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Acting Lessons in Los Angeles, CA

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Andrew Wood Acting Studio:
Yale MFA director Andrew Wood offers reasonably-priced acting classes in Los Angeles (Hollywood / Santa Monica) based on his training at the Yale School of Drama with Evan Yionoulis and Earl Gister. The course is aimed at the serious student of acting, advanced or beginner, who wants to reflect on his or her craft and scrutinize his or her notions of what acting is about. His class will help students of all levels to do this.

Email: Contact us here     ( or request a callback ).
The technique Andrew teaches is Stanislavsky-based, but the most important insights he offers are refinements or radical clarifications of Stanislavsky arrived at by his teachers at Yale. These insights have not yet been written about to speak of, and are not widely known. You need someone to make it live before your eyes.

A few topics covered in the class may be somewhat familiar to the experienced student, but everyone will encounter several very provocative challenges to their notions of the craft of acting over the course of the ten weeks, guaranteed.

Teaching method:

Photo of Acting Lessons in Los Angeles, CAAndrew Wood  teaches a leaner, meaner Stanislavsky. In his class, you will find compelling answers to two questions that any technique has to answer: what is acting, and how do I do it? His answer is that acting is entering into the necessities facing a character (mother of invention, get it?). If you are going to do something in a scene, the most important thing is that you NEED to do it first. The next most important thing is that you pursue that need FOR KEEPS.

You'll learn to name a single, visceral, burning need that you can pursue as the character under all circumstances, allowing you to create lucid performances that MATTER. The technique has many components: underlying objective, plot objectives, actions, destinations, transference, personalization, sense-memory, "the path", and many other elements.

The class will help you understand exactly what these tools are and how to use them in a dynamic manner. You'll also learn how they work together and complement each other to allow you to bring endless depth and richness to your work. Are you ready?

Location:

The classes take place at Santa Monica and Vine in Hollywood.

Programs:

Reasonably-priced 10 week, 3 hours weekly Acting Classes in Los Angeles. Classes are open to Beginners as well as Advanced acting students. Private Coaching also available.

FAQs:

Is the class targeted at stage actors or film actors?
The class is targeted at actors. I contend that acting is acting. Adjustments need to be made for various mediums and circumstances, but if you aren't clear about WHAT it is you are adjusting, then those adjustments and fifty cents would have bought you a cup of coffee 15 years ago. Ultimately, I think this distinction between film and theater acting is given way too much play. Just figure out how to act well. The rest will take care of itself.

Is this technique in use in the profession?

Yes, by some of the best directors working today. Evan Yionoulis and Mark Brokaw attended Yale in the mid-eighties and created the technique from what they learned in classes with David Hammond and Earle Gister. Mark has directed many, many successful Off-Broadway and Broadway productions, including This is Our Youth (with Mark Ruffalo, before he was Mark Ruffalo), How I Learned to Drive (with Mary Louise Parker), As Bees in Honey Drown (with J. Smith-Cameron), and many, many others. Evan recently directed The Violet Hour on Broadway with Robert Sean Leonard, and is a longtime collaborator with Patricia Clarkson, who attended Yale in the same period as Mark and Evan and studied the same technique. Mark and Evan taught the technique for more than ten summers with the Yale Summer School Acting Program, and both went on to teach it at the Yale School of Drama.

I don't need a technique. I have instincts.
Congratulations. You have something in common with earthworms and hedgehogs. No, seriously, instincts are wonderful. They are the best thing an actor has. But are you SURE you are in touch with them? Are you REALLY sure? Are you sure sometimes, but not so sure at other times? Have you been in situations where your instincts were mysteriously silent? Well, then...

Technique is there to support and channel your instincts appropriately, and to give you a range of tools to reach for when that instinctual engine just won't turn over. It happens to the best of us.

Is the technique intellectual?

The goal of the technique I teach is to produce viscerally compelling, lucid performances, NOT intellectual performances. On the way to the lucidity part, though, you are going to need some smarts. Smarts are an important tool for every serious actor, conventional wisdom notwithstanding.

Streetsmarts work as well as booksmarts, but you will need to be able to think things through. You'll need to be able to figure out how someone gets from point A to point B by passing through point J and point ZZ on the way.

And you're also going to need some serious thoughtfulness and introspection to get at the single hot, visceral need that drives the character at every moment, which is the cornerstone of the technique I teach. The goal is ultimately to puncture your intellectual understanding of the character and his or her world and get at something RAW, but we need to have something to puncture first. The only way out of your head is through your head. Shall we?

Is method acting taught in this class?
Depends on what you mean by method. The word "method" is sometimes used to distinguish between ANY Stanislavsky-based work on the one hand, and older styles of acting which were only concerned with "external" concerns such as articulation, intonation, gesture, and alignment or posture on the other. In other words, "method" is sometimes used to mean any approach in which the inner life of the actor while acting is considered to be of paramount importance. In that sense, the approach taught in my class most emphatically is and should be seen as "method."

However, "method" is also often used (the two usages make for a lot of confusion) to mean the type of work engendered by Lee Strasberg, based on some explorations he saw Stanislavsky conduct when he visited him in Russia. This work is known as "emotional memory" work, and the idea is that the actor, while rehearsing or performing, is attempting to relive a particular emotionally compelling event from his or her own past to generate behavior and feeling somehow appropriate to the moment being created by the writer.

I've had a lot of prior training. Can I start with the Advanced class?
No. The Advanced class is not a class for actors at a particular level of proficiency; it is a class that creates an opportunity for people who have spent some time acquainting themselves with the approach taught here at Mother of Invention to be able to work together.

There's a lot of great training and experience out there to be had, but until you have gotten to know what THIS way of working is all about, you won't be a fit for the Advanced class.

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Address: 1122 N Gower St, Los Angeles, California 90038, USA
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