“The Moment” is here

Barrett Smith fired up for the next student.
Barrett Smith fired up for the next student.

Last June, The Acting Center Los Angeles embarked on a rather ambitious artistic project that as far as I know, no other acting school ever has.

The idea sparked last winter, while I was working on the beginning stages of The Acting Center’s new website with designer and photographer Aaron Petz. We wanted to find a way to tell actors about the imaginative character and scene study work being done at the school. In the process, we came up with the idea to photograph all of the Acting Center’s students not as themselves, like a headshot or publicity shot, but as a character, experiencing a moment.

Since opening our doors three years ago, we’ve had over four hundred students study at The Acting Center. So this wasn’t a small undertaking. We had to find a way to gather all the students in one place over one four-day period—as Aaron agreed to fly in from NYC to do the shoot in one fell swoop.

For four long days and nights, Aaron and Acting Center co-founder/teacher Eric Matheny directed hundreds of actors in street clothes and costumes, in laughter and in tears, discovering memorable moments to capture on film.

Faculty, students and friends of The Acting Center including Amy Acunto, April Biggs, Lee Burns, Bill Kilpatrick, Jodi Kassowitz, Michael Klaumann, Jorjeana Marie, Tamra Meskimen, Amanda Rogers, and many more (write and tell me if I missed your name and I will include you!), came to help organize, shoot behind the scenes video, grab lunch, make endless Starbucks runs and do about a million other things needed to produce a shoot of this size.

The student actors poured their hearts into the project, bringing some of the most extraordinary moment-to-moment work I have ever seen. And they have been incredibly patient, waiting to see the final photographs, so thank you, actors, for your artistic contributions and patience!

In the end, Aaron took over 9,000 photographs of Acting Center students. Then we began the work of editing and curating the photos for this website and an upcoming art show called “The Moment.” We’ll let you know the date as soon as we know it.

Because this is such an enormous undertaking, and all the work is being done as a labor of love, we are happy to be able to show a handful of the photos as we launch this site. Come back and visit the site often, you’ll see more and more shots appearing. Let us know how you like them. And how you like the new site.

Lissa Walker Matheny

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