GENERAL HOSPITAL’s array of seasoned veterans have never been shy about offering words of wisdom to the show’s up-and-coming stars.
Maurice Benard (Sonny), for example, has always had an open-door policy for newbies. Over the years, he has shared his acting knowledge with everyone from Michael Sutton (ex-Stone) to Steve Burton (Jason). Here, a few of Port Charles’ younger actors reveal the best pieces of advice they’ve accumulated from their co-stars — as well as one priceless tip from head writer Robert Guza Jr.
Julie Marie Berman (Lulu)
“Tony (Geary, Luke) and Genie (Francis, ex-Laura) have both told me to take care of myself; that a lot of people are out to cover their own butts and sometimes they don’t look out for your best interests. So you’ve got to…always make sure that what you’re doing feels right. And they also told me to make sure that I’m not working until 2 in the morning one day, then coming back to the studio at 5 in the morning.”
Bradford Anderson (Spinelli)
“When I first came on the show, I put pressure on myself to be funny at every moment. I felt like I had to make every scene comical, throw in ‘Spinellisms’ at every point possible. Steve Burton pulled me aside one day, not as a criticism, but to say, ‘You know what? You can pick your moments. Pick the moments where you go over the top as Spinelli. Pick the moments where you bring him down. Don’t feel pressure to [be funny all the time]. It will make those moments that you are all the more successful, and you won’t kill yourself in the process.’ That got me thinking. Now I don’t feel the pressure to have to come up with something new all the time. I don’t have to hit the top of the charts with every scene. I can pace myself a little bit. I still make very specific and bold choices, but I don’t feel like I have to blow it out in every scene.”
Josh Duhon (Logan)
“Kin Shriner (Scott) has been mentoring me. Maurice Benard has taken a liking to me, too. They both told me that in this genre you’ve got to learn what to throw away and what to put emphasis on, what to make a solid point on, because in daytime you have so much material. They told me that soap actors have some of the best instincts on television and [to rely] on them. They said, ‘Hone your craft. Hone your instincts and trust them.'”
Jason Gerhardt (Coop)
“When I started, Rick Hearst (Ric) told me that if you’re playing an evil character, you always have to find the likability and the truth that the character feels. Because no matter what he’s doing and how bad it is, to the character, it’s the right thing to do. Maurice Benard also told me that you’re going to get a lot of feedback from everybody about what your character would do, but that you know the character the best, because he’s growing with you. He told me to take their advice and internalize it. If it’s good, process it with your own choices. Then, give them a little of what they want, and they’ll think it’s a lot.”
Brandon Barash (Johnny)
“Maurice Benard and Steve Burton gave me a lot of little hints about technical stuff when I started the show. They wouldn’t direct me, but they’d say, ‘Alright, this is how things work in daytime.’ During one of the first sit-downs Megan Ward (Kate) and I had, she gave me a piece of advice that Maurice had given to her. She said, ‘You show up and do your thing the best you can. If you don’t like it, the good news is you get to do it again tomorrow.’ That’s actually been very useful. It’s taken the pressure off everything I do and made every scene a little less precious.”
Kirsten Storms (Maxie)
“I was upstairs in Bob Guza’s office one day, talking about my scenes. I was a little frustrated. He said, ‘Kirsten, go with your instincts. That’s what we hired you for.’ I realized that sometimes I second-guess myself. I over-analyze how I do things, especially if I start watching the recorded episodes. That advice has helped me…going with how I initially feel I should do something.”