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Beginning Acting

Zachary Oldham
M.Ed in Educational Leadership / B.A. in Drama
zoldham@cng.edu
Colegio Nueva Granada Semester 1

Beginning Acting Syllabus Page !1

INTRODUCTION
Welcome to beginning acting here at Colegio Nueva Granada. I will assume you
are taking this course because you are interested in the theatre and the craft of acting. The
greatest thing I ever did for myself was get involved in the theatre, specifically as an
actor. The theatre has provided me a social network, an improvement of my language
skills, an outside hobby, and most importantly a deeper understanding of the human
condition.
Being an actor is not simply memorizing lines and standing in the right spot on
stage. You will find that the craft of acting is as difficult as any sport, music, or dance in
which you will participate. There are certain skills that improv your craft as an actor and
the attainment of those skills will be the focus of this class.
No single appropriately comprehensive definition of acting exists. There are
many possible definitions which we will explore in this course. Perhaps my favorite
definition is from the famous American actor Ann Bancroft, Acting is a matter of
becoming aware that you are thinking, of knowing what it is you are feeling, then
controlling it any way you want. This definition may be difficult to understand at face
value but eventually this will become a working theory in this classroom. An easier
definition is, making something that is NOT real truly appear as if it IS real. This
definition is simplistic but it is perhaps an easier place to start.
With this in mind we can see that acting is one of the most important skills we can
apply in our daily lives. As children we act in make-believe, and as adults we apply a
certain social acting. Being aware of your surroundings and acting in the way that you
desire can serve you greatly later in life even if you do not become a professional actor.
To be always aware and completely in control of your thoughts and emotions is to truly
be in control of your future.
While I can assure you this class will not be easy, I can promise you it will be
beneficial to nearly every aspect of your life. Acting, and theatre in general, has vastly
improved the quality of my life and I hope it will do the same for you. With that said I
welcome you to the class and look forward to helping you understand better yourself and
the world around you.

COURSE OVERVIEW
Beginning Acting (1st semester) is a half year sequence of activities that explore
the acting process. The activities are designed to develop the actors improvisational,
scene analysis, character development, and performance skills. Students will display their
acting skills by working as individuals and groups in scene study and eventually a class
performance.

Beginning Acting Syllabus Page !2

COURSE OBJECTIVES
Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to
Personally interpret and explain the work that goes into being an actor.
Possess a knowledge of the history of acting styles.
Understand the significance of theatre as a way to make social change.
Demonstrate phyical, vocal, mental, and colaboration skills needed to be a
successful actor on the stage.
o PHYSICAL SKILLS: develop both a physical understand of self and the
application of different physical attributes to increase connection to
character and performance.
o VOCAL SKILLS: develop an effective stage and speaking voice by
developing relaxation and breathing techniques, improving articulation and
pronunciation habits, and developing resonance capabilities.
o MENTAL SKILLS: develop ability to concentrate and maintain focus,
further explore and develop imagination, creativity, sensory awareness, and
spontaneity as they apply to acting.
o COLLABORATION SKILLS: develop ability to work with a partner/
group effectively in the acting setting. See others as partners to improve
ones craft rather than a competitor or hindrance.
Demonstrate an understanding of basic acting technique and terminology.
Demonstrate knowledge of effective improvisational techniques.
Understand and use a working theatrical vocabulary (theatre jargon) so that we all
may speak the same language as those in the business.
Demonstrate a basic commitment to theatre by being present, on time, and giving
full attention, energy, and creative input at all class sessions.
Identify the skills needed and demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively
and work cooperatively with an ensemble.
demonstrate the techniques of constructive evaluation of self and others in class
and performances.

CNG CODE OF HONOR APPLICATION


As a dynamic and thriving school CNG has integrated a specific code of honor that
fully coincide with our work in the acting class:
Integrity: Every student must take responsibilities for their actions and work in the
acting class. As a teacher I will expect you to not make excuses or blame others for
short comings.

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Respect: Every student will respect each other, the teacher, and the acting process in
general. Acting is a very personal exploration of self and others and as such we must
be aware of how our actions affect others. We must not harass, intimidate, or create
conflict. To be our best selves we must have a classroom that is safe and comfortable
for ALL students, which means constantly working to keep the environment
supportive.
High Expectations: Every student will put forth their best effort. Acting can be
difficult but lack of preparation is no excuse for mediocre work. Students and teacher
alike must face challenges boldly and come to class prepared and ready to tackle the
craft.
Community Welfare: Within the acting environment we have the opportunity to
understand the community and the world at large. We will take every opportunity to
use theatre as a means to explore the world around us (both positive and negative) and
use our insights to better the community we come from.

