PALM BEACH ACTINGSCHOOLSYLLABUS
Live truthfully under the imaginary circumstances of the moment.
At Palm Beach Acting School we take the position that everyone holdsthe key to his or her own success. The goal of the artist is to supplytruthful feelings under given circumstances, and to translate dialogueinto behavior and action. Acting is the art of self-realization, whereart expresses human experience. The degree at which the actor will be successfulis directly related to the degree at which he/she can make up meaningfulsituations that touch the heart.
In the training at Palm Beach Acting School we will always be workingwith imaginary circumstances when we act. Never at any time will you beasked to disclose something personal about your past or present life experiences.Acting is not therapy and should not make you sick. However, if you areworking correctly, there is a good chance that you will feel emotionallyexhausted at the completion of a good exercise. Learning to act is aboutfinding the truth of the moment, and connecting with your partner on ahuman level.
Acting is not intellectual. It is not pretending, learning how to hityour mark, talking, doing "cold reads", or simply crying. The emotionsthat an actor feels must be the result of doing something for real!
Acting is spontaneous and instinctual; connecting with your partner,and living truthfully under the imaginary circumstances, moment to unanticipatedmoment! Acting is expressing exactly how you feel during each and everymoment. Acting is not how you say the lines; it is how you behave emotionallywhile saying them.
Learning to act is much like building a house. First, you put down a solid foundation. Next, you add onto that foundation layer by layer. The approach at Palm Beach Acting School trains you to become a whole and complete actor by laying an unshakeable foundation of the fundamentals all good actors share.
Pay attention to humanity.
No one can give you talent. Your talent is revealed when you exerciseyour ability to be affected by the other person on the stage. Don't bean actor. Instead, be a human being who works off of what exists underthe imaginary circumstances. Bring your understanding and truthful feelingsto everything that you do. Pay attention to humanity and see people asthey really are in life. Don't give a performance, let the performancegive you!
Musicians, dancers, athletes and actors all share some things in common.They must all be disciplined, and they must all train in order to accomplishanything professionally! People with a natural acting talent are fairlycommon, but when that talent comes into contact with serious training ithas a chance to cultivate and blossom. To become great at anything it takespractice and hard work. The training at Palm Beach Acting School requiresthat you rehearse between classes with your partner if you plan to progress.You simply work on the exercise that we teach, and bring the completedwork to class. Little by little, over time, students make steady progressthrough correct practice.
THE BEGINNING WORK
To remain connected and work spontaneously, moment to unanticipatedmoment.
At Palm Beach Acting School you learn to tell the difference and trainthe way that all good actors work. The first step in this training is tobe introduced to someone whom you may never have met before, the otherperson on the stage! Perhaps unfamiliar territory for some people. An entirelynew situation has presented itself to you. What do you do at this point?You start to build your acting by taking the attention off of yourself,and by listening to and putting all of your attention on your acting partner,so that you may discover what "being connected" can do for you emotionally.
The very first thing you will learn in the training at Palm Beach ActingSchool is how to listen. Actors are taught first to listen in order topay attention. By putting all of your attention on the other person youare able to stay connected. We begin with a repeating exercise in orderto keep students from thinking of something to say. By repeating what youhear you become spontaneous, and work on impulse. Listening allows theactor to remain focused. You learn to listen to be more natural and human,and live moment-to-moment.
During this exercise, each repetition is always off of the last moment.There are only two ways to change this repetition exercise. A true feelingthe other person causes in you, or a real change in the other person.
Always be in search of the truth. Both specifically & emotionally.
Once an actor learns how to listen, he/she is asked to RESPOND TRUTHFULLY.At this point the actor answers specifically and personally in a way thatis truthful; in the moment. Since acting is done on impulse, actors aretaught to give true responses, and feel real emotions. The training atPalm Beach Acting School demands that you never have a predetermined feeling,or planned out way of doing something. Don't be logical, or conventional,and take time to express each and every moment. An actor's language ishis/her emotion, and an actor's faith is the ability to believe in imaginarycircumstances of the moment.
PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW:
To give your true gut response, or say nothing.
After the actor learns to LISTEN AND RESPOND TRUTHFULLY, he/she is permittedto have a PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW. You have to have a point of view whenyou act. If not, then all that is left for the actor is to fake, forceor indicate how he/she feels. The actors who train at Palm Beach ActingSchool have to abandon their everyday politeness and the practice of hidingtheir real feelings. Always permit your real personal point of view whenyou act. Always give your gut response, or say nothing. The actor now hassomething truthful and human to build on. You train to take everythingpersonal and express how you feel about the given circumstance on a humanlevel. The actor who is the most human will always get the part over theactor who is just emotional and a real point of view enables his/her humanity.
