Acting Course at Central School of Speech and Drama London

The first day was a bit slow to be honest with only two activities for us to do but we think that’s because it was the first time any of them have done this course. We have one professional actor (who turns out to be Colin Firth’s brother!) and two MA students who are doing the film course at Central are our teachers for the week.

The last two days have picked up though and have been really informative and interesting. We are given a script to learn a night and then perform these the next day with a partner to camera. They are filmed from three different angles to give us an idea of how this would be on set. They use master shots and single close-ups, and allow us to use the clapper and the boom in each other’s work.

It’s been really interesting but difficult to adapt to the film genre and be ‘natural’. We watch it back afterwards though and are given individual feedback each time to try and help us improve our technique for the next day.

We’ve also had short classes in Active Listening, Active Watching, hitting the Mark and script analysis. There’s a big stress on showing a ‘journey’ in your pieces to achieve ‘drama’ and thoroughly preparing for your scene; thinking about character, context, character objectives, relationships etc. It’s interesting to see the differences between screen and stage acting and how this can be achieved effectively. For example we are told to think of the camera as ‘eavesdropping’ on us and not to acknowledge a ‘wider audience’; only focusing on the person you are talking to and the scene you are in.

Overall, it’s going well and we’ve met some really interesting people from all over the world. On Friday we’ll be taught about audition technique and have our own mock auditions!

Anyway, thank you for the chance to do this, we couldn’t have done it otherwise and it is a great taster for what is to come!

The rest of the course was fantastic. We both had a brilliant time and learnt a lot from the feedback we were given. The last day involved a mock audition, to see how we would fair in an audition situation but also to give us a chance to watch back our performances and see how we would come across to a casting director.

We had to read from Star Wars! They were trying to show us that as an actor you will have to bring ‘bad writing’ to life and so chose Princess Leia. It was really challenging, particularly as I had no idea what it was that I was meant to be saying. But after they had explained the plotline and redirected me, it was much more accessible.

Overall, the course was challenging; particularly when given scenes from ‘Doctors’, ‘Teachers’ and ‘Casualty’, and tested us as actors as in an entirely different field of performance. It was also a good chance to have a look around Central and see what the place would offer. We were given some really interesting advice about drama schools/ agents/ where to go from here.

Thank you again for this opportunity. We would certainly not have been able to have done it without the support of the fund.

Acting Course at Central School of Speech and Drama London

Anyway, the last couple of days at Central were really interesting – I actually found it quite challenging at first….film acting is so different to what I had been used to doing on stage and so toning everything down to a much subtler level took a while to get used to, but by the end of it I felt more comfortable in what I was doing. It was great to have the opportunity to actually work the camera/boom during other people’s scenes and how the technical side works as well.

On Thursday we shot a scene from ‘London to Brighton’ and worked on really close, intimate shots and talked in detail about character back stories, setting, relationships before we filmed. Then in the afternoon we had a class on audition technique in prep. for the next day’s audition; this involved sight-reading a piece and thinking about looking up when reading, quickly establishing a relationship between you and the other reader and how to break down a scene into sections (emotionally) quickly.

Friday, we shot our final scenes, again from the three different angles. This time, we had to think about emotional and physical continuity because we shot the second part of the scene first and then went back to the beginning which was interesting. In the afternoon, we had a mock audition with our tutors and another ‘reader’ marking us….this was really good to do because it meant putting into practise everything we’d learnt, but in an audition situation and so we were interviewed etc. first. The audition piece itself was taken from Star Wars (they’d done this on purpose as it’s such a bad script and therefore was really hard to make it appear natural – especially when there’s a speech about the Death Star and planets!) Anyway, we then watched them all back, and were given individual feedback.

It still took some getting used to, watching myself back on screen, but I’m really glad I got the opportunity to do so as it made me aware of how I am when I act and what’s good, what’s bad etc., and throughout the week there was lots of constructive individual feedback which was great as I now know what I need to work on.

After we’d finished on Friday, we had a q&a with Jonathon (the main tutor) about agents/drama school/the industry/equity etc. which was useful as it’s made me think about what I need to do over the next year with regards to working/management/joining spotlight etc.

Anyway, thank you so much for this – I’d never have been able to do the course otherwise and despite the slow start on the Monday, the course was really useful and to now have had some acting for camera experience as well as theatre experience is brilliant…just getting used to how it is or would be ‘on set’, on both sides of the camera was really good for us and so I’m really grateful.

Directing Workshop in Ipswich

First week of the workshop is over, I play the Scarecrow.

Every morning at 9am we have a cardio workout with stretches to limber us all up! Then we are either taken by the choreographer or director to work on dance numbers or scenes.

We stop sometimes to play some ‘drama games.’

Both choreographer and director have trained professionally and spent some time in the business, so the quality of the dances etc is incredibly high standard.

Although it’s essentially an amateur production run by a theatre company in Ipswich, even after the first of the two weeks you can tell it’s going to be a spectacular performance.

Very well organized and lots of fun.