Hollywood veteran brings master acting class to NWA Nov. 4-5

Hollywood veteran brings master acting class to NWA Nov. 4-5

Anyone who has seen a movie or watched TV anytime since 1985 has most likely seen John D’Aquino on screen. Most notably, depending on your generation, were roles on “21 Jump Street,”“Quantum Leap,” “Seinfeld,” “Third Rock from the Sun,” “That’s My Bush,” “Hannah Montana,” “Monk,” “CSI,” “Dexter,” “NCIS” and “Xena: Warrior Princess” as Ulysses.

So what gives an actor that kind of durability?

D’Aquino will be happy to tell you. He’s even coming to Northwest Arkansas to do so.

John D’Aquino teaches art of acting

A longtime teacher of acting, auditioning and the art of survival in Hollywood, D’Aquino will be in Bentonville this weekend to conduct two of his most popular classes – his Magic Triangle method and his “How to Make Funny” course. He’s in town through the invitation of Krista Bradley, who has made a name for herself in the business with her film “Wonderland Cave.”

“I met John when I took his online audition prep workshop,” Bradley says. “I had just signed with my Texas agent, and they really wanted all of their talent roster working with John. After taking his class, I can see why. There’s something about him that’s both calming and inspiring. I think Arkansas actors are going to love him.”

“Wonderland Cave” is on hold right now in support of the SAG-AFTRA strike. But Bradley says D’Aquino’s visit allows her to continue to invest in local talent by providing professional training and work opportunities.

“The community really came through in BIG ways I never could have imagined while making our proof of concept trailer [for ‘Wonderland Cave’] last fall,” she says. “I’ll never be able to adequately thank everyone. In an attempt, I have made a ‘community commitment’ as a part of our production plan, and I’d like to do what I can to pour into the community the way I feel they poured into me.

“Since we shot the proof of concept trailer, a consistent resource I’ve been asked about are acting classes, so I made that a part of the film’s community commitment I mentioned,” she adds. “We were so blessed to collaborate with some remarkable undiscovered local talent, and I wanted to make sure to pair them with the right coach.”

Actors from age 8 on up are welcome to sign up for the weekend workshops.

“Whether you’re brand new, whether you’ve been acting your entire life and have Oscars in your closet, these classes will benefit you,” Bradley promises. “My heart is especially excited for kids and teens to have the opportunity to work with John, as he’s known for being one of the best to work with those specific age groups. I think all of our actors of all ages are going to have breakthroughs this weekend, but I think some of the teens and kids are really going to experience something special.

“I also really want any working actor to come, as the techniques John teaches will help you book, and casting directors will recognize his name on your resume.”

D’Aquino fell in love with acting for the most poignant of reasons. His father had a heart attack when he was 8, and “the weight of the world fell on my mom’s shoulders,” he remembers.

“I could see how my mother was struggling, and I thought, ‘How can I get my mom to smile?’ So, I performed for her. Anything I could think of. I watched TV to get ideas,” he explains. “I found myself studying TV… studying performance. My future was unfolding right there during those challenging times. I was receiving what I like to call ‘the gift of adversity.’ It occurred to me that those people in that TV box were having a heck of a good time. I wondered, ‘How do I get myself into that box and live that amazing life?’

“I tell people that I walked a straight line to my career. I didn’t let anything stop me.”

D’Aquino studied acting with the legendary Charles Nelson Reilly, a Tony Award winner for “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

“Even while acting on sets all day long, I knew that I should be teaching what my amazing teacher had taught us,” D’Aquino says. “Our classes transcended the theater. They were almost spiritual.

“He taught us that the craft of acting forces a person to look at themselves in the mirror and see what they like and what they might want to change. He taught us that we teach people how to feel and how to move through the moments of their lives. We are the human arts.”

The shortest version of D’Aquino’s advice to actors is: “Don’t wait. Life will always provide a hurdle. Think about what you want, eliminate the obstacles and embrace the concept of miracles.”

“My workshops focus on the necessary fundamentals required to tell a clear and exciting story,” he says. “Everything from diction and articulation to understanding the magic of storytelling. … I want my actors to be the most informed, talented and dynamic actors on set.”



John D’Aquino

Acting Workshops

WHO — For ages 8 and older; any skill level welcome

WHEN — Nov. 4-5

WHERE — Bentonville

COST — $150 per workshop or four for $450

INFO — https://mailchi.mp/johndaquino.net/john-in-bentonville

Categories: Cover Story