Aug. 10, 2022

Acting Coach Anthony Meindl & Two Unemployed Actors – Episode 99

- The business of Acting
- What are Actors struggling with the most
- The new book ‘Unstuck’
- How Unstuck can help other creatives
- How do you remove the blocks that get in our way
- The importance of defining what success is for you

Acting Coach Anthony Meindl & Two Unemployed Actors – Episode 99

-       The business of Acting

-       What are Actors struggling with the most

-       The new book ‘Unstuck’

-       How Unstuck can help other creatives

-       How do you remove the blocks that get in our way

-       The importance of defining what success is for you

Episode Page:

An Add Kulcha Production


Max Belmonte 00:12
Welcome back to Two Unemployed Actors. I'm Max, Sam is away on his survival job today.
However, I'm not alone. Joining me is Anthony Meindl, an Award winning Writer, Director, Best
Selling Author, creativity expert and founder of the Anthony Meindl Actor Workshop now on its
25th year with studios around the world, including Sydney, and here to answer questions about
his latest book Unstuck as well, which is out July 19. To talk about that, and more, oh there is
the book for those of you on the YouTube channel. Welcome, Anthony. How are you, mate?

Anthony Meindl 00:46
Thanks. In my podcast. This is where I push the button to do the canned applause. Yeah.

Max Belmonte 00:53
There it is.

Anthony Meindl 00:56
I loved your intro music. Who sang that for you, I love it.

Max Belmonte 01:00
My ex actually. And when we split up the first thing Sam said was "but we get to keep the intro.
Don't we?" Cheers Sammy it was 10 years. But anyway.

Anthony Meindl 01:09
And obviously Sam is not unemployed because you said he was on his day job today. So it's
good for you. So your two employed slash sometimes not employed actors?

Max Belmonte 01:18
I think it tends to be you know, the gap between the projects tend to be longer than the actual
projects themselves as an up and coming actor, and you know, we have to be slashies.

Anthony Meindl 01:29
Yeah, that's right. Slashie is such an Aussie term. I think, you know, I think that's a perfect
segue to just jump in really quickly.

Max Belmonte 01:35

Anthony Meindl 01:35
I was... I had lunch with a client of mine, and she's been the lead on this show, for the last
couple years its a big show. And you know, when that show was on hiatus, she's hustling for
jobs just like anybody else. And she wasn't even sure even though it was like one of Netflix's
biggest shows, she wasn't even sure if they were gonna bring it back for a season two. So it
does even when actors are at that level, or famous, or whatever we want to call it I'm working,
you think that they're working all the time, they really are not, there is a lot of downtime. So I
think it's great. I'm glad to be here, because we can bust some of the myths around what this
business is, you know,

Max Belmonte 02:12
and speaking of the business, I mean, 25 years is a decent stint, first of all congrats, does it feel
like 25 years or...

Anthony Meindl 02:19
Do I look look old and all tired.

Max Belmonte 02:21
Mate you look like you're 25. So you started when you were born? And?

Anthony Meindl 02:27
Well, I'm 54 now. So I started in my late 20s. And yeah, I mean, no, it's really great. I really do
feel like I approach it like a kid, I think it's supposed to be fun. You know, for all the listeners out
there, if you're not having fun, you should choose something else, because it's too hard to not
have fun. You know, it is a business like any other business, and you do have to have a work
ethic involved. But I think the spirit of the work needs to come from joy, an offering of joy it is.
And you know, I always say like, it's a blessing to be able to do what we can do, even if you're
not doing it full time. Rather than you know, I don't know, having to be a banker, unless you
want to be a banker, that's fine, you know, like or having to work. I don't know, in sales or
something. So I think acting is, you know, I always like to joke too, I'm going to Greece next, or
this month, Jesus, I'm going to Greece. It's like all...

Max Belmonte 03:23
You have to check your boarding pass to remind you where you actually are.

Anthony Meindl 03:26
I know it's kind of crazy, but I'm not going to teach. I'm actually going to our London studio to
teach next week. And then I go to Greece to make this... I'm doing this movie, Directing this
movie. But Greece, Greece, what was the... the original meaning of or... the Yeah, the Greek
word for a play, which is the you know, it comes from Greece 'meant a skit with goats.' So
that's how hilarious I should get a drumroll. I mean, that is, to me the epitome of what we have
to remember acting is, it's a skit with goats.

