Cover art for podcast I Don't Need an Acting Class

I Don't Need an Acting Class

82 EpisodesProduced by Milton JusticeWebsite

Academy Award winner and celebrated acting teacher Milton Justice invites you into his weekly acting class, and what has become an invaluable audio resource to actors across the globe. Based on his years of study with the legendary teacher Stella Adler and his forthcoming book of the same name, I Do… read more

82 Episodes | 2020 - 2021

Thank You for a Great Season

November 30th, 2021

6:05

It's the end of Season 3! Thank you all so much for being a part of this podclass. We're gonna take a short break and will be back in 2022 with a season of script analysis! In the meantime, feel free to email Milton …

The Idea as a Tool

November 23rd, 2021

14:12

We have so many tools and techniques as actors that we can easily forget what the missing link is. Or what might help us when we find ourselves …

Permission to Rehearse

November 16th, 2021

12:13

So many actors feel the need to deliver a performance in rehearsal. And yet, rehearsal is not a performance, nor should we expect what we do in …

When Your Choices Stop Feeding You

November 9th, 2021

14:43

There comes a point, especially when doing a long run that your choices dry up and no longer have the emotional effect on you they once did. But part of being an actor is never allowing our relationship to anything …

Stealing from the People That Interest Us

November 2nd, 2021

17:33

Ok. It's a creepy sounding episode title but it's not what it sounds like. In this episode, we learn more about the power of everyday-observations and how to integrate them into our creative process. Four people from …

Real Life Vs. Theater

October 26th, 2021

14:17

As actors, we are the musician, instrument, composer and conductor. Therefore, there are certain technicalities we have to be aware of that have …

Exploration & Gestation

October 19th, 2021

12:51

This week’s episode can be applied to any part of the process. You always want to give yourself permission to let your mind wander through, make discoveries and absorb information, be it about a character trait, their …

Finding Words That Work For You

October 12th, 2021

14:33

When working on a role, we will inevitably come face-to-face with adjectives that describe our characters. We find these adjectives in the script …

What Kind of Person Would Do That?

October 5th, 2021

15:44

If you want to create characters that have depth, that is work that you have to do. The script won’t give it to you, and the director definitely won’t give it to you. This requires asking the question: what kind of …

The Joy of Acting

September 28th, 2021

8:36

This week, we celebrate the return of Broadway by looking at how the joy of acting, and and the joy of being part of its tradition and community is a huge part of what the actor gives and what the audience receives. …

Judging The Characters We Play

September 21st, 2021

14:10

One of the problems we face as actors, is that, without even knowing it, our limited experience and points of view as human beings naturally affects the way we approach characters that are different from us. Obviously …

The Ability to Visualize

September 14th, 2021

15:35

Visualization is such an enormous part of what we have to do as actors and it requires exercising our imagination on a regular basis. If we’re not …

Thoughts on Blocking

September 7th, 2021

12:42

Blocking should always come out of what is really going on in each scene. And as your emotional understanding of what’s happening becomes clearer and …

Ways to Raise the Stakes

August 31st, 2021

12:43

“Raising the stakes” is an expression we hear a lot in the world of acting technique. In this episode, Milton gives you very practical ideas and exercises that will help you raise the stakes. These are practices you can …

Can You Play Two Actions at Once?

August 24th, 2021

14:30

Have you ever felt like you’re playing two actions at once in a scene and therefore not committing 100% to anything at all? In this episode, Milton addresses a problem that Greg had while shooting a short film in which …

Knowing When It’s Not Working

August 17th, 2021

14:09

In this episode, as the Ice Cream Man relentlessly plays his song on the streets of Hamilton Heights— (are they trying to make us go crazy?)— Milton talks about developing the ability to know when your work isn’t …

Working On A Character Trait

August 10th, 2021

14:49

Like the many other tools we have at our disposal, working on a character trait can give you something to hold onto, something that is “playable.” …

Take Yourself out of the Mix

August 3rd, 2021

17:07

When creating a character, it’s important to take yourself out of the mix. If you don’t, you’ll bring the character down to you, falling back on how

What Makes a Good Choice

July 27th, 2021

13:04

In this episode, Milton muses on the Stella Adler quote: "Your talent is in your choices,” realizing the ways this statement has been widely misinterpreted and misunderstood. The idea has crippled actors because we’re …

