One night, Joan See went to the movies. What she saw on that screen (Laurence Olivier) made up her mind; she would become an actress. Her parents had pushed her to study nursing and warned her that she could never make a living as an actress. She knew they were wrong. She changed her major and went for it.

Going for it was Joan’s thing. She was determined to study with a master teacher and so she found Sandy Meisner. She wanted to do the classics and so she worked with Joe Papp at the Public Theater. She wanted to prove her parents wrong so she conquered Madison Avenue and appeared in over 300 commercials. She needed to support her two young sons after the death of her husband, so she began to share what she knew about acting in commercials (NOT commercial acting) and literally wrote the book on it.

That was the genesis of the New York Conservatory. Joan knew that the industry was changing – stage actors would need to learn camera technique to make a living. She knew that the industry adage “good acting is good acting” was not always true, and that different media required adjustments to technique. She went for it, and helped usher in a new era in which actors embraced all media.

Starting with one private acting class, she built a nationally accredited college that to this day empowers actors to follow their dreams, prove the doubters wrong, and make a living doing what they love.

Joan See with Fred Gwynne