Palm Beach Acting School

Michael Haney
Professional Acting Coach

THIS WEBSITE IS BASED ON THE
SANFORD MEISNER ACTING TECHNIQUE!


My DVD is now available at...
https://www.createspace.com/326166
Only $29.95

On-line Training Through SKYPE!
To schedule training,
contact Mr. Haney at 561-667-1298
or PalmBeachActingSchool@gmail.com

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Mission Statement

My name is Michael Haney. My personal mission is to build the best acting school possible. Toward that end my objective is to train so many students, so well, that actors from South Florida develop the same prestige now given to those in Hollywood. This is certainly an attainable goal, especially recognizing the industry support being offered in our area!


To express your interest in a professional acting program, or if you have any questions after browsing this web site, please email me at:

PalmBeachActingSchool@gmail.com

PALM BEACH ACTING SCHOOL
5930 Cherokee Drive
Lake Worth, FL 33463
Classes are ongoing - can start any week!
Call Mr. Haney for additional dates and times - (561) 667-1298

Acting Coach Michael Haney

It has been said that it takes 20 years to be great at your work...acting is no exception! During my years in the film industry I have held the positions of actor, director, producer, writer, assistant director, videographer, video editor, assistant video editor, production assistant, grip, photo double, stand-in and background actor.

For nearly a decade, I performed as a principal cast member in Hollywood's longest running play; "WELCOME HOME SOLDIER".

For many years I trained under the direction of Jeff Goldblum, Robert Carnegie, Tony Savant and J. D. Coburn, at one of the largest, most respected and highly recommended acting schools in Los Angeles, California, "PLAYHOUSE WEST".

I have worked with noted actors James Woods, Tom Hanks, Raul Julia, Mercedes Ruehl, Andy Garcia, James Franco, Mark Pellegrino, Billy Crystal, and Jason Alexander.

Some of the directors I worked with are Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Oliver Stone, David Steinberg, David Mirkin, Neil Leifer, Ami Mann, Mick Jackson and Joe Adler.

I have appeared in Catch Me If You Can, Nixon, Indictment-The McMartin Trial, Contact, Coneheads, The Bachelor, General's Daughter, Next Door, For Better or Worse, Dawn of our Nation, The Witness, Case Breakers, Outlaw, Clinton & Nadine, Space Marines, Trading Hearts , Star Trek, Deep Space Nine, General Hospital, The Edge, Designing Women & Miami Vice TV series.

The film studios I worked at are MGM, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Paramount, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Lime Lite Studios, Dania Films, Multi Media Productions & Newman Films.

Simply reading this or any other written material on acting will not teach you to become an actor, any more than reading a book on flying will teach you to pilot an aircraft. I know this from personal experience as I have done both, and acting is infinitely harder!

Limited Availability!
Scroll through the exciting syllabus below.
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PALM BEACH ACTING SCHOOL SYLLABUS

INTRODUCTION

ON ACTING:
Live truthfully under the imaginary circumstances of the moment.

At Palm Beach Acting School we take the position that everyone holds the key to his or her own success. The goal of the artist is to supply truthful feelings under given circumstances, and to translate dialogue into behavior and action. Acting is the art of self-realization, where art expresses human experience. The degree at which the actor will be successful is directly related to the degree at which he/she can make up meaningful situations that touch the heart.

In the training at Palm Beach Acting School we will always be working with imaginary circumstances when we act. Never at any time will you be asked to disclose something personal about your past or present life experiences. Acting is not therapy and should not make you sick. However, if you are working correctly, there is a good chance that you will feel emotionally exhausted at the completion of a good exercise. Learning to act is about finding the truth of the moment, and connecting with your partner on a human level.

Acting is not intellectual. It is not pretending, learning how to hit your mark, talking, doing "cold reads", or simply crying. The emotions that an actor feels must be the result of doing something for real!

Acting is spontaneous and instinctual; connecting with your partner, and living truthfully under the imaginary circumstances, moment to unanticipated moment! Acting is expressing exactly how you feel during each and every moment. Acting is not how you say the lines; it is how you behave emotionally while saying them.