Soul Problem Vs. Plot Problem

July 20th, 2021

10:46

There’s a difference between getting the job and getting the part. And if we want to elevate ourselves to doing great work and truly “get the part,” …

Playing a Part You Know S*** About

July 13th, 2021

18:22

One of our listeners recently began work as a series regular on a new show, and found herself a little lost because of the lack of information she’s …

How to Talk Out

July 6th, 2021

14:25

In this episode Milton shares how his “Talking Out” technique was born in order to clarify how it can best work for us as actors. We talk out in order to take ownership of what we are talking about, little by little. …

Where Our Research Should Lead Us

June 29th, 2021

17:35

We all know the importance of doing research when creating a role, but even more important is what you do with that research. If you can’t turn it …

The Accurate Conductor

June 22nd, 2021

18:31

As an actor, you want to be so much more than just “accurate.” You must have something going on inside of you that makes you alive on the outside. An exercise we can employ that helps us connect to the life inside of us …

The Shorthand of Emotions

June 15th, 2021

10:50

There was a period where you took the time and energy to communicate, either writing a letter or speaking. We’re now living in a world where language has become truncated into a shorthand of images and soundbites and …

This is the Scene Where…

June 8th, 2021

16:44

The ability to identify what’s going on in any given scene from an actor’s perspective is very important. Instead of getting bogged down in all the elements of the scene— specifically the plot and what your character is …

Building the Place in the Age of Zoom

June 1st, 2021

14:13

Because of the pandemic, the nature of the business of acting has changed, and most likely there’s no going back. Working remotely has become so pervasive that even when theater reopens, self-tape auditions and Zoom …

Getting to Know You

May 25th, 2021

12:03

In this episode, Milton draws parallels between the actor’s and writer’s process when it comes to creating a character. Both the actor and the writer have to live with a new character, talk with them, walk with them, …

Big Ideas That Are Part of Us

May 18th, 2021

21:58

It’s ironic that in this present global, digital age where information travels at the speed of light, we feel so emotionally disconnected to what’s happening in our world, whether in our own country or on the other side …

What Cloud Am I Under?

May 11th, 2021

18:57

Welcome to Season 3! Based on Stella Adler’s work with Stanislavsky, everything we do as actors comes out of the world of the play, or the given circumstances that the writer has given us. One way into the world is …

Interview Your Character (Like Oprah)

March 16th, 2021

25:13

A great technique that we have at your disposal when building a character, is to interview them. Or, come up with interview questions and answer them …

How Is This Character Different From Me?

March 9th, 2021

16:21

Actors often ask: “how is this character like me?” But unless we know how the characters we play are different from us, it’s hard not to fall back on playing ourselves, or a variation thereof. Knowing the clear …

What’s Going On?

March 2nd, 2021

18:45

One effective way to uncover your action in a scene is to ask: what is going on with him/her/them/you? Actions, as we refer to them in acting, are often misunderstood as “activity” or “plot.” The true action is what’s …

Show Them What They’re Looking For

February 23rd, 2021

17:06

It’s important to realize how conditioned we are to quickly jump to a conclusion about a character when we read lines of dialogue. We will end up playing an uniterteresting cliché unless we slow down and dig deeper to …

Working Slowly

February 16th, 2021

10:53

“Once you go to the script, all creative work stops” Milton says. It’s a provocative statement but it’s true if you consider how most actors jump straight to a performance or an intelligent rendering of the lines before …

Falling Back on “Performing”

February 9th, 2021

16:05

It’s something every actor can relate to: you walk in the room, onstage on in front of the camera. Your heart is racing, your mouth is dry, and before you even speak, you know your nerves are getting the best of you. In …

Trial and Error

February 2nd, 2021

15:25

Stanislavsky’s Method of Acting was born out of trial and error. He was not a natural talent. Had he been, we probably would not have been gifted …

The Action Changes

January 25th, 2021

11:58

As you gain a deeper understanding of the role you’re playing through analysis and rehearsal, it’s important that we give ourselves permission for …

How Do I Know If It’s a Good Choice?

January 19th, 2021

12:04

Today we revisit a question that actors never stop asking. The ability to know whether or not you’ve made a good choice is part your talent, and it’s a skill you can hone over time. A choice has to feed you emotionally …

The Impulse to Begin

January 12th, 2021

13:58

Stanislavsky never wanted a set vocabulary of acting. The words he used were an outgrowth of the creative work he was doing with actors. They pointed …

What Am I Trying to Say?