GENERAL CLASSROOM GUIDELINES


The following sections lays out the expectations of this classroom. They are nonnegotiable and are set in place so that we as a class may have the strongest chance of
success in our endeavors.
Rules/Expectations
Rules should be clear, few, and positively stated.
(You should have no more than five rules.)
1. Follow directions the first time
2. Absolutely no personal electronic devices at any time
3. Keep hands, feet and objects to yourself
4. Constantly strive to make the classroom a supportive environment
5. Respect yourself and the craft by always being prepared
Consequences / Discipline Hierarchy
*Multiple warnings will not be given. Strict but fair is the idea.
1. Name on the board (Warning)
2. Check (Detention and Think Sheet)
3. Second Check (Call home or loss of desired activity)
4. Third Check (Referral to office or another classroom)
Exceptions: Extreme or dangerous misbehaviors will result in automatic discipline
referrals.
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TRACKING SYSTEM for NEGATIVE Behavior


Behavior File
(We will have think sheets and a record of calls home)
Individual/Partner Reward System
Criteria for giving reward:
1. Noticeable extra support of another actor
2. Noticeable extra preparation of work
System:
Terrific Ticket
Possible prizes:
1. Call home
2. Lunch with the teacher
3. Scene/improv with the teacher
Whole Class Reward System
Criteria for giving reward:
1. Noticeable extra support of a culture or achievement and community
2. Entire class motivated and driven towards the task at hand
System:
Terrific Ticket
Possible prizes:
1. Class party

PROCEDURE LIST
Coming and Going:
Enter room and greet the teacher
Turn in Homework
Write down homework
Complete the Do Now (usually a journal entry)
Exit with a good bye

Beginning Acting Syllabus Page !5

Managing Materials:
Behavior File
Think Sheets
Terrific Tickets
Ticket Bowl (Class and Individual)
Call Log Sheets

Student Communication:
Use names
Clap for performances
Grows accompanied by Glows
Check in if you feel youre not communicating well

NEVER TEASE or MAKE OTHERS UNCOMFORTABLE


Desired Action

Nonverbal Communications

Quiet in the room

Peace sign

Focus on the teacher

Peace sign to the eyes

Request to use the bathroom

Two fingers up crossed

Ask a question or say something

Hand raised

Leave your seat

Hand raised in fist

Beginning Acting Syllabus Page !6

What

How
(Movement, Verbal, Participation)

Why
(How will this help us reach out
goal?)

Entering

Say hello, turn in work, write down


homework, complete Do Now

This will create the positive


environment we need to act. Leave
your attitude and troubles outside
(unless youre going to use them in a
scene)

Teacher
Talking

Quite, eyes on speaker, sitting up

This will create a supportive


environment but also not waste
precious time we could be
improving our acting ability

Begining a
scene
(Actor)

Introduce what youre about to perform

This will help the audience


understand what theyre about to
watch and connect you to that
positive supportive environment.

Beginning Quite, eyes on speaker, sitting up


a scene
(Audience)

Physical work/projects
Header

This will allow the performer(s) to


feel comfortable that they are being
respected and will improve their
abilities.

Procedure
At the top right of your page you MUST have:
First and last name
Date
Class title
Class period
Without these it will not be accepted.

Turnning in

Turn in at the beginning of class. If it is not


turned in before we start the days activities it
is considered late.

Getting it back

Will be returned to you in the return bin. It is


your responsibility to pick it up and store it.
We will turn in our folders at the end of the
quarter.

Late work

Late work is not accepted unless accompanied


with a note from a parent or an excused
absence.

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Cool out corner:


When a student needs time to cool out they will be excused to the cool out corner.
They are not to be bothered nor are they allowed to engage with the rest of the class when
in the cool out corner.
Reasons to be sent to the cool out corner:
-Disrespect
-Talking
-Being off task
-Disturbing class
*Special note: Acting sometimes puts the actor in a strange or unfamiliar place
emotionally. If you need to use the cool out corner for this reason that is completely
acceptable as well.

