Michael DeBlis

Michael D.

Bloomfield, NJ
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Lesson Details

Acting

Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate

I am a professionally-trained actor specializing in teaching the Meisner Technique to students of all ages and ability levels. I am passionate about this work and seeing my students grow both personally and professionally. I have extensive physical theater experience in movement, mask, and clown which has shaped me into a well-rounded actor that is prepared to meet the demands of any project -- from Shakespeare to one-act shows.

I have been fortunate enough to have trained with some of today's most influential and highly sought after acting instructors and am eager to share what I have learned with my students. I don't believe that there is one "right" way of approaching acting. There are several ways in to this craft and as an instructor, it is my responsibility to customize the instruction for each individual student.

What distinguishes me from other instructors is my unique background. Not only am I an actor but I'm also a trial lawyer. Not surprisingly, I also teach public speaking and mock trial for teens.

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About

Michael delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 5+

Teaching since:
2018

My name is Mike. I am a professionally-trained actor who has experience in a number of different acting techniques. My passion lies in theater and I have performed in a number of on-stage productions ranging from classical to contemporary. I am passionate about this work and seeing my students grow both personally and professionally.

I get to know my students on a personal level so that I can custom-tailor a training program that will help maximize their potential and their growth as artists.

My teaching philosophy consists of two parts:

First: Your life is inspiring. Your experiences are unique. And your perspective is unlike anyone else's on this planet. As actors, we tend to get audition material and generalize it immediately and create an idea of what our character should be. And then we advance a general idea of that prototype. This is a travesty. In truth, your life has given you experiences and emotions that are real and that you can draw from to justify and anchor any choice at all. You may not believe it, but this is true. My first job as a teacher is to validate you as a person.

Second: Your emotions must be real, but you’re not allowed to show them in a way that is artificial or pretentious. Most actors make the same mistake when they get a scene. They get too excited. “This scene is great! So much good emotion! It’s been so long since I’ve really sunk my teeth into good material. I can’t wait to kill it!” And believe me, I get it. As an actor, sometimes the bait is too attempting not to take. But be weary of falling into this trap. If you show the audience your cards the entire time, they will know exactly where you’re heading.

And if they know where you're heading, they won't remain interested for long. The other thing to recognize is that in real life, which we as actors are always trying to re-create, we tend to cover up our emotions and play it cool.

All of this to say that the craft of the scene lies in what you cover up and what you decide to show.

I teach it as a two-part process. In the first part, you over-act. You blow it out of the water. You yell, you cry, you laugh, you improvise, you go nuts and do all the things you know you can’t do in front of a casting director. This is done not to teach you "bad habits" but instead, so you can get a sense of what you wish you could do but can't.

In the second part, you cover it up by not showing anything. And from there, we see what needs to come out. As the great Sanford Meisner once said, "Don't do anything until something happens to make you do it." This requires enormous self-restraint and patience. But ironically, something always does happen.

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