PHILOSOPHY AND PROTOCOL
Welcome! The adventure begins…
1. THE WORK - "DISCIPLINE AND WILLINGNESS"
Our code of conduct is based on four deceptively simple yet powerful agreements, as per “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, they are:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
This philosophy promotes joy and freedom and avoids needless suffering. This syllabus is updated often. Refer to it continually and learn the contents herein.
Developing your voice and speech is essential to your growth as an actor. We recommend performing vocal floor exercises daily (in the AM and PM). You'll learn many different exercises in Conservatory training, but here is a basic routine we recommend doing every day from now until the start of classes:
Fifteen minutes on your back with your hands on the lowest part of your abdomen, your shoulders are free, your neck is relaxed, moving back and up:
a) Release a voiceless hissing sound, as in the consonant "S" for 5 minutes.
b) Release a voiced humming sound, as in the consonant "M" for 5 minutes.
c) Release a voiced sighing sound, as in the vowel "AH" for 5 minutes and allow your free voice to reach the ceiling.
Study the TODOROFF TECHNIQUE tools & concepts:
The 15 GUIDEPOSTS (12 Original Guideposts can be found in Michael Shurtleff’s “Audition”, plus the final three Guideposts, created by Tom Todoroff and sanctioned by Shurtleff)
- CONFLICT (What am I fighting for? How am I meddling?)
- THE MOMENT BEFORE
- COMMUNICATION & COMPETITION
- FIND THE EVENTS
- ROLE PLAYING & GAME PLAYING
- MYSTERY & SECRET
- VULNERABILITY (Am I revealing? Or am I concealing?)
The 6 VIEWPOINTS (the perceptual landscape of the audience and the inner field of focus of the performer)
TIME – SPACE – SHAPE – MOVEMENT – STORY – EMOTION
The 4 VARIABLES OF VOICE & SPEECH are:
RATE – INFLECTION – PITCH - DYNAMICS
The 3 basic TENETS OF ACTING are:
RELAXATION – CONCENTRATION – IMAGINATION
The 3 basic TECHNIQUES OF ACTING are:
AUDITION - REHEARSAL - PERFORMANCE
2. COURSE OUTLINE – ACTING I & II
- Prologue to “Romeo & Juliet” & "Hamlet's Advice to the Players"
- Contemporary & Classical Monologues
- Scene-Study from Classical Plays
- On-Camera Auditioning - ongoing practice
Monologues you work on in class must be one to two minutes in length and scenes must run no longer than four minutes.
When searching for monologue or scene material the first time, please choose a piece by one of over 250 authors in the list below. This list took years to compile and it’s divided into eras for your convenience. Working on writing by any of these authors will ensure your growth. “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage”!
Please note: the point of this acting class is to learn to act, not to get through your scene or monologue. So please know that if Tom stops you before you’ve reached the end of your performance it’s because he’s more interested in ensuring you know how to work specifically, truthfully and with relaxation from moment to moment under the given imaginary circumstances.
Constructive comments: If invited to comment on someone's work, please be sure that your remarks are brief and limited to positive (non-directorial) observations. Your words must be an addition to what's just been said, not a reiteration. As this is your artistic home, pick up after yourself when class concludes.
Chatting - in person or on zoom - during a performance in class is rude! Please don't! It's fine to use the zoom chat function to ask questions, share resources or cheer each other on - but please wait until a performance is over and we are in 'coaching' mode before you write anything because the zoom pop up chat bubble can be distracting.
Take notes: Come prepared with materials for taking notes. When you're performing in class, have one of your ensemble members take notes for you during the critique of your work.
Photos and footage may be taken during the course of the class by the TT Team. All zoom classes are recorded for educational purposes only (so current students may watch the work later if necessary). Recordings are only made available to enrolled Conservatory members and Faculty / Staff. Photographs or brief clips of footage may be used for TT Studio promotional purposes, but no recording of a student's full work session would ever be made public without the student's express permission. Our intention and priority is to maintain a safe, creative space where students feel free to take risks and explore! That's paramount. Thank you for doing your part to support this practice.
Give up addictions. Avoid anesthetizing your sensitivity and intuition (i.e. your talent)!
