PROFESSIONAL ACTING WORKSHOPS with CASTING DIRECTOR, JORDAN BESWICK, CSA
The workshop takes you through the process of creation. From the initial reading of the script to the realization of any given character’s emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical, sexual and sociological world. You will learn not only to think for yourself, but also to take and incorporate very specific direction. Bottom line! You will obtain the tools you need to develop into an actor with both the ability and the confidence to make the impression necessary to get the job.
Emphasis is placed on the following:
RELAXATION – An actor who is not relaxed will not do his best work. Period. Why? Because tension creates blockage on all conceivable levels. Mentally, emotionally, physically. Most actors stop breathing the moment they start acting. Why? Because they’re terrified. Most of them will tell you it’s just when they audition, that when they get the job they’ll be relaxed because they’ve already proven themselves. Wrong! An actor is always proving himself so you’d better take a very deep breath and get used to it. Actors are expected to create specific realities on demand. And when an actor is not relaxed he is far less likely to be able to do that.
THE PRIVATE MOMENT – The effective creation of the fourth wall. An actor who can not create privacy for himself when performing can’t help but impose his own self-consciousness onto his character. Bona fide actors are people who can breathe, feel, listen, think, believe, actually live as human beings entirely different from themselves, while being observed. Without self-consciousness. Private moments remind actors of the necessity to create for the people they’re meant to be the privacy that they take for granted in their own lives everyday. It helps liberate the actor from himself.
SCRIPT ANALYSIS – Breaking down the script. When most actors receive their scripts they immediately start making choices as to how to ACT the ROLE. They have unfortunately missed the first and most important step which is to listen to what’s being said, think about what the characters think and feel about what they’re saying, observe how they deal with their given circumstances, deduce what their relationships are with the people, places and things that they’re dealing with, etc. Because it’s those very things that will enable them to make the kind of informed choices that will ensure that they create people as opposed to simply acting like. Because most actors don’t take the time to think about what they’re reading they oftentimes miss the point of the stories they’re telling, which can sadly lead to the point being lost altogether. Beyond learning how to “act,” actors must learn how to break down scripts, train themselves to think specifically about what they’re reading so that they can acquire the understanding necessary to do their jobs to the very best of their abilities.
THE AUDITION – From the COLD READING, where actors are given material, asked to break it down, prepare it and be ready to audition in a severely limited amount of time, to the CALL BACK, where they take the material given to them at the cold reading, work on it and return with it having had that much more time to prepare it, to the AUDITION MONOLOGUE, where they are asked to audition with a prepared monologue for more generalized auditions. Every actor should have at least three contrasting monologues (dramatic, comedic, classical) in his repertoire prepared and ready to go to share at a moments notice. Actors must discipline themselves to do the work necessary to be prepared for absolutely anything at all times so that they’re always ready to seize an opportunity when one is made available.
The Master Class focuses each actor’s attention intensely on the choices that best serve him in the professional workplace.
An actor’s job is to create different types of people. But instead of working to create the very things that differentiate them from their characters, most actors simply project their own personality, character, nature, etc. onto their characters. I’m endlessly hearing the same complaint from actors, that “Casting Directors, Directors and Producers aren’t looking to cast an actor, they’re only interested in casting THE person!” To which I reply, “Maybe it’s because their experience has taught them that there are very few actors actually capable of creating different types of people.”
The goal of the Master Class is to assist the actor develop that ability.
An actor must use himself to create without making it about himself. He must liberate himself from his fear based NEED to limit himself to his own experience. He must develop and use his imagination instead of constantly complaining that everybody else should. As the great Russian actress, Alla Nazimova, once said, “First, last and always, a player must have imagination. Imagination kindles the feelings, steers the actor through the character into emotion, enables him to reproduce feelings he himself has never experienced.” So that when he is requested to morph into an entirely different person than himself on the spot, he can. It’s about focusing attention. It’s about conscious observation. It’s about choosing to believe. Whatever necessary to achieve.
Focus, concentration, relaxation, emotional, psychological and physical availability, respect, and commitment to the self-discipline necessary to both compete with the best actors in the world as well as to meet the extraordinarily high expectations that come with the job is the goal.
Beginning in 2007
BUILT FOR LIFE
This workshop is designed specifically to allow the actor to focus entirely on building his given character and the world he inhabits for the purpose of production.
Each actor will be assigned a one person play and over the course of the four weeks will work to create that one person. Work to create a life so secure that on opening night he can step out onto the stage genuinely prepared to live and breathe as that person. Knowing who he is and where he is as that specific human being. A person prepared to live the experience.
From the initial breaking down and analyzing of the script, through the myriad exercises necessary to create sense and logic, form connections (i.e. relationships) to every person, place and thing mentioned by and/or dealt with by his character, through the mandatory receiving and incorporating of specific direction to the seemingly endless repetition of dialogue and actions to achieve the illusion of spontaneity.
To make an audience believe that you