What are the benefits you're getting
from Scene Study? From the Seminar Series?
Seminar Series: I started in April and didn't start with a clear cut project. I honestly felt I haven't gotten as much from this as the other classes. I think I could be taking it on more. I guess I need to clearly define my project better - I think it's more like "to get rid of all the things (BS) in my life that is keeping me from being a place where I can honestly take on the task of becoming a working actor". But on to the benefits, it's helpful to get the teaching about projects and taking them all and dealing with obstacles - however, I feel I get a lot of that teaching in my privates. It's nice to do it in a group and learn from other people's struggles.
Lee: With scene study, Learning from students mistakes, including mine. In Seminar Series, the only person left to take responsibility for my artist career is ME Myself. In class, I've learned exercises I can use everyday, to enlighten and become stronger in Acting. All three (Performance, Scene Study, Business Seminar)combines perfectly and "gives it" to you second by second. I can't really separate them from each other. The learning is flowing through them all, connecting to each other.
David: Scene study is my favorite part of the whole program. It is the place where we get to put all the things we learn in the Wednesday class to work. A part of me wishes we would only do scene study and nothing else, but I of course recognize that so much of the good stuff we are able to incorporate into the scenes comes through the disciplines we hone in class. I walk out of scene study believing that I can do this, that I really can do it. I love it!Also, as I mentioned at the last session, I find scene study of this level crucial to us as actors because each one we prepare gets added into the quality body of work, which we then start to live out of. So many good things come out of this, and it is through this that you really start to acknowledge authentically to yourself that you are an actor, and invite others to do the same. Scene study it like riding a rocket.
Jody: Benefits in scene study for me are creatively connecting with a scene partner which is fulfilling and fun. Scene study is a venue for risk-taking and testing myself with written works - mistakes, trying out and physicalizing ideas, misinterpretations and all. I love the challenge of working with another actor to create an imaginary yet fully-lived world. I like witnessing the (I swear-to-god always exciting) direction you provide to actors and seeing where they go with it, for myself as well.
Seminar series--Benefits would be publicly stating projects I must work on and following through with them. Mostly, the series is a reminder of taking a closer look at myself and my place in the world--that I am powerful and up to many things. The series presents practical, hands-on methods to clean up toxic thought patterns and to actively be a more whole person in life beyond acting. Naturally the clean messages bleed into artistic pursuits.
Mary H.: Scene study benefits: So many, The challenging opportunity to work through the process of creating a scene/character, the ability to work with other actors in this process together, being able to present a performance piece to an audience, learning to apply new concepts learned in class to the actual working process in the art form, learning to appreciate acting as an art form more and more, building up skills/abilities that facilitate me in allowing myself to be more creative, learning that acting is a beautiful, rewarding, and challenging way that you can live your life as long as you are willing to stay true and honest in your work.
Seminar: I can't honestly comment since I haven't put myself in the class as a regular yet.
Mary R.: Specific Benefits gained from Scene Study Experience working in an acting dynamic. Small experiences of presenting myself publicly. Specific Benefits gained from Seminar Focus, patience, confidence, a plan for furthering myself in acting in performance.
What tangible results have you produced?
Amy: I have performed one scene to completion & two performance pieces. I have gained more confidence with performing my performance pieces - specifically on the performance days to do them more experimentally & creatively (as opposed to just regular poems). I have gotten clearer on some of the obstacles I put in my way. I have gotten clearer on some of my projects.
Lee: Sending out resumes, Sending out Agent letters, Marketed myself to Agent through relative, Cleared my Head, Crying.
David: The honest feeling of being an actor. The belief that I can do this, and the knowledge that I love it.
Jody: A couple of short films, a renewed relationship with family members (I admit there are many loose ends still)& a renewed relationship with my day job/main source of income.
Mary H: respect for acting and more commitment to it.
Mary R: A clear goal.
What has been the impact of the coaching?
Amy: With scene study it has really helped me to understand (sorry to begin to understand) that you can't read a play like I'm used to reading things. You have to read it as an actor creatively looking for the drama and interesting dynamics. I still need a lot of help on that. It has helped me to see ways that you can put yourself into the scene - like use powerful dynamics that you've experienced in your own life to raise the stakes for a scene. It's hard for me to distinguish the impact of the coaching of scene study and seminar separate from the rest (wed class and privates) because it all works together to create a very powerful force in my life that is really working on me to show me that I don't need to live my life with pain and drama but can funnel all that onto the stage to heal and create beautiful artistic acts.
