THE WORKSHOP - ONLINE WEEKLY CLASS
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 are performed daily, (in the AM and PM) and will be reviewed when we first meet and continually in our work together:
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.
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 strictly limited to two minutes in length and scenes must run no longer than four minutes.
Performers may 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”!
First Time Performers (those who have not yet been coached by Tom): We recommend preparing a monologue for the first time you work with Tom. Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know when you're ready to be cast in the Cold Read Audition Exercise. Just make sure you’ve completed the BASIC PERFORMER REQUIREMENTS (click to review) first! You are welcome to sign up to work in class as often as you like thereafter!
Returning Performers (those who have previously been coached by Tom): You are welcome to work on a scene, monologue or volunteer for the Cold Read Audition Exercise. Find a scene partner by getting to know our classmates or email email@example.com for help finding a scene partner. All attendees in the Workshop are available to work on scenes. Make friends and get to work! Plan on always having several monologues and scenes in constant development with different partners at all times!
When choosing material, please refer to the list of Suggested Monologues and Scenes in your Welcome Package when you first arrive a the Studio. After you’ve performed a couple times, feel free to explore all the authors on our Syllabus! If you need guidance – ask! We’re happy to help!
Please note: The point of the 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.
Cold Read Audition Exercise: We begin class with this exercise most weeks to give everyone in the class a chance to learn about how to apply this technique to Film or TV audition sides representative of what's being cast right now. The TT Team will reach out to a few members of the Workshop every week to ask if they'd like to be included in the exercise that upcoming class. Once actors are cast, the 'audition sides' are emailed on Friday afternoon and the actors who've been cast are expected to prepare just as they would for a real audition. This means, being as off-book as possible - but still plan on holding the audition sides. The auditioning actors have 15 minutes at the start of class to practice with their scene-partner before performing the audition for the class. Tom will then work through the sides with both pairs of actors and coach them towards the strongest possible way to play the scene. By way of demonstration, all students in the class learn how to break down an audition script using our technique. The exercise also gives all actors insight into the audition process and a chance to see what different sets of actors do with the exact same material.
Signing up to work in class:
Sign up on Thursday if you'd like to work in class on Saturday!
Sign up on Friday if you'd like to work in class on Monday!
If you’d like to work in class, please use The Performer Request Form on your membership dashboard to sign up. This link can also always be found on the right side of your membership dashboard - you'll see an image of a film clapperboard with the title "Performer Request Form".
Take notes. Have someone take notes for you during critique of your work. Come prepared with materials for taking notes.
We recommend learning 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.
Give up addictions. Avoid anesthetizing your sensitivity and intuition (talent).
Photos and footage may be taken by the TT Team during the course of the class. 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 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.
2. REQUIRED READING LIST (in order):
§ AUDITION by Michael Shurtleff - know the 15 Guideposts numerically – refer to attached list
§ THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz
§ THE MASTERY OF LOVE by Don Miguel Ruiz - not required but highly recommended!
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)
6. ATTENDANCE & RECORDINGS
Attend as often as you can for as much of The Workshop as you possibly can! That said - if you need to miss a class, you still have the ability to catch up on what you missed by logging into your Membership Dashboard and viewing the recordings from the most recent class anytime you wish! You'll see an email weekly that notifies you when these new videos are uploaded and available for viewing. All recordings from the most recent class are uploaded within one week.
A Newsletter (titled "Major Tom to Ground Control") is sent weekly as well. This provides and overview of who worked on what pieces in that last class.
Recordings are available for viewing for the duration of your enrollment in the membership - they don't expire! Videos can only be viewed by enrolled members and cannot be downloaded or shared from the secure platform. Remember you can always use the 'Search' function at the top of your dashboard to search for specific names, titles or topics! If you ever prefer a recording of your work not be made available on the dashboard, simply let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to oblige!
When you sign up to work in class - you're expected to be present at least from 12pm - 4pm EST so you're present when called upon. If you sign up to work in class and then discover you have a conflict, even for a portion of the class - it's important to notify the studio and we'll move your sign up to the following week.
The Workshop is held from 11:00am - 4:00pm every Saturday and Monday. To attend a Saturday or Monday session, you must be enrolled in that Workshop membership. You have the option to enroll in one or the other - or both!
The zoom link is always emailed out the day before. If you'd like to sign on a little early to test your audio / video equipment or just to check in and chat with other class members before we get started - you're welcome to! We make the zoom link live by 10:30am EST to allow for this extra time to sign in and get settled before class begins.
If you'd like to bring along a friend to watch a class - please let us know ahead of time! It's important that all guests receive a brief orientation phone call before they attend the first time. The best way to invite a friend to check out the class is by sharing this link - ask them to book a complimentary first class visit:
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 approach them.
Please keep Tom apprised of your breakthroughs, concerns, triumphs, etc. by emailing him directly at: email@example.com.
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:
■ Work on your voice and speech for 14 consecutive days for at least 15 mins a day
■ Review your technique flashcards and used them to learn the fundamentals above
■ Be fully off book with your text (unless it's an audition or cold-read audition exercise)
■ Make specific choices on your lighting, wardrobe, background - they all speak before you do.
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 do not 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)
APPENDIX C - CONTACT INFORMATION
NEW YORK STUDIO & CONSERVATORY
The Summer Intensive (in NYC and online)
The Conservatory (in NYC and online)
The Saturday Workshop (online weekly)
Facebook: Tom Todoroff Acting Studio & Conservatory