I remember the bright lights, the stage. I remember how they all agreed (after only moderate prodding) that in that glorious St Matthew’s Primary School play of 1978 I made a damned fine Christmas tree.
But the Hollywood talent spotters must have been inexplicably out of town (Ipswich), that night. Because there were no calls from directors, no agents knocking at the door. Stardom failed to beckon.
Until now. Because now I have discovered MasterClass.com ‘access to genius’.
Newly launched by a pair of San Francisco technology entrepreneurs – it promises ‘the best online education in the world – from the best people in the world’.
Masterclass.com promises ‘the best online education in the world – from the best people in the world’
You can learn writing with James Patterson – best- selling author of the Alex Cross detective novels.
Coming soon are photography with Annie Leibovitz and performance with pop star Usher.
And most eye-popping of all there is ‘Dustin Hoffman teaches acting’: ‘In his first ever online class the two-time Academy Award-winning star of The Graduate – Tootsie – and Rain Man teaches you everything he’s learned during his 50-year career’.
At just $90 (£58) this surely was the moderately priced path to stardom cruelly denied me in 1978.
I signed up. I got access to the video classes: ‘Dustin imparts his wisdom and tips in 24 lessons’.
I got the class workbook and homework (‘interactive assignments’ – some to be completed by acting with fellow students – in person or via Skype).
I got a lovely email from a chap called Brad – the ‘community manager’ inviting me to ‘reach out’ and sign up to the Facebook group and Twitter feed.
(Brad didn’t bother with the formality of a surname – but given the celebrity-packed nature of MasterClass – I wasn’t discounting the possibility it was Pitt.)
Best of all I got Dustin himself – online on video – telling me: ‘Hi – my name is Dustin Hoffman – welcome to my master class’.
Actress Anne Bancroft staring alongside actor Dustin Hoffman in the movie The Graduate.
He was in his armchair – looking relaxed – much younger than his 77 years and frankly – with the swimming pool behind him – rich. What more motivation did a budding actor need?