Terry Knickerbocker and his Philosophy on Acting Classes in NYC

Terry Knickerbocker Talks about his philosophy on Acting, classes, and Meisner Training.

(Terry coaches 2 sets of student in scene work)

Terry Knickerbocker: My purpose is to help people learn to do something that they say they want to do, which is acting. And to do it well. And so I think of myself kind of as a midwife. Helping them to just give birth to their talent

Student A: Ouch

Terry Knickerbocker: Sharper. Not ouuh but Aah!

Student A: Okay. OUCH!

Student B: Sorry. Adele. I’m sorry.

Terry Knickerbocker: Knell, knell.

Student B: Sorry.

Terry Knickerbocker: Yes those figures out like that. Little fingers… yes just index fingers… like, like a little scorpion.

Terry Knickerbocker: I’m really interested in the group, and so I like to use the group a lot for what’s happening in the room and see reflections like there’s a whole house of mirrors there So that when someone is working and they’re struggling through something other people are noticing that and I like to make those connections.

Student C: Must’ve been wondering something I mean people don’t just wonder nothing

Student D: No no just wondering was it a pattern that’s all

Student C: No

Student D: Don’t get irritated you asked me.

Terry Knickerbocker: You asked me! I’m asking you a question.

Student D: I mean, I mean, don’t get irritated. You asked me!

Student C:I mean I was trying to tell you something else entirely.

Terry Knickerbocker:I Like to keep things moving. I’d like to have energy flowing.When things get stuck that’s a signal  something is not happening, right. You gotta kinda, shake it up a little bit.

Terry Knickerbocker: Okay. Now start styling it.

Student B: I never loved Carl. I only loved making loved to him. I think I realize this when it was no longer a secret.

Terry Knickerbocker: Who’s the genius?

Student B: Me

Terry Knickerbocker: Don’t be off to the side your genius you’re a genius.

Student B: I think I realize this when I was no longer secret

Terry Knickerbocker: Who’s a loser with that thing on her head.

Terry Knickerbocker: A trained musician should be able to say you give me a piece of music, and I know how to play it. And they will train authorship say, “ you give me a script, any script, and I know how to turn the script into behavior.” And thats what we make as actors. We make behavior.

Student B: The only thing I have in common is that they’re both restaurants.

Student A: I want him dead!

Terry Knickerbocker: No pushing. No tension. Just what’s your wish?

Student A: I want him dead.

Terry Knickerbocker: That’s nice. Alright.

Terry Knickerbocker: Oh I love it. You know I love helping actors  find the tools in the process to do what they want to do. It’s a great responsibility. And to watch an actor, who used to be closed, Open up. Who used to be frightened, find their voice. And use the work to gently facilitate their own discovery and ownership of their power, and their voice, and their creativity and their imagination, is just… I mean I’m getting goosebumps.