Acting · Management

Advanced Acting, Can I skip the 101?

Yes.  You can skip the 101 (as long as you eventually learn it), and jump straight into the short-cut.  The reason why is because most actors are physical, and this is a great way to really taste the work.

Complete this sentence.  A social dictate: I am __________ in a world of ___________.

You do this by coming up with 5 Adjectives.  Once you have the 5 most important adjectives (words from the script, from author’s description, etc.)  that describe your character, you have someone say them to you in this order.

1 least important




5 most important

What do you feel like?  The first thing that comes to mind.  If you were to describe yourself with a NOUN, what are you?  A cheetah, a palm tree, decaying trash, a snake, a barracuda, a canary? 

Logically, if you are _________, then what is everything else around you?  Are they also canaries, but they are uglier/prettier?  Are they a different creature or noun?  I am a square in a world of rectangles.  I am a mouse in a world of cheese.  Get it?  Don’t over think it.  Know your script, how you feel and fill in the blank.

Super Objective: What do you want out of life:  I want to ______________.  Start there.  Then keep asking why until you dead end (and it makes sense), and don’t answer any question the same way you answered a previous question.  I want to fall in love.  Why?  Because I won’t be lonely.  Why?  Because I will have a companion?  Why is that important?  Because I feel empty without companionship.  Why?  I think I will die without a companionship. 

I am a canary in a world of uglier canaries who wants to avoid death.


Predominate condition:

An emotional status that is always the function of the character.  It’s the most inner layer of your ‘onion.’  Make a decision.  If you are a jackal, you hunt.  Your predominant condition is to hunt.  If you are a canary, you express with voice melodically.

I am a HUNTING JACKAL who wants to RULE THE WORLD in a world of FOOD.  (Velma in CHICAGO)


Finally, everything should have 3 moments: 1) Moment before, 2) What happens (use of senses) first, and then 3) What you do first.

I’m coming from the classroom, I HEAR a crash, I plan to punish.

I planned to punish, I see there is nothing out of the ordinary, I question.




In imaginary circumstances + Believing Self’s Characterizations +Responding = Reality of Doing. 

This means, take a play and your character work, respond to others realistically based on your senses (and direction), and any audience will believe you.



Other Quick Pieces of Advanced Acting Advice:

Ø It is okay to switch between the history of the character, and your history!

Ø Find a spark right away and let it effect your body language.

Ø When lines have the same emotions, find different body language to make more interesting for the audience

Ø In a story (in a song or monologue), keep it physically contained (this doesn’t mean, ‘don’t move’  It means, only move if necessary, or directed).  This includes your EYES, HANDS, and HEAD.

Ø Everything you do is story telling – you can’t take a step without it being part of the story.  Don’t waste any thought in what your body does every moment.  Study yourself and others.

Ø Surround yourself with the truth.

Ø Strong physical movement before every beat change

Ø Stay away from your partner

Ø As we get older, we do less

Ø Be present

Ø *It’s not about who is right or wrong, it’s about the truth

Ø Judgments block your work, don’t make any.

Ø When you think, recall, or remember, your focus is on one of the three house focal points: House Center, House Left Center, House Right Center (don’t move too far right or left; the audience will think you are talking to someone in the wings. Any imaginary object is on the forth wall at one of those focal points.

Ø Take the attention off yourself, off the pressure to perform, off of being perfect, and off of being right, and put that energy in the work.

Ø Focus on the eye downstage of the person opposite you.

Ø When an epiphany, move downstage


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