On December 10, 2009, Strasberg Alum Jennifer Esposito gave a talk at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. After starting her training with teachers George Loros and Irma Saundry, the Method work became a foundation that she would cherish throughout her decorated career.
Esposito first discusses her realization that despite studying and becoming so engaged in theatre arts, most of the business was in television and commercials. She describes how she applied to Method acting to that world, instead of the artistic Shakespeare plays as she had first hoped. Another awakening Esposito had upon entering the business was embracing who you are in a world of extreme racial and gender boundaries. Being a Latino woman, she wishes that someone would have told her all of these hardships of working as a professional actor and is glad to spread her knowledge onto future Strasberg graduates.
Jennifer Espositio then discusses her extensive film background and what it was like to work with directors such as Spike Lee for Summer of Sam and Paul Haggis for Crash. She says that each director has a different vision for their film, and sometimes you may be able to fight for what you want but most times you just have to do your job. If this is the case, she recommends always staying close to the Method work, whether that means continuing to take classes, writing new work or putting up a play yourself.
Esposito finishes her talk answering questions from students and faculty. Some things she addresses are the difference between agents and managers, and how she approaches script analysis. George Loros taught her to read many psychology books, which she took to heart, in order to learn what real people do in response to life’s joys and challenges. She also includes that for her early work, she would make a whole binder to map her character through the script, looking for clues and creating scenarios for her character when she was not in a scene.
Quotes From the Talk:
“This is first and foremost a business, as much as we love the art of it, it is a business.”
“One thing that I had which definitely has kept me alive in this business is a strong sense of who I was, because no one else has what you have to offer.”
“The work for me has always saved you. Stay close to art and what it means because unfortunately the business isn’t about art as much as you want it to be.”