Max Belmonte 04:00
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. What motivated you to to move into the acting coach arena?

Anthony Meindl 04:09
Um, I mean, the short story Max is like, you know, I was always acting on the side and like, you
know, yeah, I had a really great career acting, I was in New York, and I was working theatrically
and then I moved to LA, and I was booking stuff and working commercially a lot. And I went out,
you know, I tested for pilots. I was doing really well. But then at the same time, I was teaching
on the side. And I was really interested in more of why acting hadn't been, like... the training of
actors hadn't been re examined for like 50 years. And I just felt like it was a bit antiquated the
approach to the work and that's not to say there aren't amazing teachers teaching like, let's
just call it old school, right, like a more historical approach to the work But I have always felt
like life itself, we're in a digital age, we're not on analog... like you wouldn't... we... you and I
wouldn't be talking right now, if we were holding on to technology that doesn't serve, like the
story that's moving forward. And I feel like acting has been oftentimes stuck in some other era.
And, you know, the golden era may have been in the 40s, and 50s. And that's where modern
acting as we know, it kind of became alive. But that doesn't mean that we're, every, every time
we're living in also can be the golden era for something, if we're willing to reexamine it. So that
got me really passionate about what I wanted to kind of explore.

Max Belmonte 05:45
That's really interesting. And I think, you know, yeah, so much has changed and some aspects,
a lot of aspects of the business stay the same. And I think, over that period that would be
interesting to sort of understand, from your point of view, what you see actors struggle with
today, and what they were struggling with when you first started 25 years ago, and has that

Anthony Meindl 06:07
Yeah, I thought you were gonna say, and what they struggled with 50 years ago, but I would
still say it's always the same. You know what I mean? I think it's like, to me, what I teach are
the challenges of being in this body incarnated in this existence, this go around whatever that
means, right? Like, who am I? Why am I... why am I here? What does it mean? Where am I
going? Like, how can I make meaning that that has some sort of substance and and importance
for the time that I'm here, and as I've gotten older, it's become even more, you know, a lot of
the things that I'm teaching really are like, yeah, like sort of our orientation to our own world,
and, and how storytelling needs to reflect back to society, what it means to be human, and all
of its complexity. But that also, to me, means there's a responsibility because we were all
awakened to this new time. I've always felt that way. Right? Like, I guess when I first started 25
years ago, I was teaching very spiritual precepts. But at the time, people weren't ready for it.
Like I was an iconoclast. Here, I was an outlier here, like all the, you know, more established
teachers who had been teaching here in LA for many, many years, you know, from the 80s
onwards, it was they, they were cut from a mold of very classical teaching from the 40s and
50s. And when I came along, I had been to India a few times, and I felt like it was all about
presence listening, which some people could say it's Meisner, but I wasn't really interested in
sort of reducing it to a title or a name or a label. I was more interested in like, like, using our
self in the moment and why we have blocks around ourselves. Right, right. And, and I think
now, 25 years later, so many of the things that I was teaching 25 years ago, are sort of the
vanguard of how people teach nowadays, it's all about presence, being yourself using yourself
listening, reacting, like, why aren't you doing it your way? And I think, you know, I'm sorry, if
I'm talking a bit long here,

Max Belmonte 08:18
No no, I appreciate it.

Anthony Meindl 08:20
But I also think, you know, the, the business is adapted to such a degree too, that we're seeing,
you can turn on Netflix, in Australia, or any country. And you see, it's based on personalities,
right? It's based on who that person is. It's always been this way. Marlon Brando was who he
was, in spite of his training, maybe he just did it his way. And I think actors breakthrough by
embracing and inhabiting fully who they are, and they give zero fucks about whether or not
people like them, they're more interested in doing the work in an Integris way. So I think that
can be taught. And that's what I've been really passionate about.

Max Belmonte 09:00
How how do your classes work? Like how do you create that sort of safe space to enable an
Actor to discover those... those traits?

