Bill Billions grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. He taught himself how to read at age 3 and has read voraciously all his life. He went through the gifted program, SPACE, in elementary school, where he studied Greek mythology in the third grade and was doing stop-motion animation in the fourth grade. He attended Randolph School in junior high and high school.
Bill was a protégé of Dr. Ginger Beasley, who founded Ars Nova School of the Arts and who trained Bill in vocal technique and more importantly in the philosophy of being a dedicated artist. Dr. Beasley influenced him to demand excellence in everything he did. Bill also trained in musical theatre under Dr. Delbert Bailey and radio and voice under George Dickerson, the founder of Alabama's first public radio station, WLRH.
Bill obtained his undergraduate degrees in Mathematics (BS) and English (BA), as well as an MA in English from the University of Alabama, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a film acting career.
Bill lived in Los Angeles 13 years and trained under the top acting coaches in the nation. He trained at the June Chandler's Actors Workshop under June Chandler, Hal Sweesy, Christopher Callen, and Dick Valentine. June Chandler was a child actor in the Golden Age of television. She came out of the Beverly Hills Playhouse under Milton Katselas, who in turn studied under Lee Strasberg. She had a fierce commitment to the power of the will. "June is the most exacting person I have ever met. She expects more; she demands more; and she gets more. She sees everything in your performance and she exposes it. You cannot get away with anything false--no indicating, no flinching. She is relentless. With her, you will get it right."
June did not focus on one method but rather taught all of them as tools that the master actor has in his toolkit. When approaching a character or a scene or a moment, what technique will you use? The one that works. The point is to get results, not how you get them. So you may use sense memory or the magic if or given circumstances or Meisner or improvisation or your imagination or physicality. But you will get results. And if it is not working, then you will not waste your time with it.
Bill studied at the Larry Moss Studios, now Edgemar, with Michelle Danner. Michelle has trained James Franco, Christian Slater, Zooey Deschanel, and Gerard Butler, among hundreds of others. He was classmates with Rochelle Aytes, who now stars on ABC's Mistresses. Michelle dug into sense memory. "Michelle had a couple of students working on Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. They got up and did the scene and she made them bring it back. They got better, but she made them bring it back. They got really good, but she made them bring it back. Weeks went by. They kept doing it. They started to get really, really good. It became TV quality. You could have broadcast it live around the world, and it would have been successful. But she made them bring it back. The actors had been performing the scene for months. They were over it. But we the classmates were excited. Every week it got better. She would not quit. She kept making them dig more deeply. Eventually it got to the point where it was award-worthy. The transformation that took place in the lives of those two actors was phenomenal. You can see why Michelle is so good at what she does and why so many people come to her."
Bill trained in Cold Reading at the Margie Haber Studio, the top cold reading school in Los Angeles. Margie has taught Halle Berry, Brad Pitt, Tom Arnold, and Kelly Preston. Margie focuses on living the life of the character. She teaches a script breakdown process and a physical technique that are transformational.
Bill met Amy Lyndon at an audition. "I was auditioning for Judy Belshe in Studio City, and Amy was my scene partner. It was an amazing experience. Here was this woman who had so much energy, and we had a tremendous chemistry with one another. It was as though we could read each others' minds. We were on the same page from start to finish. After the audition I offered to trade business cards and keep in touch. That's when I found out she was a teacher. I told her I would come and train with her. She was humble and said, You don't have to do that. But I did it, and I'm glad I did." Since then Amy has come to be known as one of the top booking coaches in Los Angeles. She teaches the art of competition has a booking technique that works. Her students are among the most successful actors in the industry.
Bill received his private coaching from John Kirby, who also coaches Jeff Bridges, Jim Caviezel, and Cameron Diaz. "Whenever I had a big audition, I went to John. He reads the dialogue and understands the scene instantly. And he comes up with nuances that make the character sizzle."
