Some of the Theory Behind Chameleon Audition Survival Training
Chameleon Audition Survival Training is deep water survival training for the professional or aspiring professional film and television actor who wants to learn not only how to act well on camera, but also how to prepare for professional auditions, how to book jobs, how to be prepared to do his or her best work on film and television sets once the camera is rolling, how to advance his or her career, and how to endure long term in the industry. Using short, repeatable Audition scenes from commercials, movies, and television as a vehicle, C.A.S.T. trains actors to reach their full potential, and it trains actors to Survive.
According to Michael Gordin Shore, creator and developer of the Chameleon Audition Survival Training system, "C.A.S.T. is different because it incorporates critical information, perspective, and techniques that have not previously been included in the training of film and television actors. C.A.S.T. is a combination of the knowledge and experiences I have absorbed from my 40 years of training and acting on stage and on screen, combined with the vital information I’ve gained by working for many years in the casting department, the technical departments, and as a film and television producer, all layered onto what I’ve learned by being involved with teaching communication skills to medical students for the last dozen years. C.A.S.T. is different because it is designed not only to teach actors how to act and how to communicate beautifully, but also to teach them how to prepare for auditions, to book acting jobs, to prepare for set once those jobs are booked, how to work on set and to understand how it’s different than working in the vacuum of the studio, how the on set rehearsal process works, how to survive the day, the business, how to endure long term, and most importantly how to work and to behave like a professional both on set and off.
"C.A.S.T. is different because I am different, my methodology, my training and my experiences are a blend of traditional and highly non-traditional, and because half of what I’ve put into the system has nothing to do with acting yet has everything to do with acting. Hardly anyone teaches this stuff. Everyone tells the actor what he has to do, and yet hardly anyone seems to be able to teach him how to do it. C.A.S.T. is different. C.A.S.T. is specific, providing the actor with the tools and techniques he needs to deal with the many issues that fall into the general category of “yeah I know what I have to do, but how do I actually do that”, like how to prepare for an audition, how to memorize huge chunks of dialogue, how to play scenes which have a ton of physical action in them, how to make the scene camera and Audition friendly, how to make choices about props, how to shift cleanly between scenes when they require drastically different emotional states, how commercial Auditions are different than Film/TV Auditions, how to know when you are supposed to look at the camera and when you are not, how to choose eyelines for the scenes, how much you are allowed to move around the space, how ‘big’ you can be without being too big for the camera, how to handle the questions they throw at you when you’re on the mark so you don’t blow the deal, how to handle yourself in the room, how to deal with nerves, how to be repeatable both emotionally and physically, how to own the room, how to nail auditions, how to prepare for set once you book the job, how preparing for and acting on set will be different than acting in the studio, there’s no end to the list of things the actor must learn how to do on top of how to deliver the scene convincingly. Hardly anyone teaches this stuff, and I don’t understand why because it’s some of the most important stuff in our business. You can’t be a professional actor if you never book jobs and make it to set, and you won’t last long as a professional actor if you don’t know how to work on set once you get there. Hardly anybody teaches this stuff, and yet it’s exactly what every actor needs to learn. C.A.S.T. is all of this stuff in one place, it’s everything I’ve learned from everything I’ve done in 40 years of studying and application.
“An enthusiastic attitude and an extraordinary, untiring work ethic are prerequisites, yet that’s just the beginning. Even the knowing what to do part is easy, it’s the knowing how and when to do it part where skills and knowledge make come into play. Anyone can tell you what you have to do in the audition room, that doesn’t mean they can tell you how to do it. I can. I can teach you how to own the room in ways you never thought possible, using craft, using technique. Your confidence in the room will skyrocket, deservedly, because you will understand the Audition process and know how to play the game well; you will be making strong choices, executing them with conviction, and adjusting effortlessly. And you will be breathing, something most actors forget to do in the audition room. When an actor works with me, they get more than a simple coaching, they get the full meal deal; they get a global perspective, and they get to walk away from every session with new and tangible acting and communication skills that will help them in a multitude of acting and real life situations.
“If you know an actor that needs me, tell them I said this: Stop wandering around in the dark. I can turn you into an acting machine. Let me demystify the audition process for you and I will start you on the road to owning your auditions and your career, learn to clarify your choices and you will clarify your story. Learn how to control your body and you will learn to control your work. Let me arm you with the tools, the craft, and let me teach you how use them. You will learn to turn on a dime, to make adjustments with confidence, and you will lose your fear of the camera. You will walk out after the first training wondering how you survived so far as an actor without this information. Anyone can tell you that you have to own the room, I can actually teach you how to do it. Learn from me and you are learning from a working theatre, film, and television actor with almost 40 years of experience, degrees from two of the top practical conservatory theatre acting training programs in Canada and who then spent almost ten years studying acting for the camera with almost every teacher and casting director in Vancouver and who is still studying and continuing to learn every day, learn from me and you are learning from an experienced and highly trained director, designer, and technician who understands how the whole process works, from a casting insider who has read for thousands of other actors’ auditions and been behind the camera for thousands more, from someone who has worked as a casting director on a number of independent projects, and from one of the Producers of two large independent projects, a miniseries and a feature film, from someone who has read, coached, and auditioned tens of thousands of actors and scenes, and who has already helped hundreds of actors and non-actors to book jobs and to improve their careers. I try as hard as I can to make sure everyone gets much, much more than they expect from me.”
C.A.S.T. can teach you the same acting skills as any traditional actor training system can, because one of the thickest layers of its foundation is the amalgamation of half a dozen formal acting systems including Method, Practical Aesthetic, Uta Hagen, Grotowski, and Meisner. Old school and new school mix in the Chameleon System. Different tools for different jobs. Absorb what works for you, discard the rest. There’s a difference in size between acting on stage and on camera, but that’s about how much the actor sits on it, and that’s about technique. Acting is acting, and C.A.S.T. will give you acting skills. The difference between standard, traditional actor training and Chameleon Audition Survival Training is that C.A.S.T. will not only teach you how to act, it will also train you as a professional actor; it will teach you how to apply that knowledge to get work as an actor in the real world, how to book jobs and to Survive, how to succeed and to endure as a pro working on television and in feature films. C.A.S.T. teaches you the practical application of studio actor training in the real world of professional casting rooms, and then it helps you understand how to do your best acting work and how to earn the most camera time when you have the chance to be acting on movie and television sets.
Chameleon Audition Survival Training has at its core the belief that almost any actor can play almost any role, given the right preparation, tools, and training. Michael has absorbed and adapted methods and exercises from half a dozen acting training systems, and as well he has created and developed many original tools, techniques, and theories. He has an almost unlimited number of solutions to any given acting challenge, which is invaluable for training, as different actors need different solutions at different times given the same situation.