There are five areas of concentration in our on-going curriculum: Scene Study, Cold Reading, Interview Technique, Improvisation and Character Development. Students are not allowed to critique other students, but are instead encouraged to comment positively on specifics within any actor's performance. Direction is given through choices, emotional development, focusing on strengths, & strong technique. We do not give "line readings".
It is our job here at The Actors Circle to expose the actor to many different ways to get to the same place within their emotional subtext. Actors must learn to make independent choices in order to effectively deal with the independence that is expected of them when on a film set. We encourage actors to develop a bag of tricks that they can take with them throughout their career, in essence developing their own individual way that works best for them.
Our classes develop and foster confidence, focus, self awareness, creativity, sensory awareness, choice making, memory and sequencing skills, preparation, investigative skills, reading and comprehension skills, building the necessary tools for a competent actor who is capable of taking direction and has the stamina necessary while filming or taping.
We will often communicate in film terms in order to develop the on set vocabulary with the actor, so they will understand directions given to them when filming.
Discussing characters, story line, emotional transitions, backstory and motivation encourages the actor to look beyond the words to find the emotional subtext within the scene where the truth lies and an honest performance will follow. How we approach these concepts varies with each age group. It is most important to develop the instinct of the young actor, because often the young actor must simply get out of their head.
Cold Reading and Interview Technique
Every class deals with some form of cold reading exercise, using scenes and monologues from television and film scripts. We approach this in many different ways in order to keep it interesting for those students who have been in our program for a long period of time. We are always updating our script library with currently casting projects so that material we use in class is current with the trends of the industry. We discuss ways of dealing with many situations within the casting environment including nervousness, eye contact, the general interviews, use of space, choice making, full use of the body, creating the environment, relationships, script handling, easy memorization of dialogue through sequencing thoughts and the art of being yourself with the adults the young actor meets... bringing the uniqueness of the actor's own personality and energy into the room.
It is not enough to be a good actor, you have to be the one they remember. How do you become the one they remember…by creating memorable and believable characters…whether they be characters close to the actors own self or a departure from self. We delve deep into every character, whether they be seemingly simple or obviously complicated. Every character an actor portrays matters and should be treated with equal attention to detail.
This is the key to the actor learning the art of active listening and character point of view. Approximately fifty percent of our curriculum is improvisational oriented. Improvisation strengthens the actor's ability to stay in character and make choices that will be useful when developing back-stories, character traits and emotional spontaneity. In addition, often times, improvisation is a big part of the audition process as well the directorial process.
The "art of coaching" involves knowing how to approach these areas while considering the individual personality of the person with whom you are working. It also involves assisting the actor in keeping the performance fresh and natural even within a point of view that is different from the natural personality of the person involved.