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    about joe salazar

Joe Salazar was born in the great state of Perpetual Motion (actually Hoboken, New Jersey) and grew up in Union City, NJ along the Hudson River.   Two major waves of immigration greatly influenced the development and character of Union City in the mid-20th century, first of German-language speakers and then of Spanish-language speakers.  This cultural melding resulted in Joe, the child of a Mexican mother and a New Jersey-born German father. Joe proudly refers to himself as a “Beanerschnitzel”.


Joe was blessed with a vivid imagination and a gift for storytelling.  As a child, he was fixated on decks of playing cards. He would pick any one of the 52 cards and begin telling anyone who would listen what the card’s basic personality was, which other cards were friends or enemies, and what each of them dreamed about becoming when they got older. Sometimes he would combine three or four card characters to bring comedy or drama to the "Scene" he was creating.  He didn't know it at the time, but this childhood game was Joe’s first experience with improvisation, character development and scene study.


At age 16, Joe began working 12-hour shifts in a Cliffside Park, NJ factory to finance his first acting class, which he attended every day immediately after his shift.  As a teenager, Joe was thinking about writing, directing, and acting all the time.  All other subjects in school were soon to lose his attention. He recalls once being sent to the principal's office for not paying attention to his teacher. Next, he was sent home for not paying attention to the principal.  At the time, he was wondering how he could turn the "scene" that was transpiring between he and the principal into a movie that he would write, direct and act in.  That year, Joe began attending acting class in New York City studying the Uta Hagen method at Theater Studio.  He subsequently studied with Peter Thompson at Michael Howard Studios. 


At an age when most teens are learning to drive, Joe was learning to act – and began an acting career in which he has acted in more than forty plays and many films.  His New York Theatre Credits included: Butterflies are Free, Standing On My Knees, MacBeth, Desire Under The Elms, The Irish Know What They’re Doing, Forward Serve, Caged Men, and more.  At age 23 while studying in New York, a fellow student told Joe that he was inspired by the way he spoke about scenes, and asked if he would help him figure out the character he was working on.  In the next few months, Joe found himself leading three classes per week. This was the beginning of a teaching career that has spanned more than 20 years. 


In 1989, Joe relocated from New York to Los Angeles to continue to grow his triple-threat career as a director, writer and acting teacher. The trip across country in a 1969 Rambler proved to be a challenge for Joe and his, then, future wife, Lawrin. They had no windshield wipers and a temperamental radio, which when working, gave them the terrifying details of the San Francisco earthquake that had just occurred. Having no experience with earthquakes, they decided to stay a couple of extra days in New Orleans, which captured their hearts, and ultimately became their wedding place in 1994.


Joe was the Artistic Director for the McCadden Place Theatre (Los Angeles) from 1995 - 2008, (thirteen consecutive years.) during which he oversaw more than 300 productions including Obie and Drama-Logue award winners.  Salazar received a Dramalogue Award-Directing for the American premiere of Caryl Churchill's "Three More Sleepless Nights" starring Frances Fisher. The cast was also awarded a Drama Desk Logue-Best Ensemble. Salazar has directed more than 30 critically acclaimed theatre productions on both the East and West Coasts.   


Joe Salazar has been a prolific writer for over two decades. As a screenwriter, Joe has written more than 2 dozen features and shorts.  As a playwright, he has written six full-length plays and more than 50 One Acts and Short Plays.   He has also written several children’s books, plays, and shows.  He recently completed his forthcoming book: 100 Monologues for Actors Who Rock!  He is also completing a scene book to partner the monologue book as well as a book of ONE ACTS and a ‘How To’ book on acting for film and television and theatre.


His unique style of teaching acting has been featured by BBC News, on Entertainment Tonight, as well as in the documentary, Why We Need Art.  Countless acting students have gone on to successful careers in film and television.  Currently Joe teaches acting in Hollywood at The Lounge Theatre 2 in Los Angeles as well as at Santa Monica College. His work as an acting coach includes auditions, readings, monologues, script breakdown, on set coaching and character development.


Salazar was the founder, and managing director for seven consecutive years of “Kids are Laughing” a volunteer group of actors/singers/dancers and writers who dedicated themselves to performing children’s sketch shows for children with physical, mental and emotional challenges.  He is presently the Director of the screenplay competition for The Los Angeles Comedy Festival.


Joe Salazar resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife Lawrin Goulston Salazar, and their two children, Sam and Sadie.  In his spare time, Joe enjoys wondering why he’s never enjoyed having spare time.  His favorite times are with his wife, anywhere, and being ‘Daddy-O’ to his kids.

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