Be a detective of the other person's behavior.
This is what allows you your freedom when you act. You should want tobecome a great detective of the other person's behavior. You should neverwant to be accused of not noticing the other person on the stage. Now thatthe actor knows how to LISTEN, RESPOND TRUTHFULLY, AND HAVE A PERSONALPOINT OF VIEW, he/she learns to NOTICE THE BEHAVIOR OF THE OTHER PERSON.You are building a foundation at this point. This is how everything staysconnected, and the acting remains spontaneous. This is how we train atPalm Beach Acting School.
The training at Palm Beach Acting School demands that you be specificabout the other person's behavior and how it makes you feel, so that theconversation is not just black and white. How does the other person's behaviormake you feel? You won't know if you don't notice it. How do you feel aboutwhat you see and hear? Remember, people function differently in life, theylie! Be specific. Don't say, "You make me feel bad". Instead, you mightsay, "You break my heart". This is more specific and to the point. By alwaysbeing in adjustment to the other person, and permitting your true emotions,you are able to let out something of your real humanity when you act. Theexercise now begins to take on the structure of a scene.
Just be truthful.
When you act you are always DOING something, or coming to get somethingfrom another person. What ever you do at this point it must be truthful.Really doing something is very important in acting. There is feeling thatcomes out of really doing something even in imaginary circumstances. Everyaspect of acting has the problem of doing something for real. You trainto do something under those imaginary circumstances but you do it as ifit was real!
THE REALITY OF DOING:
Simple human truth always works!
Live it out for real and the emotional life will follow. Emotions comeout of what you are doing. Simple human truth is what makes emotions work.They are the root about the imaginary circumstances, and having a freeuse of what exists and how you feel about it.
DOORS & ACTIVITIES:
Help you find the truth of the moment.
These doors and activities must always be rooted in a human truth!
There must be a struggle to bring you to life.
This is where we add what we call a totally independent activity tothe training at Palm Beach Acting School. The activity is a physical projectto complete. It must be totally independent from everything else goingon in the moment. Really DOING the activity should fill you up emotionally.The activity must be difficult; the person performing it must have a strongemotional reason for doing it, and have a time limit for getting it done.All this generates behavior and places the student in a tough spot. A struggleto complete the activity should cause a frustration and bring you to lifeunder the imaginary circumstances. Where there is struggle there is life.The struggle of really doing something for a strong imaginary reason iswhat scenes are made of.
Doors and activities help you find your way through a part by exercisingyour humanity. They are meant to clarify how you would feel in a particularcircumstance. Always fill in for yourself so that it gives what you saymeaning. Let your talent and instincts take over. Never do the activityat the expense of working off of the other person.
Find something that means the world to you and build the activity aroundit. There should always be something hanging in the balance. Like a rewardfor completing it, or a penalty if you fail at it. How you feel about yoursuccess or failure with the activity will come across in how you relateto your acting partner as you work moment-to-moment.
Having a strong emotional reason for coming.
While one partner performs the activity, the other partner is comingto the door. Just like the activity, the person coming to the door musthave a strong imaginary reason for being there. The training at Palm BeachActing School gets you doing what you will always do in every acting job;living out a meaningful imaginary circumstance. The person coming to thedoor comes for something specific, a physical object that belongs to theother person and cannot be gotten elsewhere. Also, like the activity, theobject he/she is trying to get must be totally independent of everythingelse going on in the moment. He/she must have a strong emotional reasonfor needing this object. You don't think about your reason, rather it'ssomething you feel strongly about.
WORKING OFF THE OTHER PERSON:
Taking all elements and building them into a single habit of working.
Working off the other person takes all of the elements previously describedand turns them into one fluid, organic, truthful, human action. Workingoff the other person means to listen, notice the behavior of your workingpartner, allowing what you see and hear to affect you emotionally, thenfreely responding, in the moment, permitting your personal point of viewand truthful behavior. That's quite a lot to do, and it takes quite a lotof practice to do well. But with those characteristics as your foundationwhen you act you stand out above the actors who merely indicate or fakethose things.
The purpose of the exercise is to practice working off the other person.While this exercise is going on, by working off of the other person veryspecifically and on an emotional level, students turn every exercise intopractical experience in acting. The exercise gets students working momentto unanticipated moment, noticing the behavior of the other person, freelyresponding and permitting a personal point of view, all at once, organicallyand humanly. That's a lot to build into a single habit of working, butwhen actors do those things something truthful will happen every time theywork. This is what makes a scene play out like a real event happening.
