IVANA CHUBBUCK STUDIO
1. What is your technique?
I teach my own process, the Chubbuck Technique, which builds on teaching traditions that stretch back to Stanislavski and infuses them with current advances in behavioral science and psychology. I have learned what works, and what does not, by teaching literally thousands of working actors and helping them to create many amazing roles. My Technique has grown and evolved over the twenty-five years that I have been teaching acting into a set of tools that have proven to be powerful, effective and accessible. It simply works.
In order to recreate real human behavior and truly be in the scene (and avoid “acting” it out), I teach you to go to the source of what motivates human behavior. This is why I do not believe in acting exercises. You will not be a bear, you will not be a tree experiencing sap running down your bark. We will go directly to the script, doing script analysis from the viewpoint of the science of behavior. How and why people really behave. Thus, we look at the psyche of the character in the script and see how that particular character negotiates life. Then, using the Chubbuck Technique, I will teach you to replicate the character from your own personal needs and life experiences. This creates a character that is vivid, authentic and living and breathing in the moment. The Chubbuck Technique is a way to realize and embody a character so that the character becomes you, and you become the character.
There are certain human, primal constants regarding what one seeks from life (power, love, sex, a job, validation etc), and these are the needs that dictate our behavior. However, it is how an individual manifests his or her needs (the “Objective”) that make us all wonderfully unique. It creates an arena for your one-of-a-kind affectations and mannerisms to truly emerge. We are creatures of action, emanating from the survival instinct that is both physical and emotional. Bottom line: we do not just feel, but rather our emotions are a reaction to action. If we love and we do not get love back, we will feel bad; if we love and we do get love back, we will feel good (and all the shades of gray in-between). This is the real human spirit. This way of working realizes a true, multidimensional human being, not an acted out version. The Chubbuck Technique also helps recreate the actions of a dynamic individual. We go to the movies, watch TV and go to the theater to see, not the ordinary or dull, but extraordinary people. How a person dealing with pain and trauma overcomes and wins, by using that pain as a fuel. This is what I teach.
2. Who assigns the scenes?
In my class, I assign the scenes and your scene partners, as do each of my teachers in their respective classes. I have a game plan for each of my students. I analyze and take into account your strengths and weaknesses, your problem areas, and your history, and assign material that will best facilitate your growth and advancement as an individual. I choose the appropriate script material that will quickly fix your specific difficulties, thereby enabling you to expand your abilities in your craft and enhance your capacity to get the job.
3. What material do you use for scenes?
The scenes are culled from movies, television, and theater. During pilot season, we may put further emphasis on television scripts to enable our actors to be prepared for pilots. Every year my students book a great number of leads in pilots, no matter how inexperienced they are – because they are so geared up and primed for the demands of pilot season.
Also, we have a lot of directors and writers/producers in class who are there to learn how to communicate with actors. Sometimes, scripts that are about to be filmed are workshopped in class – it helps the directors or writers/producers adjust, tweak and better understand their material. I find that our actors learn volumes about the real world from this process.
4. What are the typical class sizes?
Because the introductory level has fewer working actors, the classes are kept considerably smaller. The advanced levels have more actors who are frequently absent from class because they are working, so there are more students in those classes in order to maintain an appropriate active number of students. The Master level has mostly working actors (and again to accommodate so many actors coming and going for work purposes), the class size is larger to accommodate the needs of the class.
5. How often do you get to work in class?
Normally, you put your scene up in class every other week. Sometimes, if you are motivated and work hard, you may have the opportunity to put up work every week. But this studio is not just about putting up your scenes in class, we expect a lot of time spent rehearsing during the two week period. Rehearsal is an important part of the learning experience and time needs to be allotted between the performances.
To accommodate the working actors in class, we have a rotation system. You keep your space on the list until you put up your scene. If you have a scene partner that has to go on location for an extended period of time, you will be reassigned a new scene and partner.
6. How many times do you put up a scene?
Twice. You rehearse the material I assign you, with your scene partner, the first week. Then you put the scene up in class and I will give you notes. You then rehearse addressing my notes and put the scene up again.
7. What are the expectations for rehearsal and homework time?
We expect at least six to eight hours per week of rehearsal (plus individual homework time), and that is the minimum. The students that have become noted and lauded actors (Oscars, Emmys and such) and built successful careers were all actors with an impressive work ethic that often chose to rehearse two to three hours every day! Many of your revelations will happen in the rehearsal process, and pushing yourself to new levels will pay off.
8. What happens in the introductory and advanced levels that is different from the Master level?
All the levels are scene study and script analysis. In the introductory and advanced levels, the basics and terminology are introduced and more fully explained and defined. Think of the intro and advanced levels as preparation to be in the Master class.
