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Process 101

28 year-old Aaron Metchik brings his nonpareil acting experience to local students

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YOU HAD ME AT ACTION :  Aaron Metchik Acting Studio offers youth and adult acting classes for stage and screen. The adult class is ongoing and is held on Sunday nights from 5:45-8:45 p.m. It can be joined at any time. The 12-week Winter Youth Acting Program (ages 8-11) takes place Jan. 18-April 19 every Sunday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The 12-week Winter Teen Acting Program (ages 12-16) runs on the same dates from 3:35-5:35 p.m. All classes are at La Perla Chapel, 205 Windward Ave. in Shell Beach. Info: metchikstudio.com or 323-488-9388. - IMAGE COURTESY OF AARON METCHIK
  • IMAGE COURTESY OF AARON METCHIK
  • YOU HAD ME AT ACTION : Aaron Metchik Acting Studio offers youth and adult acting classes for stage and screen. The adult class is ongoing and is held on Sunday nights from 5:45-8:45 p.m. It can be joined at any time. The 12-week Winter Youth Acting Program (ages 8-11) takes place Jan. 18-April 19 every Sunday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The 12-week Winter Teen Acting Program (ages 12-16) runs on the same dates from 3:35-5:35 p.m. All classes are at La Perla Chapel, 205 Windward Ave. in Shell Beach. Info: metchikstudio.com or 323-488-9388.

New Times How did you get involved with acting at such an early age?

Metchik My mother was a drama teacher at Nipomo High [and other schools]. I would act in a scene in her little elementary school plays. At the time I sang, and a friend had heard about Les Miserables open auditions, so we went and I got the part of Gavroche and from the age of 9 to 11 I was in the touring company for 18 months. I got an agent after that. I was 11 years old.

New Times Tell me about the acting classes you teach in Shell Beach. What are you excited about with what’s happening in 2009?

Metchik The youth classes are starting on Jan. 18 and I am excited because it’s astounding to me. Often the parents come to watch screenings at the end of class, movies that they’ve written or made, or a music video (we shoot at least one in the workshop), or scenes at the end of class that they’ve worked on, or improv, where they haven’t had a chance to rehearse anything and they create a scene or monologue from suggestions from the audience. I love the kids because some of them are 8 years old and some are 16. Some people think kids that age can’t be good, but then everyone is laughing the entire time at these shows, watching with their jaws on the floor. When you let them be creative, but guide them in ways that will help them bring out the best of what their ideas have to offer, they can create some really amazing stuff. But I am very excited about the ongoing adult class. People can join at any time. It is a more serious acting training program. We do a very comprehensive script breakdown technique, we get into intense scene work, character building exercises. We do improvisation almost every week. Sometimes we do action scenes, funny scenes, very intense emotional scenes. We try to be diverse in what we work on, but it’s all geared towards, primarily, film acting. As opposed to theater acting.

New Times What’s the difference, in a nutshell?

Metchik I’ve done dozens and dozens of plays in my life; I have a great love for theater. I respect it but I have an awareness that it is a different art than film acting. In theater you have to communicate to the back row of the audience everything you are trying to communicate to the front row. It leads to a different physical and vocal language. You have to project. Film acting is very different. On camera, if you are doing anything that is projecting to the viewer, that you are involved in a performance, then they stop believing you, and stop caring about you. So, in theater, you have to project to someone 100 yards away; in film, the audience has to look into your eyes and believe that you are truly experiencing this moment as a real living human being. The first step is you have to be real. And that is only half of it. Some people who are natural can be unexciting to watch. You have to take your ability to be natural and make sure you’re making dynamic and powerful choices while you’re working on that character—to compel the audience.

New Times You have trained Zac Efron, and I don’t know much about him, except for what I see on the cover of US Weekly.

Metchik Yeah, and every other magazine.

New Times How does a trained actor reach that strange celebrity level where their personal lives eclipse their craft? What is your opinion being in the industry for so long, and knowing Efron personally?

Metchik It was a combination of a lot of things. He is talented. He has a look that a lot of people are attracted to. Younger kids can look up to him. And it’s timing. He was in the right place at the right time, which he has said himself. He really does have something special.

New Times Are all of your students aspiring Zac Efrons?

Metchik I love watching people with all different aspirations and goals in my class.Some have left and gone to L.A. Others have no intention of ever auditioning for a role, even locally. They just really enjoy the process of being somebody else every Sunday. ∆

  Christy Heron can be reached at cheron@newtimesslo.com.

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