About Me

John Howard Swain – actor, director, teacher, author – the son of a diplomat, John grew up overseas (Japan, Turkey, Spain, Panama, and England). Returning to the states he went to college for a year before enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served in Vietnam which was not the most fun time of his life.

After his discharge John returned to college (Elon University) and received a degree in History – which, so far, has only come in handy while playing Jeopardy at home. He graduated, finally, and was hired to be the County Manager of Washington County, North Carolina. After a year in that mind-numbing job, and realizing his brain was wasting away, he decided to do what he always wanted to do – but had been too chicken to try – he became an actor.

He attended the University of Denver for about five minutes and then moved to Pensacola, Florida and started a theatre company – the Denver Seed Company. After two years of running the company, John moved to New York to get some serious training.

He studied with several excellent teachers – Aaron Frankel, Nicos Psacharopoulos, and Michael Shurtleff – did a lot of off-Broadway shows and was on the soap One Life to Live for a while. He also shot a ton of commercials and used that money to move to Los Angeles.

In LA John was fortunate enough to book scores of episodic work – and guest starred in such shows as the legendary Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere. He also starred in a number of movies made for television and in the mini-series Family of Spies and Blind Faith. Film credits include Best Seller, Angels in the Outfield and The Tenderloin. Plus there is a dynamite scene of him picking his nose in Jaws II.

While in the city of angles he met the love of his life and after being together for a year they realized LA wasn’t where they were supposed to be.

John and Marsha moved to Pacific Grove, CA (on the Monterey peninsula – Carmel but not quite Carmel) and spent two years walking on the beach trying to figure out what was next. Looking at their checkbook one day they realized they need to go back to work and they re-located to San Francisco. While there John founded Full Circle Productions which at the time was considered one of the country’s premier schools for actors interested in working in the film and television industry.

After running the school for eleven years, and seeking a new adventure/challenge, John and his lovely bride returned to New York. He started acting again – worked off-Broadway, shot a bunch of episodic shows including of Law and Order SVU – and then John moved into directing. He staged several plays including Exit Plan and Honor Student and directed the multi-award winning short film, A Younger Man.

John also traveled extensively (The Netherlands, France, England and Sweden) teaching leadership seminars to various corporate clients (Randstad, Nasdaq, Cisco and Barclay’s Bank).

Tried of traveling John was invited to join the teaching staff of the Terry Schreiber Studios. He continues to teach classes there plus he his own studio in New York – working with actors to develop the skills they need to succeed in the film and TV industry. To date his students have booked over 8,500 jobs.

His latest book, The Science and Art of Acting for the Camera, has just been published by Routledge Press and has received rave reviews from people new to the business, academics and professional actors alike.

For teaching and speaking engagements, please email: johnswainacting@gmail.com
John Howard Swain

October 2017

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