this video, I discuss the work an actor must do to effectively prepare immediately before auditioning or performing.  And it has nothing to do with reviewing lines…

As always, please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

For the second part of this lecture, please visit the StageSuccess YouTube channel here.