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Actor shares his experience, live from Hollywood

(ran EO edition)

Tony Valentine, who worked as an actor and teacher in Hollywood for 10 years before settling in Safety Harbor, says acting students often ask him what they should do.

"You don't have to act it, you just have to think it," he said. "You don't have to do it. The camera sees everything; it sees inside you."

In the six weeks of a film and television workshop at the Oldsmar Arts Centre, students have learned the subtleties of performing for a camera: to avoid overacting, to look into the camera during a commercial audition, to take the first step with the leg away from the camera.

Valentine said they covered a little bit of everything _ auditions, improvisation, commercials, sit-coms and films. He also advised them on getting started and avoiding expensive pitfalls.

"One of my reasons for doing this is that when I grew up, there was no one around here who had the experience," he said.

On the last night of class last week, students performed for their families.

When Valentine said, "Quiet on the set, cameras rolling and action!" the students went through their paces, auditioning for commercials, performing in several scenes and improvising in a beach scene.

Then Valentine answered parents' questions about the business.

One mother, Jill St. Louis of East Lake, had also watched the first class and said the students all improved.

"He's so calm," she said. "It was just a very stress-free environment, so they all learned a lot that way."

Jackie St. Louis, 11, said she had taken other drama classes but none so good.

"We played games that really helped us," she said. "We barely knew that we were working."

Valentine's next class, an improvisation/comedy/drama workshop, is for ages 12 through adult and will focus on improvising to enhance performance. It runs on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. starting Jan. 30.

The fee is $98 with a recreation card.

To register, call Donna Solomon, arts coordinator, at (813) 854-1371.

_ If you have news or photos about Oldsmar schools, churches, businesses, neighborhood groups, community organizations or people, call Theresa Blackwell at (727) 445-4229, fax it to her at (727) 445-4206, e-mail or mail material to her at the North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.