9. Can I go directly into the Master level?
No. Why? Because the actor will be more available to the notes received from me if I am not called upon to explain the rudimentary elements of the technique, thereby allowing me to get into the crux of your problem areas quickly. The actor’s progress is exponential when the actor already knows how to break down a script my way and understands my verbiage and how I use it. Be patient, we have evolved this system over many years, and it has been refined to bring out the best in you as an actor in the most efficient and expedient manner.
10. How is it determined whether you start with the introductory or advanced level?
This is determined by your resume. Extensive work and study background starts you in the advanced level, although it is often beneficial to start in the introductory level. Remember, it is not about ego (ego often is the most destructive element in growth of any sort), it is about what will make you a great, working actor.
11. How does one advance from level to level, but more importantly into the Master level?
I do not believe the arts can be taught in fixed increments of time. Everyone learns at their own pace, determined by both life and work experience. If you are ready, you will be moved into the Master class in two weeks.
Take advantage of auditing my classes every chance you get (at no additional cost), and work hard on your scenes,** and you will progress quickly. It is all up to you. The skills you exhibit through past experience, hard work ethic and generally inundating yourself in the system will advance you quickly.
I encourage you to boldly take advantage of what is being offered at the studio – through auditing additional classes and heavy rehearsal scheduling, you will move up the ladder very quickly, and most importantly, advance in your skill as an actor. This attitude will not only prove successful in my studio, but in the real world as well. This is the attitude that creates highly successful careers. We hold no one back if they have proven themselves. It is not political, and there is no favoritism involved. It is all about the quality of the work.
12. Who teaches the introductory and advanced levels?
All the teachers have been trained by me for extensive periods of time. I am in constant communication with the introductory and advanced teachers, and I personally monitor your progress.
13. What happens if I get acting work while I am in class?
You will be financially credited for time missed for acting work when you return to class (if you have already paid for the month). You do not get credit for illness, death in the family, modeling, background work or any other kind of work except for paid acting jobs. The studio is based in support of the working actor.
14. What happens if I have a flakey scene partner?
You can fire your scene partner if you have a problem with them. It is your time and money that is wasted by someone who does not take the craft seriously. The more you put up your scenes in class, the better actor you will become. Do not worry about being nice. If a scene partner is flakey, I do not want you to waste your time and money, fire them. If an actor gets fired enough, they will either change, or leave the studio. In either case, it is best for the studio. Within 24 hours of firing a scene partner, you will get a new scene and scene partner to work with. We only want students that are willing to dedicate themselves to their careers as actors and work hard and passionately at their art. We weed out the lazy and the uncommitted.
15. What is the financial commitment?
It is a month to month fee. Classes meet once a week. $275 per month for the introductory and advanced classes, and $325 a month for master classes. If you start mid-month, it is pro-rated. Payment is due in full the first class of every month. When you first begin attending the studio, your payment is pro-rated for that month. We except cash, check, cashiers check, money orders and Visa or MasterCard.
16. What is the duration of the class?
Each class normally runs from three to three and a half hours. You are expected to arrive at the beginning of each class and stay until the end, unless you get permission from the teacher (this is not applicable to students coming to audit from my other classes).
17. Are you able to audit all the other classes once you join?
Yes, you may audit all the other classes at no additional cost. Come as often as you want, you do not have to call to make an appointment. In classes you are auditing, even if you only have a short time to spend, still come. It is very helpful to see critiques of other scenes from other classes. Inundate yourself with the information. It will help you grow exponentially faster, leading to better skills and better work opportunities. Think of the studio as your home away from home.
18. What is the tone of the class?
The studio is a professional actors environment, and the tone is set up to support that. There is also a sense of camaraderie in the classes. We nurture a sense of people helping each other, as opposed to the typical rabid competition that exists in the real world of show business. It is good to have a safe place to apply one’s craft, as well as to receive the true support from one’s peers. There is a high level of networking that goes on in the studio because my students do not feel that your success means their failure. Conversely, they feel that your success means there is hope.
19. Who makes up the student body?
Directors, writers/producers, and of course, actors.
20. What do you think the formula is for success in this business?
Hard work and taking risks. Seems simple enough, but you would be surprised how many actors are lazy and fall back on safe choices – afraid to offend or not please the casting director/writer/producer/director. Never let fear drive your life. Making bold choices and being courageous are powerful tools for success in any business.
21. What is expected of me before I attend my first class?
Read my book, “The Power of the Actor”, focusing on the first 12 chapters. It is a real nuts and bolts, comprehensive map on how to break down a script. This will allow you to make faster progress upon entering the class because you will have a more concrete and thorough understanding of how to apply the Chubbuck Technique.