From: John Clark Smith
Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 12:31 AM
Subject: RE: Christopher Healey
I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how much we appreciate the great work that
Christopher Healey is doing. My daughter is completing Level 1 of the Academy's program and I
(or my wife) have sat in on most of the sessions with our daughter, and we are very impressed
with the skills and wisdom that Chris is giving her. And he does it all with such passion and
Chris is, of course, skilled and knowledgeable about theatre and film. Some people might think
that that is a given, but in this town, in our experience, there are many programs that do not seem
to have teachers who know their stuff (or don't want to share it). Such programs are recreational,
not professional. So an important quality that he has is the ability to teach young folk (and
parents, if they sit in) about professional life (and life in general). It is so critical, we think, that
kids interested in film or theatre get a feeling of what happens and what is expected. He not only
teaches the skills, he puts the students in the context of a professional "job" in film or theatre.
And if they don't behave as they would in a professional situation, if they are, for example, late, or
fail to learn their lines, or don't listen, etc., they get treated just as they would at a shoot, on a set
or stage. "You just cost the producers $750,000!" Chris would say. To my daughter, who in one
situation continually failed to listen, he said: "Do that one more time and you're fired." It worked.
She paid attention and got the point.
Please don't misunderstand: To those who do the work and try, he is, of course, fair and helpful,
and he will work and work with them until they imrprove.
So he is kind and gentle to those who try, but tough on those who waste the time of the other kids
or himself. But it's all true to professional life, and we think it's the way to create mature artists of
the future. I am sure that those who graduate from his studio and follow his teachings are going
to comprise a successful group.
John Clark Smith
April 19, 2005