Michelle Krusiec

"What makes Alice Wu's debut so pleasurable is its easy rhythms, its sly juxtapositions, and its relaxed but funny performances. A generous straight man, Krusiec gives the film emotional heft...."---Slate

Actor or a Commodity?
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I admit - I have a guru. He's not tattooed on my chakras, but it's worse. I practice what he preaches.

I met him in a tiny little acting studio on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade more than a decade ago. It was in this darkly lit, crammed, second story, office space/studio conversion that my love affair with acting teacher Larry Moss began. He is not a household name but his work spans televisions and film screens across the world.  In Hollywood, he is lauded for bringing actors Oscar gold.

As a teacher, Larry taught me more about understanding human beings than any humanities class. In those days, we would often meet twice a week, working till 1 am breaking scenes down and ourselves. I watched in shock and awe the transformation of each actor. Our admissions about life was the stuff Greek tragedies are made of. We learned technique when actors worked on a scene, but when Larry worked on an actor, we learned about people. It was often intimate, dangerous and exhilarating.

The Guru
I love Larry!

Larry teaches all over the world now. People leave continents to work with him. I sat in on class recently. We watched, transfixed. He teaches life using the craft of acting. He directs lost artists into finding their voice and truth and he has an uncanny ability to read people. Actors need inspiration. Human beings do too when they're not busy, numbing out. It's not a class for the timid or for glamour seekers.
"Are you an actor or a commodity," prodded Larry Moss. Pen hit paper and there was an uneasy shuffle in the audience. Those of us who work in Hollywood knew exactly what he was asking. He was asking us to get off our asses and get to work.

An industry friend once likened listening to actors talk about their career as similar to listening to religious fanatics talk about how much they believed in God. I laughed, because he was right. Being an actor requires a kind of unshakeable faith in oneself. The irony though is that unless you learn from great teachers and get to work on understanding the craft, you'll always be relying on blind faith. That can be challenging in life, even more challenging in Hollywood. Larry the teacher taught me how to act, but what I learned about pursuing a life worth living, that I learned from Larry, the guru.


Posted by Michelle @ 5/11/2011 03:43:00 PM


At 11/5/11 18:27, Anonymous Cindy said...

Love this post. Of all the people you've mentioned from time to time, Larry is at the top of my list of those I would like to meet. This post gives fuller meaning to all the praise you bestow upon him.

Then there is your mother, but only if I'm full rested and feeling at the top of my game. She is one, I am certain, who requires that I have my wits about me when greeting. :)


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