Anthony Meindl 09:09
Um, you know, I was gonna say Max can I answer that... I'm gonna... I want to just say one
thing about, because I just had a book party for my new book called Unstuck. You can get it
anywhere. But the reason why I'm bringing this up, because Unstuck I wrote kind of during
COVID. And I was really interested in the exploration of how do we remove the blocks that kind
of get in our way, right. And during that time, I came across Jerzy Grotowski And I remember
reading about Jerzy Grotowski in college, but I didn't do a deep dive on it. But Jersey Grotowski
was a very famous Polish theatre Director in the 50s and 60s. He was very experimental, and
his work was known to be some of the most trailblazing radically honest work, right, and he his
whole philosophy of teaching actors and I hadn't thought of this in like 30 years or 25 years, his
whole philosophy of teaching actors was a process called "via negativa", which is called the
negative path. And the negative path was a system in which teaching actors wasn't about an
application or learning or developing a set of skills. Instead, it was about recognizing the blocks
that get in the way of the actor, and then disrupting or removing the blocks to set the actor
free. And I was so excited about that, because COVID also became a metaphor, and also a
literal and figurative exploration of blocks, obstacles, being thwarted, being denied what you
want, right, like being forced to deal with things that we couldn't contend with. And so this work
to me became like, next level about, I've always been passionate about the thing that sets the
actor free are looking at our blocks, and yet, our blocks are what make us who we are. So it's so
inscripted that you need it. Yeah, so the things that your listeners are listening, or feel like are
oh, God, if I just didn't have this thing, I would be blah, blah, blah, blah, no, you need that thing
that is, you know, your your kryptonite is your superpower. So sorry, I just think that was really
worth, you know, talking about, because that is really what the thrust of my work is, is now it's
always changing. But that's something I'm really passionate about.

Max Belmonte 11:30
Yeah, that makes... that makes perfect sense. And it's really interesting, when you phrase it like
that, and I guess in a way, then the book isn't just for actors.

Anthony Meindl 11:37
Oh God no.

Max Belmonte 11:38
In fact, for my corporate self back in the day, there were lots of people with great ideas that
just couldn't communicate them as effectively as they thought there were even some cases, I
think, blocks, you know, blind spots, sometimes you don't even know what's stopping you from
achieving what you want in your career as or as an artist, until someone says, hang on a
minute, you know, there's, there's "this" have you acknowledged it? And how are you working
through it? And is that what you try and help actors achieve, you know, to work through first of
all knowledge, this is what can be blocking you from achieving what you want in the scene or in
your career? And here's how we can sort of navigate through that.

Anthony Meindl 12:22
Oh, yeah, I mean, I guess this circles back to your original question of like, you know, creating a
space or spaces all over the world, like community where like minded people are coming to,
like, explore, you know, who we are in a safe space. Right. And I guess that's just been the
nature of the work is to be, you know, I think what's special about artists is that we are here to,
like, peel back the, you know, the masks of how we present ourselves to society, but who we
really are, when you're among a... you know... a collective, you all want to get in there and
explore more, I think I always feel to next like the, the world as we know, culture, as we know,
it is dying to have that experience, but they don't know how and the conventions and the
structure and the systems that are put into place don't allow it. So this is why art is so valuable,
because people are longing for it. And sadly, you know, tech, app developers in the tech space
are super smart, because they've realized people want connection. So they develop all these
stupid ass apps, you know, tick toc, I'm on there. No, not yet. But I probably will be. But my
point is, is they are so smart and strategic and or evil, because they have found a perverse way
of trying to mimic connection in a way that can't ever be fulfilled. This is why we are addicted
to it, because we keep going there. Right? Like, so sorry. This is how I teach and how my mind
works. I will never stay on this subject, but we're covering it in some way. But this is it, right?
Like creating a sacred space where people can come together and do the thing that they want
to be doing in life, but nobody's really showing us how, yeah, that's why I also think the world is
in kind of a perilous, I mean, it's just we are in really, I think, dire straits in terms of things that
we don't want to look at. We don't want to feel a lot of it is about feeling that denial of feeling
the looking away the pretending it doesn't exist is kind of what is leading us into a corner that I
don't think we're we're able to back ourselves out of,

Max Belmonte 14:29
And I think especially for artists, you know, we're creative, we want to get out there we want to
interact, acting is all about doing in my book, you know, you're getting out there and getting
amongst it. And it's been so difficult over the last couple of years as an artist, financially,
creatively with the bloody plague as it is.

