T h e   B R I F T   B L A S T       V o l . 2     N o . 11

In This Issue...

*Who Said This?
*Classes & Seminars
*The Welcome Mat
*The Welcome Back Mat
*Announcements & Events
*Actors On The Move
*Museum Trivia With Carmen
*Reynolds' Wrap


The Search Is On! Alumni Weekend Planned For Spring 2012
By Donna Carbone

Kelly Dennehy, Executive Director of the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre (BRIFT), announced tentative plans for an alumni reunion weekend in the Spring of 2012. To that end, she is asking that all graduates of both the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training (BRITT) and the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre (BRIFT) email Finance Director, Donna Carbone, with their contact information at briftfinancedirector@comcast.net.

Dennehy requests that all graduates include their full name, address, telephone number and graduation year in their email. Tentative plans include a welcome cocktail party at the Burt Reynolds Museum on Friday evening, a dinner dance on Saturday evening and a farewell breakfast on Sunday morning. Free time excursions for Saturday morning and afternoon are also in the works.

Dennehy, herself a graduate of BRIFT, commented on the lifelong dedication of mega star Burt Reynolds’ students and her hope to bring them all together again before the Institute moves to its planned new location in Burt Reynolds Park. In discussing the move, Dennehy mentioned how thrilled the board and staff of BRIFT are with the recent unanimous vote by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners to lease an acre of land in the park for construction of a new, bigger, better Institute and Museum. No formal date for groundbreaking has been announced.

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Who Said This?

Many times wise, often witty, occasionally wacky, but always worth consideration...

"I couldn't wait for success so I went ahead without it."

Hint: This well known funny man was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1925. He joined the Marines at 17 and served two and a half years in the South Pacific. Upon his return home, he attended Kenyon College and spent two years at the Dayton Art Institute.

In 1953, he headed for New York with $56.46 in his pocket. As a performer at Manhattan's Blue Angel nightclub, his reputation began to grow. Garry Moore, who was substituting for Arthur Godfrey on the TV Show Talent Scouts, gave him his first break. Then came The Jack Paar Show, The Steve Allen Show and The Tonight Show. His reputation as a comic genius was made and the rest is history.

Can you guess? Find out if you're right in the Museum Trivia With Carmen section of this newsletter!

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Classes & Seminars

By invitation only and based on review of completed application, which can be found on our website. Contact info@brift.org for more details (subject line: MASTER ACTING CLASS)

Sundays, 4PM to 7PM; $20/class. Ongoing. No experience necessary. This class is a wonderful review for actors with experience or those who are ready to learn the basics. Taught by Master Acting Class Graduate, Sherman Roberts, who has appeared in feature films, television, and theatre. The class will be a fun exploration of the essentials: creating a character and script and text analysis. RSVP to info@brift.org

Thursdays, 7PM to 10PM. This class is already in progress. Please consider signing up for the next workshop. These informal evenings are ideal for lovers of live theater. Each six week session will focus on the works of cutting edge American playwrights. Active student participation will include discussions of style and how each writer communicates with the audience. The final class of each session will feature a staged reading of selected scenes by participants. Moderated by Master Acting Class Graduate Sherman Roberts. RSVP to info@brift.org

Wednesdays, 7PM to 10PM. This class is already in progress. Please consider signing up for the next workshop. For those interested in studying the art of improvisation, The Institute offers classes for beginning and advance students on Wednesday evenings. Improvisation teaches the ability to think on your feet so that you always stay a step ahead of the competition. Taught by Comedian and Master Acting Class Graduate, Todd Vittum. RSVP to info@brift.org

Saturdays, 10AM to Noon; $10/class. Ongoing. Covers the foundations and fundamentals of improvisation. For young actors ages 12-17. No prior experience necessary. Space is limited. Taught by Comedian and Master Acting Class Graduate, Todd Vittum. RSVP to info@brift.org