You will always be required to bring a strong reason for coming to thedoor, and a strong independent activity to each class. As you progressthrough the training at Palm Beach Acting School, your reasons for comingto the door and your activities become more difficult, and more emotionallydemanding. Always invent meaningfully around your imaginary circumstances,having a personal reason for doing everything that you do on stage. Thissets a habit when you act, the same habit that all great actors share;to make the scene personally meaningful.
THE INTERMEDIATE WORK
A self stimulation of your emotions.
Emotional preparation demands that you strengthen your imagination.This is a self-stimulation of your emotions, where you are required touse all of your senses when acting. We teach this so that the actor willshow up on stage totally full emotionally. In some circles this is called,"making an entrance". Emotional preparation makes clear that you've justcome from someplace meaningful to you. Ironically, emotional preparationhas nothing to do with what is coming up in the scene; it only ensuresthat you're prepared to be emotionally responsive to whatever you encounter.By practicing coming from someplace specific and meaningful, to someplacespecific and meaningful, the actor is trained to be 'on' from the start.At Palm Beach Acting School many actors find that this is a turning pointin their training. After taking an emotional preparation class, many peoplediscover that they can't wait to get up and be in the moment emotionally.From this point forward, every time that you get up to act you will prepareemotionally. (Emotional preparation is basically only used for the firstmoment of the scene or exercise.)
When people go to a play, or to see a movie, they get caught up in themoments that move them emotionally. They might not remember the actors'or director's names, and they may not remember everything that was said.But, most people remember how the experience made them feel!
BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP:
Must always know who, what, when, where & why ... but neverhow you will act!
While doing these exercises, a relationship between you and your partneris required. Who are you to each other? Are you husband and wife? Are youboy friend and girl friend? Or, are you brother and sister? Do you havea painful past history? Whatever the situation, it must have a strong emotionalcontent.
What ever is happening in the moment is always more important than anystory or set up. Always know who, what, when, where and why. But, neverknow how you will act in a given circumstance. How you will act must alwaysbe spontaneous and moment-to-moment.
You must know specifically how you feel towards your acting partner.You must know if the last time you saw each other was a good experienceor a bad experience. This affects the way you feel and behave when yousee your partner for the first time. You must always know the situationand it must be, like all elements in acting, specific and meaningful.
Silence is absolutely golden.
What you say means far less than what you feel. In fact, without feeling,what you say when you act is meaningless. You will learn that there isno such thing as "nothing" on the stage at Palm Beach Acting School. Silencealways has a meaning. Sometimes it is what you don't say that makes thesituation meaningful and truthful. The training demands that you exploredifferent things to discover what affects you and in what ways. Every greatactor has developed a powerful imagination. The truth of the situationwill always dictate the depth of emotion and meaning the actor is requiredto bring to life. The discovery of what is emotionally meaningful to you in your imagination is a powerful tool, which will be employed every time you act.
Always pick material based on how it makes you feel emotionally.
The exercise you learn in the beginning work evolves into an improvisationthat is used in problem solving at Palm Beach Acting School. Every scenepresents a certain problem that the actor must work out on a personal level.Additionally, the director may ask you to do something in the scene whichyou may not understand, so the improvisation is used to find a personalway of bringing meaning to that which you have been directed to do. Thedialogue is there to support the action of the scene, or the "doing".
Scene work and auditions begin with a first readings or "first rehearsals".Everything that you learn up to this point will be needed when you beginyour first readings. First readings, also known erroneously as "cold readings"must be fully, artistically executed. This is what you do in all of yourauditions and with every acting assignment. Getting the actor to bringa clear, fully understood performance to the writers' text, from the start,takes practice and lots of it.
Always pick scene material based on how it makes you feel emotionally.Fill in the spaces between the lines where the acting takes place. Findthe reality and truth of the scene. Let the circumstances unfold and playmoment-to-moment as the playwright intended. The spontaneous unplannedfeeling is best when we do scenes. The behavior must be supported by thewords. Let the dialogue ride on top of the emotion. It is never about the words. All scenes mustbe done with a real point of view of what it is about. The scene is notmade by being emotional; it is made by being human!
IMPROVISATION TOWARDS A SCENE:
To clarify for yourself how you feel about each moment.
This is a technique at which the actors have already done their firstreadings, and are now ready to work on the scene. This is to find out howyou feel about a scene. The IMPROVISATION is set up much like a regularexercise, with a strong situation that is in parallel with the scene. Improvisationsshould take you in one direction and the scene in another.