Anthony Meindl 14:48
Yeah. Well, I mean, I think the great thing about COVID Because there are so many, you know,
with the breakdown comes breakthroughs and there have been many benefits right? Some
people up and quit thier jobs because they were a banker, I keep picking on bankers, you know,
whatever they were... whatever... And they, they've always wanted to be an artist, right. And so
they use COVID Finally, as this opportunity to go explore and take an acting class or whatever,
or I just had lunch with a client today, and she used COVID, to really be writing a lot of stuff.
She's was always also a Writer. So I do think, yes, you know, when one window closes, a new
one opens, I guess in terms of if, if you're resilient. And I also think COVID was important,
because Max, I don't think actors should ever identify only as actors, because it's very limiting.
And it can be very destructive, to see your artistry only being validated through the business. I
mean, the book really does cover a lot of these labels, like what is "success". Are you only
successful, you're successful to me, because you're doing it, you're making fun of the fact that
you're hustling to get a job, but you're having conversations that are really inspiring, and that's
a form of success, you're not just successful when you're doing a paid job on, you know, an
Australian TV show, that is one form. But that's we our culture only values like those hits, which
is weird to me, because, I mean, those are necessarily the metrics that I am I personally and
move by conversations with people. Yeah, you don't I mean, yeah, interactions with people
more so than I'm gonna watch a Netflix show. It's hard,

Max Belmonte 16:25
I think, because with this business in particular, people only really see the success a lot, you
know, they don't see what it's taken for that artist to get to that point, you know, all the knocks
all the blocks they've had to overcome, you know, all the all the trials, tribulations that add
character, but they just see the success. And I think sometimes people entering the business
too. They just see the success. And that's... and that then defines their version of success in
some way. So it's really interesting that you talk about those metrics and acknowledge them.
But also, it's, it's more than that.

Anthony Meindl 17:05
Well, I love it. You said it, I think we also have to, like, completely disrupt this idea of what
success is because we also know contradictorily, I have taught many of these people like
people can become quote, unquote, successful and not just even in the in the acting, career
business, but all kinds of work, right, you make lots of money, you have the house, and, or
whatever. And then you're like, wait, I am completely unfulfilled and unhappy. And so our
culture is, when we take our cues from culture, I think we're in big trouble, like I really talk a lot
about, we have to create for ourselves. And thereby, culture might be a recipient of it, but you
can't create for culture, you can't be doing it for culture, which again, is so complex, because
as actors, we're seeking validation from a booking, or you get the job or so I understand it. But
Success to me is also the, you know, the more ephemeral, like, you finally are finding your
voice or you're brave enough to like, tackle material you never could before. Or you came out
to your parents, either. You know, being queer, or just you came out, Hey, Mom, and Dad, I
want to be an actor, you know, like, these are all milestones that are equally as important as a
job booking. You know, at the end of the art days, Max, I don't think we're tracking like, Oh, if I
had only booked that job, it's really the minutiae of life. And also, this is a really valid point, if
we were living more for like these, instead of the interstellar cosmic bangs, we were living more
for, like just showing up with a more present Integris way, weirdly enough, the end result would
be you would get more of those things that you're really thinking you need to be happy, you
would just get them. Yeah, because you're more happy and fulfilled just in the minutiae of your
journey. But it is, listen, we've all taken the poison pill. This is what culture does to us. And I'm,
you know, I'm always going to advocate to help actors, and people understand that that's a bill
of goods that was sold for us to buy products, you know, it's for the bank, it's for the bank. The
bank is again, it's to make money. Yes. It's to make money for systems. It's not really for our
well being.

Max Belmonte 19:21
Yeah exactly. Its Philosophy 101 with Anthony Meindl.

Anthony Meindl 19:22
You didn't.... Did you expect me to get all, were you thinking I was just going to talk about
'today we're going to talk about your objective and through line we're going to talk about your
character arcs.' And no we are not going to talk about that people. My need is to make Max like
me in the scene.

Max Belmonte 19:43
It's really interesting like so many points are relatable to me, because I'm like, success for me
even 12 months ago, was around, you know, getting onto set and being prepared and
enthusiastic and professional and walking away going. Yes, it was a 50 worder, but I nailed it.
And that was success. Whereas now, it's, you know, having written the television series, having
it pitch ready talking to production companies, you know, the pivot that you talk about, or the
slashy however we want to put it and the impact from COVID, and how we turn it into a positive
as an artist, you know, all that stuff is just resonating so loudly because I've lived it. And, you
know, there are times where success can instantly change or at times when it sort of evolves,
what your definition of success is. And I think it's really important to acknowledge that and
understand and appreciate it, celebrate it when it happens too!

