Richard Lawson has had a long and distinguished career as an actor and master teacher that spans almost 5 decades.
His first professional job was in the national company of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Charles Gordone, No Place to Be Somebody. Some of the more notable performances in the years to follow included Drama Critics Awards for his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Los Angeles Theater Center (LATC) and Streamers directed by Milton Katselas at the Westwood Playhouse. Other memorable experiences included productions of Fool For Love at LATC, Checkmates at the Westwood Playhouse, a New York Shakespeare production of The Mighty Gents, a New York Manhattan Theater Company world premiere of The Talented Tenth, the American premiere of Hapgood at the Doolittle Theater in Los Angeles, Visions and Lovers at the Skylight Theatre, and The Exonerated at the Actors’ Gang Theater in Los Angeles.
Some of his selected films include Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist, Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire, Stick with Burt Reynolds, The Main Event with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal, Coming Home with Jane Fonda and Jon Voight, Audrey Rose with Anthony Hopkins and Marsha Mason, Wag the Dog starring Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, How Stella Got Her Groove Back starring Whoopi Goldberg and Angela Bassett, Guess Who starring Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, and For Colored Girls directed by Tyler Perry.
He co-starred in Angry Boys with Chris Lilley and currently airing on HBO GO. He was also a series regular on The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, Dynasty, and Chicago Story. Notable movies-of-the-week include The Jericho Mile, The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story, Johnnie Mae Gibson: FBI, Pandora’s Clock, and Jackie’s Back! and he is fondly remembered as Lucas Barnes on All My Children.
As an acting and teaching protégé of one the finest and most respected acting teachers in the world, Milton Katselas, Richard honed his skills and sharpened his abilities. Recognizing a hole in the teaching model, he went on to create one of the most cutting edge schools in existence – the Richard Lawson Studios (RLS).
The RLS uses time-tested acting techniques combined with motivational and cutting-edge computer technology to impart knowledge gained from Richard’s 47 years as a successful actor, teacher, public speaker, and drug counselor for the National Basketball Association to empower artists and professionals, as well as non-artists, job-seekers, or regular people to achieve their dreams.
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On the surface, the RLS is an acting school. Underneath the hood, it is an empowerment academy.
- The purpose of Scene Study 1.0 is to introduce this new and expanded concept of teaching to:
- New people to acting
- Actors who are undeveloped
- Actors who are underdeveloped
- Actors who are rehabilitating their careers
- Actors who have been overtrained and lost or stuck
- Teachers will utilize the tools and approach to acting and storytelling honed and/or developed by Richard Lawson and supported by his philosophy and approach outlined in the article “The Role of the Teacher”.
- Everything starts with the DOIN’. The actor’s entire journey is founded in identifying, developing, establishing and formulating a DOIN’ that will ultimately and eventually become a living document.
- This class is for people who dream to be actors and are just beginning their journey. It is also for people who have no real interest in acting but want to gain conﬁdence in themselves by learning to be comfortable in their own bodies.
- Using certain tried-and-true acting technologies including exercises, voice and body work, and elementary scene study work, along with a very strong focus on self-empowerment, we are able to help students grasp the essence of their talent and provide them with skills that will set them up to succeed in whatever they choose to do.
- In the 2.0 Class, the job of the teacher is to help the students utilize the tools acquired in Scene Study 1.0 and apply them towards instilling the RLS prism.
- prism [( priz -uhm)]
- A prism of glass (or a similar transparent material) can be used to bend different wavelengths of light by different amounts through refraction. This bending separates a beam of white light into a spectrum of colored light.
- In this case, the Prism is two triangles each composed of three parts: Attitude, acting, and administration and Politics, personality, and craft
- Scene Study 2.0 will focus on the first triangle: Attitude, Acting, and Administration.
- The first principle being that attitude monitors talent, we will create responsible, purpose-driven artists that have a clear vision about who they are, what they want to do and develop the skillset to realize their dreams. They will establish admin groups and learn the power of community. They will also develop a strong work ethic.
- Having already experienced the first stage of the RLS Prism, the actor’s attitude, their ability to act and their enhanced understanding of administration, the artist is now prepared to confront the second stage of the RLS Prism: Politics, personality and craft.
- This second dynamic of the Prism will be enhanced by understanding the value of a relationship map, developing their humor charm and irony, while taking their craft to the next level by having a thorough knowledge of all written materials and an ability to utilize the tools and the approach set forth in the class books.
