Actors: How to Break Down Your Script to Prepare for a Role or Audition-with Live Interactive Workshop

Hosted by Taylor Nichols

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Taylor Nichols

Webinar hosted by: Taylor Nichols

Actor (HBO's PERRY MASON, Hulu's PEN15, THE WALKING DEAD)

Taylor Nichols is an award winning filmmaker, theater director and actor with over one hundred credits to his name. He is currently on the Emmy-nominated Hulu show PEN15 and the HBO smash-hit PERRY MASON. Taylor has also appeared on shows such as Emmy and Golden Globe nominated THE WALKING DEAD and PRISON BREAK, the cultural hit DIRTY JOHN, Emmy-winning MODERN FAMILY, 24 Golden Globe nominated THE MENTALIST and many more. In addition to acting, Taylor is an award winning short filmmaker and an experienced producer with feature credits including THE NEXT STEP and CASE 219. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

The most significant aspect of any actor’s career is securing work, but with overwhelming competition, roles are scare and difficult to come by, which can make this task incredibly tough. Yet in the end, acting careers are built on the work and honing your skills as a performer. Every actor knows that work begets work. This is because as we expand our experiences and circle of connections, more doors open with opportunities for more work. It’s great to have an agent, to make those connections, to develop strategies to become more marketable, but more important than all of that is becoming the best actor you can possibly be. Ultimately, producers want to hire the right performer for the role, and putting yourself in a position to get that role is less complicated than others might have you believe. 

Whether you are preparing for an audition or a performance for a role you are already cast in, your main tool and blueprint before you even get on set or in that audition room is likely going to be the script, and any practiced actor will tell you there’s a lot more to a script than just your character’s dialogue. If you’re simply going through the script to highlight your lines, you’re missing out on a treasure trove of information that will lend itself to you finding the character and giving your best possible performance. An experienced actor is able to fully break down any written scene to internalize not just the dialogue, but the beats, the context, the elements that are unwritten but still very present. Knowing how to analyze a script and glean from it all of its information and clues will allow you to more fully inhabit your role and make you a better and more cast-able actor.

Taylor Nichols is an award winning filmmaker, theater director and actor with over one hundred credits to his name. He is currently on the Emmy-nominated Hulu show PEN15 and the HBO smash-hit PERRY MASON. Taylor has also appeared on shows such as Emmy and Golden Globe nominated THE WALKING DEAD and PRISON BREAK, the cultural hit DIRTY JOHN, Emmy-winning MODERN FAMILY, 24, Golden Globe nominated THE MENTALIST and many more.  In addition to acting, Taylor is an award winning short filmmaker and an experienced producer with feature credits including THE NEXT STEP and CASE 219. Taylor brings to Stage 32 more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry and is ready to share with the community the skills and lessons he’s developed throughout his career.

In the first part of Taylor’s “The Work Leads to the Work” webinar series, Taylor will lay out how to break down a script as an actor and develop the techniques needed for characterization and emotional depth to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances”. Taylor will begin by teaching you what an actor should do as soon as they get the script, including what to focus on during your first read through and how you should be marking it up. He will give you the tools to zero in on a specific scene’s theme and will then delve into determining your character’s objective, both in the scene and in the story as a whole. He’ll talk about how and where you should place dramatic beats by finding the scene’s shape and creating and feeding into the flow. He’ll go into what makes beats and pauses feel natural and honest and when they feel put on and will also outline how you can use your beats as a tool for line memorization. Taylor will then go over how to define your character’s obstacles while reading the script and how you should create your own honest actions in the scene. He will also explain how these actions can successfully interact with both beats and objectives. Next he will explain what “givens” are in a script and how you can find the givens of your character. He will also teach you the difference between naturalism and honesty when giving a performance and explain why honesty is always what an actor should be working towards.

Taylor will also lead a live, interactive acting workshop to illustrate the strategies he has taught and show how to use the written scene to define the characters. Taylor will break down down a scene of a script in real time and will bring up students to perform these role based on this breakdown.

Through his lesson and workshop, Taylor will give you invaluable tools to help hone your craft and better prepare you for any future auditions or performances.

 

"Through my career I always hear actors talk about navigating Hollywood and 'working the system' to get ahead, and while that's important, I truly believe there's nothing more valuable in an actor's career than actually doing the work and honing their craft to become the best artist they can be. I love working with actors and giving them the tools to grow. I'm so excited to delve into this particular topic with the Stage 32 community, because I believe it's absolutely critical for any actor looking to find success."

-Taylor Nichols

What You'll Learn

  • The First Things You Should Do As Soon As You Get the Script
    • What to focus on during your first read through
    • The importance of marking up your script and what you should be writing down
  • Zeroing in on the Scene’s Theme
  • Determining Your Character’s Objective
    • What does your character want in this scene?
    • What does your character want in the whole story?
  • Placing Dramatic Beats
    • Finding the shape of the scene
    • Creating and feeding into flow
    • What makes pauses feel natural and honest and when do they feel put on?
    • Using your beats as a tool for line memorization
  • Defining Your Character’s Obstacles
  • Creating Honest Actions Within the Scene
    • And how actions can successfully interact with both beats and objectives
  • What Are The Givens of Your Character?
  • Naturalism vs. Honesty
  • Script Analysis as a Process: Learning, Adjusting, and Improving as you Progress
    • The importance of failing
    • When you should adjust or take notes and when you should stick to your instincts
  • Live Interactive Acting Workshop
    • Taylor will break down a scene in real time and use the script to define the characters
    • After breaking down the script, Taylor will bring up volunteer students to perform the script
  • Q&A with Taylor

About Your Instructor

Taylor Nichols is an award winning filmmaker, theater director and actor with over one hundred credits to his name. He is currently on the Emmy-nominated Hulu show PEN15 and the HBO smash-hit PERRY MASON. Taylor has also appeared on shows such as Emmy and Golden Globe nominated THE WALKING DEAD and PRISON BREAK, the cultural hit DIRTY JOHN, Emmy-winning MODERN FAMILY, 24 Golden Globe nominated THE MENTALIST and many more. In addition to acting, Taylor is an award winning short filmmaker and an experienced producer with feature credits including THE NEXT STEP and CASE 219.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.

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A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

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