Syllabi (5) In order of the list below - Continue to scroll down

801 Graduate Acting

201 Acting II

204 Beginning On-Camera Acting

304 On-Camera Acting Scene Study

404 On-Camera- Creating Content

(204, 304, & 404 are taken in consecutive order with few exceptions)

FALL 2017

THR 801  Graduate Practicum – “The Gaps in My Fossil Record” or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying, Let Go, and Love My Inner Bomb”

COURSE LOCATION AND TIMES

Auditorium 244

Monday, Wednesday   10:20 – 12:10

Course website on D2L MSU

INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION

Mark Colson

Office: 300

Email:  mcolson@msu.edu

Office Hours  Monday 1:00 – 2:00

                       Tuesday 1:00 – 2:00

MATERIALS

                        The Presence of the Actor   Joseph Chaikin

                        Towards a Poor Theatre   Jerzy Grotowski

                        Works of Sam Shepard   TBD

                        Works of Harold Pinter   TBD

 

COURSE PHILOSOPHY

Experiential and experimental practicum focusing on advanced acting techniques. Internal monologue, depth of character, letting go of the trappings of performance.  Advanced exploration into an actor’s presence through the work of Joseph Chaikin.  Heightened examination into losing self-consciousness in performance. To find a method of losing track of how you appear or are perceived by the audience. Non-linear physicality can unlock new areas of discovery in performance.  To embrace the unknown and see what happens ---to let go.  Understanding the importance of making something happen each and every time you go on stage, in rehearsal and performance. Understanding that the techniques and methods acquired in this class are connected and essential to creating meaningful and profound art.

COURSE GOALS

To cast off the baggage and tricks of the actor developed over time.

To only be concerned with how the character feels and what they need.  Anything else is indication and excess.

To fight against the perceived reality of the actor and strive to find the true and honest reality of the character.

To banish self-doubt and judgement from the rehearsal room.   

To push your acting to a place that is unfamiliar, unchartered and surprising.

In rehearsal, when entering a scene, to never think about the outcome or end of the scene---       -----There is only the beginning, given circumstances, character need and no preconceived notions of how the scene will end.

To surprise yourself at least one time during the course of the semester.

To be fearless while working/ performing.  Working without a net. 

 

PROCEDURES FOR ACCOMPLISHING GOALS

Prepared and focused participation in class and the desire to better yourself as a performer.

To unflinchingly focus on character, given circumstances, and connecting to another character.

Applied understanding of the terms and theory covered in readings and discussed in class.

Active participation in all discussions.

Physical exercises designed to turn off your brain and just respond and connect.

Continually demanding of yourself to try and find more emotional depth.

Successful presentation of projects.  Success defined for this class:  Exploring unfamiliar and deeply personal territory as an actor.  The work must cost you something. 

Respect for others and their time.  

Written critiques of four films. (Personal observations regarding the craft of filmmaking and acting.  Continue to refine your voice as a practitioner of your craft.

Time management.  Plan ahead.  Do not just meet deadlines.

Respect, support, and encouragement of classmates. The nature of the work we do in and out of class is personal.  Be respectful of each other.

Don’t betray the instructor during the course of the semester. 

 

WRITTEN WORK

Essay / Journal  (2)  One midway thru the semester, the other at the end. 4 pages.  Documenting the work being done in class, discoveries made. 

Four Written Critiques  2 – 3 pages. All films will be decided upon by the instructor. 

Focus on elements that interest you and that you are confronting in your own projects. Advanced acting concepts regarding production, storyline, execution, personal connection, etc. 

 PROJECTS

Ambiguous Dialogue Scene

With a scene partner you will create the circumstances, genre, environment, time period, characters, conflict, and objectives for the scene. All dialogue will be performed as written. No section of the scene will be glossed over or unjustified.  Do not look for easy answers or solutions. Create a scene that has depth, meaning, and costs you something. You cannot be actors/ performers or mentally insane. You must construct the scene in a realistic environment.  These scenes will be the groundwork for the Pinter section.

·      This exercise tests your imagination in constructing a scene that can be justified using only the words provided.

·      A free exchange of ideas with your partner as you collaborate to reach a solution in solving this theatrical equation. Problem solving.

·       An exercise in finding theatrical life in between the lines.

·      Living in the non-verbal.

·       Finding the life of the scene before the first word is spoken, in transitions, and after the last word is spoken.

Grotowski / Shepard

This will be a semester of exploration using the writing of playwright Sam Shepard in conjunction with the physical work of Jerzy Grotowski. We are interested in finding non-linear physicality as a key in finding methods of freeing your mind and emotions from preconceived ideas about acting in general, scene work, and character development.  The exercises will shift the body into non-habitual patterns/poses and will test you physically. Shepard’s use of magical realism with its sometimes, hallucinatory imagery, battling between reality and abnormality will be the perfect companion to Grotowski’s physically motivated work and will help to keep the actor far away from the familiar and comfortable.

·      This new method will help you with being more spontaneous.  

·      Open to the moment.  

·      Unconcerned with how your acting is perceived. 

·      Finding non-habitual movement patterns will affect on your mind and emotions.

·      You will discover unexpected and surprising moments.

Pinter Scene Work

This section will consist of scene study through the work of Harold Pinter. We will read several plays by the playwright and choose the scene best suited to each of you.  There is sometimes a level of absurdity in Pinter’s plays that is difficult to disseminate.  (Ambiguous Dialogue scenes).  Pinter demands much from the actor.  Through the playwright’s famous use of “silences and pauses,” the you must navigate an advanced level of communication in the non-verbal realms of character and the context of the play. The characters can change tactics quickly and go from sweet/ innocent to threatening, thus coining the phrase, “comedy of menace.”

