“Under the guise of play and pretend, we can - for once - act in new ways. The bit of distance from real life afforded by drama enables us to gain perspective on our real-life roles and patterns and actions, and to experiment actively with alternatives.”
-Renee Emunah, PhD, RDT/BCT
Director, Drama Therapy Program, California Institute of Integral Studies

Programs for the Underpriveledged & Underserved

The JP Meisner Foundation is dedicated to helping the underprivileged and underserved who have a strong desire but limited financial means to find their voice as storytellers – whether as actors, writers, filmmakers, producers, and/or spokespeople.

Why We Need To Help

Acting Training For The Underprivileged and Underserved

World Class Acting training will provide a structure to assist personal development, artistic education, and improved quality of life. In addition, the program will be evaluated to determine the impact it has on other areas of participants’ lives such as careers, family lives, etc

  • Acting Training will operate on the same structure as Meisner’s two-year training and will be funded by local foundations, corporations, businesses, and personal donations.
  • All potential students must first meet with Jim Jarrett for a personal interview for acceptance. Due to the deeply personal and intense nature of the training, applicants suffering from psychological conditions will also be pre-interviewed and screened through partnerships with service agencies.
  • Jim Jarrett Founder/Director, Melissa Thompson Esaia, Assistant Director, or other Meisner-Trained professional teachers who have at least five years of teaching experience at The Meisner Technique Studio will teach all classes.
  • Class will meet twice a week (three hours per class) at the Meisner Technique Studio at The Presidio, 39 Mesa Street, Studio A, San Francisco, CA 94129
  • The complete 2-year Meisner Technique is taught in six three-month sessions.
  • After each three-month session, all students must be invited to return.
  • Each class will have no more than 16 students per class.
  • Adult classes: at least 18 years of age.
  • Teen classes: ages 14-17.

The Business Of Being An Actor

Every hour of every day, planes are landing at LAX from all over the world full of people beginning their dreams of becoming working actors in Hollywood. While those planes are landing, just as many are taking off, packed full of people who’ve been crushed by that very same dream … that’s because most actors - most artists - are not comfortable and skilled at ‘the business of their dream.’ In fact, there is nothing more common in Hollywood than incredibly talented, out-of-work actors. The Business Of Being An Actor is a one year intensive training program dedicated to helping change that.

The Business of Being An Actor is for anyone who is serious about having a career - on his or her terms – as a working actor. At the end of the yearlong session, students will possess the skills and confidence to compete professionally with the best actors in this country for any role in any medium.

Taught in three segments:

The Business of the Business

This first section deals with the marketing of a career as an actor, whether a student lives in major markets like Los Angeles or New York, or if they choose to live in a market like San Francisco, which will require an even more creative, aggressive approach to building a career. Below are some of the main topics covered in this session:

  • The Game of Hollywood and the Hollywood Food Chain
  • Finding the right agent, then building that relationship
  • When to hire a manager
  • The facts about Pilot Season
  • How to have a career outside of Hollywood
  • How to take an incredible headshot

The Art Of Auditioning

It doesn’t matter how strong an actor’s training is or how talented they are – if they can’t audition brilliantly, their career swill only go so far. This session will teach students how to audition for commercials, television and film, and theatre and blow people away. This will be accomplished over several weeks of videotaping every session of work while teaching a cold-reading/audition technique that can literally change careers. During this segment, students will also be taught how to take a meeting with a strong theatrical and/or commercial agent, so they can secure quality representation as well as “generals” with casting directors, producers, and agents.

Acting For Film, Television, and Theater

Working in front of a camera requires a completely different set of acting and technical skills from working on stage. This last session will give students the skill-set, and just as importantly, the confidence to work technically in any medium. Every time a student works, he/she will be shot on HD Cameras, so the feedback on the work is immediate and extensive.

Jim Jarrett, who has been making a living as an actor for over a quarter century, teaches the Business Of Being An Actor. Jarrett’s smash-hit show, Vincent, entering its 18th season, is considered one of the most successful and respected touring one-man shows in the world. Over a quarter million people have experienced at the premier performing art centers, museums, and universities what the New York Times called, “A truly beautiful theatrical experience.” In 2000, The Philadelphia Museum of Art invited Jarrett to perform Vincent while presenting the Van Gogh “Faces” exhibit from Amsterdam. From this exposure, The International Theater Festival selected Vincent as the only representative from the United States to participate. Vincent was also chosen “Best of the Festival,” closing the month-long event in Manila in front of an SRO crowd of over two thousand people. In 2008, Vincent and Jarrett were the smash hit of the largest international theater extravaganza in the world - The Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Competing against 3000 shows per day, Jarrett’s production played to sold-out audiences for the entire month. Jarrett was also nominated “Best Actor” and the prestigious STAGE AWARDS chose Vincent “Best Solo Show.”

Directing Actors From The Audition To Final Cut

Jim Jarrett explains the goal and vision for the class – “One of the most common things I hear and see are very talented directors who are wonderful technically but can’t get the performance they want and need. Directors are so skilled at lighting the shot, framing the shot but the weakest part of their talent and training is their ability to direct their actors. This class is for any director who wants to change that.” This three-month session will cover a myriad of topics – below are just a few of those:

  • How to attract quality actors with little or no budget
  • The casting process- what's it like for us and the ideal way to run that process - sides/scripts etc…
  • Auditioning & callbacks - what to look for and what to watch out for
  • Working with actors with different, little, or no training
  • What an actor needs from their director while shooting
  • What an actor needs/wants from their director on the set
  • How to direct/get the desired performance
  • What to do when actors aren’t giving the desired performance
  • Creating the best environment for an actors performance
  • The best things to say to an actor after a take
  • Improvising the scene when the performance isn’t working
  • Every class will finish with a Q&A so specific questions will be answered as well.

Why We’re Afraid To Speak In Public & How To Transcend It

The #1 fear for most people is getting up in front of other people to speak. The price we all pay for this is enormous because incredibly talented people with something to say will never be heard. This can be solved and can provide a “voice” for so many people out there who are paralyzed by fear and hence, silenced. For years, Jim Jarrett has been coaching anyone who has to get up in front of other people to speak - from lawyers to politicians to salespeople and teachers at PTA meetings.

The first task is to help students transcend their fears. The two biggest for most people are the fear of judgment of others and the fear of making a mistake. Jarrett says, “Welcome to an actor’s life. We have to walk into a strange room where people really are judging us, and of course, we will make mistakes. After years of doing this professionally and teaching from it, we have created an incredibly empowering program that can help anyone get up in front of any group and not just “survive it” but thrive in it. And here’s the most incredible aspect of the training – they will learn to enjoy it.”