Bill trained in improvisation at The Second City Conservatory. His teachers included Kay Cannon, who went on to produce 30 Rock and New Girl, and who wrote Pitch Perfect; Holly Wortell, from the Beethoven movies and writer of The Bonnie Hunt Show; Dave Razowsky, a prolific performer who also runs his own improv academy; and Amy Seeley, founding member of Chicago's Factory Theatre Company and an avid reader, writer, and director. "Second City was amazing. At the time it was on Melrose, at the Improv. Now it's on Hollywood Blvd., not far from the IO. Being there created in me this desire to master improvisation. It is a never-ending quest. I don't think anyone has done an exhaustive study of it yet. There are different groups doing different many kinds of improv. I want to gather all the kinds and bring them together."
Bill also studied under the great character actor Stephen Tobolowsky. Known for his role as Ned Ryerson the insurance salesman on Groundhog Day, Stephen has appeared in more than one hundred movies, including The Time Traveler's Wife, Wild Hogs, Failure to Launch, Garfield, Freaky Friday, Memento, The Insider, Single White Female, Basic Instinct, Thelma & Louise, The Grifters, and Mississippi Burning; and has had recurring television roles on Californication, Glee, Heroes, Deadwood, CSI: Miami, and many other shows. "Stephen is special. He is a classically trained pianist, a great reader, an artist, and a deep thinker. His amazing storytelling ability and intense humor mask the depth underneath. Stephen is incredibly serious. He is a heavyweight." Stephen combined Meisner, improvisation, and the arts of photography, painting, sculpture, classical, jazz, folk, rock, fiction, and poetry to create characters and to stay always alive in the moment and always committed to the truth.
Bill studied commercial technique under June Chandler, Hal Sweesy, Michael Donovan, and Mariko Ballentine.
Bill studied voice for the theatre at A Noise Within, the top classical theatre in Los Angeles. He was a member of The Knightsbridge Theatre, home of the National American Shakespeare Company; a founding member of the Edgemar Theatre Group; and a member of The Actors Group.
"As a film actor, I was committed to improvisation and live theatre. These are vital components to an actor's life. In addition to scene study, which every actor should be studying consistently, I made sure I was doing improvisation at all times, and I performed in a minimum of one or two plays a year. There are no short cuts to this career. It is a lifetime commitment."
A Note from Bill
Hello, I'm Bill Billions.
I am here to teach you to act with excellence.
My goal is to inspire people to pursue greatness in life and in art; to build confidence in the hearts of my students so that you confront every challenge with fearless determination; to instill in you a consummate professionalism, a tireless work ethic, a resolute will, inner strength, facility with the requisite tools, the ability to compete and perform at the highest level, a consistent propensity to create fully realized, nuanced characters who are spiritually alive, intellectually alert, physically engaged, and fully present in each moment.
We are also working to create connections between Hollywood, CA, and Huntsville, AL; to promote filmmaking in Alabama, north Alabama, and southern Tennessee; and to develop a company of actors who will work in film, television, radio, live theatre, and other mediums of entertainment in Huntsville, north Alabama, the Tennessee Valley, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and throughout the world.
You can accomplish more in your life than you ever believed possible. It begins with your mind. Discipline your thought life. Think thoughts that are good, positive, and truthful. Then let your words follow. You can become a disciplined, seasoned professional. You can work and be paid as an actor, as an artist, and as a filmmaker. I know it, because that is what I do.
I was born and raised in Huntsville, AL, and have spent most of my adult life in Los Angeles, CA. I have studied with some of the top acting coaches in the world and have worked hard to develop my craft. Acting is a beautiful and rigorous art form, requiring the same kind of focus and commitment you would give to learning the violin. Do you have what it takes to be the best?
I am now bringing my piece of Hollywood to Huntsville to train willing, determined, hard-working individuals to tap into your genius and discover talents you did not know you had.
Do you have a dream?
Pursue it. If you keep it as a dream, it will always be just that--a dream--and dreams are not real. But if you take action, you can turn your dream into reality.
Come join us at Hollywood Huntsville, where you get to work.
You get one life; why not make it the best you can?