When asked about his process Michael Cain responded; "I'm a method actor. The rehearsal is the work. The performance is the relaxation." I could not agree more with one of the most accomplished actors to ever grace a movie screen. Rehearsal is everything. Solid practice is everything. There is no substitution for it. Even the best improvisational artist are not simply "winging it." It just "seems" as if they are making it up in the moment when in reality they have "rehearsed" every possible outcome that could occur.

An effortless golf swing, a perfect guitar riff, a brilliant off the cuff comment are never by accident. They are always the product of countless hours of solitary practice far away from the public eye.

Many times over the years I have quizzed my students on the following "off the cuff" question; "how many of you have been to the gym this week?" It's Los Angeles so almost every hand in the class goes up. After I congratulate them on staying in such good shape I ask how many have taken a dance class? A few less hands go up. Then how many have taken a voice class. Even fewer hands go up. Then, "how many of you have worked on a new piece from Shakespeare." Almost no hands go up. When I go on to ask how many have read a new play, gotten together with other students to read a play out loud or taken the time to see a play the hands for the most part stay in their laps. I remind them that the reason that they don't miss out on the gym is because if they do I can see it and more importantly their friends can see it as soon as they walk in the room. I can't see how out of shape your talent is until you open your mouth.

A musician would never go weeks or months on end without picking up their instrument and then go out and play a gig. A singer would not go weeks on end without warming up their voices and then go out and sing at a concert. No athlete would go even days without practice and then attempt to run a race or play a game. So why is it actors think they can go without rehearsal, practice or whatever you may call it an then get up and think they can "wing it?" I have been on so many sets in which I watch as big name actors show up and learn their lines as they go along! It cheapens what we do.

When Michael Cain is working on a film set he comes in prepared. He has been quoted as saying; "if a director wants more then two takes out of me he's better have a good reason because I don't need more then one to get it right. The second is just a courtesy."

Rehearsal. Practice. Respect for what you do. These are always the signs of a great actor or one who will achieve greatness. Which are you?