‘THE ALCHEMY OF SCREEN ACTING’ THE 5-DAY PROGRAMME
Typecasting. Why casting directors say what they say about actors? What is the basis of type? What is a screen persona? How to use typecasting to launch a screen career.
Unique camera exercise to determine everyone’s type.
The television business. The current speed of tv schedules. Everyone works ‘freelance’ and what that actually means. Difference between ‘single camera’ and multi camera’ situations. Challenges of working in the ‘rehearse and shoot’ mode. What the producer needs from the director and (therefore) what the director needs from the actor in terms of keeping to a tight schedule. What the editor needs from the director and (therefore) what the director needs from the actor in terms of getting at least one take where all the lines come out as scripted and the continuity is excellent.
Audition techniques: an holistic approach. Why it’s important (in tv) not to be ‘doormat’. Need for flexibility according to which type of audition attended: soap, quality tv drama, commercials and feature films all have different requirements. The ‘triple whammy’ strategy. The pace and style of audition readings. Need to determine any character’s journey as a three-act structure. How to establish a subconscious motivation even if it’s not in the script.
Hand Out. Short 2-hander soap scenes are handed out for reading and study over the lunch hour.
Practice simple audition reading techniques with the soap scenes.
Block Soap Scenes
Each scene is worked through and choreographed with special attention to the size and type of environment in which it is set. Consideration of which location gives the characters maximum to play. The implication of setting scenes in public vs. private places.
Conduct on set. What the director, camera operator and boom swinger need from the actor during rehearsals and shot set ups. Eyelines. The master shot and its implications for continuity. Is it believable? (…’the suspension of disbelief’) Matching the tighter shots. Delivering lines off mike and how to deal with fluffs. Continuity of performance and why actors need to stick to the script. Why only the director should say “cut”! Overlaps (and why sound editors hate them).
Scripts are learned overnight for the shoot on Day Two.
Shot sizes and how they impact performance. Why actors must know the shot size. Demonstration of how each shot size liberates and constrains the actor. How to convey thought processes through sight and sound only. How the camera catches changes of consciousness.
Rehearse and Shoot each soap scene in turn, taking 60 minutes+ per scene (ie. normal tv soap production schedule). NB. Soap scenes are shot on the normal 4:3 TV ratio.
View all rushes as they are captured for editing on Final Cut Pro.
Editing Demonstration – one of the scenes will be edited in session so that everyone can see the importance of editing and continuity.
Hand Out 2-hander feature film scenes are given out for overnight reading, study and learning. (Participants are all cast with new partners.)
Review rough cuts of soap scenes + feedback on each scene.
Film screenplays vs. TV scripts. Why screen actors must read scripts and what they should learn from them. The UK film “business” and how to find opportunities within it. How to recognise a great script and how to repair one if it’s not so great. The difference between deep psychological structure and ‘typing’. Three-act structure and why Aristotle’s ideas are still important. Mythic structure. How Jung’s ideas impact story structure. How the Alchemical elements are a practical help in delivering a complete performance.
Further practice in giving effective (and job winning) audition readings, this time using the feature film scripts. What the director is listening for during the reading of a quality screenplay.
Detailed Rehearsals of the feature film scenes, including use of any appropriate props and business. (Participants will get get maximum value from this session if they are already off the page.)
Overnight Final line learning to produce an accurate but spontaneous performance.
Shooting The whole day is devoted to shooting the feature film scenes, taking 100 minutes+ per scene. (The extra time allows for more shots and takes than with the soap material.) NB. Feature film scenes are shot on the wide screen letterbox 16:9 ratio.
View all rushes of film scenes followed by rough cut of each scene. Selected takes from each of the feature film scenes are viewed and analysed followed by a rough cut viewing of the scene (edited overnight). Feedback given to the actors concerned.
Marketing – the vital 21 steps to marketing yourself as a screen actor.
Forging A Screen Career –The holistic approach. Pulling all the threads together cultivating a positive frame of mind.
Screenplays and Reading Lists (download link sent to every participant) All information and book references laid out in an extensive reading list covering: screenplays, story structure, acting for camera, body language, Jungian psychology, self development, practical philosophy and (for those that are interested) alchemy.