(Learning outcomes for Pinter)

·      Accessing and building a character with challenging material

·      Improving onstage communication with non-verbal cues

·      Working with changing tactics and shifting stimuli within the text

·      Adding to the context of the play and character with engaged and connected choices.

Final Scene

To be determined by the needs of the students and the class. TBD by instructor and students.

Your projects and performances will be assessed according to past work observed in class and on stage.  You will need to display a genuine need to better yourself as an actor.  You will be evaluated with consideration of your individual progression and not in comparison to your classmate’s level of previous knowledge, experience or progression.

NO CELLPHONES, iPods or other electronic devises permitted in class.

NO USE OF INTERNET during class time, unless sanctioned by instructor.      

Noncompliance with Cellphone and Internet ban will result in points deducted from the Participation portion of your grade at the discretion of the instructor.

NO GUM, FOOD OR DRINK permitted in class.  (Except for one bottle of water per student)

Attendance Policies:

You will be allowed 2 absences without being penalized. Beyond these two absences, only a University sanctioned absence or medical absence will be excused (an official University or Department excuse form will be necessary to excuse you or a note from your doctor). No absences of any kind will excuse you from class responsibilities.

You, the student, will be held accountable for keeping up with class assignments and projects. Although the instructor reserves the right to calculate the participation grade see Participation) by subjective evaluation of the “quality” of each student’s participation, the primary factor in your attendance will be evaluated as follows:

            2 absences = no grade reduction

            3 absences = a 0.5 reduction of your final grade

            4 absences = a 1.0 reduction in final grade

            5 absences = Automatic failure of class

Tardiness: Tardiness is disruptive to a class of this nature and will not be tolerated. Any tardiness will be recorded along with attendance. Attendance will be taken promptly at the start of class. If you enter the room after the role-call has been completed, you will be considered tardy.  3 tardies = 1 absence.

Participation points will be subtracted from the Grotowski / Shepard section, if needed.  

If you enter the room anytime after 20 minutes of the official start of class you will be marked absent for that class day.  If you depart from class (for any reason) before the official end of class, you will be marked absent for that day.

Department-Wide Attendance Policy:
 Class/Rehearsal/Performance Policy. Our primary focus is your education. Classes should take precedence over production. To ensure that this focus remain balanced we have instituted a “no class attendance means no rehearsal policy” for all BFA and MFA actors and Stage Managers.

Every course has different attendance guidelines. This policy is related to the number of allowed absences in any THR or DAN class. If you exceed the number of allowed absences for any individual class, the Director of the production that you are involved with will be notified regarding the break of policy and you will not be permitted to participate in that evening’s rehearsal or performance. Please check the attendance policy carefully on all THR and DAN syllabi.

As an example, most acting classes allow two unexcused absences.  You may use these at any time and it will not affect your attendance at rehearsal or performance. If you miss class again and have exceeded your limit of allowed absences, you will not be allowed to attend that evening's rehearsal or performance. This is related to all THR and DAN classes.

 

GRADING SUMMARY:

Ambiguous Scene                    10

Grotowski/ Shepard                15

Pinter Scene                           20

Final Scene                              20

Essay  (2 – 7.5 each)              15

Critiques (4)                            20

 

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Grading scale:              93-100 = 4.0

                                    88-92 = 3.5

                                    83-87 = 3.0

                                    78-82 = 2.5

                                    73-77 = 2.0

                                    68-72 = 1.5

                                    60-67 = 1.0

                                    59 and below = 0.0

 

COURSE CALENDAR

 

8/30

·      Introduction to Class

 9/1

·      No Class – Labor Day

 9/6

·      Work Ambiguous Dialogue Scene

 9/11

·      Work A.D. Scenes

 9/13

            Work A.D.

 9/18

·      Critique #1 Due

·      Discuss   The Presence of the Actor

·      Work A.D.

·      Grotowski /Shepard Work

 9/20

·      Perform Ambiguous Dialogue Scene

 9/25

·      TBD

9/27

·      Grotowski / Shepard Work

·      Discuss Towards a Poor Theatre

10/2

·      Critique #2 Due

·      Grotowski /Shepard Work  

10/4

·      Read Pinter Scenes

10/9

·      Read Pinter Scenes   

10/11

·      Work Pinter Scenes

10/16

·      Work Pinter Scenes

10/18

·      Work Pinter Scenes

10/23

·      Work P.S.

10/25

·      Work P.S.

10/30

·      Haunted Aud.

·      Work Pinter Scenes?

11/1

·      Work P.S.

·      Critique #3 Due

11/6

·      Stratford Residency  -No class

11/8

·      Stratford Residency –No class

11/13

·      Pinter

11/15

·      Pinter

11/20

Pinter

11/22

·      Pinter

11/27

·      Pinter  

11/29

·      Pinter

12/4

·      Pinter  

12/6

·      Performance Riverwalk Theatre

·      Critique of Film #4 Due

 12/12  

         Essay Due

Safety and Privilege of Egress

The study of Theatre and Dance involves intensive physical and emotional challenges. Every effort is made to provide a supportive and safe learning environment. To aid in this regard, students enrolled in Theatre and Dance courses are responsible for the following standards:

(1) All members of the class, including the instructor, are to be treated with respect. No one may intentionally hurt himself or herself, another person or the physical space and its contents at any time.

(2) Students have the right to egress from any class activity, to step out of work that they believe may compromise their well-being.

