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2013 Twenty Questions Interview : Andrew Utter

20 Questions Interview
with Andrew Utter

Los Angeles Acting Teacher, Stage Director

 

Andrew Utter

1. What's your name?

Andrew Utter.

2. Where are you from?

Alexandria, Virginia, USA.

3. Who are you today?

I am an acting teacher and stage director in Los Angeles.

4. What do you do? (Elevator speech)

I help actors to connect with deep vulnerability and vitality available to them when they become activated at the visceral (gut) level.

5. What's your story (how did you get here)?

I had done theater all my life in school and community groups, but it became a passion my last year in high school. I acted and directed in college, moved to Berlin to explore theater there, and returned and entered the MFA directing program at the Yale School of Drama. After a detour through the Internet business, I moved to the west coast to start and PhD. in German literature at Stanford, and I founded an acting school in San Francisco. After six years there, I relocated to Los Angeles, and founded a theater company called Uranium Madhouse. I am developing a new process to help people unlock their creativity, intuition, and sensory awareness through mindful contemplation of erotic imagery undertaken with a temporary commitment to celibacy. It's called the Apollo Process.

6. Why is creativity important to you?

I don't actually know. But I have learned if I turn away from it, I find myself deeply unhappy, eventually.

7. When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?

In college.

8. How did you embrace it?

I embraced my creativity by learning everything I could about acting and directing, going to live in Berlin, and going to the Yale School of Drama.

9. How did that feel?

It was all incredibly exciting.

10. Where has your journey taken you?

Well, I explained that in #5, above. But increasingly, I am interested in the nature of consciousness itself, and in the process of self-expression. I have less of an interest in story than I used to.

11. What challenges have you faced?

I came from a household in which creativity was viewed as a dead end, and there was intense parental pressure to excel on the terms my parents set. Coming to appreciate my creativity independently of the recognition it might win for me has been a long process, and is not over.

12. What worked for you?

Teaching works for me. I love sharing the wonderful insights and techniques I have learned with others.

13. What didn't work for you?

I have yet to find a context in which to do directing work that works for me. Every one I have experienced had serious liabilities. I haven't given up though.

14. What three tips can you share to help others starting on a similar path?

  1. Don't let disappointment take you off track. It's fine to take breaks and fill the well, but don't turn your back on who you are.
  2. Find the activity and context that works for you. Without both of those things, nothing will work.
  3. It sounds corny, but keep exploring. Stay open. Explore what interests you.

15. What are you working on now?

I am teaching a class on the Apollo Process, described above, and writing a book about the practice.

16. What's coming up for you in the next year?

At this point, I have a lot of focusing on getting students, i. e. the business side of what I do. There's a lot of creativity in that too: how to get the right message to the right people.

17. What else do you desire/dream to do?

I want to work with actors at a higher skill level than I currently have and help them do work at the level of their potential. I want to find a way to interest people in the Apollo Process.

18. How will you make that happen?

I will attract students by continuing to promote my classes, blog about what I do, and network.

19. What one question would you like to answer that hasn't been asked?

What have you learned about being an artist?

I have learned that the real work happens in the unconscious mind. What we have to do is prompt it and point it at what we need answers to, and then make ready for the answers to appear. Trying to figure things out with the conscious mind usually muddies the waters.

20. What's your Web site and/or blog address?

My website is called Acting class Los Angeles — Mother of Invention Acting School, Hollywood. I have a blog about the acting class in Los Angeles at www.utteracting.com/blog.

2/9/13