Anthony Meindl 20:45
Well Max I love everything you're saying. Right? Like, I think, again, I think we just like in all
businesses, that also in acting like when we self identify only as one thing, or it's supposed to
look a certain way, it really can lead to depression or anxiety or like feeling bad about
ourselves, because you haven't quite, you know, you haven't booked that job yet or broken
through right? And then what you're talking about is like to be an artist, to me is not, there are
lots of people who book jobs. And this isn't how do I say this? This isn't a judgment against
them. But I'm not. I know that is does not necessarily mean someone is an artist. And I also
listen, I'm also like, I'm not like highfalutin. And I'm like not, you know, I don't who cares about
art at the end of the day as well, right? Because to me, it's utilitarian like art is art isn't a cup of
coffee, I guess my my point is, is like to be an artist is just how we see the world how we're
curious how we want to exchange, you know, interaction and, and spirit and love with other
people. That's real artistry, not sometimes the commercially driven stuff we are subjected to.
And there's a place for that too, right? Because one man's trash is another man's treasure. So I
don't, I just think it's important to, as you just were saying, as we move forward in different
phases of our lives, it's okay to redefine for you what success and happiness and joy and
artistic newness looks like. And also remembering, nobody said, you have to be one thing your
entire life. Like why why? When actors tell me and I don't maybe I said this when I was 21. Like,
I hear this a lot. They're like, I want to, there's nothing I want to do more than acting. And I'm
like, really, really, you are 21 you might come up with technology to like turn climate change
around, you might be able to save the whales, and acting might be an amazing, you know,
portal into the discovery that you have opinions and points of view and passions in ways that
were latent and not even available to you. This is why I think everybody should take an acting
class because it opens us up to empathy and compassion and awareness, consciousness. But
it's not just about getting a job.

Max Belmonte 23:02
Yeah, no, it's it's so much more than that. That's right. That's fantastic. I think. So when you
when you're writing the book during COVID, were you? Were you visualizing who it is you really
want to pick up and be changed by it or informed by it?

Anthony Meindl 23:19
No, I think, you know, as I'm saying all this, I'm thinking your listeners are probably like, that's
all good. But how do I get on the next episode of like, Bridgerton? How do I... "like great, Tony,
I'll be a whale ologists like, in my next life... How do I book this job?" Anyway, I've worked with
a couple of people who are leads on Bridgerton you know, like, that's also a really interesting
journey again, like, it's so crazy anyway. Now, you know, I guess I write all of my stuff from the
things I'm gonna go film next,this month, and I'm just working through my feelings around
things. And like, you know, I'm working. I pick up Unstuck every day and like, flip through a
chapter. I'm like, why can't I remember this? Why can't I do this? It's so easy, right? And so I
guess a good teacher teaches best what they most need to know. But I'm always just trying to
like evoke the feeling because I think thinking our way through life has gotten us nowhere,

Max Belmonte 23:28
What's the secret? Speaking from, you know, a brief 20 Year break as an actor to go into the
corporate world. Approaching problems created, you might have inherited, you know, it could
be a key part of your job is dealing with problems that other people have created. But
nonetheless, they're there. You can't run away and hide. Sometimes I found solving them quite
creatively could create opportunities. You know, it's how you turn things around. And it helps to
strengthen relationships in business. Are they? Are there aspects of the book that are suitable
you think to those in the corporate world who not necessarily saying to themselves, I want to
pivot and be an artist that's that I've been nurturing all my life or, you know, but to help them
in their in their world?

