This Monday afternoon, May 23rd, at the New York City campus of the New York Film Academy, Acting for Film Chair Glynis Rigsby hosted a special Guest Speaker Series with long-time actor, Bruce Altman.
Altman has had a successful career in acting for film, theatre, and television. Beginning his career on the stage, the Bronx native acted in such off-off-Broadway shows as The Brick and the Rose, Liverpool Fantasy, Romeo and Juliet and The Sea Gull in the early 80s. From there, Altman moved on to numerous films such as Glengarry Glen Ross, Rookie of the Year, Matchstick Men, and many others. His TV credits are just as vast, including The Sopranos, Suits, Damages, and numerous others. He is currently appearing in the television series Mr. Robot and Odd Mom Out.
Despite having over ninety major credits to his name, Altman says that each time he lands a role is like a miracle. Even for an actor who has established himself in his field, the business never gets any easier.
“Life is hard,” said Altman. “And we’re not all giving up. That’s not a choice.”
Altman recommends actors try to curve their anxieties and nerves into a more positive direction. It’s all energy; it’s just a matter of how you’re able to channel it.
When asked what not to do, or how an actor could potentially back themselves into an unwanted position, Altman, says, “Never think you know what someone else is thinking.” The truth is: one can never really know what another person is thinking, so don’t act as if you know what the casting director or director is thinking. Be confident, but not over confident.
While he admits he’s not one hundred percent sure what the drive is behind his long-sustaining career, Altman does appreciate and value the experiences acting as a profession has brought to his life.
His love for the craft shined in his anecdotes and advice throughout the evening.
Ending on a particularly powerful note, Altman said, “Characters are dead souls; and when you play them, they come alive.”