Open up Tim Bagley’s listing of TV and movie credit and it’d simply unroll to your ft. Tim Bagley has been engaged on stage and display for many years and with good purpose: he’s critical about comedy—and appearing normally. I met Tim in 2015 on the set of Academics the place he performed Principal Pearson and he was form sufficient to talk with me just lately about his profession and his strategy to appearing. The next is an edited transcript of our dialog.
MM: Loads of the actors studying this interview have had some expertise appearing on stage however could be fairly new to engaged on digicam. Leaping forwards and backwards between these two mediums might be difficult even for extra skilled actors. You have got labored each on stage and on digicam on the highest ranges. How do you calibrate your selections as an actor—particularly for digicam work?
TB: The factor about digicam work is that a lot of it’s internalized. I feel simply good appearing, normally, is internalized, you must be related to your inside emotional life. I simply do not forget that after I was working with the Groundlings and after I do theatre now I’m considering extra bodily, externally. How do I be sure that all people within the again row can see what I’m doing bodily? Whenever you’re engaged on digicam, the digicam actually picks up every little thing…the digicam will present what you’re considering if it’s there internally…you don’t have to point out or point out—ever.
MM: You talked about the Groundlings. I do know you studied and carried out there for years. What drew you to improvisation?
TB: I used to be having bother early on in my profession sort of imagining myself in assorted roles, like as a king, you realize? Characters and eventualities that had been in no way like me. Certainly one of my lecturers, Nina Foch, inspired me to go research improv with the Groundlings the place I wouldn’t have time to consider it. In sketch comedy and with the Groundlings particularly you sort of immediately put a personality on. If someone labeled you as psychopath in a scene why you then simply needed to be a psychopath immediately. It was actually good for me to only learn to be within the second and go along with no matter was occurring. In scene research courses you typically should work to only learn to be current, however in improv you don’t have any selection. It simply forces you to be current and within the second.
After the Groundlings, I began finding out with Howard Nice and he taught me discover the character inside myself, in order that I’m not considering by way of externally placing one thing on to cover myself, however fairly revealing a part of myself within the character. And I’m nonetheless finding out proper now actually; I’m taking a category with Helen Hunt. I’m all the time making an attempt to get higher. That’s our duty as actors. I’m all the time making an attempt to push myself past my consolation stage.
MM: Do you’ve got any rituals as an actor? Something you do earlier than an audition or earlier than taking pictures a scene to assist floor you?
TB: I imply the primary factor for me is simply doing my preparation. I am going by way of my means of breaking a scene down, understanding what I’m preventing for, understanding what I would like, understanding what obstacles are in my method. I all the time have a Second Earlier than that I attempt to floor in some sort of bodily reality. Then it’s crucial to memorize the traces so I do know them backwards and forwards. So then if you’re on set with all of the issues occurring they don’t distract you. You realize what you’re doing and also you’re not serious about your subsequent line, you’re simply capable of be current. You may have a look at your scene associate and simply reply to them. I simply all the time need to be as ready as I can probably be.
MM: Shoot days on a movie or a TV present as an actor might be each exhilarating and exhausting, seemingly infinite one second after which lightning quick the following. What have you ever discovered about staying prepared and/or passing the time on set? Any ideas?
TB: Ha! Sure! It’s actually onerous when you’ve got a giant emotional scene and also you suppose it’s developing in like ten minutes so that you go forward and get your self into that emotional place after which it’s really like three hours later that they name you. And you may’t actually keep in that emotional state for 3 hours. So I all the time ask to have the twond AD or a PA give me like a half an hour heads up earlier than I’ve to go on set so I’ve a way for the timing of the manufacturing. I work with whoever I’ve entry to with a view to make sure that I get a heads up. That’s my one tip. There’s nothing worse than being known as to set if you’re not ready.
MM: Are you able to speak about your relationships with casting administrators? What are some issues early profession actors ought to be mindful as they’re going out for auditions and assembly CD’s?
TB: I keep in mind a sense early on that they had been simply miles other than me. However they’re quite a bit like actors. They should mainly audition or interview for his or her jobs and there’s quite a bit at stake for them after they carry folks in and present them to a director.
What I all the time attempt to do after I’m entering into to satisfy a casting individual is to essentially are available ready. I would like them to know that I’ve received their again. Not by saying that to them, however by entering into and turning out an excellent audition. It’s the easiest way you may insure a future relationship with that casting director.
The opposite factor is, casting administrators are folks they usually have their issues…issues which can be work associated, issues with the producers, issues with the writers. They’re people who find themselves simply making an attempt to current themselves properly. Like actors.
MM: Do you watch your work? I do know some actors who don’t ever watch the completed movie or TV present they’re in.