Anthony Meindl 25:16
Yeah, I mean, I think like a lot of people that I work with always think I should go and do
corporate coaching, right? Because I think I do think this work is really, again, like, I feel like it's
very healing, and it really helps people. I guess it's scary because right like, like the the
vocabulary and the way you could speak more to this than I could, but like, how the systems
that are built around corporate, from wherever, but just speak from the US is so gosh,
corporatized I don't know what the word is, right. And there's the and

Max Belmonte 25:52
Bureaucracy can stifle the opportunity to be creative and to solve things creatively. And you
find yourself... my hardest negotiations, Anthony were internal ones, not with a customer, sales
focused and dealing with, like the Australian version of a Walmart, but But they'd had like 50%
of the market, you know, so you're negotiating with them. But internally, trying to arrange the
goalposts for both success in your role in your business, and also the customers business
meant, meant adjusting those goalposts internally. And sometimes they have been the hardest
negotiations because of what you're saying, you know, there's so much bureaucracy. It's not
designed to pivot quickly. It's the Titanic and these big blue chip internationals.

Anthony Meindl 26:37
Well... but I think the reason is, is because it's all driven by money. And we can't ever forget
that, right?

Max Belmonte 26:42
Wall Street doesnt care how you feel, just wants to see the return.

Anthony Meindl 26:45
That's exactly it. Which is ironic, because corporations are built by people. But it's the people
are invested only in the money and not in relationship or, like, okay, Walmart serves a need,
because they're providing services that people want. But isn't there another way of like, I don't
know, I think for me, I mean, this opens a whole other door about capitalism. And like, you
know, I had my own moment, because, like, Unstuck, has been number one on Amazon. And
then I was like, Oh, shit, I was like, I'm really happy that we're number one. But then I was like,
Oh, my God, that's a capitalist ideal. But then I was like, Oh, my God, but I love being number

Max Belmonte 27:22
You know, whether you're an actor, you booking the job, whatever, we can't help.

Anthony Meindl 27:26
But I think the thing is, Max is, is the awareness. Right? Is I, I, it doesn't, I'm not a failure, if it
isn't, number one, and anything, but that is a, that takes a lot of work. It's taken a lot of work.
That is not how corporate America works. Corporate America is talking about self worth, you
know, equally money is all based on these metrics that are, it's money driven. So it's very
difficult to I don't know, it's really tricky. I think, like, if even if we have to work within that
system, because it doesn't look like it's changing anytime quickly. How does a human being
feel less like a cog in the wheel and more like they're contributing? And I think it's ironic
because like, I think corporations could benefit so much more, and their business would
probably be more successful. If they learn how to, like, integrate to that part more.

Max Belmonte 28:23
That's really interesting. So Unstuck, from a corporate mindset can help you feel a bit more
empowered. In the Corporation, which, well, it sounds that way.

Anthony Meindl 28:33
You know, when I first wrote this, when I reached out to my editor, and I was like, Oh, I have a
book here. And, you know, she's like, whoa, not only do you have a book, she's like, at first it
was geared more toward actors. She's like, as an editor, she's like, I'm learning a lot. She's like,
this is like, so big for everybody. So I kind of blew it out in terms of not making an actor
specific. And just using, you know, again, this my philosophy is that we're all artists. We're all
artists living in this weird corporatized world, but I think everybody wants to be an artist. I
mean, that's, that's what being human is. We're, what is the most beautiful, evil, it's not the
most beautiful, but all sentient beings, you know, I'm looking at my, my door here, and the
trees are a lot like a tree has as much value in importance as me but and I guess my point is,
as a human being, that's art. This tree is art. The sky is so like, right, but like, we've lost sight of
like, oh, wow, that a little person who works in like accounting is an artist and maybe that
person is an artist through numbers. That's okay. Doesn't have to be on a stage. But I don'tthink we treat each other as artists.

Max Belmonte 29:48
I have to admit I haven't read the book yet. But I get already that it's applicable to not just
actors or you know that there's there's so much more to it. So I really appreciate our chat to
sort of unlock that a bit more Anthony. Thank you very much.

Anthony Meindl 30:05
You're welcome. Well, read it first and then you can get back to me. Hopefully you'll enjoy it!

Max Belmonte 30:11
That's great. Thank you very much for your time Anthony Meindl creativity expert, acting coach
and Guru. You've been listening to Two Unemployed Actors.

Anthony MeindlProfile Photo

Anthony Meindl

Author, Writer, Director, and Acting Coach

Anthony Minedell, is an award-winning Writer, Director, best-selling Author, creativity expert, and founder of Anthony Minedells Actor Workshop, now in its 25th year and with studios around the world, including Sydney. His latest book, UNSTUCK, is out now.