From a Prominent Orange County Physician to a Paralegal working for a High-Power Attorney, they learned the “Best Kept Secret of the Stars”
IRVINE, CA – August 4, 2011. At last, their hard work will be unveiled in a special showcase on Friday, August 19th and Saturday August 20th at 8 PM at Del Mar Media Arts, 15375 Barranca Parkway, Suite J 105 in Irvine, CA. (For seats call: 949-305-5496.) This is the fruition of a dream they always thought about since they were kids. Read More ▼ For more information or to interview the actors, Pamela Peak or Bunny and Bud Barth please call: 949-439-8735 To reserve a seat for The Actor’s Showcase at Del Mar Media Arts on August 19th or 20th at 8 PM, call: 949-305-5496 (Please leave your name, phone number and the number of seats you are requesting. Seats are going quickly. Your fast response determines your ability to obtain a seat.) For more on Del Mar Media Arts see:
For more on the films of Producer/Director Pamela Peak seen on PBS see: Colorblind: Voices of a Never Ending Dawn:
When you were little did you ever have a tug on your heart when you saw an actor on TV and think, “Hey, I want to do that”? No matter how much we thought about it, for most of us “reality” sank in, life’s duties descended upon us, money pressures and family obligations ensued and the dream we held in our hearts so long ago became just a whisper of our past. But a group of Orange County professionals, from all walks of life, found they had a second chance to revive their childhood dreams. It all started when they signed up for classes in Irvine to learn how to become voice over actors in commercials and book narrations. Then, suddenly they found a new door opening to them; a chance to learn how to become a professional actor (like the kind you see on the silver screen). And it was a chance to revive that childhood dream – all from right here in Orange County. Leif Settergren, an entrepreneur and Principal Consultant at Orange County’s ACE – Automotive Consulting is one of those who always wanted to be an actor since third grade when he wrote, directed and starred in his own play. He knew becoming a professional actor took a lot of skill and dedication but life and family obligations took him away from that goal. “As a kid” says Settergren, “I was often pretending to be Boris Karloff in Frankenstein, Errol Flynn in Robin Hood, or John Wayne in western movies. I had my friends pretend they were filming me. Not with a real camera, of course. It was a cardboard box! But acting is something I always really wanted to do and couldn’t get off my mind.” And suddenly, Settergren found he had a chance to fulfill that dream by learning one of the most highly regarded acting techniques used by Steve McQueen, Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and many other top actors – an improvisational acting technique that truly makes us feel like we were kids again! “This technique opened my kid-heart-senses and both allowed and forced me to embrace the kid I am – the kid I knew wasn’t lost, just MIA!” says Carl Symons, another student in the technique, living in Laguna Woods. “I’ve been trapped in my head and this has blurred the beating of my heart. I feel my world and those in it more consciously, fearlessly and deeply now. I am alive.” In the past 30 years, Bud and Bunny Barth, founders and owners of Del Mar Media Arts in Irvine, CA, have turned out more working voice over actors than almost any other school in Southern California. In fact, not only has America heard their own voices in countless commercials and cartoons, but the Barth’s earliest students are some of the biggest executives at today’s largest Hollywood film studios. It was when a casting director from Disney mentioned to Bud Barth that his students needed to “act more improvisationally”, that Bud Barth asked Orange County’s Emmy Nominated filmmaker Pamela Peak to teach his actors the improvisational skills that have endeared us to the performances of the biggest stars. Taking a rare break in her production schedule, Peak agreed to take eleven Del Mar Media Arts students and introduce them to the powerful acting technique developed by acting great Sanford Meisner. It is Meisner’s improvisational acting technique that has become known as “the best kept secret of the stars”.


Peak was schooled in Meisner’s Acting Technique in New York, when she was just out of high school. Meisner’s brilliant improvisational technique became the foundation of all her acting, writing, producing and directing. It is not often that a documentary film brings its audiences to laughter and to tears. Yet, this has become the hallmark of all Pamela Peak’s films that have been seen on PBS by millions of people. Peak feels Meisner’s principles have contributed greatly to what makes her documentary films a personal and emotional experience. And she teaches her acting students how to take their audiences on an emotional journey, too. “If your audience doesn’t feel emotionally wrapped up in every move you make, then an actor hasn’t done his job.” says Peak. “Meisner’s technique is simple and truthful”, says Peak. “It’s almost like playing when we were kids. When boys played army or girls animated their Barbie Dolls, they really believed in the stories they were playing and spontaneously created them together on the spot. That is what Sanford Meisner taught me. He taught that the words of the script mean nothing. As an actor, your belief and dedication to the imaginary circumstance you find yourself in means everything. To me, Robert Duvall is the greatest living example of what Meisner taught. No matter where he finds himself in a film – Duvall is alive, in that moment, responding truthfully to his fellow actors, from the viewpoint of the character he created. Even if the roof suddenly fell in, he’d respond to that spontaneously too. It doesn’t matter if it was in the script or not!


Improvisational-based acting is the kind of acting that Peak’s students from Del Mar Media Arts will demonstrate in their showcase performances at 8 PM on Friday night, August 19th and Saturday night August 20. Peak invited Hollywood casting director Bonnie Gillespie, who casts SAG Independent Films, to view her student’s work as well. Gillespie will attend on August 20th.


Peak’s students include Dr. Richard Pitts, a prominent Orange County doctor who by day, has saved countless lives in OC’s emergency rooms over the decades. Because Pitts is called upon to deliver speeches around the world, he sought out Del Mar Media Arts to simply improve his speaking abilities. He soon found himself cast in Peak’s Emmy Nominated film seen on PBS “Voices of a Never Ending Dawn”, and then found his way into Peak’s on-camera acting class. Another student performing in the showcase is Joan Garner. Joan is an experienced paralegal working for a high-power Orange County attorney. From an employee at Boeing working on select projects, to a Senior Key Account Manager for a large Healthcare Corporation, Peak found herself with a group of professional people, ages 35 to 70, who had always wanted to try their hand at becoming professional actors. At the age of 19, Peak heard acting teacher Meisner say, “It takes 20 years to master your craft as an actor.” Peak rejected that idea heavily at the time. “How could that be?” thought Peak. “This doesn’t apply to child-stars and I’m not going to wait until I’m 40 years old to see my dreams come true.” But after acting and directing for decades, Peak realized that what Meisner meant by that statement was that life’s experience gives you the wisdom to make good choices in your work. Living life gives you a deeper understanding of life. And she now sees that “life’s experience” lends volumes to what an actor brings on stage or in front of the camera. “That is the case with the work that my students are presenting at Del Mar Media Arts”, says Peak. “And the professionalism and wisdom I see these people bringing to their work, amazes me. They listened profoundly to what I was teaching, and seriously dedicated themselves to carrying out each principle that Meisner’s brilliant technique teaches. We want our audience to be taken on an emotional journey that night” says Peak. “It’s great to see these people beginning to live out the dream they’ve held in their hearts for so long.” Go to top of press release