Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The difference between Acting Schools and Workshops

Recently someone asked me why I would suggest him going to Acting School, and then attend Workshops.

In Acting School (or Acting Studios) - an actor aquires the training on techniques, methods to approach a theatrical production. These includes Acting Techniques, Scene Study, Script Analysis, Movement, Improvisation, Cold Reading, Speech, Singing Voice, and Stage Combat etc. These are tools that allows an actor to do whatever he or she wants to create truth around a character.

A Workshop - Serves more as a supplemental course that allows you to use your tools in a different direction. (Which, I would never recommend anyone new to acting to take these workshops)

Have you ever heard a fellow actor commenting on another actor?

"Oh, She's a Theatre Actress. I can see it."
"Oh, He is over doing it. Theatre Acting"
"He's not used to performing on Stage. He's not projecting at all."

For example, an actor trained in Theatrical Acting might not be aware of the difference between acting on Stage and acting in front of a Camera.

An On-Camera Workshops teaches you how to use your existing tools, and modify your technique to fit into the different medium.
Audition itself, is a skill to aquire. And not a lot of acting schools teach that. With so many different types of shows out there, each audition is different. Auditioning for 1 hour drama is different than 1/2 hour sitcom. The same apply to Feature Film and Hosting shows.

There are other types of workshops that will help you grown as an artist... Breathing, the Business of Acting, differeht types of Method/Techniques, Mask work, Long Form Improvisation... There are so many out there that will help you expand your technique and bemore aware of your senses.

Then what are Seminars? Seminars functions more like a showcase, but on an individual basis. In a seminar, you get to meet with a talent agent face to face, perform either monologue, 16-bar song, or a scene. It's a great opportunity to learn about eachother. Then from there, it's up to the actors to continue to follow up with the Talent agent, and hopefully, the talent agent will express interested in representing you. But remember, it's a 2-side street here. You have to find an agent who you feel comfortable with, and know he/she is in serious about your (and their) career.

So, if you are new to Acting - I would suggest that you focus on training in Acting Schoo/Studio first. Learn the skills set... Use them in Class, or in various of Student/Indie productions.

After you have completed your training, and ready to take your career to another level... Take at least ONE On-Camera audition technique workshop. (But don't take the 1 day intensive class. Take the one where you get to work with the casting director for multiple weeks) Some class offers different materials every Under-5 roles, Soap Principals, Commercial Sides, Sit-com, 1 Hour Drama, Comedy...etc.

If you want to go straight into a Casting Director workshop without prior training, then you will be wasting your time & money. Not only you will not be able to do the necessary adjustments during your performance; you will also leave a bad impression to the Casting Director. You don't want a Casting Director to think "You are not ready yet" and then wait another year to be seen by him/her again. (Not unless you are a natural... Born with star quality, doesn't need training, then yeah, go and let your talent shine)

Click here to see a list of New York Acting Schools & Workshops
Click here to see a list of Los Angeles Schools & Workshops

Many studios offer different packages and courses - some Casting Director may only have 1 day intensive at one place, and yet have a 4 weeks class at another. It really depends on which teacher you want to work closely with, and learn from him/her. But please do beware there are some other shady business out there that are taking advantage of Actors. My recommendation would be,
Remember, there's no such thing as one workshop place is better than the other. The teachers (Casting Directors) are the same. Go through each studio's catalogue, then compare the class duration & cost, and see which one suits you.
(If you are in New York, then you can contact me directly then I'll give you input on where I think the best deal is)

So, I got this notice yesterday. It's an 8 weeks On-Camrea class taught by both a working actor, and a casting director. Many of you know who Susan Shopmaker is --- She doesn't do a whole lot of seminars and workshops... And yet she has been casting big budget films like Enchanted and Speed Racer, and successful indie films like Shortbus and West 32nd Street.
So this class is like an On-Camera & Audition Technique 2 2 in 1 deal.

I would love to this class, but I have already signed up and paid 50% of my tution for my On-Camera class at The Barrow Group. If I have money, I would take both....
Caymichael Patten Studio Winter/Spring 2009 8 Weeks On-Camera Class (NY)

The main focus of the class will be learning to trust yourself in front of the camera. In order to do that, you must first learn to "get out of your own way." Another aim is to give the student the confidence that when you appear "on set" you will know what your job is. You will understand the terminology, you will understand how Film or TV "tells the story" and you will understand your role in the "telling." Students will work in each class on material that includes scenes from recent pilots, screenplays, and NY based dramas. The class will also cover auditioning for on-camera work.

WEDNESDAYS 6:30PM to 10:30PM
Meets once a week - 8 WEEK SESSION
FEE: $600
February 11th, 2009 to April 1st, 2009

CHRISTOPHER McCANN NY: Future Me (SPF'08); Charles Mee's Paradise Park at The Signature Theater, The Wandering Boy (SPF'07), Everything Will Be Different, True Love, Attempts On Her Life, Lydie Breeze, Impossible Marriage, Mad Forest, The Devils, The Lights (OBIE, Drama Desk Nomination), Richard III, Richard II, Pericles (BAM) and Robert Woodruff's productions of The Changeling and Buried Child (Premiere). He's appeared at theaters throughout the country. Film/TV: Tim Disney's American Violet, Afterschool ('08 NY Film Festival), Michael Glawogger's The Father Game, Mary Harron's The Notorious Betty Page, Buy It Now (1st Prize, Cinefondation, Cannes); Damages, The Bronx is Burning, Sidney Lumet's Strip Search, & numerous episodes of Law & Order. He has directed the plays of Quincy Long, Will Eno, Jessica Goldberg, Y. York, Sam Shepard and Joe Chaikin.He currently is on the Acting faculty at the Conservatory for Theater Arts & Film at SUNY's Purchase College, where he recently directed the 3rd year students in Jose Rivera's Marisol.

SUSAN SHOPMAKER is the founder of Susan Shopmaker Casting and has cast many feature films. Recently, she was the New York Casting Director on Disney's ENCHANTED directed by Kevin Lima, for which Susan was nominated for an Artios Award in Outstanding Achievement in Casting
She was New York Casting Director on Nancy Meyer's SOMETHINGS GOTTA GIVE (with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton), and THE HOLIDAY (Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet) Mark Water's MEAN GIRLS (written by Tina Fey produced by Paramount) Mark Water's SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES (Paramount), as well as his GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST and GLORY ROAD (Directed by James Gartner, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer). Other credits include casting John Cameron Mitchell's SHORTBUS (Cannes 2006) and JCM's HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. She cast Robert Altman's TANNER ON TANNER (written by Garry Trudeau) for The Sundance Channel. Casting Director on, SERIES 7 (written & directed by Dan Minahan), produced by Killer Films & Open City Films, and Michael Kang's WEST 32nd STREET (produced by Teddy Zee) & THE MOTEL ( produced by Miguel Arteta, Matthew Greenfield, Gina Kwon and Karin Chien) nominated for a 2006 Independent Spirit Award. Susan also worked on the Wachowski's SPEED RACER (Warner Brothers Films), JUSTICE LEAGUE, & the search for Daniel Craig's' 'Bond Girl. '

Caymichael Patten Studio
939 Eighth Ave, Suite 206
New York, New York 10019
Office Hours - 11 AM-6:30 PM M & T; 11 AM-3 PM W; 11 AM-3 PM F

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