TB: I often do watch it. I watch it to study and to develop. I keep in mind Elizabeth Taylor one time saying she by no means watches her work and I believed to myself “Huh, possibly if she did she wouldn’t have pushed as a lot as she did.” [Laughs]
One time my niece mentioned to me, “Uncle Tim, why is it everytime you’re on TV your eyes all the time bug out?” So I watched for that and I observed that she was proper. So I needed to learn to sort of loosen up my eyes and never work as onerous. I simply suppose in the event you watch your work you may study out of your errors.
[Laughs] Oh! Additionally, there was this one time I used to be on an episode of V.I.P. and I used to be taking part in a world terrorist serial killer and I got here into the scene with an enormous gun with a silencer on it. And I keep in mind considering, “properly, I’ve received to point out the loopy eyes.” However then after I noticed it performed again and it was so excessive and ridiculous and I believed, “Tim in the event you’ve received a gun with a silencer on it, all you must do is stroll into the room. They’re going to be scared. You don’t have to point out them that you simply’re harmful. You don’t have to point out them loopy eyes. Simply be calm. The gun will do all of the work.” So yeah, you study stuff like that from watching your unhealthy performances.
One different expertise of watching my work just lately, there was a scene on Grace & Frankie when a visitor director got here in, Kyra Sedgwick, and she or he instructed me we’re going to shoot a scene the place your character is smoking a hookah. She needed to know if I might inhale and blow smoke rings. And I instructed her I’ve by no means carried out smoke rings, however I’ve 4 days. So, I went to a few hookah bars on Melrose and requested folks there they usually confirmed me do it and I practiced. After which after I went to set I blew some rings and she or he was like “How did you try this?!” And I instructed her I went to some hookah bars to study and she or he was so impressed, however the reality is: that’s an actor’s job. In the event that they inform you they need to see you do that, it’s your duty to learn to do it. I’ve discovered how to take action many issues due to appearing jobs.
MM: That’s a part of the enjoyment of appearing, actually, isn’t it? Delving into components of life you may not have explored in any other case.
TB: Sure, it completely is. And I watched that scene as a result of I needed to see the way it regarded. And positive sufficient, it regarded actually good. It regarded like I had been smoking hookahs all my life!
MM: That’s so nice. You have got labored with a powerful array of actors over time. Any favourite scene companions? Anybody you like working with due to how they problem you in a scene?
TB: I’ve had so many and I do know folks all the time say that, however I simply love actors and I discover one thing joyful in taking part in with each one among them.
I’ll say one expertise I had, and I by no means actually speak about this, however after I labored with Tony Shalhoub on Monk…it was my first episode on the present and I used to be solely speculated to visitor star as soon as. He simply made me really feel like 1,000,000 bucks, like I used to be simply gold. We improvised a bit of and I might see him laughing and to see him laughing meant a lot to me. And so they stored calling me again for extra episodes and each time we had a scene collectively Tony would say ”Can we improvise a bit of right here?” And I came upon later that there actually was no different improvisation in that present; I feel he simply loved our playful trade. What I took away from that was how he made me really feel. He made me really feel like I used to be a unprecedented actor and I simply suppose it’s so essential that once we play with folks we be sure that they know we respect what they’re doing. Tony is such an aesthetic man and only a good actor. He was always stunning me, and it might make me step as much as his stage and attempt to shock him. It was thrilling to play a scene with him. However once more, the massive takeaway was simply the way in which that he handled me. It meant every little thing to me. And I simply all the time take into consideration that after I’m working with different actors now.
MM: I can say from my expertise watching you’re employed on Academics that you’ve got most positively handed that good power ahead. All of the Katydids liked being in scenes with you.
TB: Thanks. We had the most effective time on that set!
You may see Tim Bagley within the ultimate season of Grace & Frankie popping out on Netflix this summer time.
Initially from Kent, Ohio, Matt Miller is a Chicago-based director and producer.
As a industrial director, current credit embody work for Eggo, America’s Finest Eyeglasses, Black Flag, AT&T, Seeso, Hyundai, Crest, and The Hartford.
An completed stage director as properly, Matt’s credit embody Irish Theatre of Chicago’s manufacturing of The Seafarer (nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards, WINNER for Finest Ensemble), The Killer Angels with Lifeline Theatre (WINNER Joseph Jefferson Award for Sound Design), Superior Donuts with Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co., and Oblivion for Steppenwolf’s First Look Repertory.
Check out Matt’s workshop, Discover The Humorous: Business Workshop with Matt Miller: In Particular person! Discover ways to establish the humorous in industrial copy and goal the most effective locations to improvise from probably the greatest within the trade!