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 screen 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 variety sufficient to speak with me lately about his profession and his strategy to appearing. The next is an edited transcript of our dialog.
MM: A number of the actors studying this interview have had some expertise appearing on stage however could be reasonably new to engaged on digicam. Leaping backwards and forwards 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 decisions 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 need to be linked 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? Once you’re engaged on digicam, the digicam actually picks up all the pieces…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 type of imagining myself in various roles, like as a king, you understand? Characters and eventualities that have been in no way like me. Considered one of my academics, Nina Foch, inspired me to go examine improv with the Groundlings the place I wouldn’t have time to consider it. In sketch comedy and with the Groundlings particularly you type 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 together with no matter was occurring. In scene examine lessons you usually need to work to only learn to be current, however in improv you haven’t any selection. It simply forces you to be current and within the second.
After the Groundlings, I began learning with Howard Fantastic and he taught me methods to discover the character inside myself, in order that I’m not considering by way of externally placing one thing on to cover myself, however reasonably revealing a part of myself within the character. And I’m nonetheless learning proper now the truth is; I’m taking a category with Helen Hunt. I’m all the time attempting to get higher. That’s our duty as actors. I’m all the time attempting to push myself past my consolation degree.
MM: Do you’ve gotten any rituals as an actor? Something you do earlier than an audition or earlier than capturing a scene to assist floor you?
TB: I imply the primary factor for me is simply doing my preparation. I’m going by my means of breaking a scene down, understanding what I’m preventing for, understanding what I would like, understanding what obstacles are in my manner. I all the time have a Second Earlier than that I attempt to floor in some type 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 already know what you’re doing and also you’re not occupied with your subsequent line, you’re simply in a position to be current. You may have a look at your scene accomplice 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 countless one second after which lightning quick the following. What have you ever discovered about staying prepared and/or passing the time on set? Any suggestions?
TB: Ha! Sure! It’s actually onerous in case you have an enormous emotional scene and also you assume it’s developing in like ten minutes so that you go forward and get your self into that emotional place after which it’s truly like three hours later that they name you. And you’ll’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 in an effort to ensure 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 take note as they’re going out for auditions and assembly CD’s?
TB: I keep in mind a sense early on that they have been simply miles other than me. However they’re lots like actors. They need to mainly audition or interview for his or her jobs and there’s lots at stake for them after they carry individuals in and present them to a director.
What I all the time attempt to do after I’m moving into to fulfill 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 moving into and turning out audition. It’s one of the simplest ways you possibly can insure a future relationship with that casting director.
The opposite factor is, casting administrators are individuals and so they have their issues…issues which can be work associated, issues with the producers, issues with the writers. They’re people who find themselves simply attempting 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 normally 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, perhaps 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 type of calm down my eyes and never work as onerous. I simply assume if you happen to watch your work you possibly can 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 enjoying 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 if you happen to’ve received a gun with a silencer on it, all you need to 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 dangerous performances.
One different expertise of watching my work lately, there was a scene on Grace & Frankie when a visitor director got here in, Kyra Sedgwick, and he or she advised 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 advised her I’ve by no means executed smoke rings, however I’ve 4 days. So, I went to a few hookah bars on Melrose and requested individuals there and so they confirmed me methods to do it and I practiced. After which after I went to set I blew some rings and he or she was like “How did you do this?!” And I advised her I went to some hookah bars to study and he or she was so impressed, however the reality is: that’s an actor’s job. In the event that they let you know 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 won’t 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 appeared. And certain sufficient, it appeared actually good. It appeared like I had been smoking hookahs all my life!
MM: That’s so nice. You have got labored with a formidable array of actors through the years. 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 individuals all the time say that, however I simply love actors and I discover one thing joyful in enjoying with each considered one of 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 slightly 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 slightly right here?” And I discovered later that there actually was no different improvisation in that present; I feel he simply loved our playful change. What I took away from that was how he made me really feel. He made me really feel like I used to be a rare actor and I simply assume it’s so essential that once we play with individuals we be sure that they know we recognize what they’re doing. Tony is such an aesthetic man and only a good actor. He was continuously shocking me, and it might make me step as much as his degree 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 all the pieces 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 undoubtedly handed that good power ahead. All of the Katydids beloved being in scenes with you.
TB: Thanks. We had the most effective time on that set!
You may see Tim Bagley within the closing season of Grace & Frankie popping out on Netflix this summer season.
Initially from Kent, Ohio, Matt Miller is a Chicago-based director and producer.
As a industrial director, latest credit embrace work for Eggo, America’s Finest Eyeglasses, Black Flag, AT&T, Seeso, Hyundai, Crest, and The Hartford.
An achieved stage director as properly, Matt’s credit embrace 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 Individual! Discover ways to determine the humorous in industrial copy and goal the most effective locations to improvise from probably the greatest within the trade!