Acting Free 

Acting Free(logoless).jpg

CHaracter building workshop

with John Markland

 4-Day Character Intensive

"Answer the question. Why am I not being who I know I can be? "

To be free and clear one must be released from influences that do not flow from an authentically positive evolving source. The artist wants to be free and clear from the burden of inherited unconscious beliefs, stories and afflictions. Parental inheritance bestows a responsibility to something outside of one self; you are tethered, encumbered or attached to things not necessarily belonging to you or generated from within you. If you are not free and clear, impulses, motivations and intentions do not come from the authentic self. Our actions and choices are produced to please or serve – they are inhibited. This is often why we “feel” one way inside but what we express is something else.

To truly individuate and act with authentic integrity, one must sever and dissolve inherited unconscious paradigms, beliefs and afflictions. We love our parents but to carry the burden of wounds without having committed the crime is to be in prison. When you act from an inner source with integrity, fear, self-judgment, critical voice and anxiety literally evaporate in the light of true self.

We will explore exercises designed to expose the inherited and dive into material that can help free the ghost of parents within us. In exposing and expressing these traits that we’ve carried, you may feel like you are stepping outside into the most brilliant day and taking the biggest gulp of fresh air you ever have.

There will be personalization, mimicking and improv, journaling and in-depth introspection directed at creating a WHOLE life – what is hidden is as important as what is expressed.

Register early because there is prep-work and scene work. 

Material: To Be Assigned and emailed three weeks prior to start of workshop. Working actors will be assigned a scene partner and a group letter (A or B). Group A will put up their scene on days 1 and 3. Group B will put up their scene on days 2 and 4.  Auditing actors will be asked to partake in the personalization work but will not be putting up scenes. (32 Working Actors. 10 Auditing.)

Rehearsal: You are expected to be fully off-book and ready to perform with appropriate wardrobe, accents, props prior to the start of workshop and to re-work the scene from teacher notes in off days.

Day 1 (10am – 6pm)

-Introduction to, personalization and emotional painting.

I will discuss how these methods allow one’s own life and history to play an integral part in the process of building character and in the larger sense of understanding yourself as an actor.

-Breath & Body Work. Parent mimicking & Improv Exercises

We will explore the body through somatic exercises focusing on breath, vocalization, movement, contact and stillness. We do this to awaken and develop the soma, or the thinking body. It is difficult to develop higher states of consciousness without bodily feedback. Consciousness is transformed by allowing “proprioception” - your body's self-perception - more attention. Your body is your acting instrument.

When you are aware of your breath you are aware of your awareness or what is more commonly described as “being present.” We will perform some very simple breathing awareness exercises to increase our sense of being present and connected. This practice, repeated daily, can bring you into closer connection with your thoughts and feelings.


Using simple visualization techniques, we will explore how to activate our imaginations. Creating the given circumstances or being relaxed on stage/set is achieved by accepting the truthfulness of what you imagine. So we will perform object, action, place, time and relationship visualizations that we can explore through sensory work. This enables us to bridge the space between “make believe” and “reality”.  If expression of imagination is the life of acting then imagination is the heart. If we believe they believe. 


As much as you are comfortable with, we’ll discuss the prior days journaling and find ways to integrate what was discovered (written) into the character and scene. I’ll explain dream work and how performed it may generate similar results to the imagination exercises.

- 2pm Lunch. (1 hour.)

 - Continue mimicking.

 - Wrap up 6pm.

Day 2

-Scenes as Father/Mother

We will follow a similar line of work as Day 1 but in a slightly abbreviated way. Touching up a slightly different meditation.


Journaling will be used through the workshop but specifically Day 2 is for Group B.

Group B Scenes.

We will run the scenes, take notes and make adjustments in some instances we may run the scene again. After each scene, I will offer Journaling questions aimed at incorporating experiences and relationships from your life to provoke emotional context.

2 pm Lunch. (1 hour.)

- Group B Scenes continue.

- Wrap up 6pm.

 Day 3  

 - Repeat day 1, Scene work opposite parent.

 Day 4

- Repeat day 2, Scene work opposite parent.                                                            



As actors, we have a responsibility to our craft and in such, an obligation to our self-growth, awareness and evolution. Searching for the new and pushing into the unexplored expands our connectedness and thus enriches our ability to empathize and express. How relatable we are beats at the core of our relationship with an audience. The more shoes we walk in, skins we inhabit, relationships we live through the more relatable our presence becomes.


*Space is limited for this class so please register as soon as you know you can commit to the dates. For questions or further information please email