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FOUNDATION COURSE FAQ

Why take this Chekhov Foundation Course?

Lisa is one of the most talented acting coaches I have had the privilege to work with in a long time. her techniques, passion and love for her work not only prepared me for my auditions, but released the fear so I could truly live in the moment and as a result booked two Theatrical Release Film roles in 3-months. I continue to recommend her to my peers as one of the most gifted coaches in our industry.
Mary Jean Bentley, SAG DFW Actor-Producer
Imagine creating powerful emotional action driven performances with a physical expression unique to each character yet filled with your creative individuality. No more repeating the same expression of joy, fear, sorrow and anger. Do you express your feelings just like everyone else does? Of course not, so why would all of your characters express the same way? Won’t you loose interest in repeating the same stuff year after year in show after show? Isn’t is exciting to see what Hopkins is going to do with his next role? Or how Depp is playing his next character?
Imagine reading the script, instantly knowing how to perform it and then actually giving the performance as fully as you envisioned! Don’t you just hate when you go to do what you know is great and it just doesn’t come out at all the way you meant? I think it is one of the most painful moments for an actor. You knew what it could be yet it didn’t happen and you don’t know why. Imagine that never happening again!
Imagine the freedom from the fear of sinking to an uninspiring partner--being able to act in direct truthful response to your partner REGARDLESS of whether they are giving what you want or need for the scene! This is imperative for casting meetings and on-camera shoots where your partner may not be available.
Imagine feeling deep joy in your choice to be an actor, Deep Respect for yourself, powerful love for your industry and the impact we make on the world. Are you ever hesitant to speak of yourself as an actor? Why would we ever want to hesitate to speak of what we love?
Imagine that your LOVE of Acting is your greatest tool towards peak performance and peak living! It is the key to creating relationships that build and sustain your career as well as your spring board into “the Zone!”
These are the gifts of Michael Chekhov's work
as Lisa Dalton brings them into this world.
Imagine being able to understand the mystery of what you do through peak performance research in acting, science, medicine, sports and other venues. Upon understanding what it is you do instinctively in those amazing "high" points, you can then call upon those resources at any time.
Imagine capturing all the multitude of elements of time, place and event into one single image. That is Atmosphere. One single point of focus triggers the “flow.”
Imagine doing one movement with your body and imagination that instantly transforms you from your casual everyday self into the thoughts, feelings, desires and body of the character. That's The Psychological Gesture. One moment you are hanging out at Craft Services, and the next moment, you are fully in character delivering a mesmerizing performance. You are turning it on and off just like a Champion boxer does. This creates the most efficient use of energy - a concept always present in Peak Performance. Can you imagine never having to hang on to the character unnecessarily- never fearing not finding it again?
Imagine your life as a performing artist being completely free of ever worrying about whether you are going to "Feel" the moment! Use Michael Chekhov’s Sensations and Qualities for a pain-free consistent and reliable emotional life. Did you know that five minutes spent recalling a frustrating event in your life lowers your immune system for over 6 hours (www.heartmath.com)!
Imagine knowing that the healthier your life is, the more likely you will be to recognize and express your instincts! No more worry about needing a lousy life in order to have memories to resource. Use your limitless imagination to “act, my dear”. After all, does Bambi, Nemo or Shrek have a real past to recall? NO--they are cartoons...and still they awaken our deep emotional responses. Did you need to recall your past when you played as a child? NO--you turned your superpowers off and on like a faucet. Restore your childlike flexibility of imagination.
Imagine stepping in front of a blue or green screen with no real partner and acting fully and confidently. Imaginary Body, Centers (used by Helen Hunt, Marissa Tomei, Clint Eastwood) and other Characterization tools use Chekhov’s imagination techniques.

ALL of these Imaginings can be REAL
whenever you are ready to make that happen!
The best way to begin mastery of these amazing tools used by Hopkins, Depp and many more, such as Psychological Gesture and Atmospheres, Transformational Characterization, and range of Styles is through the Foundation Course.

How else can I take the Foundation Course?

*Our 10 Hour Private or Semi-Private Foundation Course- for those who want to get started and finished and using these tools immediately, can be taken privately or semi-privately based on your schedule and the coach’s schedule- day times and some eves or weekends. $150 each hour. Pay per lesson. Save $25/hour with a ten hour commitment that can be taken in 2 or three hour blocks. Fast track does not include finale presentation and is paced at actor/coach preferred schedule. Out of town actor/directors can take it in two days.

What if I can’t afford it?
How can you not afford it? What you invest now will give you success for a lifetime. How much is a successful career and happy home life worth to you?