Learning to act is much like building a house. First, you put down a solid foundation. Next, you add onto that foundation layer by layer. The approach at Palm Beach Acting School trains you to become a whole and complete actor by laying an unshakeable foundation of the fundamentals all good actors share.

TO BEGIN:
Pay attention to humanity.

No one can give you talent. Your talent is revealed when you exercise your ability to be affected by the other person on the stage. Don't be an actor. Instead, be a human being who works off of what exists under the imaginary circumstances. Bring your understanding and truthful feelings to everything that you do. Pay attention to humanity and see people as they really are in life. Don't give a performance, let the performance give you!

Musicians, dancers, athletes and actors all share some things in common. They must all be disciplined, and they must all train in order to accomplish anything professionally! People with a natural acting talent are fairly common, but when that talent comes into contact with serious training it has a chance to cultivate and blossom. To become great at anything it takes practice and hard work. The training at Palm Beach Acting School requires that you rehearse between classes with your partner if you plan to progress. You simply work on the exercise that we teach, and bring the completed work to class. Little by little, over time, students make steady progress through correct practice.


THE BEGINNING WORK

LISTENING:
To remain connected and work spontaneously, moment to unanticipated moment.

At Palm Beach Acting School you learn to tell the difference and train the way that all good actors work. The first step in this training is to be introduced to someone whom you may never have met before, the other person on the stage! Perhaps unfamiliar territory for some people. An entirely new situation has presented itself to you. What do you do at this point? You start to build your acting by taking the attention off of yourself, and by listening to and putting all of your attention on your acting partner, so that you may discover what "being connected" can do for you emotionally.

The very first thing you will learn in the training at Palm Beach Acting School is how to listen. Actors are taught first to listen in order to pay attention. By putting all of your attention on the other person you are able to stay connected. We begin with a repeating exercise in order to keep students from thinking of something to say. By repeating what you hear you become spontaneous, and work on impulse. Listening allows the actor to remain focused. You learn to listen to be more natural and human, and live moment-to-moment.

During this exercise, each repetition is always off of the last moment. There are only two ways to change this repetition exercise. A true feeling the other person causes in you, or a real change in the other person.

RESPOND TRUTHFULLY:
Always be in search of the truth. Both specifically & emotionally.

Once an actor learns how to listen, he/she is asked to RESPOND TRUTHFULLY. At this point the actor answers specifically and personally in a way that is truthful; in the moment. Since acting is done on impulse, actors are taught to give true responses, and feel real emotions. The training at Palm Beach Acting School demands that you never have a predetermined feeling, or planned out way of doing something. Don't be logical, or conventional, and take time to express each and every moment. An actor's language is his/her emotion, and an actor's faith is the ability to believe in imaginary circumstances of the moment.

PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW:
To give your true gut response, or say nothing.

After the actor learns to LISTEN AND RESPOND TRUTHFULLY, he/she is permitted to have a PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW. You have to have a point of view when you act. If not, then all that is left for the actor is to fake, force or indicate how he/she feels. The actors who train at Palm Beach Acting School have to abandon their everyday politeness and the practice of hiding their real feelings. Always permit your real personal point of view when you act. Always give your gut response, or say nothing. The actor now has something truthful and human to build on. You train to take everything personal and express how you feel about the given circumstance on a human level. The actor who is the most human will always get the part over the actor who is just emotional and a real point of view enables his/her humanity.

NOTICE BEHAVIOR:
Be a detective of the other person's behavior.

This is what allows you your freedom when you act. You should want to become a great detective of the other person's behavior. You should never want to be accused of not noticing the other person on the stage. Now that the actor knows how to LISTEN, RESPOND TRUTHFULLY, AND HAVE A PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW, he/she learns to NOTICE THE BEHAVIOR OF THE OTHER PERSON. You are building a foundation at this point. This is how everything stays connected, and the acting remains spontaneous. This is how we train at Palm Beach Acting School.

The training at Palm Beach Acting School demands that you be specific about the other person's behavior and how it makes you feel, so that the conversation is not just black and white. How does the other person's behavior make you feel? You won't know if you don't notice it. How do you feel about what you see and hear? Remember, people function differently in life, they lie! Be specific. Don't say, "You make me feel bad". Instead, you might say, "You break my heart". This is more specific and to the point. By always being in adjustment to the other person, and permitting your true emotions, you are able to let out something of your real humanity when you act. The exercise now begins to take on the structure of a scene.

