Open up Tim Bagley’s listing of TV and movie credit and it would simply unroll to your ft. Tim Bagley has been engaged on stage and display for many years and with good cause: he’s severe about comedy—and appearing generally. I met Tim in 2015 on the set of Academics the place he performed Principal Pearson and he was type sufficient to talk with me just lately about his profession and his method to appearing. The next is an edited transcript of our dialog.
MM: A whole lot of the actors studying this interview have had some expertise appearing on stage however may be quite new to engaged on digicam. Leaping backwards and forwards between these two mediums may be difficult even for extra skilled actors. You could have 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, generally, is internalized, you need to be related to your inside emotional life. I simply keep in mind that once I was working with the Groundlings and once I do theatre now I’m considering extra bodily, externally. How do I guarantee that everyone within the again row can see what I’m doing bodily? Once you’re engaged on digicam, the digicam actually picks up every part…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 hassle early on in my profession type of imagining myself in assorted roles, like as a king, you already know? Characters and situations that had been under no circumstances like me. One in every 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 anyone labeled you as psychopath in a scene why then you definately simply needed to be a psychopath immediately. It was actually good for me to simply discover ways to be within the second and go together with no matter was occurring. In scene examine courses you typically need to work to simply discover ways to be current, however in improv you don’t have any alternative. 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 quite revealing a part of myself within the character. And I’m nonetheless finding out proper now in reality; I’m taking a category with Helen Hunt. I’m at all times attempting to get higher. That’s our accountability as actors. I’m at all times attempting to push myself past my consolation stage.
MM: Do you’ve 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’m going by my means of breaking a scene down, realizing what I’m preventing for, realizing what I would like, realizing what obstacles are in my manner. I at all times have a Second Earlier than that I attempt to floor in some type of bodily reality. Then it’s crucial to memorize the strains so I do know them backwards and forwards. So then while you’re on set with all of the issues occurring they don’t distract you. You recognize what you’re doing and also you’re not enthusiastic about your subsequent line, you’re simply in a position to be current. You may take a look at your scene accomplice and simply reply to them. I simply at all times need to be as ready as I can presumably be.
MM: Shoot days on a movie or a TV present as an actor may be each exhilarating and exhausting, seemingly infinite one second after which lightning quick the subsequent. What have you ever realized about staying prepared and/or passing the time on set? Any suggestions?
TB: Ha! Sure! It’s actually laborious in case you have 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 at all times 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 so as to be certain I get a heads up. That’s my one tip. There’s nothing worse than being referred to as to set while 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 into accout as they’re going out for auditions and assembly CD’s?
TB: I bear in mind a sense early on that they had been simply miles other than me. However they’re loads like actors. They need to principally audition or interview for his or her jobs and there’s loads at stake for them once they convey individuals in and present them to a director.
What I at all times attempt to do once I’m entering into to satisfy a casting particular person is to actually are available ready. I would like them to know that I’ve acquired their again. Not by saying that to them, however by entering into and turning out audition. It’s one of the best ways you’ll be able to insure a future relationship with that casting director.
The opposite factor is, casting administrators are individuals they usually have their issues…issues which might be work associated, issues with the producers, issues with the writers. They’re people who find themselves simply attempting to current themselves effectively. 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 bear in mind Elizabeth Taylor one time saying she by no means watches her work and I assumed to myself “Huh, possibly if she did she wouldn’t have pushed as a lot as she did.” [Laughs]
One time my niece stated to me, “Uncle Tim, why is it everytime you’re on TV your eyes at all times bug out?” So I watched for that and I observed that she was proper. So I needed to discover ways to type of loosen up my eyes and never work as laborious. I simply suppose in case you watch your work you’ll be able to 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 global terrorist serial killer and I got here into the scene with an enormous gun with a silencer on it. And I bear in mind considering, “effectively, I’ve acquired to point out the loopy eyes.” However then once I noticed it performed again and it was so excessive and ridiculous and I assumed, “Tim in case you’ve acquired 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 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 advised me we’re going to shoot a scene the place your character is smoking a hookah. She needed to know if I may inhale and blow smoke rings. And I advised her I’ve by no means achieved smoke rings, however I’ve 4 days. So, I went to a few hookah bars on Melrose and requested individuals there they usually confirmed me do it and I practiced. After which once I went to set I blew some rings and she or he was like “How did you do this?!” And I advised 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 accountability to discover ways to do it. I’ve realized 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 seemed. And positive sufficient, it seemed actually good. It seemed like I had been smoking hookahs all my life!
MM: That’s so nice. You could have labored with a powerful array of actors over time. Any favourite scene companions? Anybody you’re keen on working with due to how they problem you in a scene?
TB: I’ve had so many and I do know individuals at all times say that, however I simply love actors and I discover one thing joyful in taking part in with each certainly one of them.
I’ll say one expertise I had, and I by no means actually speak about this, however once 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 one million bucks, like I used to be simply gold. We improvised a bit of and I may 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 discovered later that there actually was no different improvisation in that present; I feel he simply loved our playful alternate. 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 suppose it’s so vital that after we play with individuals we guarantee that they know we admire what they’re doing. Tony is such an aesthetic man and only a sensible actor. He was continually shocking 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 large takeaway was simply the best way that he handled me. It meant every part to me. And I simply at all times take into consideration that once I’m working with different actors now.
MM: I can say from my expertise watching you’re employed on Academics that you’ve most undoubtedly 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 remaining 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 business director, current credit embrace work for Eggo, America’s Finest Eyeglasses, Black Flag, AT&T, Seeso, Hyundai, Crest, and The Hartford.
An completed stage director as effectively, 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 business copy and goal the most effective locations to improvise from the most effective within the trade!