I attended a Q & A session at Lane Community College hosted by Acting Coach Leigh Kilton-Smith, and Film Director Omar Naim. The event was held on the bottom floor of the Media Arts building on April 24th 2015 at 11am. I don’t usually attend events such as this and it was an interesting change for me. Both Leigh and Omar are from Los Angeles, California and have been involved in show business most of their lives. It was good to actually hear from people with a lot of professional experience and insight. The event lasted about an hour and a half and was being filmed and photographed by several people, students I assume.
Leigh Kilton-Smith is a professional acting coach, who has been involved in many major productions, and coached many well known actors such as Jennifer Aniston, Sam Rockwell, John Leguizamo and others. She has a very spunky, in your face personality that is both charming and at times off putting. She told a story at one point, of a particular actor who was having a very difficult time nailing the shot. She grabbed him, slammed him up against the wall saying, and I quote, “I am gonna fuckin’ nut punch you!” Her methods are unconventional, her styles are unique, and her attitude is compelling. She also mentioned that her and her husband own an orphanage in Tijuana which I thought was wonderful. I liked this woman almost immediately and I can see how her personality and beliefs have made her successful at what she does.
Omar Naim is a Hollywood Jack-of-all-Trades it seems. He is best known for his screen writing, having written and directed the major motion picture “The Final Cut” starring the late Robin Williams. He has had his hands in many films at different levels, such as: Cinematographer, Director, Gaffer, Photographer, Sound Designer, and Producer. Though not near as fiesty as Leigh, Omar has a very pleasant and intelligent personality. He is very passionate about what he does and enjoyed sharing the methods of practice he used with the audience. He is obviously a very patient, and focused individual shown by the fact that his current film is on it’s 30th revision. As I listened to him I began to see a very creative man, full of ideas and holding the knowledge to express those ideas craftfully. He highly recommends storyboards, noting that some of the best directors of our time are adamant on building solid, detailed storyboards.
After the two had introduced themselves and laid down some of their background, they opened the floor to the audience. I’ve never heard Crickets indoors before but at that moment I swear I did. Apparently, they have both seen this before and immediately started calling on people. Though unorthodox, it was quite an effective way to stir the pot and get things cooking. Leigh gave some insight into what it’s like working with actors. She describes them as being extremely generous, loving, all around awesome people which isn’t what I expected at all. Both Leigh and Omar believe that 90% of acting is all body language, though Omar also noted that good lines are extremely important for a film.
I admit, a lot of the information I heard was unfamiliar due to my lack of knowledge and experience. However, I was able to glean some useful facts simply from observing their demeanor’s and attitudes. The universally known fact is that show business can be tough. Making a name for yourself takes time and perseverance. Getting ahead may mean toughing up and not letting anyone take advantage or walk all over you. Watching these two showed me a good example of how to conduct oneself in the business. I enjoyed listening to their stories, and would definitely attend a similar function in the future.