- Craft is the most important component to sustaining a career. At this level, the student’s casting should be clear and getting clearer. In addition, the artist should be developing the evidence to share their abilities and skillset; their relationship with his/her agent(s) and manager(s) should be solidly in place and the artist should be helping others. Needless to say, they are professionals and are working and making money in the business.
Professional Development Program (PDP)
This comprehensive course is designed to take the dreams and goals of artists or business professionals and put them on the fast track to success. It fosters an awakening in students and equips them with the tools necessary to manifest their dreams. This unique approach to professional development and career success was born here at the RLS. It consists of 4 separate disciplines, each with its own distinctive product:
The Declaration Of Independence Program (DOIN’)
Clariﬁes the intentions and goals of the artists. Creates an administration plan of action to accomplish those goals
Acting on Camera
Acting on the stage and acting on camera are different disciplines. Acting on stage is about what you say; ﬁlm is about what you don’t say. Moreover, the camera is a powerful teaching tool that allows students to learn to view themselves objectively and, as a result, take ownership of their product.
Auditioning on Camera
Good actors don’t always translate into good auditioners; it’s a different skill set.
Students learn to become ﬁlmmakers, which allows them to create product for themselves, so they can have evidence of their talent.
There are three phases to this course. Each builds on the previous:
A very structured and disciplined course where the work ethic is challenging, confronting, and revelatory. The camera doesn’t lie, so what is true will be revealed, opening the way for an honest assessment of what each student’s talent is and how to enhance it. Each week, students will alternate between auditioning on ﬁlm and turning in ﬁlm projects.
PDP 2.0 (prerequisite = PDP 1.0)
Utilizing the fundamental skills acquired in PDP 1.0, students are now equipped to start applying that knowledge toward speciﬁc projects and goals. This is where students’ careers start becoming particularly personal and clear. Goals are clariﬁed, projects are originated, and the artistic community is expanded. Students are taking more control of their destiny.
PDP 3.0 (prerequisite = PDP 2.0)
This is the advanced group of PDP professionals who are committed to their careers. They average 40-60 hours a week toward enhancing every aspect of moving their careers forward. It is a group with high standards and policies that hold everyone accountable.
The Young Artist Program
The Young Artists Program provides a space Where Art Can Occur for up-and-coming actors as well as established young professionals. Our goal is to draw out the creative spirit of each student and to help them express themselves fully without judgment from themselves or others. Students will combine their imaginative powers with a technique that will help them manifest their dreams into acting performance both on-stage and on-camera. We aim to give our students the tools to bring their own creative vision to life including, ultimately: writing, producing and directing their own original projects. We train our students to become consummate professionals in their execution as well as their attitude about their work. Our hope is to instill an artistic resolve and an optimism that young artists can hold onto for the rest of their lives. We are a uniquely designed studio providing individualized training that encompasses ALL areas and builds the foundations necessary for growth and success in today’s young artist.
ACTING CLASS FOR RISING STARS
COMETS (Ages 5-8)
SHOOTING STARS (Ages 9-12)
SUPERNOVAS (Ages 13-17)
This is an ongoing acting class for all experience levels with a curriculum specifically tailored by age group that lets students learn the Richard Lawson Studios approach to acting.
Audition Boot Camp
The purpose of the Boot Camp is to help students prepare and develop a winning audition process. This process will inspire imagination, conﬁdence, and clarity of choice. Students learn to demystify the horror of auditioning, learn to control the rooms, and deliver their product to the best of their abilities, no matter what the circumstances. We will identify negative habits and replace those with a causative routine that will provide positive results. Students will learn to book the room and not focus on what can’t be controlled.
The Commercial Intensive is a comprehensive 2-day workshop that demystifies the commercial acting and auditioning process for actors of all skill levels. It covers everything actors need to know about commercial auditioning and acting, and gives students the confidence to go to a commercial audition knowing that, not only do they have the skills to book commercials now but they also have a big advantage over other actors going in for the same part.
The goal of the Stand-up Class is to teach, coach, and encourage each artist to find his or her own unique voice and strengthen it. By studying different styles and techniques of comedy and timing from the best of the best, young and old, each student develops an understanding of storytelling. Funny is funny. At the end of this 12-week course which focuses on performance, study, and writing, we will have a live showcase where special industry, friends, and family can attend.
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