Today's blog post is a diary entry from our full time acting student Kat Harrison.
What a start to the year! Day one was the usual pleasant timidity of a group of strangers meeting for the first time and knowing we’d all committed to spending the next year of our lives together. The coaches gave an official welcome that was both inspiring and practical. After getting all the bureaucracy out of the way we enjoyed some ice breakers and the fun began.
This course promised to be intense and it has delivered from the off. Don’t get me wrong, the coaches have been gentle, all I mean is it was straight to work, no messing around, just getting down to the business of training actors.
Week 1 we explored classes in Voice, Fundamentals of Acting, and Stage Combat, Week 2 added Improvisation and The Language of Stage and Screen to the mix and Week 3 introduced us to the class I’ve been most curious about; The Inner Game of Acting or Performance Psychology.
It has been the most rewarding three weeks of training I’ve ever experienced. I have already faced challenges and feel so fortunate to be with such an amazing group of people. The learning environment is safe and I have found myself the recipient of some really excellent hugs when overcome with my own doubts or fears. Better still the coaches work with us to eradicate negative self talk and I feel I am already turning a corner in my ability to absorb feedback and apply it.
There are 17 of us on the course and we have been split into two groups to keep the classes small. Occasionally we still have classes all together and we all make a conscious effort to get to know those not in our usual group during breaks. I think the genuine, hard working and passionate people on this course are a testament to the audition process. Excuse my language but there is a definite ‘No Bullshit’ policy on this course. In fact it was during the welcome from our Coach, he said “There’s no point in bullshit, because when you do it both the person and the person you’re bullshitting know you’re bullshitting, so why waste everyone’s time?” I am most likely paraphrasing but having gone through a 4 year honours degree in Drama & Theatre Arts and attended several other training courses where there were always at least of couple of ‘Bullshitters’, this sentence was like a light in the dark!
We are all here for a purpose - to learn to be the best actors we can be and while there is no nonsense in the approach it is a greatly enjoyable experience with lots and lots of laughter. It has been fascinating watching my classmates making discoveries and progressing already at this early stage, I’m certain that I too have already made good progress. It’s hard not to when your coaches are committed to helping you be the best you can be and are teaching material that is so incredibly practical and though not immediately simple, yes, it is easy to apply. Like anything else it’s just going to take time, patience and practice.
We spent almost all of the first week simply listening to each other. The focus is always with your scene partner(s). Literally it was the foundation of every class, to begin by listening to each other, tuning into the 93% of communication found within the body rather than the words themselves (the 7%). It might sound like overkill to spend an entire week listening intently, but when you realise this is what you will need to do every day of your career, a week to start thinking about it consciously is conservative. It feels like a process of making the unconscious conscious in order to improve at it and then send it back to the unconscious... in fact I think that's fair to say of all I am learning here. It's a process of awareness driven change. The slow and steady improvement I am already experiencing is based upon this. Eventually I'm confident that all of this will sink into muscle memory and allow me to get on with the job at hand, leaving the days of 'trying my best' firmly in the past.
Bring on the next 49 weeks!!
Full Time Acting Student at Acting Coach Scotland