Course Page

Acting for Business I

Course Number:

45895


Faculty

Geoffrey Hitch, gh28@andrew.cmu.edu


Program

MBA


Concentrations

Business Management Communications


Course Description

The purpose of this Business Acting course is to widen your public comfort zone & to unlock your potential for greater expressive power for use in business communications.  This experiential course helps participants to get "out of themselves" and to become more expressive, outgoing & connected when communicating.  This course concerns itself with live, interpersonal, face-to-face communication in public space; this is done through learning & practicing the specific communication tools of Acting in live theatre. 

The course teaches empathetic listening & assertive influence achieved through practical Acting tools rooted in the basic concepts of “Action” & of the Speaker’s “Best Possible Self”, & through the cumulative Seven Stages to Executive Presence.  Participants must validate their own participation by working with openness & enthusiasm toward improving their ability to influence others.
Note:  This is not a course in professional lying.  Instead, it teaches expressive power with which to better communicate what you believe to be true.  It does not prescribe formulaic, “correct” answers regarding behavior in particular business situations, nor does it deal with or value copying movie or television acting.  Instead, the course teaches how to effectively influence & impact people live in a room -- and lays out a system for doing so.

The course has been referred to as “Cross Training For Business People”, “Ethical Acting”, “Executive Presence” & even “Charisma 101”.  It’s a course that will not improve your PowerPoint – but the communicator in front of your PowerPoint.

Key take-aways of this course are:  

1)     New awareness of your public persona & public credibility;

2)     a useful understanding of “Action” and how to use Actions to influence others;  

3)     a new, empathetic & assertive Speaker-to-Listener  mindset;

4)     visual, aural & temporal communication tools, including:  focus, posture & body language, movement & stillness, gesture, key words, inflection, vocally commanding a room, progression of thought & of passion, Goal or Objective, & dynamic diversity;  

5)     methods to manage tension or “stage fright”; and

6)     a focus on making a greater human connection when communicating.


Event Line for the Course:

The event-line of this course focuses on “Action” in the following sequence:  

a) participatory in-class group exercises teaching the nature of Action and Re-Action;

b) group physical & vocal warm-ups that focus on relaxation, audibility and clear articulation (in-class exercises);

c) some lessons will be taught through brief lectures on the Seven Stages to Expressive Power; other lessons will be captured in response to in-class performances;

d) Assignment #1:  The “Shoutables” Exercise:  playing an Action through a shouted sentence (performed assignment);

e) Assignment #2:  The “One Sentence / Three Actions” Exercise:  varying one’s Actions and their performance (performed assignment);

f) Assignment #3:  Empathetically Understanding & Describing Your “Best Possible Self”:  defining yourself as a character, providing the template for subsequent work (written assignment);

g) Assignment #4:  The 3 Assertive Actions or “Physical Object” Exercise (a performed, structured improvisation) focusing on Circumstances, choice of Actions, Goals or Objectives, Obstacles, & Progressions;

h) Assignment #5 (only as needed):  The 3 Assertive Actions or “Goal or Objective” Exercise (a performed, structured improvisation) another in-class exercise focusing on Circumstances, choice of Actions, Goals or Objectives, Obstacles, & Progressions.

i) Assignment #6:  ”The Map of Actions for a Monologue’s Journey”:  identifying varied Actions in the pursuit of an over-all Objective – within written work (written assignment);

j) Assignment #7:  Empathetically Observing & Recreating the Activity of a Person An Audience Would Find Interesting to Watch focusing on empathy, observation skills, & the importance of audience interest (a performed assignment);

k) Assignment #8:  Preparing The Progression in A Duet Scene – Initial Presentation (a prepared & performed exercise; not memorized).  Within two-person, scripted scenes written by modern American writers, working with the focus on listening to & talking to each other, identifying & playing specific & varied Actions toward the pursuit of Goals or Objectives, & constructing a performance with clarity, commitment & dynamic variety.

l) Assignment #9:  Duet Scene, Intermediate Runthrough; (a prepared & performed exercise; preferably memorized.)  Continued work on the same two-person scene, working for clearer understanding, deeper commitment, and more varied dynamics.

m) Assignment #10:  Duet Scene, Final Performance (a prepared & performed exercise; memorized.) Final presentation of the same two-person, work-in-progress scene, working for maximum audience impact.

n) Assignment #11:  Using The “Map Of Actions To Prepare An Audience-Pleasing Shape in A Dramatic Monologue, Initial Presentation (a prepared & performed exercise; not memorized) identifying & playing the varied Actions toward the pursuit of a Goal or Objective within scripted monologues written by modern American writers, working with the focus on clarity, commitment, commanding the room, constructing a performance with dynamic variety, & keeping an audience interested & involved for two minutes by your own devices only.

o) Assignment #12:  Dramatic Monologue, Intermediate Runthrough (a prepared & performed exercise; preferably memorized.)  Continued work on the same monologue, working for clearer understanding, deeper commitment, and more varied dynamics.

p) Assignment #13:  Dramatic Monologue, Final Performance (a prepared & performed exercise; memorized.) Final presentation of the same work-in-progress monologue, working for maximum audience impact.

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Attendance & Punctuality:Attendance & Punctuality for all classes are mandatory.  Attendance is an individual’s presence & full participation for the entire session.  Each time a student arrives late or leaves early -- being absent for part of a class – will be counted as half an absence.  You are expected to attend, & to participate with enthusiasm & curiosity.  Most sections of this course meet twice per week.  However, if your section meets only one time per week, missing that one week’s class is equivalent to two absences.  

Requirements:

               1-Attendance & punctuality;

               2-your enthusiasm, curiosity & willingness to attempt the tasks given & to comply with the stages presented;

               3-your full compliance with the instructions for each performed or written exercise;

            4-your cumulative learning of the Seven Stages to Executive Presence; &

            5-full preparedness for each assignment, including written work or rehearsals outside of class time.

(10/12-GH)



Format

Lecture: 100min/wk and Recitation: 50min/wk


Pre-requisites

None