I heard about the Beverly Hills Playhouse after asking a casting director friend about workspaces and classes to go to. And he’s a very well-respected casting director in LA and in the film world, and he was taking classes here so he said, “Why don’t you come to see the Beverly Hills Playhouse? Why don’t you come study with Milton?”
When I describe the Beverly Hills Playhouse to friends, I’m really excited and honored to be able to bring them other artists in on the process that I’ve been in on.
First of all, it’s a very supportive school. Growth, I think, is the main objective for all the students here and all the teachers here. And there’s, I think they have a wonderful breakdown of how to approach filmmaking in a career in Los Angeles in that the main focus is attitude, administration, and, of course, acting.
I was looking for the best. I was looking for a space where I could play with other excellent actors and filmmakers and theatre artists. I was looking to work under the guidance and a tutorship of somebody that I could respect – whose artistry I could respect – and somebody that just knew the craft really well.
And it was sort of an exploration in finding other characters and other artistic expressions that I could then carry over into work. And, also, an opportunity to, I guess, expand on what I’ve already kind of begun working on. So, I, as a working actor, needed a place to be able to go and play, and to go and explore my artwork, and to be able to develop other characters – characters that perhaps I wasn’t allowed immediately to develop in the casting process. But, I think, by working with Milton and by working in a school like the Playhouse, I was able to refine it and perfect it in a way that it would make me immediately castable in different characters – characters other than what I’ve already been working in.
Why did I want to work with Milton? It’s specific. I was doing, or I am doing a series, and it’s new. A lot of the experiences working in a series are new to me – the concept of attitude, the concept of the administration, of working in a series – and I think that what I needed and what I need is mentorship from someone who comes from the kind of legacy that Milton comes from. He comes from the best. All of the classic film performances and theatre performances run in the same vein as Milton Katselas runs in.
For instance, we have Marlon Brando to look back on. We have Elia Kazan. We have Lee Strasberg. All of these fantastic foundations of today’s filmmaking and acting are of the same kind of background as Milton’s. And he’s probably the only – now, he is, in my experience – and I haven’t been to every teacher in the country’s class – but in my limited experience, Milton’s class is the only class where I’ve been able to sit in the class and watch other performances happen and actually learn from even just watching.
He’s very perceptive. Milton is very attuned to a person’s casting potential. And, also, I think, like any good mentor, sees where you’re at and sees where you eventually can be, and is willing and is incisive enough to push you in that direction. He’s relentless. I’ve seen him put people on the stage, or have people on the stage, where he does not let go until they push through into that other layer of performance which I think is a benefit for a working actor.
You’ve caught me on a blab, but anyway, for a working actor it’s important to go to those places where we can be challenged, where it’s not just about getting the next job but it’s about, now at this point, excellence in that next job. Excellence in performance, period. And he’s just a brilliant director and just completely facile with actors, knows how to work us, and I think a person can have complete trust as a performer in his direction, and I mean that sincerely.