My first professional actor training was very traditional.
It was great training – but it often left me in my head as I tried to do a technique the RIGHT way.
Needing something else, feeling incomplete, and full of angst, I went on a 2 year journey. I sought out directors and teachers from all over the world with whom I could train.
My quest was twofold:
How can I create in the present, free of my judgmental mind?
How can I make spontaneity something that I can rely on?
I had moments in my work where I felt spontaneous and present – but it was always fleeting.
Spontaneity is a moving target.
But I began to uncover tools and approaches to hit that target with greater consistency.
One of the many teachers that brought me closer to the artistry of spontaneity was Gabrielle Roth. She took me under her wing for many years.
Gabrielle was an urban shaman. She got people moving into impulse.
With her blessing I started experimenting with her work as a means to getting myself and other actors out of their heads and into their bodies. And even create characters.
Even though she is on another plane now (I’m sure she’s dancing somewhere), her work continues to unfold throughout the world.
Her husband recently passed as well. Robert Ansell. An amazing percussive musician and friend. He created music with and for Gabrielle and her work.
I often play their music in class.
Spotify: Gabrielle Roth and The Mirrors.
In anticipation of his death, Robert left some excellent advice for his grandchildren, which the family felt important enough to share with all:
I share his 33 pieces of advice with you today.
1. There is no reason to be afraid of lightning. If you see it, it didn’t hit you. If it hits you, you won’t see it.
2. Take everything seriously, but don’t take anything seriously.
3. You can control the way things come out of the dishwasher by the way you put them in.
4. Play the game on your turf.
5. Make sure the utility knife is either open or closed all the way.
6. You can eat with your betting money, but never bet with your eating money.
7. Question everything.
8. DON’T FRICKIN’ SKATEBOARD IN THE STREET!!!!
9. In music, photography, writing and life, the space you leave is as important as the space you take.
10. Two bites of the apple gets you — more apple.
11. Every coin has two sides.
12. Art takes the time it needs.
13. What’s behind the camera, comes out in front of the camera.
14. The way you go into a problem or situation determines the way you come out of it.
15. Nothing is more important than family (unless your family sucks). Yours doesn’t.
16. In business, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.
17. If you come from the place of “not enough”, you will surely end up at the place of “not enough”.
18. Don’t play it “cool” when you love someone. Surrender!
19. In cooking, clean as you go.
20. Don’t be afraid to change. It’s how you grow.
21. You can never go wrong loving a dog.
22. If there’s nothing you can do about it, there’s nothing you can do about it.
23. The measure of anything’s worth is to imagine yourself without it.
24. Righty tighty; lefty loosey.
25. Be kind.
26. Tip well.
27. What you give is what you get.
28. If you think you smell something burning, something’s burning.
29. Everyone plays the game with the equipment they have.
30. When there’s only one choice, it’s the right choice.
31. How we feel drives what we think, and that determines what we do.
32. You get two points for turning a negative into a positive.
When a grain of sand gets into an oyster and lodges under its muscle, it is a major irritant. The oyster’s response to this negative event is a thing of beauty– A PEARL!
33. Scramble the egg in the pan while cooking it, not in a bowl on the side.
ONE FINAL QUESTION – Whatever you are doing, is it the best that you can do?
From your loving Papa (a/k/a Grandpa Robert).
I hope you enjoyed that advice as much as I did.
Have a beautiful creative week!
🥲 thank you for sharing this generous wisdom.
Joshl Pais says
It was a pleasure to share a Robert’s advice with you. Have a great day!
Thank you for sharing Josh. It really touched my heart…and soul…and brain!
Kelly Michelle says
I just discovered this blog. This advice definitely made an impression on me. Thank you for sharing this. 👍🏻
That’s fantastic Kelly!
Hope to see you in class one day!