Lee: I am even more determined than before, that I am on the right track. My mind has opened up more to take in new angles of Artistic Life. By listening to a very committed and intense coach, it has widened my views of ACTING as an Art form. I learned that I must open my eyes for the world around me more, not just refer to my own narrow-minded "I want to be an actor" track. I realize that every little step I take is totally up to me. I have learned to take critics, good or bad, not personal, but as a professional. A coach is not a coach until You realize this.
David: I have learned so much about myself, others and acting in your class. After nearly three years with you, I would love to be able to compare the me of now with the guy who came into your class 3 years ago, I think it would be quite a stark comparison watching the two Davids on stage! I have a long path to walk, but I feel like I have come a long way too.
Jody: I hear your voice in my head of valuable lessons taught in the past when I encounter peculiar or different predicaments in acting venues outside the class dynamic. "Check in and be interested in your POV", "Let it go", "it's ok to start from exactly where you are", "what you're doing is exactly what you're up to", "you are stronger and more powerful...", "...you have no clue where to begin a scene when you start out...", "this is an art form---respect it...", "...tennis...", "you're ass is on the line", "being public and risking all the time", etc. The coaching has overall been inspiring to be vigilantly consistent from scene work to improvs to being public outside of class. I am reminded inherently that "I belong" on the stage or in front of the camera.
Mary H: The coaching has had a LARGE impact. How to describe its effects...since Eric is very direct and thankfully to the point in his observations and teachings but never intrudes on our ability to think for ourselves....the best way I can describe its impact on me is to say its like having someone light a match in the dark -that allows just enough light for you to make out that you are standing on a path, however fuzzy the borders and the direction on that the path may be, you see that there is an actual path (an amazing discovery for some of us)...and its up to you to figure out how your going to continue to light the way on your path and create that path with your own steps....and the coaching comes back in and lends a nice kick in the ass when you stood in one spot too long, or you've wandered down a dead end road...and then even supplies a few land mines along the way when you've really fallen asleep in the poppy field or you somehow managed to create a maze instead of a path and once again it is up to you to decide if the land mine is going to finish you off and you retreat into the darkness or if its going to let you get up and brush off and continue on your way....
Mary R: Greater awareness of what I do to myself and to others. An understanding of how that plays out in performance.
Give a synopsis of where you were prior to series or workshop and where you are now. What do you attribute the shift, change, growth? At stakeness before and after. Level of skill before and after...etc...
Amy: Well before, I think I was not able to conceive even- of myself working in a scene as a character using myself but within the circumstances of the scene ... now I can conceive of it and while I know I am a ways off really feeling skilled in it ... I can at least see it and am gaining much more of an appetite for it. Before, I wasn't writing, and now I have uncovered a desire to write to express myself and perform it. Before I think I was much more clouded and "dreamy-like" about what acting was about and what I was doing with - wanting out of it etc. Kind of deluded about it all. I think I have a much cleaner and clearer idea of what it involves and I still want to pursue it realizing that my original ideas were not quite right. I think now I am working with more efficiency. Getting more things done, tackling more projects and functioning at a higher level both creatively and in my work life. Not getting bogged down in emergencies quite so much. Looking at my work more realistically and without all the projections. Understanding that actions really are what counts. I don't think my at stakeness has really changed because I think I've always put a lot at stake with this - I just think I am seeing more clearly. Seeing my illusions for what they are and even when I choose to indulge - I am much clearer than I ever have been about what I am doing. I am just seeing more clearly and while I don't know how I can express that on stage - I'm working on it. What I attribute it to? ... this work. Keeping up with it, turning up the intensity by committing to more training, not quitting, making promises which seem to save me because I take them seriously, trying to give myself space, and working on living & acting honestly. And really trusting you. Knowing I can rely on you to give me something that is real and honest and strong and even when I don't act like I am listening ... I am somehow taking it in even if slowly.
Lee: I was in a total mess before I got here, and started Eric's class. The belief in myself was in a labil state. I was shaken by the fact that my first directing became a success, because I didn't know why and how. I just thought of it as a luck of the draw, and was too stressed out to enjoy it. My lust for directing has returned. Now I feel that my path as an actor/director/singer or whatever, can only grew wider and longer, if I let it, FEAR is only a little bug, flying along the road and may be used, or: blown away with a little airy kiss. I am inspired to keep on working and living my life as an artist. But I do know now, that I have to work harder and not settle for short cuts, which has been my biggest flaw.
