What could be better than acting help from Henry Winkler, the actor, director and author who's had a career resurgence of late with his first Emmy-winning role on HBO's "Barry?"
The show is back for a second season on March 31
Five attendees from a South by Southwest audience at the Sunday afternoon session got a chance to bring their 90-second scenes for coaching
With humor, with kind but firm direction, and with the continual instruction to go deeper, "be a person" and to stop trying so hard to be funny (humor will come through when a scene works), Winkler demonstrated an incredible ear for dialogue and intent.
The scenes included a few personal monologues, a duet dinner scene, a winding "Three Little Pigs" retelling and a hilarious two-person monologue delivered by a woman from Egypt who's only been in the county for a few days.
All were improved by Winkler (and in the beginning by his wife, Stacey, who gave him instruction on chair placement), who listened carefully and boosted egos, but did not spare the truth on the tics and habits the actors on stage were using to avoid acting.
He promised at the start, "I will say it pretty honestly so I hope I do not hurt your feelings."
And for those afraid of the acting world's many "No" responses, he offered: "You are not defined by the 'No!' You are defined by your passion and you have to have a passion that is going to burn a hole right in your soul.
"You must be honest about your ability, you must train your ability, you must have an enormous amount of tenacity and you must have a good amount of gratitude along your journey."
In terms of practical advice, Winkler said rehearsal is the place to go big, make mistakes and be a fool to create a starting point to work from.