Mondays, 7PM; $120/course. This class is already in progress. Please consider signing up for the next workshop. This course, described by its teacher, well-known and highly regarded writer/director/producer Aaron Wells, as “guerrilla filmmaking meets guerrilla marketing.” Wells, who owns Silver Beach Productions in Wellington, plans to focus his course on ways to produce shorts utilizing whatever resources are available with the idea of getting noticed on social media networks and in film festivals. RSVP to info@brift.org

Tuesdays, 7PM; $120/course. This class is already in progress. Please consider signing up for the next workshop. Taught by Frank Eberling, a recognized writer/producer/director with numerous accolades under his belt, REAL-TO-REEL IN REAL-TIME takes potential filmmakers through the work-flow process of making micro budget independent feature films from start to finish in real-time. Anyone wishing to produce his/her own films is encouraged to attend. RSVP to info@brift.org

*Classes run on a six week schedule, with the exception of FUNDAMENTALS OF ACTING FOR ADULTS and IMPROV FOR YOUNG ACTORS (which are ongoing on a weekly basis). Call the Institute at 561-743-9955 for registration information.

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The Welcome Mat

Welcome!October brought more than just a change of season and lower temperatures. There have also been changes and additions to our course curriculum. With only a few weeks left to the Fall program, we hope all of our students are enjoying their classes, and we welcome any feed back you would like to share with us. We have many new and exciting things planned for the winter months so watch for announcements of new classes and special events.


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The Welcome Back Mat

Welcome Back!Welcome Back!

The following Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training (BRITT) Alumni recently contacted the Institute:

  • Steven Smeltzer (1983) is an Instructor/Director/Choreographer at the University of Central Oklahoma Musical Theatre-School of Music
  • Danny Finch (1984) contacted The Institute to say how happy he was to hear of our plans for an alumni reunion. Danny is a Senior Graphic Designer with Kimley Horn & Associates in North Palm Beach. Welcome back, Danny! We look forward to see you at The Institute in the near future.
  • August Smarra (1992)
  • Maureen Olivia Matthews (1983)
  • Andrew J. Pond
  • Trude Bjercke Strøm (1995), a 1995 BRITT graduate living in Norway, will be visiting the US over the holiday season. She intends to spend some of her time taking classes at The Institute. We are excited to welcome her back!


Let's Hear From You

If you are a former BRITT or BRIFT Graduate, we would love to hear from you! Send us a brief blurb at info@brift.org and tell us about what you've been up to, the year you graduated, and a photograph--and we'll include you in our next newsletter!

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Announcements & Events

General Hospital Star Tristan Rogers Surprises BRIFT Students
By Donna Carbone

Students in Aaron Wells’ Sixty Second Filmmaking Class were treated to a surprise visit by television and film actor, Tristan Rogers, on Monday evening, October 17th. Writer/producer/director Wells and Rogers have been friends for some time, the result of having worked together on various projects, including the award winning short Opportunity Knocks. Opportunity Knocks is currently screening at the Kalamazoo Horror Film Festival in Kalamazoo, MI. At Wells’ invitation, Rogers agreed to talk with the class about his experiences as an actor.

Tristan Rogers (fourth from left, back row), Aaron Wells (second from left, front row)As an additional surprise, Wells brought along all the elements necessary to shoot a successful television show: a green screen, a teleprompter and trained teleprompter technician Patty Serrano, makeup artist Michele "Mish" Poletti, cameraman Cliff Gordon, and script writer Dana Nickola. Together these professionals were able to create a realistic representation of life on the set. Students were also given the opportunity for a Q&A sessions with Tristan Rogers, who graciously and enthusiastically offered both insights and suggestions. When asked how he had developed his acting “persona,” he honestly answered, “Find someone whose style you like and copy them. Then put in your own style. This business is learning from someone else. Just don’t let it take you over. Use your own imagination as well.”

