about John Markland
The focus of my approach to acting, is personalization and unblocking of emotional walls.
What is that?
If you are feeling stagnant or blocked in an area of your life, relationship, or work and are not growing as free as you would like, then these are the areas I ask you to dig in, expose and reintegrate with/through your character. These places often have the richest soil even though it may feel the opposite. I want you to feel bold and instinctive in your choices, feeling the work from a personal place rather than an external goal orientated one. The destination is original work with risk taking from authentic intentions.
You will gradually feel your work move beyond a performance and into an experience.
Character acting allows you to manifest the inner life through physicality, such as Heath Leger’s shortened gait and stiff jaw in Brokeback Mountain. It allows you to express the wounds within, as in Vincent D’onofrio’s stuttered and hesitant voice in Full MetalJacket. It allows you to express the historical through behavior as in Meryl Streep’s reflective stares until an emotional snap and bite in August Osage County.
Character actors are the muses and the metaphors of modern film
February 4th– March 25th
more info here
A hands-on class. Bring your auditions for tomorrow or that week and we will workshop in the class using the techniques and approaches I have used for the last 15 years to help actors book their shows and films. It will be your most productive pilot season... after workshopping it in a class of peers with me, walking into a room is easier.
Developing a character often entails exposing the layers hiding deep within.
February 5th– March 26th
more info here
Take control. Learn a simple 5-step method to end this once and for all. Stop fearing it and feeling helpless or hopeless. You’re not cursed, inadequate or the only one. There are very simple techniques to free you of audition anxiety that will allow you to show what you know you can really do. I work with actors who have managed and suffered with anxiety for years whether booking or out for long stretches. They learn and practice a five-step method and are filled with relief and confidence when they realize how easy it can be.
This series of workshops will build a foundation from which an actor can walk into any given circumstance feeling confident to apply themselves through each of the themes. Exploring and expressing this breadth of emotional life will allow an actor to take on any role with the presence and truth of knowing how they honestly experience love, fear, abandonment, sabotage, redemption and recovery. We will also learn the relationship within ourselves between each of these themes so we can arrive at an understanding of our own “emotional atmosphere.”
We will explore the condition of our own integrity so that we can personalize those areas we know well and others that we may want to improve or test. This will connect you to your character in such an intimate way their lives will mean something to your own. You will begin to sense that it is possible to strengthen and heal your own integrity and all the areas of your life it touches.
Submergence is the process of immersing oneself into the “living of” a character. Note I did not say " life of" a character. For this 4-day intensive we will dig into personalization through journaling, emotional painting (improvising scene through body and behavior) and by exploring new approaches to instinct permission.
We are children of the silver screen and the digital glass. Our fantasies have played out before us and hero’s within have been born watching films. So, for this 10-week intensive we will encourage the sacred union we have with the stories and characters of film and interpret and invent them for ourselves.
James Oliver and myself will lead an intensive 2-hour body, breath and soul-strengthening workout. There is a routine one can fall into during scene after scene, take after take, year after year in class or on set. So, we have designed this class to re-awaken our body-soul connection and to arouse the creative source --- spontaneity, free, honest, non-attachment to fixed emotion, play, potent authenticity and connected body-emotion expression.
Improvisation is the heart, the root, the yolk and ultimately the core of acting. We learn and develop our sense of self through improvisation, or as we called it then, “play”. And when at play, we are in the moment, engaged, fully immersed in the world we are creating and most importantly free of judgment. There is no right or wrong. There is no indicating. There is no anticipating. There is imagination. There is impulse and responsiveness. And there is “flow” or “Zen”.
For this 8-week intensive we will explore techniques that allow you to operate from a place of fearlessness. We will present exercises that draw you into being present so there is no regret of the past or anxiety of the future. We will cultivate a confidence of being Private in Public. You will come to understand part of the fear of exposure is also a resistance to intimate being USED instead of expressed or shared. This perspective shift is vital for any actor wanting to dare him or herself from an authentic place.
How we evolve in our every day lives and the growth of our self awareness is as vital to our craft as is any technique training. Becoming cognizant to our behaviors and the unconscious motivations and impulses behind them is the foundation to the building of any character. So, through the development work we delve into imprinting, inner discourse, social and familial belief contexts and ways in which to free the authentic self. I ask you to hold up a mirror to yourself and see the uninhibited life. This work will be the source from which character development will grow.
A complete breakdown of the story, characters, dialogue and plot. The breakdown will include insight into the arch of the story as a whole, as well as that of each character, an exposé of the relationships, emotionally, psychologically and physically as well as a detailed beat map of the plot.
The work will begin with personalization. We will explore where you are right now, emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually. We will then open up the character and their world to find "convergence" and "playability" and "expression points". You will begin to discover impulses and instincts that at first may feel odd or foreign but which will eventually become, you living the character while enriching your own life.
The performance becomes the experience.
There is NO Audition! You make the audition work for you by preparing as a professional and walking in a room to offer your take on the character and the material … “working” with those in the room to see if this project make sense for everyone in the room – including you.
“STATE OF PLAY”
John approaches the work, and artists, with a sincere belief; there is no separation between life and art. Our personal evolution, as a human beings, is intrinsically connected to the development of our art. This symbiotic relationship allows experiences from life to enrich our art and discoveries through our art to further our self-awareness.
Children explore and discover themselves and their world through play. It is a form of translation between the conscious and unconscious - the Ying and Yang. Perhaps, undivided, in the earliest stages, our consciousness separates and continues to grow apart as we age. So, as wounded healers, as storytellers, imagining metaphorical, symbolic worlds and birthing them into reality, we must some how encourage that state of communion our conscious and unconscious mind once had. The two minds must dance, and dance in balance, for then magic happens, paths clear, faith rises and our art transcends, allowing our humanity to connect to others.
Another way of looking at it, we are fragmented selves and our goal is to become whole. This suggests the process of reunification itself is fragmented or interdisciplinary. Body, breath, psychology, emotions and dreams are all strands of a web we must weave. The pains, shames, self-sabotaging, addictions, deceits and many of the darker wounds we carry could be said to be the side effects of this fragmentation. Allowing, forgiving, exposing, acknowledging, accepting and expressing therefore would be part of the healing necessary to re-integrate.
This approach to living and acting is not just restorative; it’s redemptive.
We rediscover a State of Play.