There are so many actors with amazing talent and it is evident that talent and success are not equated. Those who are clear on their priorities will and do find a means to get the necessary tools for success. Before you go spending money on selling your product, be sure all of your product development is complete. Selling underdeveloped product fails to yield repeat customers. Believe that you can afford it and you will. Lisa offers extremely reasonable rates and rewards consistency. Many actors say they learn more in 10-16 hours of the Foundation Course than in 4 years of College Theatre. AGAIN, HOW CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO? It’s what you love to do.
Will this technique work for me?
If you are wondering whether this approach will work, consider reading Michael Chekhov’s Book, On the Technique of Acting. By the end of the second chapter- you should have a strong desire to go further into this or not. That’s the time to get into the Foundation Course. If you don’t have the desire, please try another path. Lisa is only interested in working with folks who are passionately committed to growth.

You can also examine your nature and ask whether you feel freer, safer and more creative working through “pretend” or “reality.” If you know kinesiology muscle testing you can check. Pretend folks usually love Chekhov.

If you have ever secretly pretended to have a memory or pretended to have someone in your life to substitute for the character, if you ever pretend your memory was worse than it was, to try to stir up your feelings or up your stakes, then you are probably a great candidate for this work.

What if I am just not a reader?
Listen to On Theatre and The Art of Acting, a Five hour CD series of Mr. Chekhov answering questions put forth from the Hollywood Community who trained with him in 1955. His Hollywood students included Yul Brynner, Gary Cooper, Anthony Quinn, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Palance, LLoyd and Dorothy Bridges, Patricia Neal. Film clips of these artist are included in the documentary “From Russia to Hollywood” which Lisa Dalton co-produced and co-shot. If you don’t read, listen or watch the award winning documentary which has aired on KCET several times.

What if I don’t understand it?

Reading about acting is a little like reading about playing golf or football or ballet. You really need a coach because it requires use of your body. Though you may not understand all of it as you read or listen or watch, your artistic nature will recognize a camaraderie with the approach or not. Most folks say “Hey, I used to do that and didn’t know it was an actual technique!” That’s because Mr. Chekhov based his theory on observing what actually happens in states of inspiration. By identifying the flow of energies consistently present, defining the universal principles at play, naming those energies in actors’ terms, he then created exercises by which we can instantly create the conditions most likely to favor inspiration. In short, Chekhov was doing what came naturally in a state of play, just like you used to do, right? Why not do that again?

If your artistic nature says “Hey, that sounds like Fun!” and if you are truly ready to commit to an amazing career and life, then enroll now.
Why haven’t more people heard of his technique?
Chekhov was long considered the greatest actor ever by Stanislavski and the Russians today, Harold Clurman, Stella Adler, Herbert Berghoff, long admired by Meisner, Sonia Moore, Strasberg. Many books exist where these Masters speak of the inspiration Chekhov gave them, however, they didn’t know how to teach what he did. They mostly considered his genius as unteachable--strictly a gift. At the time, a concept like Chekhov’s visualization of the character, was highly unacceptable. Today this kind of imagery is used in nearly all facets of education, sales, athletic training, healing, and self empowerment. Lisa Dalton has singularly invested a tremendous amount of time researching the underlying principles and developing the teaching process of these ideas since 1980, while being a working actor/director. She has taught this work all over the world and has continued advancing the principles bringing them into practical application for today needs. Lisa is the acting coach on the new A & E Series “Spying on Myself.” She has recently coached actors and directors on films like “The Sensei” and “Monkeyflower.” Just this week, one of her students is acting with Anthony Hopkins and another with Clint Eastwood. She has clients on The Medium and Nickelodeon’s Ned’s Declassified. Numerous clients are working in commercials, episodic, studio and indie features.
Who else is using the Chekhov Technique?
Jodi Foster recently was the guest on Inside the Actors Studio and discovered that she had used Michael Chekhov's Psychological Gesture and never knew there was a name for it! Emmy winner James Spader studied the technique in New York with Blair Cutting. The Chekhov technique is more widely known in Europe and Russia than the US and the US educational system is ahead of the professional acting world in adding this technique to its curriculum. Four new publications have emerged within the last two years and one more is soon to be released: two biographies, rerelease of TO THE ACTOR, THE CD series and his Autobiography coming soon. surely this doubling of English language publications indicates that this work is the wave of the future. Mr. C. was working way ahead of his time- like Joe Pilates - both working after WW1, neither known by many until lately.
If you have decided to take this course, whether or not you have registered, start preparing. Follow this link to The Foundation Preparation Guide for important information for participates.