(3) Students will not abuse the privilege of egress, a privilege that will be respected by the classroom community.

(4) Students are responsible for informing faculty of anything that might limit their full participation in the class (injuries, restrictions, etc.) Physical contact, between student and student, as well as student and instructor, can be expected in the practice of Theatre and Dance. A student who does not wish to be touched, for whatever reason, is responsible for informing the instructor.  An instructor will clearly define the pedagogical purpose and the specific physical contact that may arise from a given exercise.

ACADEMIC HONESTY

 Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades and professional standards.” In addition the Department of Theatre adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grade; the all-University Point on Integrity of Scholarship and Grade, and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: www.msu.edu.) Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from a source. You are not authorized to use the www.allmsu.com Web site to complete any course work in THR 201. Students who violate MSU rules may receive a penalty grade including but not limited to a failing grade on the assignment in the course.

Accommodation Statement: I am committed to providing everyone the support and services needed to participate in this course. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at http://rcpd.msu.edu. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (“VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc), so that your needs can be addressed. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible. If you have a temporary medical condition or injury, visit https://www.rcpd.msu.edu/services/temporary-conditions and discuss your needs with me.

Online SIRS:  Michigan State University takes seriously the opinion of students in the evaluation of the effectiveness of instruction and has implemented the Student Instructional Rating System (SIRS) to gather student feedback (https://sirsonline.msu.edu). This course utilizes the online SIRS system, and you will receive an e-mail during the last two weeks of class asking you to fill out the SIRS web form at your convenience. In addition, participation in the online SIRS system involves grade sequestration, which means that the final grade for this course will not be accessible on STUINFO during the week following the submission of grades for this course unless the SIRS online form has been completed. Alternatively, you have the option on the SIRS website to decline to participate in the evaluation of the course. We hope, however, that you will be willing to give us your frank and constructive feedback so that we may instruct students even better in the future.  If you access the online SIRS website and complete the online SIRS form or decline to participate, you will receive the final grade in this course as usual once final grades are submitted.

Drop and Adds: The last day to add this course is the end of the first week of classes. The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and the last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is outlined on the MSU Registrar’s website.   You should immediately make a copy of your amended schedule to verify you have added or dropped this course.

Observing Major Religious Holidays: You may make up course work missed to observe a major religious holiday only if you make arrangements in advance with the instructor.

Participation is Required Activity: To make up course work missed to participate in a required activity or a university-sanctioned event, you must provide the instructor with adequate advanced notice and a written authorization from the faulty member of the course of from a university administrator.

Attendance: Students whose names do not appear on the official class list for this course may not attend this class.

Disruptive Behavior: Article 2.3.5 of the Academic Freedom Report (AFR) for students at Michigan State University states that “The student’s behavior in the classroom shall be conducive to the teaching and learning process for all concerned.” Article 2.3.10 of the AFR states that “The student has a right to a scholarly relationships with faculty based on mutual trust and civility.” General Student Regulation 5.02 states, “No student shall…interfere with the functions and services of the University (for example, but not limited to classes…) such that the function or service is obstructed or disrupted. Students whose conduct adversely affects the learning environment in this classroom may be subject to disciplinary action through the Student Judiciary process.

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SYLLABUS

Fall 2017

Theatre 201:  Acting II

COURSE LOCATION AND TIMES       

Arena Theatre   Room 11

Tuesday, Thursday   3:00- 4:50

INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION 

Mark Colson

Office:  Third floor Aud.  Rm. 300 

Email:  mcolson@msu.edu

Office Hours:  Monday 1:00 – 2:00

                        Tuesday  1:00 - 2:00

 MATERIALS

Text:  Meisner, Sanford - On Acting, by Sanford Meisner and Dennis Longwell

Plays to be assigned

Shows to be seen:  We Foxes, The Great Gatsby, The Misanthrope (see details below)

COURSE DESCRIPTION AND PHILOSOPHY

Intensive practicum including scene study, rehearsal and performance of works by contemporary playwrights.  This course will cover American drama from 1960 until the present – Theatre and Film. Students will work towards being more spontaneous, connected to partners, living in the moment, listening and responding, exploring given circumstances and emotional depth. The class is primarily based in the teachings of Sanford Meisner). The skills learned in this class will translate to the longevity of a career as a professional actor. Our main objective and our mantra will be…“Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”  --Sanford Meisner

COURSE GOALS

 1)   To expand awareness of acting as a craft, with practical and useful tools and goals.

2)   To make students critically aware of what makes a good actor.

3)   To develop a deeper understanding of acting skills, script, character analysis, and acting terminology.

4)   To foster an acceptance of the commitment and discipline that acting requires.

5)   To further develop the acting instrument.

6)   To gain and maintain confidence while performing in front of others through an awareness of the self and the physical space onstage.

7)   To explore, through the work of Sanford Meisner, the concepts of listening and responding, repetition, living truthfully under imaginary circumstances.

8)   To study plays and screenplays from 1960 thru the present – through analysis or scene study.   

 

PROCEDURES FOR ACCOMPLISHING GOALS

1)   Enthusiastic, prepared and creative participation in class.

2)   Applied understanding of the terms and theory covered in readings and discussed in class.

3)   The willingness to fail.  Acting is about making multiple choices, and trying these choices in rehearsal.  Many of these choices will not work and it is your job as an adventurous actor to fail on a grand scale. 

4)   Successful presentation of scene work (including commitment to rehearsal outside of class time) as well as participation in class exercises and improvisations.  Successful presentation – Success is not about getting your scene “right.”  It involves testing your boundaries, trying something new, gravitating toward what scares you.  Your scene could be a mess, but as long as you are trying to grow, you will receive high marks. 

