Our Philosophy

Training Methods & Techniques

METHODS: Our training incorporates several techniques and modes of delivery. They all stem from our belief in the collaboration between the actor’s mind and body in the creative act.

The Viewpoints

The Viewpoints is taught world-wide and is considered to be a fundamental part of actor training. It’s a theory, and a language for training, rehearsal and creating new works. This approach helps artists work with the core elements of performance. Like an artist’s “color wheel” describing how colors relate to each other, the Viewpoints lays out the material qualities of Time and Space for performers.

Acting

There is a wide spectrum of methods with different strengths and virtues. Your instructors have trained close to the source in an array of techniques. To get a solid foundation, you’ll want to give each method a real workout with well-written scenes that have high stakes. You’ll laugh, cry, love, rage, win, lose, play. Our scene workshops are designed to help you break boundaries.

Crosspoints

Crosspoints is unique to our school. It’s a framework for integrating different practices and theories of performance cohesively. It combines performance and analysis in active, physical exploration. Crosspoints are for stage, film, musical theatre, opera and more. Mary Overlie has called it one of the first cohesive acting systems to incorporate the Viewpoints.

“Write In The Now” Writing Technique

Write in the now is a writing technique that taps into the actor’s intrinsic knowledge of character and motivation. This liberating process allows your characters to speak openly, silencing your inner critic and helping you deepen your performance and develop new works.

Camera Acting

Camera performance is subtle while requiring as much depth and emotional power as a Shakespearean soliloquy. You’ll need experience with how technology and performance interact. All “dailies” from your sessions are made available to you online for you to review with your notes. Our coaching sessions include units on editing and publishing a project so you’ll be familiar with what kinds of coverage a director needs. You’ll also be able to shoot, edit and publish a show reel or self-tape for an audition.

Live Performance

A live audience helps you develop the arc of a performance. You also have to manage your performance adrenaline by putting it to use rather than letting it interfere. There’s nothing like the immediacy of live feedback. Once every semester we host a scene showcase for an invited public audience of friends and family.

Industry Speakers

Each semester we create a list of special topics and have industry specialists speak from their professional experience. These are open to the public and might include topics like goal-setting, actor’s life and business coaching, networking, auditioning and getting an agent. The list varies according to the needs of the class and the availability of speakers.

Online Courses

Our online courses are designed to be stepped through in 15-minute segments. They cover a range of topics from performance history to acting theory and the ins and outs of a film set.

Our introductory courses are free.

References & Further Reading

INFLUENCES & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Our work owes to several master teachers and pioneers. Our methods are a blend of practical studio work and research with these resources.

Sanford Meisner (The Meisner Technique)

Anne Bogart & SITI Company

Jerzy Grotowski

David Mamet & Practical Aesthetics

Constantin Stanislavski’s acting system has passed through many generations of teachers around the world. It has spawned many branches such as American “method acting” and the more recent renaissance of Stanislavski’s original “Method of Physical Actions.”

Practical Aesthetics is a redux of the Stanislavski system created by David Mamet and William H. Macy. It’s taught at The Atlantic School in New York City.

Practical Aesthetics is a very clean, spartan version that exemplifies the core values of Stanislavski’s teaching. It has also been influenced by the Meisner Technique and the Stoic philosopher Epictetus.

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Michael Chekhov

Michael Chekhov believed that there was more than one way to get to inspired, “effortless” acting. His approach is physically engaging and highly expressive while being wholly practical. One of the most pithy phrases in a studio doing Chekhov work is, “Never toil.” Instead, creativity is invoked through a playful flow of action.

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Penelope Stella

Penelope Stella is a retired professor of the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Stella’s unique approach to a physicalised method of acting was influenced by the writings of Jerzy Grotowski. She was also influenced by Linda Putnam (who trained with Jerzy Grotowski and worked briefly with Stephen Wangh) and Tim McDonough (Emory University, USA).

The Emblems and the Character Development Cycle comprise most of the early acting training of the Other Acting School’s founder. These have evolved and combined with other methods through nearly 35 years of practical application.

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Postmodernism, Postdramatic Theory & Psychology

The “deep end” of the Other Acting School’s library of influences includes a number of sources. These relate to psychology, philosophy and cultural theory and are featured in our online courses. They’re also discussed in the school’s blog.