January 5th, 2021

17:26

Our job, as actors is so much more profound than playing the part and getting applause. As Stella Adler’s father said to her: “We need to make it better for them.” When we understand what the play is fundamentally …

How Time Period Influences Character

December 29th, 2020

15:31

When building a character we can use the facts that are available to us in any way that will help us. Just as this is true for our character’s past, physical life or way of seeing the world, it is also true of the time …

Be a Snob About Your Process

December 22nd, 2020

10:34

“If you’re waiting for the director to help you, you’re going to be dead in the water,” says Milton. This episode is about taking ownership of your process, how you work. This builds confidence and independence as …

A Return to Rasbor

December 15th, 2020

20:08

This week, we return to the Russian word Rasbor, which means “to dig down” beneath what you’re talking about to get to the big, cosmic idea. This is a new way of thinking in terms of acting, a muscle that we’re not …

Observing Human Behavior

December 9th, 2020

11:47

As actors, it is our job, our responsibility to observe human behavior. We do this to understand what it reveals about people and relationships, because it gives us information that we can use, another frame of …

Have Relationship with Everything

December 1st, 2020

14:28

This week, Milton reminds us of the importance of having a specific relationship with everything and everyone around you. According to Stella Adler, the director’s job is to tell you where to enter, hit your marks and …

Staying in the Play

November 24th, 2020

18:21

In this episode, we re-examine the concept of the given circumstances. Every play has its own set of given circumstances, from which all drama …

The 2 Whys

November 17th, 2020

9:07

Somewhere in the process of creating a character, it’s helpful to step back and ask ourselves: why are we doing this play? Why are the characters …

The Educated Imagination

November 10th, 2020

16:15

Cultivating the imagination was one of Stella Adler's core tenets as an acting teacher. But the idea of the imagination is often misunderstood when …

Know Where You’re Going

November 3rd, 2020

16:45

It essential for us to step back and look at our character's timeline in the play, to know where he or she is going. One of the benefits of playing a …

Going There, Wherever There Is

October 27th, 2020

14:45

This week, Milton talks about what it means to “go there,” or commit 100% to giving ourselves over to the circumstances of the play. It’s an enormous emotional risk because by letting go completely, we make ourselves …

The Past in the Present and the Past

October 21st, 2020

17:31

This week, Milton touches on a very tenuous aspect of building a character’s past. There is a difference between experiencing a past event from the perspective of the present, and experiencing the past in that moment, …

Greasing the Gears

October 13th, 2020

13:41

When building a craft, it’s important that we actively put to use the tools and techniques that we’ve learned. Otherwise we’ll keep “winging it”, …

Events

October 6th, 2020

12:07

There are many different aspects of acting technique. One of them is building a character’s past. A helpful way to approach this is to know what the …

Acting as an Artform

September 29th, 2020

12:49

In this episode, Milton talks about the difference between acting as an art form and acting to “get a job,” and how one is much more fulfilling than …

The Method is a Culture

September 21st, 2020

14:12

We begin our second season with a reminder that acting is not a math equation. “The method,” said Stanislavsky, “is not a guide, it’s a culture.” …

Coming Soon: Season 2

August 17th, 2020

2:25

Don't panic. We'll be back with Season 2 of I Don't Need an Acting Class in September!

--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/actingclass/support

Finding What's Actable

August 11th, 2020

15:43

As we continue making discoveries about all the dimensions that make up a character, we always want to look for what is actable or doable. For …

Putting It Together

August 4th, 2020

10:41

This week, Milton talks about how building different moments in your characters past reveals new information about them, and the importance of knowing exactly what that information is. We must ask the question: What …

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

July 28th, 2020

15:21

As we approach a play and begin letting the facts simmer in our imagination, we can begin to ask questions, as though we are interviewing our character. There are no right or wrong questions and no two actors will ask …

The Pitfall of Trying to Recreate a Performance

July 21st, 2020

11:52

We often run into trouble when we try to recreate a performance. This is because the action “to do what I did yesterday” is different from the action that made you DO what you did yesterday. But there are ways to avoid …

