Performing Arts

May 10, 2012

Jeanne Hartman – Acting is Believing

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Written by: RAW
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Acting coach Jeanne Hartman shares her journey from being a musical prodigy to finding her true calling: being an acting teacher. She shares her life story in her own words.

I heard a speaker who once said that just because you love something it does not always mean that is your purpose or your life’s work—I think my journey represents this. As a young girl, music was where I stood out. I could sing higher than anyone and when I went to college, I could sight read music much better than most singers. I excelled as a singer and that is where my journey took me. I studied and performed and after schooling, I was the youngest singer in Centre Lyrique Internationale with the Geneva Opera House in Switzerland. There, I studied and performed, but I think it was there that I began to understand that my real interest, my real focus was acting and the “how” and “why” of believable characters.

I continued to perform back in New York City but was also searching for an acting teacher who really understood creating believable performances, that is until I found Barbara Loden. She was one of the famous Group Theatre members and in her private classes I found my real interest—creating believable characters. I think my interest in helping others to create those believable roles really was nurtured in her classes and also with my mentor, Lawrence Parke in Los Angeles.
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There were many other wonderful teachers, too, but I also experienced some bad teachers. So, when Larry Parke encouraged me to coach I wanted to make sure that the actors and performers have a safe place to work on their craft. I also wanted to make sure that actors learn how to prepare for rolesproperly. My students notice that I always take time to explain why an

exercise is helping them. Students often come to me and ask why various teachers would have them do certain exercises [because] they never explained how it would help them. I think when you understand how you can apply [a lesson] you will remember to use it.

So you see, for many people your journey takes you in many directions but if you keep opening the doors that appear in front of you, you will find your way. I am always searching for new ways to work the “acting muscles”. Adults are just like we were when we were children—if we do something the same way every time, we get bored; so I always want my actors, writers and directors to get new ways to create, each time they take my workshops. 

www.actingisbelieving.com

 



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