Friday, August 14, 2009

Advanced Invitational Direct Thyself Characters - July/Aug 2009

A new offering, and kind of "under the radar." I think most everyone who was in this class had been in a couple of classes that were, well, definitely registering on the "tough love" scale. In those, and in the wake of SF Idol, we had identified a lack of character-specific courses that "dug deeper" into longer, trickier scripts. Mostly, it was focused on getting us to realize were we really were with our character work.

It was, in short, one of the best classes I've taken from Samantha Paris. There were a couple weeks when I really scared the heck out of myself with what happened in the booth. But, I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

The format of this six week course was pretty straight forward. Characters, characters, characters... scripts Sam chose for us all, duked out in "audition" format with full debriefing afterwards. We brought iin scripts that had troubled us and scripts we brought in that we felt we could nail. Samantha would then go through those scripts, issue it to another student and let us direct them on the script. She'd let us flail our way through it for a couple takes or so, then isolate the key areas which we weren't hearing. Curiously enough, the key thing we were generally missing was the same thing we generally missed in our own efforts.

She's used this "Director's Chair" exercise in some other classes, but for some reason, it seemed to click for a number of people in the class.

Over the final two weeks, we also got to write for our "secret voiceactor" - a name we'd chosen out of a cup. After listening to their work and learning something of their strengths, we wrote a monolog and a dialog for them, which we directed them in over the final two sessions of the class (monolog one week, dialog the next). There were, to drastically understate it, some incredible pieces of writing, which gave flight to some great character acting.

This class was the highlight of my week while it was going. I miss it a bit now that it's finished.

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