5)   Complete and thorough written responses to class exercises, research projects and analysis.

6)   Attendance (see attendance policy) and active participation in each class.

7)    No late papers, missed exams or performances will be permitted. No make-up performances will be permitted.

8)    Rehearsals outside of class will be required. No missed rehearsals are allowed: participation grades will be affected by missed outside rehearsals.

9)    Successful completion of three critiques of theatre Department productions.

10)         Respect, support, and encouragement of classmates. Most importantly, respect for assigned scene partners

11)         Understanding the importance of The Group Theatre and its members.  Their influence on American Theatre at that time and the broader impact that The Group Theatre has had on acting and theatre to this day.  

12)         Written critiques of three plays, presented throughout the semester:

We Foxes – September, 22 – 24     Pasant Theatre 

The Great Gatsby– October, 13 – 22    Pasant Theatre

The Misanthrope  – November,  10-19    Arena Theatre

  

 Performance

Ambiguous Dialogue Scene

Scenes will be assigned by instructor. With a partner you will create the circumstances, genre, environment, time period, characters, conflict, and objectives for the scene. All dialogue will be performed as written. No section of the scene will be glossed over or unjustified.  Do not look for easy answers or solutions. You cannot be actors/ performers or mentally insane. You must construct the scene in a realistic environment.

·      This exercise tests your imagination in constructing a scene that can be justified using only the words provided.

·      A free exchange of ideas with your partner as you collaborate to reach a solution in solving this theatrical equation. Problem solving.

·       An exercise in finding theatrical life in between the lines.

Sam Shepard Scene

Students will be assigned a scene from a Shepard play. You will analyze the play and scene. You will make informed choices on character based on the given circumstances of the play.  You will rehearse the scene with an assigned partner and ultimately perform for a grade, based on the time and effort you have put into the process. You will explore the concepts explored in class to create a truthful, believable, realistic character.

·      To make a meaningful connection with your scene partner.

·      To find the reality of the character and environment.

·      To explore the given circumstances, especially before entering the scene or before the scene starts.

FINAL SCENE

You will be assigned a partner.  Choose a play or screenplay from the last 10 years that is a good fit for both actors.  Use the same set of guiding principles as the Sam Shepard Scene.

A culmination of all that you have learned in this class.

Build on the knowledge you have experienced and continue to approach your work in new and fresh ways. 

CRITIQUES

Three completed critiques of assigned productions. (MSU Theatre).  This will account for 7 points each, per critique.

TWO CRITIQUES (2 and 3)   Attach in D2L

CRITIQUE FORMAT (2 pages minimum)

Show critiques should address the following topics:

Critique the performances based on topics discussed in class or in assigned texts.

Possible topics for acting evaluation include but aren’t limited to: honesty, listening, actions/goals.

Overall production critique: design elements, directorial choices, and production cohesiveness.

Did the show work for you?  Give support for your answer.  How were you left feeling after the production?  Were you thinking about the production the next day?

 ORAL CRITIQUE

We Foxes  Students will have 2.5 minutes to critique the show.  Critique should be clear and concise. Students will cover performances, merits of play and overall concept.  What worked on stage, what didn’t, director’s vision, standout performances and why, costumes, sound, lighting and set.  Students will have a minimal amount of time to cover many aspects of the play.  All topics listed above will be discussed.   Students will need to be economical in their use of time; clarity of thought, editing and preparation will be instrumental in the successful completion of assignment.  Racing through the report will possibly qualify as unclear/ unintelligible. 

 

ATTENDANCE

You will be allowed 2 absences without being penalized. Beyond these two absences, only a University sanctioned absence or medical absence will be excused (an official University or Department excuse form will be necessary to excuse you or a note from your doctor). No absences of any kind will excuse you from class responsibilities.

You, the student, will be held accountable for keeping up with class assignments and projects. Although the instructor reserves the right to calculate the participation grade see Participation) by subjective evaluation of the “quality” of each student’s participation, the primary factor in your attendance will be evaluated as follows:

                  2 absences = no grade reduction

                  3 absences = a 0.5 reduction of your final grade

                  4 absences = a 1.0 reduction in final grade

                  5 absences = Automatic failure of class

Tardiness: Tardiness is disruptive to a class of this nature and will not be tolerated. Any tardiness will be recorded along with attendance. Attendance will be taken promptly at the start of class. If you enter the room after the role-call has been completed, you will be considered tardy.  3 tardies = 1 absence.

If you enter the room anytime after 20 minutes of the official start of class you will be marked absent for that class day.  If you depart from class (for any reason) before the official end of class, you will be marked absent for that day.

Department-Wide Attendance Policy:
 Class/Rehearsal/Performance Policy. Our primary focus is your education. Classes should take precedence over production. To ensure that this focus remain balanced we have instituted a “no class attendance means no rehearsal policy” for all BFA and MFA actors and Stage Managers.

Every course has different attendance guidelines. This policy is related to the number of allowed absences in any THR or DAN class. If you exceed the number of allowed absences for any individual class, the Director of the production that you are involved with will be notified regarding the break of policy and you will not be permitted to participate in that evening’s rehearsal or performance. Please check the attendance policy carefully on all THR and DAN syllabi.

As an example, most acting classes allow two unexcused absences.  You may use these at any time and it will not affect your attendance at rehearsal or performance. If you miss class again and have exceeded your limit of allowed absences, you will not be allowed to attend that evening's rehearsal or performance. This is related to all THR and DAN classes.

