"Peter is just the best. He knows film, he sets his standards high, he knows exactly how to challenge an actor to do their best work on camera. Peter, come back to LA!!"

– Nicholle Hiltz
Something's Gotta Give, The Shield, Austin Powers



More about ongoing classes

a little background...

I developed my process partly in response to a perception I find in most actors: that theatre performance is equated with training, whereas on-camera performance is equated with instinct and cannot be taught, or learned.

I think it's helpful to understand the following:

In theatre the actor is King. The director, the stage manager, often even the writer are either actors themselves, or have been, or have (at the very least) been exposed to the actor's process. As a result, the process of making a play, from audition through rehearsal and opening night, takes into account and structures itself around the actor's process.

But in film the camera is King (and rightly so, as we discuss in class). Unlike their counterparts in theatre, film directors, who bring with them an essential understanding of how to compose a shot and how to tell a narrative with pictures, very often have no understanding of the work of an actor-- or, worse, a misunderstanding of the craft. Actors who move from theatre to film are often bewildered by the direction they receive, if in fact they receive direction at all; they are often stunned to discover that in many instances they will not meet their fellow actor until they arrive on the set to shoot. The forty five minutes on-set while the shot is lit is often the entire rehearsal process.

It strikes me that such challenging working conditions require a stronger process than is expected in theatre.

Actors enrolled can expect:

  • rigorous work. It is assumed that actors have received process and emotional training prior to enrollment; as a result, classes focus on how best to apply and adapt what has already been learned to film. These are not "learn to act" classes.
  • to learn the difference between what's crucial to establish in rehearsal for film and what cannot be established in a film rehearsal.
  • a maximum of twelve actors per class. As much as possible, everyone works every week. I do not believe in making actors pay to watch others work.
  • Scenework from contemporary american film and occasionally hour-drama television. In most cases the instructor will choose material to be worked.
  • two weeks of work per scene, followed by a week of shooting. All scenes are shot twice, one close-up per actor.

Classes to not involve:

  • physical warm-up work
  • improvisation
  • games or other non-text exercises.



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