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There’s a line I like, partly because I wrote it: a writer looks as if he’s always on vacation but never is. He can live on a bucolic farm in New Hampshire or travel like a vagabond, and dress accordingly, but his mind never rests. From the moment a story comes to visit, its characters become the writer’s constant companions, demanding and demonic — and way more entertaining than their real life prototypes — but they don’t always let a guy sleep.

I’ve been afflicted all my life by storytelling; there’s no known cure. Failure doesn’t help, bad reviews only inspire a person to try harder. From the first script I wrote to the one antagonizing me now, the addiction has only grown acuter.

To view Ernest Thompson’s body of work as a writer, click on the links below.

Oil paintinhg of a raod with building


Actors never have to grow up. You can play Let’s Pretend when you’re 80. Imagine you’re on a lake in Maine and your mind is going and the woman you’ve loved for half your life gallantly tries to rouse your spirits and your long-estranged daughter grudgingly returns home, bringing as a gift a foil, a precocious thirteen year old boy to stir the embers of your stubbornness and remind you that you’re alive. Thousands of actors have gone on that particular boat ride and I’m proud to have given them the ticket.

Some say acting is losing yourself in a role; I think it’s the opposite, I think it’s finding your voice using someone else’s words.

To view Ernest Thompson’s body of work as an actor, click on the links below.

Ernest Thompson Old portrait black and white


Some directors stay by the camera; they like a distance from the action; I don’t. I like the paintings I can make with a great cinematographer but my heart is in the trenches with the actors. Being one, I can speak the language of exploration and discovery and I take it as part of my job to enable every actor, the most famous star or the rankest amateur (and the occasional rank star) to get free of the stuff we all carry and do his or her best work. It’s an honor.

It’s the same in the theatre, just purer. No crew, no distractions; just a director and a script and a talented cast to conjure magic with.

To view Ernest Thompson’s body of work as a director, click on the links below.

Ernest Thompson Directing


Ernest has taught acting, writing and directing all over America. He brings to his classes, large and small, the same passion and professionalism he’s employed in directing stars as disparate as Shirley MacLaine and Liza Minnelli, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, or Robert Downey Jr. and Bruce Dern, and the knowledge that an Academy Award-winning writer of more than 25 screenplays and nearly as many plays has gathered in a more than 45-year career.

As a public speaker Ernest is a natural, at ease in front of any size audience, and can work with actors, teachers, politicians, and executives from huge corporations to small companies, helping all of them improve their own comfort at the podium and teaching the secrets of how to write and deliver the perfect speech.

To view all workshop descriptions, click on the links below.

Boston Master Class By Ernest Thompson

Photo by P.T. Sullivan


Ernest has given commencement addresses, hosted awards shows, been a frequent presenter (and occasional recipient) and spoken to audiences of all ages, seniors for whom ON GOLDEN POND and THE WEST SIDE WALTZ and THE LIES BOYS TELL have lasting meaning, to Boys and Girls Clubs, where kids are starry-eyed over the Oscar Ernest often takes with him. He never fails to fill a room with laughter or to leave his audiences feeling inspired, invigorated and wanting more. A natural presence in front of a crowd, large or small, Ernest has a unique talent for tailoring his remarks to the event and making each person feel as if Ernest is speaking to him or her. Frequently Ernest will show clips from his many films and regale audiences with his inexhaustible supply of stories he’s collected from more than 45 years of working with some of Hollywood’s greatest legends. Often it’s in the Q&As that follow an Ernest Thompson speech where his wit and heartfelt emotion truly shine; like all exceptional speakers, and teachers, Ernest is also a listener and excels at making each person’s question feel important. If you haven’t heard him speak, you should.

For bookings or to watch Ernest’s speaking reel, contact us.

Ernest Thompson Speaking at an event


La Mama, New York, NY
A staged reading of Karen Black’s powerful play, starring Ms. Black, Gail Brown, Barbara Haas, Eric Sutton and Kat Yew