Sixty Second Filmmaking is billed as guerrilla filmmaking meets guerrilla marketing. The class is offered on Monday evenings at 7 pm at the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre. Anyone interested in taking the class is advised to contact briftfinancedirector@comcast.net for registration and cost information.


The Shoemaker And The Mega Star
By Donna Carbone

A half century ago, Rudi Revel, a Frenchman, wrote a little ditty called Le petit cordonnier. In 1954, Geoffrey Parson translated the tune into English. You may know it better as The Little Shoemaker. The song was a hit for both the Gaylords and Petula Clark. Here are the lyrics:

In the shoemaker's shop this refrain would never stop
As he tapped away, working all the day
At his bench, there was he, just as busy as a bee
Little time to lose for the boots and shoes
But his heart went "pop" inside the little shop
When a lovely girl set 'em all a-whirl
She had come to choose some pretty dancing shoes
And he heard her say in a charming way
Shoes to set my feet a-dancing, dancing
Dancing, dancing all the day
Shoes to set my feet a-dancing, dancing
Dancing all my cares away
Then he tapped and he stitched for his fingers were bewitched
And he sewed a dream into every seam
Making shoes, oh, so neat just like magic on her feet
And he hoped she'd know that he loved her so
But she danced, danced, danced as though she were entranced Like a spinning top all around the shop
On her dainty feet she whirled into the street
And he heard her say as she danced away
Shoes to set my feet a-dancing, dancing
Dancing all my cares away
Shoes to set my feet a-dancing, dancing
Dancing all my cares away

If you believe in reincarnation, then the little shoemaker came to life on Sunday evening, October 16th, at the Fred Astaire Studio on Indiantown Road in Jupiter, and he looked surprisingly like mega star Burt Reynolds. (That shoemaker must have been one handsome man!) Of course, Mr. Reynolds wasn’t “making shoes,” but he was making his Master Class Actors look darn good in the shoes they were wearing. The parallels between the words of the song and Mr. Reynolds’ effect on his students are quite interesting.

Whereas the shoemaker worked hard at his craft and became recognized as the “best” in the business so, too, has Burt Reynolds worked hard and earned a status few other actors have achieved. Ballerinas in quest of superior shoes sought out the shoemaker just as actors seek out Mr. Reynolds for his expertise. Both men love what they did/do and each was/is equally expert at “sewing dreams” into the seams of our lives.

At least thirty people glided across the shining hard wood floor of the dance studio as Mr. Reynolds and studio owner, Babette Brown, explained the finer points of dancing for the camera. Each dancer appeared to shed his/her cares as they dipped and twirled to the music. This once in a lifetime evening will not be easily forgotten nor should it be. How often do we get to actually see dreams come true?

In addition to the warm welcome extended by Ms. Brown, kudos are due her very talented teachers. Vincent and Megan wowed the crowd with their perfectly executed mambo and theatrical dance interpretation, and Vidim and Karla outfoxed every other dancer who ever dared to fox trot. To say they left a last impression is an understatement.

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Museum Trivia With Carmen

The Tuss McLaughry AwardThe Tuss McLaughry Award is given to distinguished Americans for the highest distinction in service to others. It is named in honor of DeOrmond "Tuss" McLaughry, the first full time secretary/treasurer of the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) and one of the most dedicated and influential members in the history of the Association.

Mr. Reynolds was honored with the Tuss McLaughry Award in San Francisco on January 11, 1990.



The answer to Who Said This: Jonathan Winters (1925-).


Plan your trip to the Museum! Minimum $5 donation requested. Group and private tours available. Open Thursday through Sunday, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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Institute Actors On The Move

Cindy about to jump!BRIFT Master Actor Cynthia Morrison recently traveled to Groveland, Florida near Orlando, where she enrolled in the Kahana Stunt School. The school was founded by veteran Hollywood stuntman, Kim Kahana, who is best known for being the stunt double for actor Charles Bronson. Mr. Kahana has had an extensive background in Hollywood productions. Our Cindini survived the suicide jump–yeah!


Steve Murley booked a FPL commercial.