NO CELLPHONES, iPods or other electronic devises permitted in class.

NO USE OF INTERNET during class time.    

Noncompliance with Cellphone and Internet ban will result in points deducted from the Participation portion of your grade at the discretion of the instructor.

NO GUM, FOOD OR DRINK permitted in class.  (Except for one bottle of water per student)

BE AWARE:  MANY EXERCISES WILL BE DONE IN CLASS USING THE SCENE YOU HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED: MEMORIZE YOUR SCENES AS SOON AS YOU GET THEM.

Your performances will be assessed according to your own ability to comprehend and execute the work. You will be evaluated with consideration of your individual progression and not in comparison to your classmate’s level of previous knowledge, experience or progression.

Participation: Will account for 14% of your final grade. Participation refers to your willingness to volunteer with a positive attitude for class work and exercises; to speak up in discussions with pertinent comments or questions; being supportive and respectful to your classmates at all times. Responsibilities also include participation in exercises that require physical and emotional involvement. 

Grading policies:

This is a studio class with daily active participation. Your attendance, support and enthusiasm along with a concentrated daily effort significantly affect your final grade. Written assignments and reading assignments are not only crucial to your final grade, but also to your understanding of character creation and final performance.

GRADING SUMMARY:

Ambiguous Scene                                15

Shepard Scene                                       20

Final Scene                                               30

Participation:                                        14

Production Critiques                       21

--------------

Grading scale:                      93-100 = 4.0

                                                      88-92 = 3.5

                                                      83-87 = 3.0

                                                      78-82 = 2.5

                                                      73-77 = 2.0

                                                      68-72 = 1.5

                                                      60-67 = 1.0

                                                      59 and below = 0.0

 Schedule:

Assignment for next class (indented)

8/31

Introduction to Class

 Exercises

Read Meisner  Chapters 1 and 2

9/5

Exercises

Discussion of Meisner Chapters 1 and 2

Hand out Ambiguous Dialogue Scene 

9/7

Discussion of Dramatic Structure

Exercises

Work A.D. Scene

9/12

Work A.D. Scene 

9/14

Work A.D. Scene

Read chapters 3 and 4

Exercises

Work A.D. Scene

Discuss Meisner 3 and 4

Exercises

Read Meisner Chapters 5 and 6

9/19

Work A.D. Scene

Discuss chapters 5 and 6

9/21

Work A.D. Scene

Exercises  

Read Meisner 7 and 8

9/26

Discuss Meisner 7 and 8

Work A.D. Scene

  We Foxes   Oral Critique Due

9/28

We Foxes  Oral Critique Due

Work A.D. Scene

Ambiguous Dialogue Scene Due

Read Meisner, Chapters 9 and 10

10/3

Presentation Ambiguous Dialogue Scene

Discuss Chapters 9 and 10

Read Meisner 11

10/5

Hand Out Shepard Scene

Discuss Chapters 11

10/10

Work Shepard Scene

10/12

The Group Theatre

Sam Shepard

10/17

Work Shepard Scene

Guy Sanville

10/19

Guy Sanville Artistic Director of the Purple Rose Theatre

10/24

Work Shepard Scene

Exercises  

10/26

Work Shepard Scene

Exercises

The Great Gatsby Critique Due

10/31

The Great Gatsby  Critique Due   

Work Shepard Scene

11/2

Work Shepard Scene

  Shepard Scene Due

 11/7

Presentation Shepard Scene

Final Scene (3) Choices

 11/9

Read (3) Choices for Final scene

11/14

Read (3) Choices for Final scene

11/16

Work Final Scene  

11/21

Work Final Scene

11/23

THANKSGIVING  OFF

11/28

Work Final Scene

The Misanthrope Critique Due

11/30

The Misanthrope  Critique Due

Work Final Scene

12/5

Work Final Scene

Final Scene Due

12/7

PRESENTATION FINAL SCENE

12/11 -15

No Class – Finals week

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Theatre 204 Topics in Acting/ Directing I:

Acting for the Camera

 

Michigan State University  Department of Theatre

Spring  2016

M W 12:40 – 2:30     Aud. 244 Studio

 

Instructor:   Mark Colson

Office:  Third Floor Aud.

Phone:  517-884-7805

Email: mcolson@msu.edu

Office Hours:  Tuesday  3:00 -4:00

                        Wednesday      11:00 - 12:00

Text:  Collegeville  Coursepack

Acting in Film, by Michael Caine

Acting for the Camera by Tony Barr    

            Scripts to be assigned. 

 

Course Description and Objectives

Intensive practicum focusing on the foundational elements of On-Camera Acting.  Becoming comfortable in front of a camera.   The fundamentals of auditioning and On-Camera acting - Including TV auditions and Commercials.  Beginning TV and Film scene work.  Understanding the equipment and terms used in an audition and on-set. Understanding the mechanics of On-Camera acting, approached from a relaxed and confident state. Examining the differences and similarities of on-camera and stage acting.      

 Course Objectives:

1)    To expand awareness of on-camera acting as a craft, with practical and useful tools and goals.

2)    To make students critically aware of what makes a good commercial actor and to be comfortable when the camera is rolling.

3)    To develop an understanding of on-camera acting skills and on-set terminology.

4)    To gain and maintain confidence while performing in front of a camera.

5)    To act from a place of relaxation and calm.  

6)    To gain a basic appreciation for the jobs needed in TV and film.

7)    To examine one’s own work critically and make the desired adjustments.

8)    To make solid choices as an actor. 