In the improvisation, once connected and working off of each other,the actors are asked to throw in the dialogue, or even make it up. Doinga scene in your own words will help clarify each moment and how you feelabout it. What is the human aspect of the scene? This clarity will comeout when you do the scene with all the writers' words. The idea is to maintainthe emotional depth and behavioral responsiveness of the exercise whilelistening to and answering with the authors' words. When the actor is freelyresponsive as a matter of habit, bringing the text to a state of truthfulhuman behavior is nearly automatic.
The approach at Palm Beach Acting School asks you to get in touch withwhat is inside of you and to bring it out for everyone to see! There isnothing more personal than how an actor relates to a scene. Give yourselfover to the reality of the situation. Fight for the right to make mistakes,and give yourself permission to fail. This is how you learn. Who ever learnedanything by getting it right every time? It is in this spirit of experimentationat Palm Beach Acting School that leads the student to finding his or herown personal artistic understanding to every acting assignment.
THE ADVANCED WORK
Live out your dreams & desires on an emotional level.
To end up someplace you have never been before. Like rising up outof the ashes and saving the world!
Further into the training at Palm Beach Acting School we will work onFANTASY exercises. This is where you have the chance to live out somethingfully. A fantasy is something so personal that you may never perform itin real life. Fantasies come from your dreams and desires. Living out thatfantasy opens you up artistically in a way that no acting exercise can.The circumstances are personal to you, which you must make in every scene.They're real to you, which you must make in every scene. They emotionalizeyou, which you must make in every scene, and they're really happening toyou, which again, you must make come to fruition in every scene you'reever asked to do.
Fantasies are sometimes used to prepare for the emotionally demandingSpoon Rivers.
What separates the amateur from the professional...and if you cando these, you can do anything!
SPOON RIVERS refers to a book of poetry written over a hundred yearsago by Edgar Lee Masters, title The Spoon River Anthology. These poemsare all spoken by people who have since passed on, and sum up their livesfrom the unique perspective of being able to see their lives as whole andcomplete. Some are angry, some desperate, some elated, and others revealthe depth of depravity in the human condition. All are deeply felt, asthese speeches are the stepping off point to heaven or hell as the casemay be. By tackling a large section of dialogue then living out fully,and emotionally, the human truth of the circumstance of these people'slives and deaths, the actor learns how to handle a speech, or "monologue"in a way that is personal, artistic and imaginative. This part of the trainingis what separates the amateur from the professional actor!
Spoon Rivers are done so that the actor is more interesting and believable.Every moment must have absolute clarity. By always having one clear pointof view from beginning to end, the actor knows who he/she is talking toand why. Every speech must be filled with emotion, and is a human experiencethat must be lived out fully.
At Palm Beach Acting School, this is where you learn to do characterwork which comes from how you feel about something, and how you do whatyou do. A character is anytime that you alter your straight behavior. Don'ttry to be the character. Instead, you create a living human being in allthe complexity of his/her character and behavior. Once you get to the lifeof the speech, it always comes out better than just memorizing the lines.When you talk out a speech for yourself, and make it your own, it becomesyours!
Like Emotional Preparation training, many actors consider Spoon Riverstudies as a major turning point in their training. Like scenes, SpoonRivers are performed with everything you have learned up to this point.They require the very deepest emotional preparations to perform. Most actorsfind it as the hardest part of the training. However, it is what everystudent works towards...becoming a fully trained actor! If you can do theSpoon Rivers to the degree demanded of you at Palm Beach Acting School,you can do anything!
To stand head & shoulders above the rest!
Everyone learns at his or her own pace, and there is no time limit involved.Students who work with this much acting intensity are usually very supportiveof each other. Rehearsals with classmates between classes are mandatoryif you plan to become a professional actor. Talented people are immediatelydrawn towards this type of acting awareness. Others are disinterested whenthey discover that the training requires discipline, and hard work, andthat the actors are having true experiences with real emotions. Many justcan't go there. The program at Palm Beach Acting School guarantees thatyou will either learn to act to the very best of your ability or that thereal demands of acting are not for you.
This is how most professional actors work. Students who have trainedthis way stand head and shoulders above the rest!
Finally, as a performer you will want to be recognized for your achievements.Those who see your work, do so for the theatrical experience. They willremember how you made them feel!
Therefore, create a performance which deals with human emotions, andheartfelt stories. People will want to learn and grow from being exposedto your work...and to become better members of society!