“Zen in the art of acting combined with a little basketball. That’s how I can define what we do,” explains Constance Tillotson, founder of Sterling Studio, an acting school in Los Angeles. Since starting Sterling Studio four years ago, Tillotson has been an innovative mentor to many young actors inspiring them to delve within and focus on developing a mindset that will enable them to master any scene. In a safe, non-competitive environment, students are aware that they are free to express themselves. “In our outstanding class, we not only learn skills to build and better our craft, but life lessons… I have tremendously improved as an actress but most importantly, have grown as a person,” explains current student Perry Mattfeld, who has landed a reoccurring role as ‘Frankengirl’ on Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” (season premiere Friday, October 9 at 8pm). Like Mattfeld, many of Tillotson’s students have been able to use what they learn during group sessions to land auditions and roles on acclaimed films and television shows. “From the first time I met Perry, she has grown leaps and bounds under Constance’s tutelage and loving care” says Judy Savage, CEO of the Savage Agency.
The studio is host to many renowned entertainers including Tillotson’s “bestie friend,” famed comedienne Luenell (“Borat”). “Sterling Studio allows kids to be real. It is a nontraditional training that opens their worlds to different ethnic, economic and societal backgrounds,” said Luenell. Most recent guests were Marco Martinez (“CSI,” “Medium,” “Castle”) and Mario Holten (rapper who has opened with Lil Wayne, Keshia Cole and Flo-rida) who taught the class acting, rapping and a little hip-hop.
“Constance provides her actors an outlet for their true emotions. Watching them transition from acting to rap was awesome,” said Holten. “I came in thinking I was just going to teach, and came out inspired learning new things about acting myself,” adds Martinez.
Tillotson manages a select number of highly sought actors, and provides private coaching at the request of other managers and agents to help actors prepare for auditions. What’s next for Tillotson, who has recently returned from a month long stay in Sri Lanka at the request of the American Embassy to lend her expertise in developing a drama camp to benefit youth undergoing drug rehabilitation, is to continue revolutionizing the next generation of Oscar worthy entertainers. Tillotson’s aim is to broaden the scope of Sterling Studio to incorporate other facets of production from filmmaking to editing to allow students the chance to understand the “whole process.” And, since captivating young actors through an artful comparison of acting with basketball, an excited Tillotson beams, “I cannot wait for the day when a basketball player comes in to work with the actors. A visit from Phil Jackson would bring each child’s mental game to a whole new level.”
For more information, Constance’s work and current students, call (310) 600-3336 or visit www.sterlingstudioactors.com.