We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Laskin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I wish I could say it was meticulous, but I decided I wanted to try starting my own acting studio, and my theory was (and still is) that when you want to start something, just start. Period. You will figure out things as you go along. When starting something you can either plant a seed or plant a fully grown tree. The seed, if taken care of, will become the fully grown tree. For me that was the most organic way to begin.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My brand and my story are intertwined. My teaching is about the “marriage” of traditional skills and the actors indelible identity. Skills can be taught. Identity cannot, but it can be “curated” so to speak. This forms the foundation of my teaching and my book. I didn’t see anyone else really teaching to this specific point of view. I believe even more fully in that message than I did when I started out.
My art is a long journey of trial and error, to be honest. Like most, I made mistakes. But I kept moving forward and upward. It wasn’t always easy – in fact I can’t imagine anyone saying otherwise. But the key is learning from mistakes, continuing to try, and developing a hard shell to help with the rejection.
No one ever achieved what they wanted by giving up. I just never gave up, I guess.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d start on the east-side of LA, our most historic and interesting area in my opinion. Downtown deserves a stop: Disney Hall, The Grand Central Market, Olvera Street, The Bradbury Building, Chinatown, among others. Dodger Stadium is also an iconic downtown locale.I would take them to Musso and Frank’s in Hollywood for a taste of old Hollywood. The Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax is one of the great meeting places in LA. Then…..take Sunset all the way to the ocean. Head up Malibu Canyon to see the remarkable natural beauty in LA, and (once in the valley) stop in Studio City (my home) for a great cup of coffee at my house! I’m very serious about my coffee.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The one person who needs a huge shoutout is my wife, Emily Laskin. She encouraged me every step of the way in this journey, and in my journey as an actor as well. There are actually very view real mentors in this business. Part of my mission is to become a true mentor to actors and artists still on their journey. Emily is not only my life partner, but one of the smartest people I know. She’s who I go to when I need the truth!
Also, the one book I would like to give a shutout to is, “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. When I read this brilliant book, I could see how I could also write my own book – which I did. “The Authentic Actor – the Art and Business of Being Yourself” was inspired by Pressfield’s brilliant analysis of how artists actually function.