The Trigger Approach

the Trigger Approach is a technique I originally learned studying with Richard Seyd that I have expanded on and added to. It is a way of breaking down text, thought by thought, that helps the actor stay in the moment.

I ask people not to memorize their lines (thoughts) but rather to focus on the impulses or triggers that create their thoughts. The result is that you focus on listening to a much greater degree, and lines feel more spontaneous in response to what's happening in the scene or to what's coming from your partner(s). You rarely "see" the lines in your head when you work this way, but feel that they are coming more from you. Another very powerful thing that happens when people are listening fully in the moment and not thinking ahead is that they start to work from their unconscious, and their emotional life becomes much more available to them. This is the basic technique I start with, and then I add some other things like some physical work (Viewpoints, etc.), plus a good simple system for getting clear on given and added circumstances, which can be a very powerful tool to add to this mix.

I'm also good at picking strong, juicy scenes for people to work on, especially if you want to try a stretch role, i.e., an area you normally don't get cast in. Finally, I like helping people work through any physical mannerisms or tics they may have that they haven't been able to shake off. I have found this technique to be equally useful for both stage and film acting.