David Tully Discusses At Your Finger Tips Acting
David Tully is a performer you might recognize from local theater (Brian Dykstra's Hiding Behind Comets) and film (Paul DeNigris' The Falls). The Jersey-bred actor recently became a parent to two separate projects: a newborn son and a new acting program, At Your Finger Tips Acting. I discussed the latter with him in the interview below.
ITA: Where did the idea for AYFT come from?
DT: I have always been an actor, but in my early twenties, I ventured into teaching as well. For years, my two professions were like two ships passing in the night. Then one day, out of nowhere, (I’m not kidding) the two came together in a high school drama class I was covering. Working with the students on their monologues was inspiring, especially when I found out one of them auditioned for his chosen college’s drama program using a monologue we worked on, and got in. That day, teaching those students, I knew that I wanted to bring my two careers together and design an acting class. The concept I developed is based around one of my mantras as an actor, and really, as a human being. You have to be ready. You have to be well prepared. “At Your FingerTips” is an expression used to describe something that is easily accessible. My goal is to train my actors to have everything they need, from emotional freedom to business materials, accessible, or rather, at their fingertips.
ITA: What makes you the ideal teacher for such a class?
DT: I designed the five sessions as an actor, for actors. I know the plight. I know what you are going through. Also, everything I think was missing from the classes I have heard about or taken myself, I put into this class. At Actorfest, I actually had an actor tell me he once took a class, and found out that the teacher wasn’t even in the field. That is not the case with me. I am passionate about my acting career, as well as my teaching career. I truly believe the concepts, ideas, and philosophy I am putting forth will benefit my students.
ITA: For what kind of students is the class?
DT: This is a class will benefit anyone, on all levels. You bring as much as you know, whether you are highly trained or 101, and I build upon that. It is not a big class, so you will get individual attention. Everyone can use a few new tools and ideas. The reason this is for everyone, is because I am teaching an idea I developed through my own years of acting that I use myself. Because of my years of teaching, I was able to turn it into a concept. I also believe a mixed bag is a good thing. Sometimes, a novice can remind a seasoned actor of things they have forgotten, such as, the passion of the beginning of a career, before rough times hit, or the open mindedness that anything is still possible. On the other hand, of course, that novice will learn by watching and being around more seasoned actors as well.
ITA: How often are classes? How long are they?
DT: Every session is made up of 5 classes. They are two hour classes, once a week, for 5 weeks. I also like to stress that at no time will there ever be more than 12 actors per class. I want to be able to give individual time to everyone.
ITA: Could you explain a bit why you opt not to teach any specific method?
DT: I believe that everyone finds their own “way.” Actors usually find that they have already, unknowingly, developed their own amalgam of all the methods we know and love, before they even read about them. Meisner and Stanislavsky, among others, were just brilliant enough to recognize what some actors’ processes were and write them down. I don’t believe they spoke of Meisner or Stanislavsky in ancient Greek theater. Though, those actors were most probably using those techniques. We are all different. We all are stimulated in different ways. I choose to build on what you already have, and use what works for you and your “way.”