Acting is Hard

July 14th, 2020

12:14

It can often be overwhelming if you think about the massive responsibility we have as actors and all the many pieces we must fully own before it all …

Play the Cause, Not the Effect

July 9th, 2020

10:02

This week, Milton talks about resisting the urge to play an effect, or a result. Often if we receive an “effect direction” such as: “it’s too big” or …

More Is More

June 30th, 2020

17:14

This episode is the third in our trilogy about making everything something. This week Milton gives us a strategy for this. Using his “Why I Love the Theater” exercise as an example, he discusses how to building one …

Everything is Something

June 23rd, 2020

16:30

This week’s episode is a continuation of last week’s topic. Milton talks about the importance of treating every fact and every element as if it’s important. Even those facts that seem to be incidental plot points cannot …

Assume Nothing

June 16th, 2020

13:45

In this episode, Milton takes a question from Benjamin in Canada who asked him to clarify an idea from our episode The Biggest Sin: beginning your work on a play as if you know nothing. Another way to say that is: begin …

Size Matters

June 9th, 2020

22:14

Last episode we talked about theme. This week, we continue that conversation but make the distinction between truly big ideas and everything else. …

What's the Big Idea?

June 5th, 2020

16:24

In every play, there’s a big, universal, cosmic idea, (or theme.) It’s what the writer wants to communicate. As actors we must know what this big idea is. We won’t know what it is right away- our rehearsal process is …

But It’s All A Lie!

May 26th, 2020

8:07

This week’s episode is a direct response to a question from one of our listeners. Belen from Argentina wanted to know what to do when she’s in the middle of a scene and suddenly remembers none of it is real. Email your …

But It’s Such a Cool Choice!

May 18th, 2020

19:42

It’s true that your talent is in your choices, but that’s not all there’s to it. Your choices must serve the central idea of the play, and must be consistent with the given circumstances of your character. And yet, …

2+2= 4ish

May 13th, 2020

11:20

Acting is not mathematical. You won’t always use the same tools, and what worked for you during one project may not work for you in another. There …

Zadacha

May 5th, 2020

19:03

If there’s one word all actors are familiar with it’s “objective.” But how often is the idea of “objective” a practical tool and how often is it an …

Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Toilet Paper

April 27th, 2020

14:20

We've all been there. You look at your script and see something that resembles a list. What do most actors do? They act it as a list and by doing so, …

A Sequence of Thoughts, Not a Cluster of Words

April 21st, 2020

9:29

When Milton recently asked Gustavo Dudamel, the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, what he saw when he looked at a piece of orchestral music, he said: “I see phrases.” This is a perfect metaphor for how we need …

Dear Milton, Please Help Me

April 21st, 2020

6:29

In the Summer of 1980 during the run of a regional production of Boys in the Band, Milton wrote a letter to Stella Adler asking for her guidance. She responded: “The actor in you is beginning to feel the birth pangs in …

Building a Believable Backstory

April 14th, 2020

18:27

Whether you’re auditioning for a pilot or in rehearsal for a Clifford Odets play, our jobs as actors is to launch, imaginatively, into the world of the piece, and open ourselves to its influence. But how do we build …

I Relate to Her

April 6th, 2020

12:33

As actors, most of us have had the experience of closely identifying with a character we’re playing. In this episode, Milton talks about the mistake …

A Brief History of Acting

March 30th, 2020

12:10

How did we end up studying acting in the first place? In this episode, Milton puts his teaching in context by giving us a brief history of modern acting technique; from 19th-century realism to Konstantin Stanislavky and …

Talk It Out

March 23rd, 2020

21:42

In this episode, Milton talks about how writing and thinking are great ways for actors to avoid acting, and offers a practical technique that allows …

Deadly, Deadly Facts

March 21st, 2020

14:46

Contrary to popular belief, just because you can answer “who, what, why, where, when” and “what do I want?” doesn’t mean you can act. Stella Adler …

The Biggest Sin

March 16th, 2020

22:45

In this episode, Milton reveals what he feels to be The Biggest Sin of Acting and offers solutions on how we can resist the urge to commit it. What …

Who Needs Technique?

March 9th, 2020

9:06

Have you ever worried that studying and honing a technique as an actor will destroy your natural ability? Is acting just about being "natural"? In this first episode of I Don't Need an Acting Class, Milton answers the …

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