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.
VOCAL FLOOR EXERCISES to be performed daily, am & pm.
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.
READ OUT LOUD daily for 20 minutes.
The 3 basic TENETS OF ACTING are:
RELAXATION – CONCENTRATION – IMAGINATION
The 4 VARIABLES OF VOICE & SPEECH are:
RATE – INFLECTION – PITCH - DYNAMICS
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
Monologues are limited to two minutes in length and scenes must run no longer than four minutes. If your text requires a complex physical set up, be sure to recruit class members when you arrive for your "load in" and "strike”. Dress for your script, as you must be ready to work within two minutes of your name being called.
First Time Performers (those who have not yet performed and have not yet been personally coached by Tom): We recommend preparing a monologue for the first time you work with Tom. You may also choose to practice your audition skills by working on a cold read audition. Please choose from the Recommended Monologues Lists within your Welcome Package email. (If you are working on a cold read audition, this is not necessary.) Please email your text for approval BEFORE working on it!
Returning Performers (those who have previously performed and have been personally coached by Tom): You are welcome to work on a scene or a monologue. We will do our best to find you a scene partner, depending on who else is enrolled and available for scene-work. You are also welcome to sign up with a friend. You may choose from our Recommended Lists or you may choose a piece by one of the 250+ authors listed within this Syllabus. If you choose a piece that is not from our Recommended Lists, please be sure to email us a copy of the title, author and the text for approval BEFORE you working on it!
In addition to your primary piece, (scene or monologue) please choose 2 backup monologues from our male / female recommended monologues that are good casting for you! Please note, you will not necessarily work on this back up material, but it’s best to be prepared.
Always bring a printed (non-digital) copy of your script with you to the Intensive.
Please note: The point of the Intensive is to learn to act, not to get through your scene, monologue, or audition piece. 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.
Stay in the theatre for all of our time together. The lobby and parking lot are not where your growth lies. 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 the day is done.
Give up addictions. Avoid anesthetizing your sensitivity and intuition (talent).
Take notes. Have someone take notes for you during critique of your work. Learn the prologue to "Romeo and Juliet" and eventually, the five prologues to "Henry V". These are not required for you to have prepared when you first begin with us, but something to work on independently to further your growth. Come prepared with materials for taking notes.
Photos and footage may be taken during the course of the Intensive. Please let us know if you prefer not to be photographed. It’s understood you’re fine with this unless we hear from you.
There are several recommended reading lists below. We recommend you read (or at least scan) the first three books (Audition, The Four Agreements, and The Mastery of Love) prior to the intensive.
2. RECOMMENDED READING LIST (in order):
- AUDITION by Michael Shurtleff – it’s good to know the 15 Guideposts numerically – refer the Guideposts / Reminder Sheet within your Welcome package email.
- THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz
- THE MASTERY OF LOVE by Don Miguel Ruiz
3. YOUNG ACTORS: (ages 11-17)
Take a look at “Monologues for Young Actors” as well as “Scenes for Young Actors”.
Both are written by Lorraine Cohen.
4. RECOMMENDED PLAYWRIGHTS
(See APPENDIX A)
5. RECOMMENDED READING LIST
(See APPENDIX B)
Attendance for the entire Intensive is mandatory. The only excusable absence for any part of the training is that you are gainfully employed in or auditioning for theatre, film, or television. If you must arrive late or leave early, please let one of the producers know before the Intensive begins.
7. SCHEDULE & COMMUNICATION
Please check your email regularly for communication from the Studio and from your scene partner IF you have one. If you are not hearing from your partner, it is your responsibility to notify the Studio immediately.
You will be emailed the location and schedule details approximately 3-5 days before the Intensive.
There will be brief breaks between each piece and we will have a working lunch, so plan on bringing your lunch with you to class as well as any snacks and water you will need for the day that you will be able to enjoy BETWEEN scenes.
8. STUDIO FEES
We encourage all students to pay by credit card and/or debit card. Fees for the Intensives are charged to the card number you have given the Studio upon enrollment. You may also pay online at www.TomTodoroff.com. If you have requested to pay by Money Order, please refer to your enrollment form for the mailing address. Please notify the Studio when your payment has been sent.
Don’t miss out on your training because of “lack of money shame”. Communicate. If necessary, we will do our best to work with you in this area.
Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the premise.
Producers, casting directors, agents and managers etc. are encouraged to visit, as they can assist you in your career. Please clear this with the Studio producers beforehand. In the interest of maintaining our safe space, all guests must be approved.
Raise your hand. The only “dumb” question is the one that remains unasked.
See APPENDIX C for contact information. The Studio producers are happy to help you with any questions or concerns that may arise. Please do not hesitate to approach them.
Please keep Tom apprised of your breakthroughs, concerns, triumphs, etc. by emailing him directly at: TomTodoroff@mac.com
12. UNDERSTAND AND COMMIT TO MEMORY:
- 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:
- Work on Voice & Speech exercises described within this Syllabus daily, from the day you enroll in the Intensive.
- Create flash cards to help you learn the fundamentals above. These terms and concepts are described in the three recommended reading books.
- Learn your text (Best to be off-book and performance ready)
- Dress for your role (no general street clothes)
- And be prepared to create “place” SPECIFICALLY with furniture and props.
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. I'm 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,
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 do not appear above) are acceptable and encouraged, providing a copy of the text is submitted to Emily at emoulton@TomTodoroff.com (or via text 310-980-4504) 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)
APPENDIX C - CONTACT INFORMATION
NEW YORK STUDIO & CONSERVATORY
NYC Studio Weekly Class
NYC One-Week Summer Intensive
NYC Two-Year Conservatory
To learn more about our acting intensives worldwide, contact us at Intensive@TomTodoroff.com or go to tomtodoroff.com and join the mailing list of the city nearest you!
Check out TomTodoroff.com/Events to see where Tom is teaching next!