“Nick George is an Acting Classes Coach at The Playground. Here’s Part 3…”

Thanks for coming back for the third installment of the blog I’m writing in association with The Playground Los Angeles, A Young Actors Conservatory. As I mentioned earlier, before I begin tackling broader acting related themes, I think it’s useful to know my story. How one kid from a small town moved to the big city to give acting a shot.

Over the years, Gary Spatz, the director of The Playground acting school has literally known and worked with thousands of young actors like me. Many of them have come from far and wide to pursue their dreams of working in film and television. I’m just one of many actors in the industry and while my story maybe unique, it’s safe to say that many a career has had its humble beginnings and a creation myth of sorts. Since I intend to be writing this blog for some time to come, I’m spending these first few entries talking about the beginning of this journey to L.A.

When we left off last week, I had just been cast in my first play as a junior at Hellgate High School and my life had taken another very sharp turn. I was relieved this time to find as I came around another blind corner that there was in fact road and plenty of it to support me. High, wide, and full of new scenery, this path that I was on was really changing my life and its priorities fast. In my new life in Missoula I was really enjoying a new-found freedom of expression and the community that came with it.

I had two years in drama classes with Bolton Rothwell and I ended up doing quite a few plays and improv performances before I graduated in 1999. There was a seed that got planted in me in the Hellgate Auditorium that has grown up to be my adult life.

As I look back on it, the Rothwells taught me so much directly and indirectly in that short time that it’s staggering. A sheer joy of creativity…trusting my inner-weirdo…working hard to refine and keep things above mediocrity…to be honest even when it hurt and particularly the lesson of moving beyond my fear and perceived limitations…those big lessons are with me every day…as I act, teach, learn, create and connect with the people in my life.

It’s easy for me to say all of this now, from the safety and clear vision of hindsight, but at the time, as it was all coming together, it wasn’t so yet so easy to grasp.

Halfway through my senior year, I discovered a problem that most young folks at that age have to grapple with: I needed to make a decision about what would come next after high school. As I traveled to my parents’ home on the Oregon coast for the holidays, I wondered what would come of the discussions that I knew I would be having with them about this. I knew some big choices had to be made soon and I hadn’t yet felt very clear about what what should be my next move. I did know that I was feeling great in Missoula and that it seemed like I was really hitting my stride there. And as my friends were mailing in their college application essays and taking the SAT’s, I knew I too would need to set an intention for life after high school.

As I boarded the plane to Portland with a Shakespeare script rolled up in my back pocket, I wondered what my father would say about me being so taken with something as impractical as acting? Could this be something that I could do with my life? I wondered if this would be a sensible direction to take or if I should even bring it up? I knew the questions would be coming and I had still had quite a few questions of my own…I just hoped that the holiday trip would yield some answers.

More to come! Thanks for reading.

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