COVER TO COVER

Commercial Acting Training
By Diana Grubin

…”As an actor, there’s never enough work,” Barry says. “My philosophy is that you have to have something else that makes you feel creative, accepted and that can be used as an extension of yourself. It should be something like two days a week – something you feel successful at – something you can do.”

For those who don’t have the acting training as yet, Barry’s group does take beginners, asking them to bring a picture or resume “so we have a sense of them.” She says she prefers the novice to have absolutely no training, as opposed to college courses because drama professors “don’t teach you to act, they teach you to teach.”

“Everyone (even the beginners) auditions from a script because in reading them, you’ll see what their needs are,” she continues, “then if they seem eager, I ask ‘are you ready to jump in 100% or are you just feeling acting out?'” If they’re just feeling it out, Barry puts those people in a scene study or improvisational class. However, she is strict in the levels of courses: there are beginning, intermediate, advanced and Master’s classes and she tries “real hard” not to mix them unless there’s a purpose. Classes, she feels, are the places to discover three things: to see if you’re rehearsing right, to get new information, and yes, to make mistakes.

While Barry says no matter how good you are there’s always something you can learn, at the same time, she doesn’t want actors to be in classes forever.

“In classes, some actors feel very safe and they don’t want to go out and do the cold readings and deal with the rejection,” she notes, “So we also teach them how to get work. Getting work is different than learning how to act. Working on a set is different than learning how to act.”…