9) To explore the differences between stage and film acting. Understanding that on-camera acting is more about natural behavior and less about “performance.”

10) The beginning exploration of creating memorable auditions.

Procedures for accomplishing objective:

1)    Enthusiastic, prepared and creative participation in class.

2)    Applied understanding of the terms and theory covered in readings and discussed in class.

3)    Successful presentation of Camera work, monologues and scenes (including commitment to rehearsal outside of class time) as well as participation in class exercises.

4)    A focused commitment to bettering work as an actor.

5)    Memorization of scenes to be filmed in class.

6)    Understanding terms used on-set, along with jobs needed.

7)     Practical application of concepts discussed in class and applied to auditions.  Commercials and TV.

8)    On-camera scene work.

9)    Written critiques of three films.

Written Work:

1) Test of Terms used in production and jobs associated with the TV and film industry.  Understanding of key-points of the assigned readings. 

2) Two written Film Critiques:  2 pages   All films will be watched in class, worth 5 points each.

Focus on an actor’s performances (were they believable, did they perform from a place of relaxation and confidence, what made one actor’s performance more memorable/ exciting than another actor’s performance?  What are the concepts you have been working on in class and how do they relate specific aspects of the film and performances.

Presentations:

 In class ORAL CRITIQUE.  Students will have 3 minutes to critique a film.  Critique should be clear and concise. See guidelines above for written critiques.  All topics listed above in written critique section will be discussed.  Students will need to be economical in their use of time; clarity of thought, editing and preparation will be instrumental in the successful completion of assignment.  Racing through the report will possibly qualify as unclear or unintelligible.  Oral Critiques will be filmed for benefit of student and grading purposes.  Critiques will be timed and cut off if exceeding 2.5 minutes.  

Performance Work:

Continuity/ Repetition Exercise:

You will select a monologue from a play or film and memorize -No more than 90 seconds.  You will choose five distinct physical actions to accompany the monologue AND five will be assigned to you by the instructor.  (Ten total) 

(The details of the exercise are omitted and can be accessed with the permission of instructor.)

Silent Activity

Perform silent activity, minimal props and/or mime actions.    Exercise should last from 2 minutes.   Camera will be stationary, so keep your activity small and precise.  Make what you are doing real for yourself; be very detailed in your actions.  

 (The details of the exercise are omitted and can be accessed with the permission of instructor.)

Commercial Audition Solo and Commercial Audition w/ Partner:

You will perform commercial auditions, handed out 10-15 minutes before taping.   Instructor will let you know appropriate attire before audition.  You will embrace the dialogue and circumstances and you will make choices in a brief period of time.  For partner audition, you will establish a relationship and connection with your partner in a brief period of time. 

TV Audition:

Scene will be handed out a few days prior to the taping.  You will prepare scene, and tape audition, making choices appropriate to the givens of the scene. 

One Line Audition:

(The details of the exercise are omitted and can be accessed with the permission of instructor.) 

Final Scene and Soap Opera Scene: 

Prepare a scene with a partner for taping.   Rehearse scene, break scene in to beats, make choices appropriate to your character and circumstance.

 Requirements of Students:

1)    Attendance (see attendance policy) and active participation in each class.

2)    Committed and connected work in monologues and scenes as well as rehearsals.

3)    No make-up performances will be permitted.

4)    Successful passing of test on film terminology and readings. 

5)    Rehearsals outside of class will be required. No missed rehearsals are allowed: participation grades will be affected by missed outside rehearsals.

6)   Successful performances for assigned scene work.

7)   Respect, support, and encouragement of classmates. Most importantly, respect for      

       assigned scene partners

10) Critique of Episodic TV program and Films.

NO CELLPHONES, iPods or other electronic devises permitted in class.

NO USE ON INTERNET during class time.

Noncompliance with Cellphone and Internet ban will result in points deducted from the Participation portion of your grade at the discretion of the instructor. 

NO GUM, FOOD OR DRINK permitted in class.  (Except for one bottle of water per student)

Attendance Policies:

You will be allowed 2 absences without being penalized. Beyond these two absences, only a University sanctioned absence or medical absence will be excused (an official University or Department excuse form will be necessary to excuse you or a note from your doctor). No absences of any kind will excuse you from class responsibilities.

You, the student, will be held accountable for keeping up with class assignments and projects. Although the instructor reserves the right to calculate the participation grade see Participation) by subjective evaluation of the “quality” of each student’s participation, the primary factor in your attendance will be evaluated as follows:

            2 absences = no grade reduction

            3 absences = a 0.5 reduction of your final grade

            4 absences = a 1.0 reduction in final grade

            5 absences = Automatic failure of class

Tardiness: Tardiness is disruptive to a class of this nature and will not be tolerated. Any tardiness will be recorded along with attendance. Attendance will be taken promptly at the start of class. If you enter the room after the role-call has been completed, you will be considered tardy.  3 tardies = 1 absence.

If you enter the room anytime after 20 minutes of the official start of class you will be marked absent for that class day.  If you depart from class (for any reason) before the official end of class, you will be marked absent for that day.

(The remainder of the attendance policy has been omitted along with the grading scale, class schedule, and university procedures. Available upon request).

(Not included; grading scale, course schedule, university protocols).

***************************************************************************************************************************************************

Theatre 304 Topics in Acting/ Directing I: Acting for the Camera – Advanced Scene Study

 

Michigan State University

Spring 2018

MW 12:40 – 2:30     Aud. 246 Studio

Instructor:   Mark Colson

Office:  Third Floor Aud.  Rm. 300

Phone:  517-884-7805

Email: mcolson@msu.edu

Office Hours:  Tuesday 12:15 -1:15

                        Wednesday  11:00 - 12:00

Text: 

(The details of the course materials have been omitted and can be accessed with the permission of instructor.)

