I have never met a human being who wasn’t magnificent.  If you’re not as magnificent and full and rich “on stage” as you are offstage – something’s wrong. There is nothing more satisfying to me than helping someone find a way to express themselves, their true self, not the self they think the industry wants. 

 

I was born in New York City, grew up in New Jersey and when I was nine my family moved to El Paso, Texas where I graduated from high school.  I then came out to California and went to college for a year at the United States International University in San Diego where I majored in Musical Theater.  At the ripe old age of 19, I auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts West, was accepted, and moved to Los Angeles where I stayed.  Those years were magic – full of acting classes, movement classes, Shakespeare, vocal training -- brimming with creativity, collaboration, hopes, dreams, future. A very magical time. 

After graduating, I continued studying with many teachers here in the Los Angeles area, including Peter Henry Schroeder, Candace Silvers and John Kirby.  I studied every technique there was – from method to Meisner.  I wanted to be the best actress – and in my mind being the best meant “know more about it than anyone else and then do it better than anyone else.” 

 

So that was the goal. And I, like you, went on to pursue my acting career.  I took headshots, did plays, did student films, studied my craft and everything seemed to be moving along swimmingly – except for one tiny little thing.  The magic that seemed so palpable when I was at the Academy seemed to have slipped away, slipped away in to the oblivion of “survival jobs”, life, and responsibility. 

 

The more time went on, the more pressure I felt to be the best – which I was sure would make me successful.  It just seemed so hard to find the right key that would unlock the right door that would get me my break – jeez, I was studying like a madman, learning every technique, doing every piece of work so well and even getting amazing feedback.  But it wasn’t working.  And on top of all that, there was this little voice growing louder and louder inside my head that sounded something like this, “Is this what acting really is? Is it really who can be the best at creating a character?  And what does that mean anyway, being the best at creating a character?  Writing the best character bio?  Coming up with the most interesting choices?  And the best to whom?  And where am I in all this?  Why would you hire me over someone else?”   I knew I wanted to be an actor to express myself and yet it felt like the exact opposite was happening. Aaaaaaaaah, I had to stop the insanity. 

 

And so I did.  I stopped.  I decided to do something else.  During my search, I became a consultant. I worked with people on their lives, their careers, their relationships.  I took my attention off myself, put it on other people, tried to see through theirs eyes and finally got some air.  And all the while I searched.  I was committed to redefining “acting” and my relationship to it.  And what I discovered was that my attention had been completely 180 degrees in the wrong direction.  My intention to express myself had always been good but I had sold myself down the river for the sake of technique and what I thought would make me successful according to the “Gods of Show Business.”  My work had always been on the script and the character and what I thought they had to say and what I thought I needed to be, both for the script and the industry.  I was sure I was there to serve them.  I needed to fully “become the character.”  What she wore, how she walked, how she talked, how she thought. You know the drill.  I then swung the pendulum 180 degrees in the other direction and began to look at acting from a completely different place. 

 

I started to look at acting as an artist might look at painting.  An artist knows the landscape that he or she is about to paint is there to be interpreted in their own vision, with their own “voice.”  The artist knows the there is no right way to paint the landscape – just their way to paint it.  Actually, it’s that individual interpretation or “voice” that is the key.  Unfortunately, actors think there is a right way to interpret a script; well, I’m here to set you free and let you know that is just not the case.  Not in any way, shape or form.  And somehow as I traveled down that new road, all of life, not just acting, began to look different.

 

Here is a small sampling of some of the philosophies and beliefs that are the foundation of my teaching.  I am currently writing a book about what I teach.  Acting is not about hiding behind a character you create.  There is no “character,” just words on a page pointing you in a particular direction.  Acting is about knowing how to analyze a script in a way that lets you in instead of keeps you at a distance. Acting is about knowing what you have to say and letting the script, the scene, the play (whatever you’re working on) serve your expression.  It’s about being willing to go on a journey towards yourself instead of away from yourself.  It’s about, always, completely trusting yourself and your instincts.  It’s about never, ever, ever leaving your “stuff,” your “life,” your “feelings” outside the door.  It’s about being the full, complete, high stakes human being you already are in every piece of work you do.  It’s about knowing that your career is for you.

 

Your work is for you.  You should be having the kind of experience you want to have. And finally acting is just a piece of life, a small slice of the whole delicious pie.  And here is my commitment as a teacher and a coach.  It is my goal to provide a safe environment for you.  I create self sufficient confident actors who know how to analyze a script and do a job – their way.  I am more interested in teaching you, than teaching a general technique – technique is only good if it works for you. I consider our relationship to be a partnership – you hire me to get you where you want to be creatively.  Your goals are my goals.  I don’t take your career, your life or our relationship lightly.  I consider it an honor to teach you. 

 

I work with anyone at any level.  I’ve given beginners the foundation they need for a long career.  I’ve moved guest stars to series regulars and “the best friend” to “lead in a feature.”   And I’ve worked with Stars.  The common denominator among everyone, other than the desire for success, is to have a particular experience in their work – for it to feel a certain way.  We all use words like “free” or “in the zone” or “expressed,” but the truth is we know it when we feel it.   And the audience knows it when they see it.  There is a way to have that experience consistently, a way for your work to be personally fulfilling for you.  You are what matters when it comes to your work.  I look forward to working with you.

                                             

~Elizabeth Gamza