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SOCAPA’s Advanced Acting intensive is for return Acting students and thus builds on the concepts and techniques laid out in our Core Acting intensive. Advanced actors are cast in the films of our Advanced Filmmakers who are focused on directing for truthful performances. Advanced Acting students should be prepared to be challenged by their directors and guided to deliver the best performance possible.
In addition to acting in student films, acting students will have intensive technique classes and one-on-one training sessions.
The first week of the Advanced Acting program builds on the basic grounds of acting with challenging exercises and in-depth discussion. Physical and vocal warm-ups are employed each morning to get students present and ready to delve into Improvisational Scene Studies, Given Circumstances Assignments, Text Analysis, and Table Work. Students spend time discussing their own techniques and critically evaluating the techniques of professional actors.
On Thursday of the first week and again the second week, actors are on set with the Advanced Filmmaking students. Acting in two distinct advanced films provide the actor an opportunity to hone their style and experiment with lessons learned in class. A post-shoot discussion will follow each shoot to share experiences and indicate what principles of technique they were able to apply on set.
The second and third week is centered around preparing for a professional shot acting reel and a live scene to perform at the final showcase. Advanced actors work one-on-one with their instructors through table work and rehearsals to craft the best performance for these scenes.
As students begin the process of apply to universities and for professional roles, the importance of understanding the formalities and techniques to 'nailing' an audition cannot be understated. In the Advanced Acting program, students are assigned sides to prepare for a mock audition. The mock on-camera and interview situation is staged to replicate the stresses and challenges of auditioning professionally. A playback of the taped audition will follow with a critique and discussion.
With one-on-one coaching, instructors utilize short open text monologues for actors to explore playing actions to their classmates. Their classmates “receive” the action but remain neutral in response. The goal of this exercise is to provide a bridge between improvisational and scripted work. Students explore playing verbs, while making specific imaginative choices that bring life to the text.
At SOCAPA we create an environment where students feel safe to explore and grow without judgment or gossip. Safe space means that any activity or work done in class stays in class. A lot of things we do in acting class may be abstract, partly because they are steps in a long, evolving process: learning to be an actor. If actors have to worry about “looking silly” or “what others are say during lunch,” they are unable to fully commit to the exercises and let their creativity reach its full potential. This is why we protect each student’s work and their own creative space by committing students to a “safe space” company agreement. Students are asked to not talk about another student’s work or process outside of the classroom.
Every evening, Monday through Friday, we plan an activity for the students, whether it be a barbecue on campus, a dinner in the city, a cool-off swim, a theater/musical performance, or a film screening. On the Saturday afternoons that are not devoted to shooting and performing, we organize a group excursion. This could include a trip to a museum, the beach or a show in the city. Past evening and Saturday excursions have included trips to Coney Island Amusement Park, live tapings of MTV's TRL, outdoor concerts (The Roots, OCMS, TV on the Radio, etc.), Universal Studios, Pilobolus Dance Group at the Joyce, Disco Bowling, Broadway Shows such as Spring Awakening, Hair, Rent and Avenue Q, Six Flags Amusement Park, Fourth of July Fireworks, Bryant Park Film Screenings, and off-Broadway hits such as Fuerza Bruta and Stomp, to name a few.
At least once per session, SOCAPA invites a top industry professional from the New York or Hollywood film or performing arts scene to come to campus and lead a master class for all students, regardless of focus. Some past guests include Academy Award-Winning actress Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Frozen River, 21 Grams), writer/director John Hamburg (I Love You Man, Along Came Polly, Safe Men, Zoolander, Meet the Fockers, Little Fockers), actor Luis Guzman (Traffic, Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk Love, Carlito's Way, Anger Management), writer Hawk Ostby (Iron Man, Children of Men, Cowboys and Aliens), actor Brendan Sexton III (Empire Records, Welcome to the Dollhouse), the four lead characters from American Teen, filmmaker Peter Sollett (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Raising Victor Vargas), actor Sarah Clarke (TV show 24, Thirteen) screenwriter Andrew Marlowe (Air Force One, End of Days, Hollow Man), director Morgan J. Freeman (Hurricane Streets), comedian Matt Walsh (The Daily Show, Bad Santa, Upright Citizens Brigade), and the cast of Hair and Spring Awakening on Broadway.
Alfred Hitchcock was a master of visual storytelling. He would often convey information using a single silent shot that it would take a lesser filmmaker pages and pages of cumbersome dialogue to get across. In this film, students are encouraged to take a visual approach to telling their stories. Dialogue should be used sparsely, if at all. Instead, we urge students to use composition, camera movement, shot selection, blocking, lighting, color and nonsynchronous sound to convey meaning.
Renowned globally as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Akira Kurosawa was a master of all genres; The Seven Samurai, Ikiru, and The Hidden Fortress (one of the main inspirations for Star Wars) are just a few of his many masterpieces. Along with his supremely artistic visual style, which became an inspiration for many of America’s most famous directors of the seventies, Kurosawa was also especially attentive to performance, eliciting bravura acting from all those with whom he worked. In this culmination film, we challenge our Advanced Students to elicit the best and most truthful performances they can from their cast without losing sight of all they have learned about visual storytelling.
Headshots are like an actor's calling card - every actor needs a good headshot. So, at SOCAPA every two and three week acting student is scheduled a block of time in the studio to have their headshots done by students in the SOCAPA Photography Program.
An actor without a scene or a monologue is like a photographer without a camera. At auditions, casting directors will often ask actors to perform a prepared scene of the actor’s choosing. A prepared actor will have an arsenal to choose from. With this in mind, SOCAPA has each acting student select a scene or monologue from our library of favorites. Scripts are memorized and rehearsed during the week and are performed live on the last day of the program.
Each three-week SOCAPA acting student will be directed by one of their instructors in a scene of their choosing. This culmination scene will be professionally filmed and edited by a SOCAPA directing instructor and will be shown at the Showcase Festival at the end of the three-week program. The culmination scene can serve as a professional centerpiece around which a student can build an acting reel - a short collection of work showcasing their talent for college applications or auditions.
"My experience at SOCAPA was amazing. My teachers and the staff were so nice, and I learned so much! I felt as if I could be independent but also felt very safe. I met so many great and talented people! My teachers taught me so much, most importantly how to be comfortable being myself and if others don't like me that it's just too bad for them!"
Laura P, Santa Monica, CA
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