4/15/2010, Letter from Michael Crowe, former student
Last night, as part of the demanding curriculum of The Actors Studio, I had the opportunity to sit and spend about 5 hours with Sean Combs for the next episode of Inside The Actors Studio. It was certainly an experience that I will never forget, and one that quite frankly, I really didn't expect.
Most, even myself asked, "Why on earth are they bringing Sean Combs to teach us?" Which he too admitted, but clarified to us that he was originally asked about 4 years ago to come when he was on Broadway by James Lipton but he turned him down because he didn't feel ready and didn't have anything to offer. Anyhow, a particular experience of his with Susan Batson who trained him in all of his roles, who is also a lifetime member of The Actors Studio, really struck me. "Diddy" is so often seen by so many as being in the negative spotlight, but I was so amazed with this man's work ethic, his tremendous success in the entertainment industry, and his quest for truth in his craft--all of them. He made so many remarkable statements.
In working with Susan, the first thing he told her was that the first moment that she ever felt that he couldn't hack it as an actor and that he wasn't able to do the job, that she would be honest and tell him to quit. It fondly brought me back to my experience with you. I fondly remember the day I walked into my first workshop with you after discussing things with you so many times over the phone and I specifically remember saying to you "Wayne, I'm not here to waste my time, nor am I here to waste yours. If I suck and I'm not good, I want you to tell me." I can't help but remember the tremendous amount of support you gave me, and how truthfully honest you were with me as your student. You never once held back. And, it's made all the difference. Wayne, you too, helped me to find the truth and authenticity of the acting craft--you helped me find a voice, and I thank you. I'm overwhelmed with the amount of success that I have had here at The Actors Studio thus far, and I'm so grateful, and so humbled to be here. It truly is, amazing. I realized last night that our responsibility as actors is to tell the truth, and I just want to thank you again Wayne, for helping me do that. It's been such an honor to work with you, and to call you my friend. The principles I was able to walk away with from your workshops has certainly helped me get to where I am and BE all that I am. Thanks again, for everything.
I look forward to crossing paths again soon.
9/2009 Letter from Michael Crowe, former student
Although I only studied under your direction for a short time, I just wanted you to know how instrumental your classes have been for me as I've pursued a professional acting career in film, stage, and television. After competing with nearly 4,000 other actors, I was recently accepted into The Actors Studio at Pace University in New York City. Basically, I had a 1% chance of ever being accepted. It is a 3 year, Master of Fine Arts Graduate School program that after a rigourous audition process, only admitted 50 actors in the entire world. This is an amazing accomplishment in my career and I'm so humbled to now be affiliated with such a prestigious program where some of the world's finest actors have perfected their crafts as well.
More than anything, 'thank you' for NEVER "sugar-coating" your constructive criticisms of all the work I've ever done in your workshops. Your brutally honest comments, suggestions, insights, and perspectives were always appreciated and embraced with an open mind and open arms. I treated every single one of your workshops like I was just a fly on the wall. I soaked it all up like a sponge. I not only learned a great deal about the craft, but I learned things I never knew about myself too. Week in and week out you constantly pushed me harder and harder to keep raising the bar for myself and to keep stretching my limits as an actor---to do things that made me uncomfortable, if you will. And I thank you! Being able to watch my performances on tape every week with your feedback, then to analyze it myself throughout the week, and then to actually "see" the mannerisms and deficiencies with my own eyes helped me to polish my craft and in result, it's helped me to get where I am now--The Actor's Studio. You helped me to understand the level of standard and professionalism it takes to even be REMOTELY successful as an actor.
In closing, thanks for noticing whatever talent you thought I had at the time. Thanks for taking me under your wing and teaching me what you know. Thanks for your honest criticisms. Thanks for your praise and support. But more than anything, thanks for being more than just my acting coach. Thanks for being my friend. This is certainly not a career for the faint of heart or for those who lack the qualities of preparing themselves to always be the best they can be. I'm not even close to knowing everything as an actor, but THANK YOU Wayne, for helping me to become the best actor I could possibly be. My success with The Actors Studio is just as much yours as it is mine.