Teacher Spotlight: Stephen Singer

Doug GoldringCommunity, Training

We’d love to introduce you to one of our incredible TBG teaching artists, Stephen Singer! Read our interview with him below…

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

SS: Teaching acting is something I never expected to do when I set out on an acting career. I’ve had agents in the past discourage me from doing it, saying things like, “teachers don’t act and actors don’t teach.” Well, I have learned over the years that that is ridiculous.

Having a career as an actor, I have found, is invaluable when it comes to teaching the craft. All of the experience I have accrued in my long career that I can share with my students is gold to those who are seeking a career in the profession. I’ve seen everything, been through the wars, the ups, the downs, the hurts, and the soaring joys that come with navigating a life through this, in many cases, unforgiving business.

I am at the point in my life where I have a chance to give back my accumulated knowledge and experience, and that is a worthwhile endeavor and much appreciated by the students. Also, witnessing the transformation students experience when introduced to the tools is extremely rewarding.  The “fun of freedom” is a good way to describe the students’ experience. I love being witness to that.

What is a TBG tool you love to use in your own acting journey?

SS: This is a tough one. There are a few I find most helpful: Impulse, real-life model, and really doing the activities.

I’m going to go with the activities. It’s something that I was never taught in my earlier training in other programs. I remember doing a play many years ago where I had to shine shoes. At one point during the rehearsal, the man doing the sound for the show told me he didn’t believe I was really shining the shoes – it stood out to him. He let me know it. At first, I was thinking, who is he to tell me? But he was right. The activity has to be done for real. Otherwise the viewers pick it up immediately, and it distracts them from the narrative.

I never forgot that. If one is really doing an activity, making it primary and throwing the lines away, it’s hard to detect that you are acting and tends to have the viewer be more engaged in your story.

What is a project that you’ve been a part of that you are proud of?

SS: I just completed shooting a film that I enjoyed working on primarily because of the director, Scarlett Johansson. It’s entitled Eleanor The Great. She gave me a lot of freedom to create, and I totally appreciated that.

Also, I had the idea of adding the editing process to one of the film courses at TBG. The scenes (with coverage) will be edited by an actual film editor for the students to be witness to the process. I think it will be offered in the fall. It was tried out in the 1-Year Professional Acting Program, and the results were, in my opinion, quite interesting.

To take a class with Stephen, try On-Camera Audition Technique starting 7/9 or Professional On-Camera Scene Study I: The Tools starting 7/11.

Check out TBG’s full schedule of classes!