You get good at what you practice. Any world-class athlete will tell you that their sport is a game of luck, and the more they practice, the luckier they get. All the skill and talent in the world won’t help unless you practice finding a healthy and productive way to apply it, and then do that practice with dedication.
The Ongoing Scene Lab with James Morrison is the pure place of practice. This class asks the question, “How does something become important to us?” James guides you to focus on finding and revealing what is truly important in the work you do. Here you get to practice doing the work that matters, and not letting the idea of “acting” come between the story and yourself, and therefore between the story and your audience. What you believe, the audience believes. If it means something to you, it will mean something to those watching. You have to keep returning to you, the human being in the story, not to the actor performing. When you stay true to the storytelling and your part in it, the work comes vividly alive.
James is dedicated to the pursuit of each actor’s personal evolution as a storyteller, as a human being in the “world of the play,” and is brilliant at helping you mine your wonderful, unique voice, bring that voice to the written journey of any script, and reveal your humanity as an artist, as an instrument of illusion.
James brings his extensive, real-world experience as a working actor, writer, musician, and teacher- along with his deep love of the work- to each class. He challenges each actor to dig deeper, get stronger, expand higher, every week. He creates a revitalizing and safe space in which you get to re-forge a connection to your authentic self, to your humanity, and to the story. Here you get to practice what you love with mindfulness, heart, and dedication.
BY APPLICATION OR INVITATION ONLY.
Get In Championship Shape
Connect to the work on a deeper level.
What is the work? It’s the practice of being human under imaginary circumstances. It’s a game of make believe, playing pretend. It’s a commitment to the story above all else. It’s working without fear, without stress, and without anxiety. Through valuing that commitment and discipline, we build self-reliance, self-esteem, and self-confidence. In continuing to let go of outside voices and ego voices, of a need to “do it right,” of a quick fix, you move to a deeper, more pure place in yourselves, so that you can work with clarity, specificity, and freedom — and do the real work of artists. And that’s the kind of work that affects every audience and builds careers.
The Ongoing Scene Lab is the place to experiment, take risks, dive deep in finding the most meaningful connection to the work, and achieve greatness through practice every week.
Everything changes the moment you apply.
Space is limited. Join today.
In James’s own words…
“The story is the most important thing. It’s not important what we do in class, but what we learn from what we do to take into our work in the world. We create a safe place to work, breathe, expand, express ourselves and explore our responsibility to the story, whatever it may be. Staying true to the story- and the choices made by the original artist, the writer- supersedes all other things.
The goal is to find and hone our practice of mindful listening and observance of the conditions of the story, without judgment or subjective input or concern with technique, methodology or execution. It’s not easy, but it’s simple: Practice not thinking like actors and start thinking like human beings.”
In this class you’ll do scene work from all genres, from Shakespeare to sit-coms, including self-generated writing. You’ll work with pieces that you may have 5 minutes to prepare along with material that you mine over a few weeks. You’ll have access to our BGB Library of material as well as find scenes and scripts that move you and challenge you.
This is a class for working actors who want to dig deeper.
This class is not an audition or employment opportunity and there is no suggestion or guarantee of an audition or employment as a result of taking this class.
- JAMES MORRISONTeacher
James Morrison is an award-winning actor, best known as Bill Buchanan on the Emmy winning series 24, and Warden Murphy on TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN. James has made hundreds of other television and film appearances and played in US, UK and World Premieres at the Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe, Princeton’s McCarter, Edinburgh’s venerable Traverse Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse on London’s West End. A singer/songwriter, playwright and filmmaker, his documentary SHOWING UP: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE AUDITION is available to stream on video-on-demand outlets everywhere as well as from www.jpmorrison.com. James sits on the Board of Trustees and has taught at the renowned White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, where he received his teaching certification. He taught regular classes for ten years at the Center for Yoga in L.A. before moving to the Ojai Valley in 2011 where he lives with his wife and son.
More on James here.
For more than three decades, I have known James as a substantive and prolific actor, writer, musician, director and teacher. The practical, instinctive wisdom and genuinely visceral approach that he brings to the art of acting (and living) would be an invaluable gift to any acting student dedicated to personal and professional growth and betterment.
Years after studying under James, I still find myself returning to the lessons he taught. He is wide open, genuine, and vulnerable, and he has a passion for truth and authenticity in whatever he may be teaching. He has an uncanny ability to cut right through to the simple heart of things. And as I said before, his warmth and kindness linger with you for years to come.
What is important to know about James Morrison is that he is all in, he shows up, he brings his whole, soulful self to every experience, deep and wide, large or small. He is a powerful, brave and honest artist, humanist and friend. His unshakable quest for truth matched with his fierce compassion and sharp vision makes him a most valued companion and vital leader on any journey.