If people need a little help bringing out their inner actor or making advance preparations for next Halloween, Marina del Rey resident Stu Charno has a way to help them — his series of theatrical mask making classes.

Classes are for children ages ten and older and for adults.

“Masks help actors create characters from the outside in,” Charno said. “Masks help actors match their body to the character by becoming a shield that frees actors to just perform rather than worry too much about embarrassing facial movements.”

He also said children would enjoy making masks for Halloween.

“Children can feel really good about themselves when they wear a Halloween mask they made themselves,” Charno said.

Charno is an actor, jazz pianist and founder of the Internal Arts Studio, a martial arts center in the Marina del Rey area that focuses on classes for internal martial arts, yoga, meditation and Thailand kickboxing.

His television credits include M*A*S*H, The X-Files, a recurring role as Dr. Lloyd Chernow on Chicago Hope and about 100 commercials, he says.

He also starred in Friday the 13th Part 2 as Ted, the only person among a group of characters not killed in the movie.

Originally from New York, he joined the acting ranks by accident when an agent spotted him at a jazz club and told him he should audition for roles.

Intrigued by the agent’s offer, he moved to Venice 20 years ago to begin his acting career. He moved to Marina del Rey in 1994.

Charno’s latest endeavor is teaching people how to make masks through eight 90-minute classes for $300 at the Marina Dance Center, 13376 Washington Blvd., just east of Lincoln Boulevard.

Classes are currently limited to eight students per class.

A free introduction to mask making will be held 10:30 a.m., Sunday, January 2nd, at the Marina Dance Center.

Theatrical mask making is an art form that traces its popularity to street performers in Italy.

“In my experience as an actor, I have had a lot of extreme makeup put on me, which is similar to wearing a mask,” Charno said. “Making a mask is one of the most playful ways actors can help themselves break into the acting scene.”

He said children should have an easy time making masks in class.

The process starts with smearing cellophane on a bare mannequin head.

Cellophane helps clay stick. Clay is spread around the mannequin to create whatever shape the student likes.

Then brown paper is dipped in wallpaper paste and placed over the clay.

When everything is dried, the paper is peeled off the mannequin and a mask is made.

Although Charno’s classes won’t feature other materials, he said masks could also be made with paper-m’chÈ and leather.

Charno will also teach mask makers how to act with creative movement and voice.

Classes will include costumes and music. A final performance by class participants will be taped.

Information, (310) 821-2775.