          Scripts to be assigned. 

 

Course Description and Objectives

An advanced level acting practicum focusing on film performance through in depth scene study. Building on foundational principles introduced in THR204- Media Acting.  Professional standards will be upheld pertaining to the filming environment, and applied to all actors— specifically; memorization, time management, striving for an advanced level of performance, and a professional demeanor on set. TV audition scenes will challenge the actor to make memorable choices with the goal of securing a callback. With scene study we focus on script analysis, pursuit of objective, on camera presence, developing a heightened sense of inner-monologue/ subtext, and expanding emotional depth. A 304 level understanding of the specific equipment used on-set and the various personnel employed in the entertainment industry.  

 

Course Objectives:

1)    To expand and explore advanced level awareness of on-camera acting.

2)    To challenge students to repeatedly create memorable performances

3)    To develop an advanced understanding of on-camera acting skills and on-set terminology and protocol.

4)    To process the script and make a significant connection with a scene partner, sometimes without the benefit of extended rehearsal time.

5)    To gain a heightened sense of on-set awareness and protocol.

6)    To constantly be aware and maintain actor continuity. 

7)    To maintain confidence in preparation and in the auditioning room in an effort to book call-backs.

8)    To explore an advanced state of  “relaxed readiness”.  

9)    To gain an appreciation for the jobs needed in TV and film.

10) To critically examine one’s own work and make the desired adjustments.

11) To keep working towards greater emotional depth.

12) To always maintain professional standards.

 

Procedures for accomplishing objective:

1)    Prepared and focused participation in class.

2)    Applied understanding of the terms and theory covered in readings and discussed in class.

3)    Successful presentation of scenes (including commitment to rehearsal outside of class time) as well as participation in class exercises.

4)    A commitment to bettering work as an actor and holding yourself to your own personal standards. Not settling for being the best among fellow students. Always looking for the opportunity of taking your work to the next level. 

5)    Memorization of scenes to be filmed in class.

6)    Understanding terms used on-set, along with jobs needed.

7)     Successful completion of assigned work.

8)    Successful completion of film and TV critiques.

 

Written Work:

1)    Test of terms used in production and jobs associated with the TV and film industry.   Questions relating to films that we have screened in class.  Example – directors and their style of filmmaking.  Significance of the film.  Significance of an actor’s performance.      

2) Three written Critiques:  Two pages, double-spaced.   Critique of Film.  (All to be watched in class, worth 5 points each)

No electronic devices will be used to take notes during screenings.  Pen and paper only. You will focus on advanced acting values- honesty, believability, simplicity, access to- and depth of emotion. Effective use of the inner monologue – living in the non-verbal.    Shots used –(master, medium, close-up).  Which shots were most effective and for what reason?  Continuity issues. What are you working on in class and how does it apply to this film.

In class ORAL CRITIQUE.  Students will have 2.5 minutes to critique a film.  Critique should be clear and concise. See guidelines above for written critiques.  All topics listed above will be discussed.  Students will need to be economical in their use of time; clarity of thought, editing and preparation will be instrumental in the successful completion of assignment.  Racing through the report will possibly qualify as unclear or unintelligible.  Oral Critiques will be filmed for benefit of student and grading purposes.  Critiques will be timed and cut off if exceeding 2.5 minutes.  (Worth 7 points).     

 

Performance Work:

TV Audition Scene

Making memorable choices, building on the work done in 204. Think in terms of getting a call-back, not booking the role. Make something happen in the audition room.

Scenes (3)

Creating characters that are memorable and personal. Making choices that scare you and make you stretch as an actor. Risk. Employee all of the learned tools at your disposal.   

 

Requirements of Students:

1)    Attendance (see attendance policy) and active participation in each class.

2)    Committed and connected work in monologues and scenes as well as rehearsals.

3)    No make-up performances will be permitted.

4)    Successful passing of test on film terminology. 

5)    Rehearsals outside of class will be required. No missed rehearsals are allowed: participation grades will be affected by missed outside rehearsals.

6)   Successful performances for assigned scene work.

7)   Respect, support, and encouragement of classmates. Most importantly, respect for      

       assigned scene partners

9)    Critique of Films.

 

NO CELLPHONES, iPods or other electronic devises permitted in class.

NO USE ON INTERNET during class time unless sanctioned by instructor. 

Noncompliance with Cellphone and Internet ban will result in points deducted from the Participation portion of your grade at the discretion of the instructor. 

NO GUM, FOOD OR DRINK permitted in class.  (Except for one bottle of water per student)

 

Attendance Policies:

You will be allowed 2 absences without being penalized. Beyond these two absences, only a University sanctioned absence or medical absence will be excused (an official University or Department excuse form will be necessary to excuse you or a note from your doctor). No absences of any kind will excuse you from class responsibilities.

You, the student, will be held accountable for keeping up with class assignments and projects. Although the instructor reserves the right to calculate the participation grade see Participation) by subjective evaluation of the “quality” of each student’s participation, the primary factor in your attendance will be evaluated as follows:

            2 absences = no grade reduction

            3 absences = a 0.5 reduction of your final grade

            4 absences = a 1.0 reduction in final grade

            5 absences = Automatic failure of class

Tardiness: Tardiness is disruptive to a class of this nature and will not be tolerated. Any tardiness will be recorded along with attendance. Attendance will be taken promptly at the start of class. If you enter the room after the role-call has been completed, you will be considered tardy.  3 tardies = 1 absence.

