Michael Yurchak, instructor of Voice I, II & III at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute- Los Angeles, has always loved teaching. With a Doctorate in Educational Theatre from NYU and a certification from The Fitz Maurice Insitute for voice training, Michael could probably make teaching his primary career. But throughout his academic career, he has also found the time to have a thriving acting and voice acting career with credits such as the Japanese anime Naruto Shippuden and Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra.
Teaching and acting is the way my career is supposed to be… it feels right to do.”Michael Yurchak, LSTFI Faculty
“Teaching makes me a better artist and being an artist makes me a better teacher,” says Michael, “I’ll never give up teaching… [acting and teaching] are both parts of what I do.” Strasberg especially has “been a joy” for Michael. The students at Strasberg are “a special group of multicultural and multinational people that makes for a rich classroom environment… they are curious and passionate about learning.”
On Voice Acting
“Like all working artists… I participate in everything,” stage, film, and voice acting. Interestingly, Michael says “doing animation is the closest thing to theatre,” or stage acting, because “we [voice actors] are really digging into the character.” There is so much development and commitment that goes into creating characters for voice acting, and you have “free vocal and physical expression… You are breathing life into a character through voice.”
Michael began his career doing improv and sketch comedy at iO West (Improv Olympics West Coast) in the late 1990’s. In the beginning, “I was lucky enough to do an awful lot of on-camera commercials.” He became interested in Voice Acting through a previous manager who introduced him to Carol Kimball, a voice acting casting agent. “She encouraged me to pursue it,” and he decided to take her advice. “My very first audition I ended up booking a big job,” working as the spokesperson for KB Toys. “Once I started [voice acting] has been a consistent part of the work I do.”
More recently, Michael has continued to do a lot of voice acting work. His most famous work being Obito Uchiha/ Tobi on Naruto Shippuden. “That lasted for quite awhile… seven years.” One fun project he did recently was Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicles (2018) starring Kurt Russell. Michael played an animated elf named Bjorn. “We recorded on the Disney lot, it was a lot of fun… My character was a float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!” Bjorn (pictured right) got to explore downtown Manhattan as a giant balloon for the 2018 Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“When it rains, it pours”
Currently, Michael is working on a plethora of exciting projects, including an original show in the works. In addition to voice acting, Michael is passionate about stage acting and is currently playing Ed in a production of The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles. The show is running NOW- Dec. 8th. For anyone who would be interested in attending, ticketing information can be found on their website (greenwaycourttheatre.org/curious), student tickets are $25.
If being onstage and teaching at two institutions isn’t enough, Michael also has a reoccurring role on the comedy series Tacoma FD (TruTV) and another anime show Bungo Stray Dogs. Though he can’t comment about the series he is developing, he did say “it is an adult comedy… “we are still in a fairly early stage.” Right now there is a lot going on for Michael. In an artistic career, “when it rains it pours” and Michael says, “right now it is pouring.”
Michael has been working for Strasberg since Spring 2018. He is happy that he is able to offer students professional advice in addition to teaching. “When I was training I didn’t have access” to teachers who were also active professionals. “One of the great parts of a place like Strasberg is that students get the opportunity to work with active professionals, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
The Faculty Blog for LSTFI Los Angeles is run by Aly Homminga.
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