Steve Eastin Studio boasts a powerful pedigree. Its lineage dates back to The Group Theater in 1930’s New York. Sanford Meisner was a member of this legendary crew along with Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, and Clifford Odets. Meisner broke with The Group over a difference of opinion with Strasberg involving the validity of many of Lee’s teaching techniques. Meisner then founded the famous Neighborhood Playhouse, where he taught for forty some years. In the early fifties, a young graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Charles Eric Conrad, was hired as Sanford’s primary teaching assistant. In the ensuing ten years, Charles taught such acting luminaries as Robert Duvall, Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson. In the early sixties, Sanford sent Charles to Los Angeles to take over the training of the contract players at Twentieth Century Fox. Soon after, Charles left Sanford to start his own school. Much like the dispute between Lee and Sanford, Charles refined Sanford’s teaching techniques. He eschewed classic Meisner exercises such as “repetition” and “door and activity” in favor of the simple, powerful handling of dialogue.
In 1976 Steve Eastin enrolled at the Charles Conrad Studio. He was immediately struck by the simplicity and validity of the message the Charles was conveying to his students. So much that Steve spent the next four years studying with Charles, including two years in Conrad’s teaching program. As Steve began to work more as an actor on such shows as Hill St. Blues and Moonlighting, he also became aware of a large percentage of his classmates gaining great success. A short list would include Michelle Pfeiffer, Corbin Bernsen, Carl Weathers and Veronica Harnel. This success further validated Steve’s feeling that the message Conrad conveyed could have a powerful effect on an actor’s career.
In 1981, Eastin left the training to embark on a successful acting career in such films as Field of Dreams and Con Air. He returned to the studio in 1986 for further inspiration, leaving again in 1987. In 1991, Charles contacted Steve and informed him that he was retiring. He encouraged Steve to come to the Studio and take over a class. Eastin consented and embarked on a nine-year career as an instructor at The Charles Conrad Studio. From 1997 to 1999 he was the sole instructor and Director of the School. In April of 1999, Steve left the Studio and opened his own School.
The study of acting is to embark on a journey of self-discovery. You will explore the deepest levels of your psyche. This is all well and good, but you do this in the format that is required by those in a position to hire you. You get a job in film and television by handling dialogue with assurance and velocity. The Steve Eastin Studio shuns such traditional training techniques as “sense memory, “repetition” and “door activity.” We discourage script analysis, objectives and choices in favor of what John Cassevetes calls “the ability of not knowing.” You will find that choiceless awareness puts you in the realm of all possibility. You learn that extensive rehearsal can get in the way of your originality. You quickly become aware that this unique way of working is suited perfectly to the chaotic process known as film-making. Most importantly, if you are fortunate enough to be getting out on auditions, your booking percentage will improve. The lack of forethought causes your instinct and intuition to become stronger as you train. As this occurs, your emotions become more detailed and accessible. This is vital. To quite Jodie Foster, “It is the job of the actor to be able to experience powerful emotions on demand.”
It is not an acting teacher’s job to psychoanalyze their students. It is not an acting teacher’s job to change a student’s religion or philosophy. The only job the acting teacher has is to create an atmosphere where the student can approach an optimum level of creativity. The teacher then provides positive reinforcement when the student has done so. Carl Jung, the eminent metaphysical psychologist, said it best when asked how one could possibly teach someone else to be more intuitive. He said this could be done by creating an environment where it can happen as each individual makes their goal.
The goal of Steve Eastin Studio is to help each student become an autonomous creative force of nature. Each student will train to become complete and self-sufficient. Each will become an actor that develops a confidence based on a repeated excellence. He or she will learn to work in a compelling fashion that compels producers to hire them. Everything else is just bells and whistles.