 BE AWARE:  MEMORIZATION OF SCENES IS EXPECTED AND WILL RELECT IN YOUR FINAL GRADE.

Your performances will be assessed according to your own ability to comprehend and execute the work. You will be evaluated with consideration of your individual progression and not in comparison to your classmate’s level of previous knowledge, experience or progression.

 (Not included; absence policy, grading scale, course schedule, university protocols).

************************************************************************************************************************************************

 

THR 404   MEDIA ACTING/FILMMAKING - Creating Content

 Fall 2017

COURSE LOCATION AND TIMES

 Auditorium 244

Monday, Wednesday   3:00 – 4:50

Course website on D2L MSU

 INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION

 Mark Colson

Office: 300

Email:  mcolson@msu.edu

Office Hours  Monday 1:00 – 2:00

                       Tuesday 1:00 – 2:00

MATERIALS

(The details of the course materials have been omitted and can be accessed with the permission of instructor.)

COURSE PHILOSOPHY 

We will be focusing on storytelling, specifically designed for the actor, through digital video. This class is an intensive study in self-motivated, on-camera acting and directing. Exploring the fundamentals of writing, directing, lighting, shooting and editing video as it relates to personalized storytelling. This class is an opportunity to communicate one’s artistic vision clearly and concisely while learning to work with others in a collective environment. To have the experience of performing on-camera while simultaneously directing actors and shots. To push the boundaries of one’s well-established comfort-zone, and to explore the possibilities of this uncharted territory. To gain the tools necessary to promote oneself in a digital, global environment, while creating fictionalized or personal narratives. Learning to never focus on the perception of what may be palatable to others, but standing by personal convictions and core beliefs as one’s confidence and skill is strengthened as a storyteller.

 

 COURSE GOALS

To expand awareness of on-camera directing, acting, lighting, editing, as a craft through the creation of four projects.

To find your voice as a storyteller.

To make students critically aware of solid directing skills.

To push the craft of acting to a place that is unfamiliar and surprising.

To gain hands-on, practical applications, and appreciation for the jobs needed in filmmaking.

To continue to examine work as a director and actor critically and make the desired adjustments.

Gain the tools necessary to promote yourself, post-graduation.

To be confident as a writer, director, producer, and editor. 

 

PROCEDURES FOR ACCOMPLISHING GOALS

Prepared and focused participation in class.

Attendance.

Applied understanding of the terms and theory covered in readings and discussed in class.

Active participation in all course-pack discussions.

Total commitment to all projects.

Successful presentation of projects.  Success defined for this class:  Exploring new territory as a storyteller, director, and actor.  The work must cost you something. 

Participation in class exercises.

Helping others with their projects.  

Respect for others and their time.  Do not flake on time commitments.    

Understanding basic terms used in filmmaking.

Written critiques of four films. (Personal observations regarding the craft of filmmaking and acting. I am not interested in anyone else’s opinion).  Find your voice as a practitioner of your craft.

Time management.  Plan ahead.  Do not just meet deadlines.

Respect, support, and encouragement of classmates. The nature of the work we do in and out of class is personal.  Be respectful of each other.

Remember – There is always something to do be done in this class. If you feel comfortable with your Character Study script and waiting to shoot----get started on your Final Project.  Stay motivated and moving forward.  

 

WRITTEN WORK

Test of Terms used in production and jobs associated with film production.  OR an essay on an agreed upon topic.   This choice will be decided by the student and instructor.  (test or essay)

 Four Written Critiques  2 – 3 pages. All films will be watched in class and decided upon by the instructor. 

Focus on elements that interest you and that you are working on in your own projects, related to production and advanced acting.   Examples: Effective use of internal monologue, innovative shot selection as it relates to solid storytelling.

 

 

PROJECTS

You will write, light, film, edit all projects. You will pitch each project to the instructor and develop an outline and script with the instructor’s guidance.  The instructor will help to flush out your ideas and channel them into the project.  You will act in all of the projects, with the exception of the music video---- your choice.

 

Music Video:

3-4 minutes.  Select a song that has significance for you.  Explore and experiment with different filming techniques and effects. Visual storytelling.  

· (The details of the project are omitted and can be accessed with the permission of instructor.) 

 

Personal Monologue:

3 – 5  minute short film.  We are looking for truthful and real behavior on film. T

 (The details of the project are omitted and can be accessed with the permission of instructor.)

Character Study:

3-4 minute short film. Create and write a character that you relate to.  A character you could play in film or TV.  T

 (The details of the project are omitted and can be accessed with the permission of instructor.)

Create Content and Pitch Presentation:

(The details of the project are omitted and can be accessed with the permission of instructor.)

 

Final Project:   

5 -7 minute short film. This film will be the culmination of everything you have learned in the class.

(The details of the project are omitted and can be accessed with the permission of instructor.) 

 Your projects and performances will be assessed according to your own ability to comprehend and execute the work. You will be evaluated with consideration of your individual progression and not in comparison to your classmate’s level of previous knowledge, experience or progression.

 NO CELLPHONES, iPods or other electronic devises permitted in class.

NO USE OF INTERNET during class time, unless sanctioned by instructor.      

Noncompliance with Cellphone and Internet ban will result in points deducted from the Participation portion of your grade at the discretion of the instructor.

NO GUM, FOOD OR DRINK permitted in class.  (Except for one bottle of water per student)

(Not included; absence policy, grading scale, course schedule, university protocols).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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