There are several reading lists below – only one is required. The required reading must be done before your first day of class. The lists of recommended playwrights (Appendix A) and recommended reading (Appendix B) are a gift to you. This information took years to compile and it’s divided into eras for your convenience.
3. REQUIRED READING LIST (in order):
- AUDITION by Michael Shurtleff
- THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz
4. RECOMMENDED PLAYWRIGHTS
(See APPENDIX A)
5. RECOMMENDED READING LIST
(See APPENDIX B)
Attendance is mandatory. It is not acceptable to arrive late to class or leave early without express permission from the TTC admin team. Students are considered absent if they are not in the classroom when the instructor closes the door at the beginning of class. In case of emergencies or to request an absence due to extreme circumstances - please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. SCHEDULE & COMMUNICATION
Your monthly calendar will be emailed to you at least one week before the beginning of the month.
You are responsible for checking the following daily for important updates, opportunities and information:
- Your TTC email account
- Your Student Dashboard
- Your Ensemble’s Facebook Group
Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the premises. We do so much work every day to build up your voice and your breath. Smoking does the opposite. Please don't sabotage the work we're all here to do.
No outside visitors are allowed to attend Conservatory classes during the day. We'd love your friends to visit the weekly Saturday Workshop though! This is the best way for a complete newcomer to be introduced to this training. If you have a friend who is curious to visit a class / learn more about the Studio, please refer them to Emily at email@example.com or send them the www.TomTodoroff.com website and tell them to click on "Visit a class" on the homepage.
Raise your hand. The only “dumb” question is the one that remains unasked!
See APPENDIX C for contact information. The TT Team is happy to help you with any questions or concerns that may arise. Please do not hesitate to reach out.
Please keep Tom apprised of your breakthroughs, concerns, triumphs, etc. by emailing him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOU MUST KNOW:
- The 15 Guideposts
- The 6 Viewpoints
- The 4 Variables of Voice and Speech
- The 4 Agreements
- The 3 basic Tenets and the 3 Techniques before you take the stage
PRIOR TO YOUR PERFORMANCE:
- You must have done voice and speech work for 14 consecutive days
- Created flash cards and used them to learn the fundamentals above
- Rehearsed your text at least 250 times aloud (use a “clicker”)
- Dressed for your role (no general street clothes)
- And be prepared to create “place” SPECIFICALLY with furniture and props. Always keep your costumes and props in your car, as I may request a given piece at any time.
To “try” is a lie, it makes you cry and then you die!
If you “try” to do it, you’ve already departed from it…
Thank you for your passion, your commitment and your contribution. We’re glad you’re here! You are not alone on your journey to your true self. Your authentic self is also searching for you. Burn bright. Revel in your time. The adventure continues…
Love to you,
TOM TODOROFF & the TT Team
APPENDIX A - RECOMMENDED PLAYWRIGHTS
THE GREEKS (463 BC- 400 BC) “Poets of the world’s grief”
Medea, Electra, Trojan Women
17th CENTURY: RESTORATION AND JACOBEAN TRAGEDY
The Mourning Bride
Tis Pity She’s a Whore
MARLOWE, Christopher Tamburlaine
MIDDLETON, Thomas & ROWLEY, William
MOLIÈRE (aka Jean-Baptiste Poquelin)
Romeo and Juliet, Othello, etc.
SHERIDAN, Richard Brinsley
The School For Scandal
The Revenger’s Tragedy
The White Devil, The Duchess of Malfi
The Country Wife
19th CENTURY: VICTORIAN ERA AND THE BIRTH OF REALISM
A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler
STRINDBERG, Johan August
Private Lives, Design for Living
The Frozen Deep, Great Expectations
SYNGE, John Millington
The Playboy of the Western World
The Importance of Being Earnest
An Ideal Husband
Peace Plays: Adam and Eve, Zoya’s Apartment
The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard
Crime and Punishment
The Inspector General
The Lower Depths
The Tempest, The Poor Bride
War and Peace
A Month in the Country
DUMAS fils, Alexandre
Camille, The Natural Son
Fedora, Les Merveilleuses
Night of the National Guard
GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang Von – Faust I
Liliom-became the musical Carousel
Mary Stuart, William Tell
SCHNITZLER, Arthur, The Comedy of Seduction
The Awakening of Spring, Pandora’s Box
Note: Example plays are included to intrigue and inform you of a playwright’s more famous work. It is not in any way a restriction, but rather a starting point to investigate their texts and discover what speaks to you.
