While all men and women are created with equal rights under the law of most nations, an examination of the individuals in the society rapidly demonstrates that not all men are created with equal potential value to their fellows.
There are many schools of thought on the subject of competence. I have my own. I believe competence is not a question of one being more clever or "genius" than another. I believe it is a person being more able to do what he is doing than another is. Hence, any competence is more competence.
It is just along this line Jeanne sets out to develop and coach aspiring actors and those interested in participating in her workshops. It doesn't matter if you're green as grass or a fully fledged professional actor -Jeanne takes you from where you are at and improves you from there.
At a certain point during the workshop I attended it occurred to me that Jeanne somehow had broken down the subject ofabilityto a complete simplicity, which can be summed up bya greater and better understanding of that field or area in which one cares to be more able- and in the case of this workshop the subject of acting.
I've met many men and women who professed to know all about the subject of acting. I've had first hand experience with many directors who were preaching to the high heavens about what one should or shouldn't do in acting. They all had some common factors. They all tried to teach a specific method. The methods consisted of some specific steps of what one should do, think, move, be like, think about, etc.
Jeanne did none of this. Jeanne recognizes that behind every actor/actress there is an alive human being, a being who's got his/her own experiences, plus the experiences of others they've met throughout their life and by using these as potential "tools" she urges her studentsto define for themselves the very condition of being in regards to the role they are supposed to portray. She makes her studentsassume some category of identity which the student can relate to, but of the student's own choice. She coaxes the student and help him/herto assume some viewpoint which can help the student in naturally (for him/her) portraying his scripted role.
Her resources of suggestions just don't seem to cease and if the first attempt in helping the student assume a working viewpoint doesn't work, and maybe not even a second one, well soon enough - and it is usually sooner than later - she's helped the student find a condition of being; a workable viewpoint with which the actor/actress can perform their role to a markedly improved result.
From my own experience it seems evident that a really great actor/actress is someone who can assume practically any viewpoint or condition of being, and do so naturally. "Naturally"... that's a much-used word, but what does it really denote? Well it denotes that a person does it just as would be natural for him/her and hence it is fully sincere, believable and simply seems like it is just him/her. Hence an actor that can be "natural" in almost any role is a gem.
By attending Jeanne's workshop you won't become a Russel Crow or Natalie Portman overnight, but I'll tell you what you do become: you become more and better of what you are. If you're new, you gain that necessary experience to get you off the ground. If you're experienced and already talented you get more talented and professional.
The other aspect which also amazed me with Jeanne was her fantastic ability to communicate while having full control, full attention and always being engaging but without all those factors which go along with bad control; invalidation, being patronizing, dogmatic, etc. Jeanne simply has 100% control over her communication in a fully positive way. For someone who operates out of Hollywood that is a miracle (no offense if I'm mistakenly rubbing someone the wrong way...)
But it is this great ability to communicate which makes Jeanne really able to hit home with her student actors and reallymake them think for themselves as to what they need to do to become more able. Jeanne is... well she just IS. There is no facade, no social machinery in place, she is just there being herself. Because she hasthe ability to BE without any ifs, ands or butsshe is also at full control over the subject of communication. And what is acting if not simply the subject of being and communicating.
I never saw this simplicity as I saw it during Jeanne's workshop. I don't even know if Jeanne realizes how many "supposed tos" she has washed away. (Knowing her a little now, she probably does!)
I must end by adding one more note. Not only is Jeanne's ability as an acting coach world class, but she, as a being, is also full of love, compassion and life energy which she not only radiates, but also has the ability to instill in others. This is not just my own observation, but also my personal experience as I was, totally coincidentally, going through a very rough time personally while also attending her classes.
No matter what you do, even if you don't have a shadow of the entertainment field on your mind, you will benefit from her workshop and through it you gain basics of life, relationships and human beings - all while participating in an esprit the corps not even rivaled by Oprah.