THE DOING:
Just be truthful.

When you act you are always DOING something, or coming to get something from another person. What ever you do at this point it must be truthful. Really doing something is very important in acting. There is feeling that comes out of really doing something even in imaginary circumstances. Every aspect of acting has the problem of doing something for real. You train to do something under those imaginary circumstances but you do it as if it was real!

THE REALITY OF DOING:
Simple human truth always works!

Live it out for real and the emotional life will follow. Emotions come out of what you are doing. Simple human truth is what makes emotions work. They are the root about the imaginary circumstances, and having a free use of what exists and how you feel about it.

DOORS & ACTIVITIES:
Help you find the truth of the moment.
These doors and activities must always be rooted in a human truth!

THE ACTIVITY:
There must be a struggle to bring you to life.

This is where we add what we call a totally independent activity to the training at Palm Beach Acting School. The activity is a physical project to complete. It must be totally independent from everything else going on in the moment. Really DOING the activity should fill you up emotionally. The activity must be difficult; the person performing it must have a strong emotional reason for doing it, and have a time limit for getting it done. All this generates behavior and places the student in a tough spot. A struggle to complete the activity should cause a frustration and bring you to life under the imaginary circumstances. Where there is struggle there is life. The struggle of really doing something for a strong imaginary reason is what scenes are made of.

Doors and activities help you find your way through a part by exercising your humanity. They are meant to clarify how you would feel in a particular circumstance. Always fill in for yourself so that it gives what you say meaning. Let your talent and instincts take over. Never do the activity at the expense of working off of the other person.

Find something that means the world to you and build the activity around it. There should always be something hanging in the balance. Like a reward for completing it, or a penalty if you fail at it. How you feel about your success or failure with the activity will come across in how you relate to your acting partner as you work moment-to-moment.

THE DOOR:
Having a strong emotional reason for coming.

While one partner performs the activity, the other partner is coming to the door. Just like the activity, the person coming to the door must have a strong imaginary reason for being there. The training at Palm Beach Acting School gets you doing what you will always do in every acting job; living out a meaningful imaginary circumstance. The person coming to the door comes for something specific, a physical object that belongs to the other person and cannot be gotten elsewhere. Also, like the activity, the object he/she is trying to get must be totally independent of everything else going on in the moment. He/she must have a strong emotional reason for needing this object. You don't think about your reason, rather it's something you feel strongly about.

WORKING OFF THE OTHER PERSON:
Taking all elements and building them into a single habit of working.

Working off the other person takes all of the elements previously described and turns them into one fluid, organic, truthful, human action. Working off the other person means to listen, notice the behavior of your working partner, allowing what you see and hear to affect you emotionally, then freely responding, in the moment, permitting your personal point of view and truthful behavior. That's quite a lot to do, and it takes quite a lot of practice to do well. But with those characteristics as your foundation when you act you stand out above the actors who merely indicate or fake those things.

The purpose of the exercise is to practice working off the other person. While this exercise is going on, by working off of the other person very specifically and on an emotional level, students turn every exercise into practical experience in acting. The exercise gets students working moment to unanticipated moment, noticing the behavior of the other person, freely responding and permitting a personal point of view, all at once, organically and humanly. That's a lot to build into a single habit of working, but when actors do those things something truthful will happen every time they work. This is what makes a scene play out like a real event happening.

You will always be required to bring a strong reason for coming to the door, and a strong independent activity to each class. As you progress through the training at Palm Beach Acting School, your reasons for coming to the door and your activities become more difficult, and more emotionally demanding. Always invent meaningfully around your imaginary circumstances, having a personal reason for doing everything that you do on stage. This sets a habit when you act, the same habit that all great actors share; to make the scene personally meaningful.


THE INTERMEDIATE WORK

EMOTIONAL PREPARATION:
A self stimulation of your emotions.

