UCLA Extension

Instructor Interview – Rebecca Klingler

Please welcome new Entertainment Studies instructor Rebecca Klingler! Rebecca will be teaching Inside Stanislavski: Applications for the Screen Actor this winter. She is an actor with supporting roles in Titanic, The Green Mile, and LA Confidential. Rebecca has appeared in countless TV shows, including Hot in Cleveland, Parks and Recreation, How I Met Your Mother, and The Odd Couple. She also writes, produces, and stars in the web series The Calamities of Jane.

We sat down with Rebecca and asked her 5 questions to get to know more about her and her course.

What about teaching for Entertainment Studies are you most looking forward to?
What I look forward to most about teaching for Entertainment Studies is meeting the creative potential in each individual. Guiding someone through their own journey of self-discovery and self-expression is incredibly rewarding. Although it’s not without struggle, it’s exhilarating to watch someone’s process of uncovering their own unique qualities to create impactful art.

Receiving feedback from director Neil Wilson on set of The Calamaties of Jane

What do you hope students get out of your course?
I’m hoping that students will leave this course with a solid acting technique with which to approach auditions as well as the role once they’ve landed the job. I want them to be able to discern between the process where hard work is required, and the time to let it all go, “jumping into the abyss,” as Frank Langella describes performing.

What is one thing you want students to know before they begin your class?
The one thing I want students to know before they walk into my class is that it is a safe place to make strong choices and take risks without being judged. Our goal is to create a structured space to support emotional vulnerability and to develop the courage to explore the darkest parts of ourselves, that may not serve us in daily life, but become our gold as actors.

What are you watching or listening to these days that you are enjoying?
I’m a podcast junkie, but my go-tos are Fresh Air, On the Media, and Snap Judgment. Fresh Air is a beautifully curated blend of culture, and politics and Terry Gross is the most insightful and disarming interviewer. Every episode is wonderfully satisfying. On the Media gives in depth reports on weekly issues from the angle of media manipulation, the battle for truth, and threats to journalism. I find it wildly essential at present. Snap Judgement is a treasure trove of fascinating personal stories. Who doesn’t love a good story?

Still from The Calamaties of Jane

Oddly, my favorite shows to stream seem to be animated. The writing on both Bojack Horseman and Big Mouth are just stellar, so witty, clever and imaginative, with the ability to take on dark and complex parts of being human and still have a lot of heart. To bring laughter and philosophy to storytelling is brilliance in my book.

The most riveting drama I’ve seen most recently was Unbelievable. From the acting, writing, and directing to editing and art direction, it powerfully portrays a young woman’s story of terror and injustice. The scenes between Toni Collette and Merritt Wever are not only award-worthy, but should be studied as examples of exceptional scene work.

And then I thoroughly enjoy shows about queens, such as The Crown and Victoria. The dualities women of royalty must negotiate to rule in a man’s world while trusting their feminine sensibilities are fodder for iconic stories for women in general, and their depiction of these women dramatize game-changing periods in history as a result of their reigns. I like having a sense of knowing how we got where we are.

On set of Hot in Cleveland with Betty White

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone aspiring to break into your field?
The best piece of advice I can give to an aspiring actor is to keep seeking your humanity. It will feed your passion and propel you to understand human nature, making you a better actor. It will keep you on equal footing with others, reminding you that everyone, including you, is deserving of being treated with dignity and respect, no matter what someone’s position may be or what they may or may not have to offer, and that fawning and disparaging alike, run counter to that treatment. Lastly, it will keep you grounded so that you always remember what is most important in life.