20TH CENTURY – PRESENT: A NEW WORLD (C=Canadian authors)
ANTHONY, Trey (C)
BAITZ, John Robin
BOYCE, Amy Rebecca
FINDLEY, Timothy (C)
FORNES, Maria Irene
FOSTER, Norm (C)
FRASER, Brad (C)
FRENCH, David (C)
GARCIA LORCA, Federico
GILBERT, Sky (C)
GILROY, Frank D.
GIRAUDOUX, Hippolyte Jean
GLASS, Joanna M.
GLASSCO, Bill (C)
GRAY, John (C)
GRIFFITHS, Linda (C)
GURNEY, A.R. Jr.
HARRISON, Paul Carter
HEALEY, Michael (C)
HELLMAN, Lillian Florence
HIGHWAY, Thompson (C)
HOWARD, Sydney Coe
HWANG, David Henry
LAZARUS, John (C)
LUCE, Claire B.
MACDONALD, Anne Marie (C)
MACIVOR, Daniel (C)
MACLEOD, Joan (C)
MOORE, Edward J.
MURELL, John (C)
NOONAN, John Ford
OATES, Joyce Carol
PETERSON, Eric (C)
POLLOCK, Sharon (C)
RATTIGAN, Terence Mervyn
RYGA, George (C)
SEARS, Djanet (C)
*SHANLEY, John Patrick
SHAW, George Bernard
SHERMAN, Jason (C)
THOMPSON, Judith (C)
TREMBLAY, Michel (C)
VAN BUREK, John (C)
VAN DRUTEN, John
VAN ITALIE, Jean-Claude
VAUGHN, RM (C)
WALKER, George F. (C)
WARD, Douglas Turner
WOLFE, George C.
YOUNG, David (C)
Not DOUBT by John Patrick Shanley
Note: New or original texts (or works by writers that don't appear above) are acceptable and encouraged, providing you submit the material to Tom for review before you begin working on it. Work on scenes and monologues that are derived from entire play scripts or screenplays (as opposed to anonymous speeches from monologue books).
APPENDIX B - RECOMMENDED READING LIST
1. Anne BOGART & Tina LANDAU The Viewpoints Book
2. Cicely BERRY Voice and the Actor & The Actor and the Text
3. Peter BISKIND Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
4. Richard BOLESLAVSKY The First Six Lessons
5. Bernie BRILLSTEIN Where Did I Go Right?
6. Linda BUZZELL How to Make it in Hollywood
7. Simon CALLOW Being an Actor
8. Deepak CHOPRA The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success
9. Robert EVANS The Kid Stays in the Picture (audio version)
10. William GOLDMAN Adventures In The Screen Trade
11. Uta HAGEN Respect for Acting
12. Judy KEFF Acting Is Everything
13. Larry LANGE The Beatles Way
14. Kristin LINKLATER Freeing the Natural Voice
15. Art LINSON A Pound of Flesh, What Just Happened?
16. David MAMET True and False
17. C.T. ONIONS A Shakespeare Glossary
18. Barbara & Alan PEASE Why Men Don't Listen And Women Can't Read Maps
19. M. Scott PECK The Road Less Traveled
20. Anthony SHER The Year of the King
21. Edith SKINNER Speak With Distinction (know the Seven Points of Good Speech for Classic Plays)
22. Eckhart TOLLE The Power of Now (audio version)
23. Ruiz DON MIGUEL. The Mastery of Love
APPENDIX C - CONTACT INFORMATION
NEW YORK STUDIO & CONSERVATORY
The Conservatory (online & in person)
The Summer Intensive (online & in person)
The Saturday Workshop (online)
For information on upcoming intensives offered in any of our regional studios in the USA, Canada or abroad,
please email email@example.com
last update 8/23/21