Emotional preparation demands that you strengthen your imagination. This is a self-stimulation of your emotions, where you are required to use all of your senses when acting. We teach this so that the actor will show up on stage totally full emotionally. In some circles this is called, "making an entrance". Emotional preparation makes clear that you've just come from someplace meaningful to you. Ironically, emotional preparation has nothing to do with what is coming up in the scene; it only ensures that you're prepared to be emotionally responsive to whatever you encounter. By practicing coming from someplace specific and meaningful, to someplace specific and meaningful, the actor is trained to be 'on' from the start. At Palm Beach Acting School many actors find that this is a turning point in their training. After taking an emotional preparation class, many people discover that they can't wait to get up and be in the moment emotionally. From this point forward, every time that you get up to act you will prepare emotionally. (Emotional preparation is basically only used for the first moment of the scene or exercise.)

When people go to a play, or to see a movie, they get caught up in the moments that move them emotionally. They might not remember the actors' or director's names, and they may not remember everything that was said. But, most people remember how the experience made them feel!

BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP:
Must always know who, what, when, where & why ... but never how you will act!

While doing these exercises, a relationship between you and your partner is required. Who are you to each other? Are you husband and wife? Are you boy friend and girl friend? Or, are you brother and sister? Do you have a painful past history? Whatever the situation, it must have a strong emotional content.

What ever is happening in the moment is always more important than any story or set up. Always know who, what, when, where and why. But, never know how you will act in a given circumstance. How you will act must always be spontaneous and moment-to-moment.

You must know specifically how you feel towards your acting partner. You must know if the last time you saw each other was a good experience or a bad experience. This affects the way you feel and behave when you see your partner for the first time. You must always know the situation and it must be, like all elements in acting, specific and meaningful.

MEANING:
Silence is absolutely golden.

What you say means far less than what you feel. In fact, without feeling, what you say when you act is meaningless. You will learn that there is no such thing as "nothing" on the stage at Palm Beach Acting School. Silence always has a meaning. Sometimes it is what you don't say that makes the situation meaningful and truthful. The training demands that you explore different things to discover what affects you and in what ways. Every great actor has developed a powerful imagination. The truth of the situation will always dictate the depth of emotion and meaning the actor is required to bring to life. The discovery of what is emotionally meaningful to you in your imagination is a powerful tool, which will be employed every time you act.

THE SCENE:
Always pick material based on how it makes you feel emotionally.

The exercise you learn in the beginning work evolves into an improvisation that is used in problem solving at Palm Beach Acting School. Every scene presents a certain problem that the actor must work out on a personal level. Additionally, the director may ask you to do something in the scene which you may not understand, so the improvisation is used to find a personal way of bringing meaning to that which you have been directed to do. The dialogue is there to support the action of the scene, or the "doing".

Scene work and auditions begin with a first readings or "first rehearsals". Everything that you learn up to this point will be needed when you begin your first readings. First readings, also known erroneously as "cold readings" must be fully, artistically executed. This is what you do in all of your auditions and with every acting assignment. Getting the actor to bring a clear, fully understood performance to the writers' text, from the start, takes practice and lots of it.

Always pick scene material based on how it makes you feel emotionally. Fill in the spaces between the lines where the acting takes place. Find the reality and truth of the scene. Let the circumstances unfold and play moment-to-moment as the playwright intended. The spontaneous unplanned feeling is best when we do scenes. The behavior must be supported by the words. Let the dialogue ride on top of the emotion. It is never about the words. All scenes must be done with a real point of view of what it is about. The scene is not made by being emotional; it is made by being human!

IMPROVISATION TOWARDS A SCENE:
To clarify for yourself how you feel about each moment.

This is a technique at which the actors have already done their first readings, and are now ready to work on the scene. This is to find out how you feel about a scene. The IMPROVISATION is set up much like a regular exercise, with a strong situation that is in parallel with the scene. Improvisations should take you in one direction and the scene in another.

In the improvisation, once connected and working off of each other, the actors are asked to throw in the dialogue, or even make it up. Doing a scene in your own words will help clarify each moment and how you feel about it. What is the human aspect of the scene? This clarity will come out when you do the scene with all the writers' words. The idea is to maintain the emotional depth and behavioral responsiveness of the exercise while listening to and answering with the authors' words. When the actor is freely responsive as a matter of habit, bringing the text to a state of truthful human behavior is nearly automatic.