David: The scene study workshop is allowing me to give voice and action to so many things that I have learned during class. Each scene teaches me so very much. It's incredible. Understanding operating (flying) within the score of a scene, feeding yourself dynamics creating all of those layers. So rich, and so great. And really acquiring the guns to go out and shine so brightly, so that everyone who witnesses it can participate.
Jody: Prior: Clueless, a scare-dee cat, afraid of my voice, pleaser-girl, a denier of heavy feelings, dreamer, safe player, voyeur, idea/less-action woman, talker, aching to do more and not stepping forward or stepping up to the challenge. I admit some of it still drizzles onto my plate here and there. But I'm MORE aware of it:) I know it's been a combo of shutting the hell up (MOSTLY), listening to the message proclaimed week after week after week, trusting the truth of the message, letting things be, sleepless nights waking up heavy with the fact "I gotta change my thought process", sharing it with my posse in my own way and rattling their dusty chains. Weekly attendance and my faith in the course of study have sunk into my bones where it's inescapable. The challenge you place on us every week in class to carry into life, the asking of us to be partners with you, the keen fearless holistic teachings have landed and made perfect universal gut sense. Also the message of "gentleness" helped to look at situations in a cleaner way. And I want to practice on stage every week. I know the many times reminder to rid of the "technique'd Cosgrove" and to connect the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual me has been my pursuit and heightened the awareness of at stakeness with regard to scenes and improvs. I think I'm more confident with my abilities but I still want to work it as much as possible every opportunity in and out of class.
Mary H: Where i was before scene study: wandering the abyss..... Where I am now: starting a path...things i attribute to this: realizing its up to me to take make my path in life, understanding that acting means something important to me and its okay to want to learn more about that and finally to lend that fact some credence for once.
Mary R: I was inhibited and completely ignorant of what it meant to be an actor. I had no idea what acting study would require, other than honesty. Even then, I didn't know that it would require so much. Right now I realize it's going to require a lot more from me and fast. I am just now beginning to understanding how fun acting will be if I will allow creativity and be willing to share it. Growth comes mainly from being asked and reminded that life's power comes from being willing to face fears, set higher standards for growth and include more of everything in my life. To change the way I see myself and take responsibility for the way others see me. At stake for me now, is the decision to do things and live my life from doing things that make me happy or to continue to live life out of shoulds, fear and guilt.
Has your perception of yourself changed, shifted?... etc...?
Amy: I think I am beginning to see myself more as who I really am. If that makes sense.
Lee: I came to realize that my wantings and needs are dwelling from my own creativity and I cannot consume it and play around with it. I have to accept my own creativity as a part of myself. Realizing this is a great thrill and a marvelous challenge.
David: Yes. Funnily enough (and this really is funny, because really have carried this belief for a long time), although I love people to laugh, and enjoy charming them, making them laugh and telling them silly stories, I am not sure that is at all the kind of actor I am at my most powerful. I think (maybe) I may be far more powerful as a dramatic actor than a comedic one than I might have previously believed. I don't know, but it is a feeling I have been having recently, what do you think, Eric?
Jody: Yes, I have had a shift in awareness of my sadness a lot more--thus I have been a lot happier as a result. I communicate a lot more with loved ones and I am interested in my POV's. I am highly interested in myself and where I go in life.
Mary H: I think my perception of myself hasn't necessarily changed- I think its been better defined.
Mary R: I operate from a need to make accomplishments for my own reasons vs. what is acceptable to others. The POV I worked from previously was blame, resentment and anger. I want to find out just how much fun there is to be had in acting in life.
Would you recommend these programs, to whom and why?
Amy: Well certainly, anyone in class now who is not in scene study, I would recommend to them that they come. Without a doubt. People outside of class - I would always recommend that the come audit a class to see what it's all about. But honestly, I don't think this kind of training is for everyone. I think you really have to be REALLY committed to stick it out - and really interested in discovering and bringing out the artist/loving life/creative human in you - which is a much easier thing to say that you are committed to than to actually do what you have to do to become that ...
Lee: I would recommend this programs to any artist who is committed to start taking responsibility for their Life of Art. Actors who believe they are fantastic, because someone said so, I would recommend. There's a "helluva" lot more to it.
