Posted 11 months ago
By John Axtell
Veteran character actor Jeffrey Tambor told an enrapted audience at Chadron State College on Tuesday night not to be timid when pursing their dream and to always ask themselves “what’s keeping you?” from achieving their goals.
A professional actor for more than 4 decades, the 69-year old Tambor has also been a college professor at various points in his life…helping shape the lecture-style format of his performance at the college.
Assisted by two CSC theater students, whom he good-naturedly browbeat to get them to dig deep into their emotions, Tambor warned against letting things such as fear of failure, timidity, age, looks, or family displeasure get in the way of striving for what they want.
As he explained to reporters afterward, his approach to acting as a career was shaped in college when his drama professor at San Francisco State told him not to be a “nice guy” trying to please everyone.
Ask how his career and life might have changed had, when he was in college, someone given him the “what keeps you?” advice he gives out now, Tambor said he did get that advice, he just didn’t realize it.
For him, the light went when, as his career began taking off in the early 1980’s, he became “full of himself” and then crashed when he flubbed up a simple commercial shoot and spent the next two days crying at home.
Tambor said some of his former students are still acting and are millionaires and billionaires, while others have given up or checked out of their careers.
He emphasized that everyone needs to feel they have a purpose in life and to remember that life is short. “Give yourself marching orders. I give myself marching orders every day,” he said.
Tambor also told the audience not to fear failure. “You’ve got to make mistakes. Then get back to it. Don’t waste time asking, ‘Do you like me? Am I good?’ Risk disappointing someone. Find your courage.”
Although everyone in the audience could related to Tambor’s lecture, his direct target was the CSC seniors in the audience, especially those looking to go into teaching.
He said some former students of his who are millionaires and billionaires have given up or checked out of their careers. He emphasized that everyone needs to feel they have a purpose in life.
Tambor said, “You’ve got to make mistakes. Then get back to it. Don’t waste time asking, ‘Do you like me? Am I good?’ Risk disappointing someone. Find your courage.”
As proof that this approach works, he told about his best audition. He performed it later the same day he found out his mother died. Not caring what others thought of him gave him the freedom to fully express himself without holding back.
Tambor referenced the clock on stage and said “tick tock” as a reminder that life is short.
“Give yourself marching orders. I give myself marching orders every day,” he said.
– See more at: http://www.csc.edu/modules/news/public_news/view/10604#sthash.RKZXSb2U.dpuf
Asked during the closing question-and-answer period by a hopeful filmmaker how he could get started in the industry, Tambor said to make contacts and offer to work for free doing anything.
He also offered to give the student his own email address to help, and later broadened the offer to any student who wanted it. After the show and his time meeting with reporters, there were still over a dozen waiting outside his dressing room to meet Tambor and take him up on his email offer.
Click below for full interview with Jeffrey Tambor