Introduction to the Primary Principals of Acting and the Character Core
Paula began teaching her acting technique and coaching actors late in life. Her first class was in 2005. Within two years she had dozens of private students and held numerous workshops and group classes of eight to ten people. She started her own Primary Principals of Acting (PPA) workshops and teamed up with Penelope Brackett for a series of workshops called Beyond The Break.
Then the financial crises of 2007–2008 changed everything. It seemed like overnight students stopped booking private lessons and dropped out of group classes. Acting students with limited income opted for on-camera workshops or classes that put them in front of casting agents. Everyone was interested in being fast-tracked to get cast on a sit-com or to appear on a reality show. The craft of acting would have to take a back seat.
This was an exploitive situation. The eager students would think their big break could happen by being “discovered” while performing a monologue or sides in front of this casting agent—who was being paid to be there. The result; actors rarely got jobs, casting agent and the head of the workshop made good money. (Note: these are my opinions and not necessarily those of the Spiral Theatre Studio.)
So with attendance dropping Paula wanted to reach potential students by producing a guide about her PPA process. Paula began writing the guide in the fall of 2015. Ronald Rand (who was familiar with her teaching process) wrote the forward. The guide was 90% complete when Paula fell ill. Recently I undertook to finish the guide. It will soon be linked here as a PDF download.
The PPA process involves incorporating improvisation, performing various exercises and using the character core charts that will evoke an immediate and purely organic connection to the character.
The exercises were to be expanded in subsequent chapters. Further chapters were to introduce Paula's improvisation technique and how the Spiral stage could be incorporated into the teaching process.
I'm putting this information out into the universe in Paula's name in the hope that it will be of benefit to acting students or anyone interested in the PPA process.—STEVE J. HILL