To remain connected and work spontaneously, moment to unanticipated moment.
At Palm Beach Acting School you learn to tell the difference and train the way that all good actors work. The first step in this training is to be introduced to someone whom you may never have met before, the other person on the stage! Perhaps unfamiliar territory for some people. An entirely new 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 Acting School is how to listen. Actors are taught first to listen in order to pay attention. By putting all of your attention on the other person you are able to stay connected. We begin with a repeating exercise in order to keep students from thinking of something to say. By repeating what you hear you become spontaneous, and work on impulse. Listening allows the actor 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 feeling the 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 that is truthful; in the moment. Since acting is done on impulse, actors are taught to give true responses, and feel real emotions. The training at Palm 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 is his/her emotion, and an actor's faith is the ability to believe in imaginary circumstances 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 permitted to have a PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW. You have to have a point of view when you act. If not, then all that is left for the actor is to fake, force or indicate how he/she feels. The actors who train at Palm Beach Acting School have to abandon their everyday politeness and the practice of hiding their real feelings. Always permit your real personal point of view when you act. Always give your gut response, or say nothing. The actor now has something truthful and human to build on. You train to take everything personal and express how you feel about the given circumstance on a human level. The actor who is the most human will always get the part over the actor 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 to become a great detective of the other person's behavior. You should never want to be accused of not noticing the other person on the stage. Now that the actor knows how to LISTEN, RESPOND TRUTHFULLY, AND HAVE A PERSONAL POINT 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 stays connected, and the acting remains spontaneous. This is how we train at Palm Beach Acting School.
The training at Palm Beach Acting School demands that you be specific about the other person's behavior and how it makes you feel, so that the conversation is not just black and white. How does the other person's behavior make you feel? You won't know if you don't notice it. How do you feel about what you see and hear? Remember, people function differently in life, they lie! Be specific. Don't say, "You make me feel bad". Instead, you might say, "You break my heart". This is more specific and to the point. By always being 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. The exercise 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 something from another person. What ever you do at this point it must be truthful. Really doing something is very important in acting. There is feeling that comes out of really doing something even in imaginary circumstances. Every aspect of acting has the problem of doing something for real. You train to do something under those imaginary circumstances but you do it as if it was real!
THE REALITY OF DOING:
Simple human truth always works!
Live it out for real and the emotional life will follow. Emotions come out of what you are doing. Simple human truth is what makes emotions work. They are the root about the imaginary circumstances, and having a free use 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 to the training at Palm Beach Acting School. The activity is a physical project to complete. It must be totally independent from everything else going on in the moment. Really DOING the activity should fill you up emotionally. The activity must be difficult; the person performing it must have a strong emotional 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 struggle to complete the activity should cause a frustration and bring you to life under the imaginary circumstances. Where there is struggle there is life. The struggle of really doing something for a strong imaginary reason is what scenes are made of.
Doors and activities help you find your way through a part by exercising your humanity. They are meant to clarify how you would feel in a particular circumstance. Always fill in for yourself so that it gives what you say meaning. Let your talent and instincts take over. Never do the activity at the expense of working off of the other person.
Find something that means the world to you and build the activity around it. There should always be something hanging in the balance. Like a reward for completing it, or a penalty if you fail at it. How you feel about your success or failure with the activity will come across in how you relate to 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 coming to the door. Just like the activity, the person coming to the door must have a strong imaginary reason for being there. The training at Palm Beach Acting School gets you doing what you will always do in every acting job; living out a meaningful imaginary circumstance. The person coming to the door comes for something specific, a physical object that belongs to the other person and cannot be gotten elsewhere. Also, like the activity, the object he/she is trying to get must be totally independent of everything else going on in the moment. He/she must have a strong emotional reason for needing this object. You don't think about your reason, rather it's something 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 described and turns them into one fluid, organic, truthful, human action. Working off the other person means to listen, notice the behavior of your working partner, allowing what you see and hear to affect you emotionally, then freely responding, in the moment, permitting your personal point of view and truthful behavior. That's quite a lot to do, and it takes quite a lot of practice to do well. But with those characteristics as your foundation when you act you stand out above the actors who merely indicate or fake those 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 very specifically and on an emotional level, students turn every exercise into practical experience in acting. The exercise gets students working moment to unanticipated moment, noticing the behavior of the other person, freely responding and permitting a personal point of view, all at once, organically and humanly. That's a lot to build into a single habit of working, but when actors do those things something truthful will happen every time they work. 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 the door, and a strong independent activity to each class. As you progress through the training at Palm Beach Acting School, your reasons for coming to the door and your activities become more difficult, and more emotionally demanding. Always invent meaningfully around your imaginary circumstances, having a personal reason for doing everything that you do on stage. This sets a habit when you act, the same habit that all great actors share; to make the scene personally meaningful.
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