Michael Laskin Studio

“Michael is an excellent acting teacher and coach, and has helped me grow exponentially as an actor.” RJ Mitte, Star of "Breaking Bad"
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Acting class – do you want the Mercedes or the Prius?

I was an early adaptor of automotive hybrid technology, buying my first Toyota Prius in 2005.  The car is still running flawlessly, by the way. It has remained in the family.

I had a good friend of who basically only drove black German cars: Mercedes, BMW, Audi, etc. – it didn’t matter as long as it was black, and German. Great guy, but he was a total car snob. About my purchase, he looked it over and said, “Yeah….it’s cool. But it’s not sexy.” I responded, “You know what’s sexy?  It’s paid for, it never breaks down, and when it does it’s inexpensive to fix.  Plus it gets 45 miles per gallon. That’s sexy.”

That’s the difference between being a smart shopper and being a “label whore.”

Jump cut to:  I recently started working with a new coaching client; new to me and new to LA. This person has an extensive film and TV resume, was quite talented and well-trained, with an excellent team of reps behind him. He found his way to me because his reps suggested he come to me to coach for a specific audition.

It came out early in our meeting that he’d been studying at an acting studio that is very well known.

Innocent question:  “I’m curious. Why not go to them for coaching? They certainly offer it and you already have a short-hand with them I assume.” I said.

“Well….because it’s been a miserable experience from the very beginning.”

“How so?”

“It’s cultish, strange, pretty unfriendly, and I’ve learned virtually nothing.  Not to mention stupidly expensive.”

“Well, why did you there in the first place?” I inquired.

“My reps said it would look good on my resume.”

The Mercedes vs. the Prius – the difference between driving a car to impress others, or embracing genuine value for yourself. With his utter dissatisfaction regarding his current acting studio, I began to feel like the car mechanic who is asked to fix a botched repair done at the dealership!

I see this a lot actually, and I’m always surprised by it. Many people simply want a brand-name training credit on the resume – regardless if the “training” offered is useful. I’m not naive, and I do understand that this could certainly be a plus in some eyes.  And I also know that there are some excellent acting studios out there.

But how useful is it if you’re unhappy, learning very little that’s helpful, and draining money fast? In fact I’ve encountered actors who have told me that studying at certain studios left them less confident, doubtful of their talent, and financially drained.  This simply shouldn’t be, and I’m always amazed and honestly saddened by it.  It give us ALL a bad name.

I recently added another new client who found me because his manager had me on their list of approved and respected “name brand” training credits for the resume – along with a lot of the other big name studios. OK….that’s cool, I guess. I’m flattered. I made the list by producing real results for my students and clients, not relentless self-promotion (of which I do too little I am often told).  But it frankly doesn’t matter to me. Bottom line: if you get in the room or send in a self-tape and you’re not great, it doesn’t matter who is on your resume. No one will care. If you produce results the world will come knocking. Always.

Take control. It’s your money, your time, and your career. Find a class, a community that works for YOU, regardless of the status. One that will help you grow, find your “voice”, and attain (and retain) genuine confidence.

It’s definitely okay to seek real value, vs. status.  In fact it’s the smart move.

PS:  My new client booked the job we coached on.