JOURNAL REQUIREMENT
A journal will be kept reflecting upon your ongoing acting work, including
reflections about class, scene work, or other life experiences related to acting. This is an
opportunity to hold a dialogue with the instructor, ask questions, and contemplate the
daily successes and failures while studying acting.
Your journal is important in this class. You must have it every day. It will be
stored in the classroom but you may want to take it home if you wish. If you take it
home you MUST bring it the next day to class.

GRADING PROCEDURE
Participation Grade (in class)

20%

Reading, homework, and other assignments (outside of class)

20%

Assorted Graded Performance Assignments

20%

Final Graded Performance

20%

Actors Journal

20%

Total

100%
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Long Term Plan


(subject to revision)

UNIT 1: Creating Culture

UNIT 1 LENGTH: 1 Week


UNIT 1 LEARNING GOALS

Connection to Course Essential Questions:


UNDERSTAND THE WORK TO BUILD A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
Content Learning
Goals

Understand rules and expectations of the class


Get to know each other

Skill Learning
Goals

Understanding theatre is a community


Add to a positive and safe learning environment

Primary Source
Set

Class rules
Class syllabus
Culture documents
Consequence forms
Journal entries

UNIT 2: Basics of Acting

UNIT 2 LENGTH: 5 Weeks


UNIT 2 LEARNING GOALS

Connection to Course Essential Questions:


UNDERSTAND THE WORK IT TAKES TO ACT IN A SCENE
USING SOCIALLY RELEVENT MATERIAL

Content Learning
Goals

Memorization
Evaluation
Rehearsal
Improvisation
Introductions
Performance

Skill Learning
Goals

Strategies for memorization


Ability to evaluate self and peers
Internalize rehearsal procedures
Go into the grey with improv

Primary Source
Set

Theatre arts worksheets


Monologues
Journal Entries

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UNIT 3: Acting (Body & Voice)

UNIT 3 LENGTH: 4 Weeks

UNIT 3 LEARNING GOALS


Connection to Course Essential Questions:
UNDERSTAND THE WORK COLLABORATION IN THE THEATRE
TAKES
USING SOCIALLY RELEVENT MATERIAL
Content Learning
Goals

Warm ups
Connection to body and voice
Finding your acting voice

Skill Learning
Goals

Learn and practice warming up your instrument


Investigate a scene
Work Collaboratively

Primary Source
Set

Theatre arts worksheets


Scenes
Journal Entires

UNIT 4: Terminology

UNIT 4 LENGTH: 2 Weeks


UNIT 4 LEARNING GOALS

Connection to Course Essential Questions:


UNDERSTAND THAT THEATRE HAS DEVELOPED ITS OWN
LANGUAGE
USING SOCIALLY RELEVENT MATERIAL
Content Learning
Goals

Acting terminology
Theatre terminology

Skill Learning
Goals

Memorize and use acting/theatre terminology effectively


Increase study skills

Primary Source
Set

Theatre arts worksheets


Scenes
Journal Entries

UNIT 5: Characterization

UNIT 5 LENGTH: 1 Weeks


UNIT 5 LEARNING GOALS

Connection to Course Essential Questions:


UNDERSTANDING ANOTHER LEVEL OF CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
USING SOCIALLY RELEVENT MATERIAL
Content Learning
Goals

Characterization

Beginning Acting Syllabus Page !10

Skill Learning Goals


Primary Source Set

Understanding what makes a well-defined character

Theatre arts worksheets


Monologues
Journal Entries

UNIT 6: History

UNIT 6 LENGTH: 5 Weeks


UNIT 6 LEARNING GOALS

Connection to Course Essential Questions:


UNDERSTANDING THE PAST OF THEATRE THAT HAS GOTTEN US
TO THE PRESENT
Understanding theatres beginnings

Content Learning
Goals

Understanding theatres growth


Understanding modern theatre

Skill Learning
Goals

Interacting with historical theatre


Understanding its relevance to todays theatre

Primary Source
Set

Theatre arts worksheets


Acting in Style Reading
Final Scenes
Journal Entries

Materials
Textbooks Required:
1. Articles as assigned
2. Scenes as assigned
Materials Needed:
1. Journal (70 page or single subject notebook)
2. Binder
3. Pens/Pencils
4. Highlighters

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