Teaching the Trade

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He's spent years on the stage and you've seen him on the big screen, with Austin Powers one of the most recent smash hits, but his life in front of the camera began years ago with Elizabeth Taylor in “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Tuesday, York sat down with a group of students in Bay High School's Magnet Program for the Performing Arts. Everyone in the audience says they hope to one day work in the industry and hoped he had the answer to their question of how to get there.

"It's rather wonderful. You don't know, your career is a whole unknown realm of possibilities."

Bay High student Justin McLendon says York understands a business that he aspires to join.

"Coming out of high school and going into college, that's the step of moving on with your career."

York listened to the students and passed on advice that has taken him years to understand.

"Learn that you have to make mistakes. Fail, if you like, that's important. Screw up, because you learn so much more from that than from so-called success."

York repeatedly encouraged the students to pursue their love of the theater wholeheartedly, but the steps to celebrity should be taken carefully.

High school student Savannah Swafford does want to take the right steps and looks to York as an example.

"What's really interesting is he started very young and he's managed to make his career a very long, successful one."

York explained the key to success.

"You need roots of experience to hold you when the harsh wind blows, as you do in any career."

York will present, "Will and I" Wednesday night at the Amelia Center Theater at Gulf Coast Community College at 8 p.m. Tickets are available through the Florida State University Bookstore or at the door.

Many of these Bay High School students will also hit the stage this weekend for their performance of "Into the Woods," also shown at the Amelia Theater.