David: These programs are only right for people who can be open and willing to be involved in a profound voyage of self exploration. I believe that they are not for everyone, but for those willing to take it on, it is top flight training.
Jody: Because you're presented with practical tools to shape your life for the better and reminded of this lifetime's opportunity to clean up your life. I would recommend this program to people seriously interested in themselves growing as artists who want to contribute to society for the better. Besides the class dynamic is pretty cool. I have told many people about the school ("check out the website!") but they are hooked up with their coaches or aren't in the right $$ situation
Mary H: I'd recommend this program to anyone who believes they want to learn to act.
Mary R: I would recommend these programs to anyone who was looking to learn to or find support for creating and living life on their own terms, and to actors, directors and writers who want to know the how to get at great performances and create strong dynamics.
What comments would you like to make? To whom? Anything you need to say about these programs, participants and/or the coach.
Amy: Everyone is amazing. You, the class - I used to always get nervous coming to class ... I don't remember when it stopped sometime in the last 3-4 months - I feel very safe there - finally. I'm glad I found you. Really glad.
Lee: The Programs are not for people/artist who is afraid of TRUTH. Here You will get Truth, and nothing but the TRUTH. Participants, bring more stuff to work with in class. Claim Your Territory ! Sing, Write, Perform more !!! Coach ! Keep on being the strong and dynamic Coach/Human being that You are.
David: I love and respect both the participants and the coach, we have a great group, and it is a privilege to belong!
Jody: Thank you for all you do. You shine as a director and present amazing possibilities for everyone.
Mary H: Thank you! And if my biggest fear about joining this class- which was that you are a typically charismatic cult leader and mind-washer were true- I'm converted...just don't ask me to shave my head and wear a swastika 'cause it won't happen.
Mary R: Thanks for keeping a high standard. Thank you for caring so much.
Suggestions box. Please feel free to make suggestions.
Amy: More cake after class ;)
Lee: COME TO SWEDEN !!!!
Jody: More warm-up exercises, please--I love those. That's it for now.
Mary H: More of the same please
Amy: I thank you with all my heart for putting all of you into your teaching. For feeding us the things we need to grow, for being honest, for being patient, for standing for truth and love and beauty and pushing us to do the same with your delicate balance of intense passion and loving gentleness. Thank you for always being present and for always being able to clear your plate of all your own personal trials and not projecting them into class. Thanks for being my first real role model. I thank everyone in class for being committed through all of their various hurdles ... for being supportive and for teaching me so much about being brave and about being artists and acting. I thank myself for not quitting on me. For having the strength to see that there is another way to live when I'm up against what seems at times like an army of millions. Holding on to the vision that I can have the life I want filled with creativity, love and sharing. And that I am worth
Lee: If You haven't been coached by Eric Stone, there is chance that You Actually missed something very important in Your developing. You don't need fancy premises and pay Your ass off (excuse me) to get full value of an Acting Workshop/Education/Coach
Mary H: I had to look this one up... acknowledgment or acknowledgement Pronunciation Key (k-nlj-mnt) n. The act of admitting or owning to something. (i.e. I acknowledge I want to act) Recognition of another's existence, validity, authority, or right. (i.e. I acknowledge that you will help me act) An answer or response in return for something done. (i.e. I acknowledge that my openness and truth is the only thing that will help me be a better actor) An expression of thanks or a token of appreciation. (i.e. I acknowledge that this class has been fundamental in my life) A formal declaration made to authoritative witnesses to ensure legal validity. (i.e. This type of acknowledgment might come about if I'm ever paid to act)
Mary R: I'd like to acknowledge everyone who shows up each week with the truth about what's going on with them and the willingness to share it. I hope we (I) can all get to more of this soon, soon, soon.
Anything else you need to say...
Lee: Oh...it is so much...This month feels like a whole decennium of learning and experience. So fully, so complete, so totally connected to what an Artist should aim for.
David: Yes. I want to get into dialogue with you regarding working doing voice-overs. I am very interested to know more. When I was in Germany I translated voiced an award winning cartoon into English which had won the German Prize for Short Films, and as a result had been entered to be judged for Best Short Film Oscar (hence the need for an English version). The director loved my work, and I loved doing it. You encourage us to continually ask ourselves "where we belong", well, when I sat in the booth doing that movie, that was definitely one of the places where I belonged!
Mary H: I hope this helps!