Get deep into freedom acting in our NEW Tuesday night Inroom class
Australian acting staple RYAN JOHNSON joins the SAC team coming off the mega hit Dr Dr and starring in the equally brilliant BUMP. Ryan is a working actor who has not only conquered Australia but worked in Hollywood starring in FAIRLY LEGAL for USA network.
What does Ryan have to say…
What do you love about acting?
It’s the only time I am truly in the moment. The longer I’m alive, the more there is to think about, to prepare and to get done! Being an adult can be really boring. Acting, when I’m truly present, relaxed, listening and responding, is when I’m not thinking about anything else. I can just be. It is also a community with some of the most awesome humans I have met. Away from red carpets and social media, we sometimes get to have a lot of fun for a living.
What are some things you’ve worked on recently?
Bump, Season 4, came out on Boxing Day. It was my 3rd season on the show as the recurring character ‘Tim’. In 2023, I also appeared as real-life serial killer ‘Bradley Robert Edwards’ in The Claremont Murders.
What will the 4-week course you’re coaching at SAC be about?
Being prepared when there is no time to prepare. Rehearsals are a luxury becoming quick chats and costume fittings. Between booking the job and turning up on set, how do we get out of our heads and into the moment?
We need a toolkit that will help us relax, listen and respond. We need to let go of over-preparing and have a process that puts us in a space where we aren’t thinking ahead and embracing happy accidents.
Time is the most important thing on set. The longer you spend standing around dissecting something, the less takes you are going to get!
I’ve picked up some tools along the way that help my instrument be spontaneous and my performance not too derivative or polished. If I’m relaxed, the director won’t subconsciously feel the need to over direct me and inhibit my instincts. If I give the director options, they have more ways to cut to me in the edit!
Let’s make some mistakes together and see which ones work the best. Week one and two will be preparation techniques and how to get ourselves in a place where we can approach material. Week three and four we can extend the process to workshopping scenes or monologues.
Starts Tuesday March 19th and runs for 8 weeks
Time: 7pm to 10pm
Venue: Startime Studios 2 Liverpool Lane, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Cost: only $595 (includes gst)
PLACES ARE STRICTLY LIMITED.
The last thing I want to do is drama games. I come from the teachings of Eric Morris. In the old days we’d use personal realities to help us connect with our emotions but that’s a bit old school. Many actors bring things from their own life and use it to mirror a characters emotions but that can be done internally and not in front of a room full of strangers. I can understand that a lot of young actors want to skip straight to ‘results’ and ‘nailing the scene’ but we’d be doing some exercises that help tune the instrument. We’re not there to ‘nail scenes’ in 4 weeks.
We will definitely work on scenes but not work to perfecting them. Most of the actors there obviously have agents or are working in some capacity, so I want to help them get out of their own way and have some tools to strengthen their own process.Week one- Come in with 30-60 seconds of a monologue- if you wish. We would spend 20 minutes or so on certain relaxation exercises. Guess wha?t- Oscar winners all have coaches and all of them start with relaxation. If you are tense or acting from ego, it reads on screen and audiences subconsciously feel it. So we’d start with focusing on the senses. Connecting to our sensory perception. A new school twist on the New York Actors Center warm up.
Then we would work on ‘selfless involvement’. An on set technique that can be done in partner work or solo. It is the art of taking in our surroundings or scene partner, so that we are fully ‘involved’ in our surroundings and the person we are working with. Not aware of our own behavior. The second we are thinking about how we are behaving or ‘appearing’ – we are being TikTok/self involved/acting like we are ‘acting’ type actors. We want to get to the point where we are truly ourselves. Communication is 5% words, the rest is feelings and reactions. Note- this isn’t a character class. This is a ‘you were cast because you have qualities that suit the character class’.
Then we can spend the second part of the lesson getting up in front of the class individually and sharing literally anything we want to. A small ‘hi I’m Sally and this is what I’ve been up to.’ We won’t be talking to any dead relatives or pets but we will look at our 30-60 second monologues. I’ll throw you some ways to shake learning patterns and make the text seem real without saying it the same way every time. It’ll be fun and possibly a little out of your comfort zone. It’s a way you can work on audition scenes that will help you walk into a casting and show you can be directed. Or tape something and find yourself trusting your impulses over preconceived ideas. If you don’t have a monologue – we can still work on your impulses.
Actors are welcome to bring in a scene they want to work on or have an audition for. We can would start the lesson with a debrief on the previous week. With any scenes we want to work on, I can help people pair up. Because the class is about preparing to get to set without a lot of rehearsal, we wouldn’t ’cast the other role’ per se, we would find you a partner you are comfortable working with. You can’t always depend on your reader! But you can use techniques that allow you to still be truthful and responsive to whatever you are being given. We can look at techniques that help us learn the material from the responsive side of the brain, so we aren’t practicing a pattern. Also how to prepare scenes, so that we have a feeling of them in our body but we aren’t in front of people ‘visibly working’. The more relaxed and responsive you are, the more the audience will be. If you like using objectives – we can incorporate that. If you want to just try things, we can do that.
We will get into a habit of our preparation technique.We can get scenes up and if you want to film them, bring your phone. Each actor will have a chance to work on their scene with feed back and challenges to try things differently and fail. We won’t be doing 2 shots. It will be each actor in single. We will shoot it like an audition. I have found that hundreds of auditions have helped me immensely on set. Never ask when it’s your close up. Play every scene like a moment in the characters life.
Actors can choose to work on their scene or do some work on things they have found challenging and use their mini monologue. The key take away will be the beginnings of taking time before each working day to relax, engage the senses, take their attention off themselves and have a tool kit that allows them to be impulsive, real and responsive in a scene. AKA be in the moment.
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SAC IS A COMPETITION FREE ZONE. We do not celebrate perfection or actors competing against each other. We celebrate actors who challenge themselves to grow and discover. We celebrate actors who encourage and support their peers in class. SAC encourages the art of failure, and instilling in our actors that failure is great, understanding how to fail successfully is crucial for success in your career. The SAC motto is simple – SUPPORT FELLOW ACTORS AND HAVE FUN!