Joan Kelly Dennehy, Executive Director of BRIFT, has been cast as "Lady of the Manor" in the production of Angel of Light--a murder mystery written and directed by Cynthia Morrison. Joan's first appearance in this project found her arriving to at a theatre in a Rolls Royce Phantom, complete with Chauffeur.


Amy Hoerler in Malwina Sworczuk's Super-8 short (title TBA)Amy Hoerler is currently in London performing in a Fringe play called Cut Throat--part of the DYS-PLA Feastifull. The play, written by Eleanor Haskins-Griffiths and directed by Ross Drury, is a very abstract and interesting play about five women in a hospital, sharing their stories about life and death. It is written in a stream-of-consciousness style, where the characters slip in and out of delirium.

Amy also starred in and completed a yet-to-be-titled Super-8 short film (directed by Malwina Sworczuk) about a woman in search of her lost cat and "mister right." The uniquely stylized silent film--which prominently features popular London landmarks--will be edited both digitally and manually, and will be submitted to film festivals throughout the world.


Cynthia Morrison aka Cindini is featured in three chapters of My Year Of Living Fearlessly, by Amber Karlins. She is mentor to the author while leading her through some scary situations involving such dangerous elements as Fire and broken Glass along with steel blades. Over the course of fifty-two weeks, author Amber Karlins places herself in fifty-two anxiety-riddled situations, including a stand-up comedy competition, a fire-eating lesson, an up-close and personal alligator encounter, and an evening spent alone in a haunted hotel. The result is a book, My Year Of Living Fearlessly with hilarious misadventures, heart palpitations and triumphs that not only remind her who she is, but also what we can accomplish when we refuse to allow fear and insecurities to define who we are and what we can do. Amber is also a Shakespearian teacher at a University in Tampa, Florida. The book is available through Barnes and Noble bookstores.

Read the TCPalm article about the book release by clicking here.


Are you a current BRIFT Master Class Actor or a BRIFT/BRITT Alumni? Are you a student currently enrolled at BRIFT? We would love to hear from you! Simply write a one to two paragraph blurb and drop us an email at briftiesworking@gmail.com (cc info@brift.org) and let us know what projects you are working on or have completed (NO EXTRA WORK!). Submissions are due the 25th of each month. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Reynolds Wrap

Top stories you may have missed:

Reynolds Wrap

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BRIFT Blast Staff

This Newsletter Is Presented To You By The BRIFT Blast Staff:

Kathleen G. Kozinski ... Chair
Kelly Dennehy... Executive Director
Donna Carbone ... Executive Editor/Writer
Amy Schulz ... Editor

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Stay In Touch With BRIFT

For more information about the Museum, classes, events, etc, visit our website at http://www.BRIFT.org. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @briftdotorg and fan us on Facebook, too!

Follow briftdotorg on Twitter  Fan us on Facebook!

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We Want YOU!

If you are interested in volunteering at BRIFT, please visit http://brift.org/brift-volunteer.php for more information and contact us at info@brift.org (subject line: VOLUNTEER).

We are especially looking for individuals with sales or marketing experience. If you fit the bill, please consider volunteering for us.

Thank you!

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The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre ("BRIFT") is a nonprofit 501c3 organization that is committed to educating and involving the community and artists in all aspects of film, television, theater, live performances, film festivals and exhibitions, as well as preserving Mr. Reynolds' memorabilia and the history of the film industry.

BRIFT shares its home with The Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum. The Museum is filled with items from some of Hollywood's greatest actors as well as a substantial collection of sports and Western memorabilia. Many of our guests are amazed at the accomplishments and cultural contributions made by Mr. Reynolds, Palm Beach County's most famous son. Located in the heart of Jupiter, we are one of the largest celebrity museums in the country. The Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum is available for private functions.

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Burt Reynolds Institute & Museum
100 N US 1
Jupiter, FL 33477
(561) 743-9955 | info@brift.org
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