The approach at Palm Beach Acting School asks you to get in touch with what is inside of you and to bring it out for everyone to see! There is nothing more personal than how an actor relates to a scene. Give yourself over to the reality of the situation. Fight for the right to make mistakes, and give yourself permission to fail. This is how you learn. Who ever learned anything by getting it right every time? It is in this spirit of experimentation at Palm Beach Acting School that leads the student to finding his or her own personal artistic understanding to every acting assignment.


THE ADVANCED WORK

FANTASIES:
Live out your dreams & desires on an emotional level.
To end up someplace you have never been before. Like rising up out of the ashes and saving the world!

Further into the training at Palm Beach Acting School we will work on FANTASY exercises. This is where you have the chance to live out something fully. A fantasy is something so personal that you may never perform it in real life. Fantasies come from your dreams and desires. Living out that fantasy opens you up artistically in a way that no acting exercise can. The circumstances are personal to you, which you must make in every scene. They're real to you, which you must make in every scene. They emotionalize you, which you must make in every scene, and they're really happening to you, which again, you must make come to fruition in every scene you're ever asked to do.

Fantasies are sometimes used to prepare for the emotionally demanding Spoon Rivers.

SPOON RIVERS:
What separates the amateur from the professional...and if you can do these, you can do anything!

SPOON RIVERS refers to a book of poetry written over a hundred years ago by Edgar Lee Masters, title The Spoon River Anthology. These poems are all spoken by people who have since passed on, and sum up their lives from the unique perspective of being able to see their lives as whole and complete. Some are angry, some desperate, some elated, and others reveal the depth of depravity in the human condition. All are deeply felt, as these speeches are the stepping off point to heaven or hell as the case may be. By tackling a large section of dialogue then living out fully, and emotionally, the human truth of the circumstance of these people's lives and deaths, the actor learns how to handle a speech, or "monologue" in a way that is personal, artistic and imaginative. This part of the training is what separates the amateur from the professional actor!

Spoon Rivers are done so that the actor is more interesting and believable. Every moment must have absolute clarity. By always having one clear point of view from beginning to end, the actor knows who he/she is talking to and why. Every speech must be filled with emotion, and is a human experience that must be lived out fully.

At Palm Beach Acting School, this is where you learn to do character work which comes from how you feel about something, and how you do what you do. A character is anytime that you alter your straight behavior. Don't try to be the character. Instead, you create a living human being in all the complexity of his/her character and behavior. Once you get to the life of the speech, it always comes out better than just memorizing the lines. When you talk out a speech for yourself, and make it your own, it becomes yours!

Like Emotional Preparation training, many actors consider Spoon River studies as a major turning point in their training. Like scenes, Spoon Rivers are performed with everything you have learned up to this point. They require the very deepest emotional preparations to perform. Most actors find it as the hardest part of the training. However, it is what every student works towards...becoming a fully trained actor! If you can do the Spoon Rivers to the degree demanded of you at Palm Beach Acting School, you can do anything!

FINAL:
To stand head & shoulders above the rest!

Everyone learns at his or her own pace, and there is no time limit involved. Students who work with this much acting intensity are usually very supportive of each other. Rehearsals with classmates between classes are mandatory if you plan to become a professional actor. Talented people are immediately drawn towards this type of acting awareness. Others are disinterested when they discover that the training requires discipline, and hard work, and that the actors are having true experiences with real emotions. Many just can't go there. The program at Palm Beach Acting School guarantees that you will either learn to act to the very best of your ability or that the real demands of acting are not for you.

This is how most professional actors work. Students who have trained this way stand head and shoulders above the rest!

Finally, as a performer you will want to be recognized for your achievements. Those who see your work, do so for the theatrical experience. They will remember how you made them feel! 

Therefore, create a performance which deals with human emotions, and heartfelt stories. People will want to learn and grow from being exposed to your work...and to become better members of society!



AWARD FOR ACTING INSTRUCTION EXCELLENCE
PRESENTED BY
THE FILM RECORDING & ENTERTAINMENT COUNCIL
TO
MICHAEL HANEY
PALM BEACH ACTING SCHOOL

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Copyright 2014, Palm Beach Acting School, Palm Beach, Florida.