Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Seminar is in process, but openings available in December or January for separate writer's and actor's seminars or individual consultation on the psychology of character development. Monthly subscription. Details later.

  Actors Invited to Participate in an Online Seminar: “Creating the 5-Sided Character”

 After successfully testing this new method at UCLA, we are now accepting applications from experienced writers and actors who would like to participate in the pilot of a virtual seminar on “Creating the 5-Sided Character.”

  The “5-sides” are the five basic psychological elements of any human-- Behavior, Belief, Emotion, Sensation, and Thinking. Used as a set, these elements have proven to provide scholars with critical insights into how people tick. The same set of insights is now user-friendly for those who make characters into people.

My intention is to teach participants new ways to understand, diagnose, repair, and break down fiction and non-fiction characters. This seminar will ask you to temporally replace some comfortable beliefs with new thinking about characterization. That can be a challenge for veteran professionals.

Meeting online in five one-hour closed sessions (using Google+ “Hangout”), this first small seminar needs a mixed group of actors and writers to give broader feedback. Space is limited to about 5-6 participants. When the seminar ends, participants will be welcome to join our online mutual-support group for feedback on individual character work—writing and portrayal. Rejected applicants will receive information about our progress toward a more polished seminar in august.

 Homework assignments require an hour (maybe more) of serious study every two weeks. Assignments must be completed before the seminar because learning is compromised by unprepared participants. So please be mindful about committing to the assignments and seminars before applying. In addition to the reading, I’m asking for your feedback on each seminar toward improving the next version. Our plan is to offer subscriptions to the public by October.

While applications are open to any professional or early-career writer or actor anywhere in the United States, this seminar is not for beginners as it has little to do with the elementary nuts and bolts of writing and acting. The goal, instead, is to supplement existing skills while expanding creative repertoires as participants develop characters for stage, film, television and print.

 At UCLA, the in-person testing revealed significant gains in freedom for creating characters. They described more productive rewrites, more organized thinking, less work creating inner life, more ease in spotting unrealistic action, and wooden dialogue. There were far fewer discards of initial character sketches because B/BEST gave them a bit more confidence in early decision-making. The method integrated easily with customary ways of working, but it interfered with customary ways of thinking. That’s the goal for this seminar; to not mess with technique, but open minds to some modern psychology on characterization.

We hope to launch this online seminar in late May 2013. If you are not accepted during the first round, please check us out in October.

  If you’re interested in this first online seminar, and if you can commit to completing assignments before every session, please send a paragraph describing yourself and your interest in the seminar, or a current resume to goodman@ucla.edu. I’ll treat the information as confidential, and send you a few sample pages of Assignment#1-CREATING 5-SIDED CHARACTERS: AN ONLINE SEMINAR

Here’s a snapshot that a colleague wrote:

 Gerald Goodman, Emeritus Professor, UCLA (goodman@ucla.edu) is a geekish but kindly psychology professor with a background in human development, moment-to-moment conversation (He wrote a classic on real life dialogue), friendship studies, and psychotherapy with gifted adults. His current obsession is about the elements necessary for creating life-like characters in film, theatre and print. Goodman has been influenced by  Humanistic Psychology researchers at the University of Chicago, some radical professors at U.C. Berkley and by the brilliant imaginations of his” better-than-average” graduate students at UCLA. He lives in Topanga, California with wife Silvia.

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