Maria Kapsali and I met up for our first proper meeting on 1st July.

Maria’s area of interest is actor training – and how technology and smartphones in particular could be used as tools to help with that process.

The goal of this first meeting was to brainstorm some possible ideas that might be interesting as well as giving me a very quick introduction to the kinds of training that actors go through and a look at the spaces the students do their training in.

We discussed Maria’s goals when teaching and some of the important ones seemed to be:

  • To get students to think about the image and sound they are projecting
  • To get them to starting looking at what other performers are doing more closely
  • To get them out into the real world and noticing how other people live and interact more

Based on that we brainstormed ways in which technology could produce some interesting teaching tools:

  • The idea of having users take a photo of their body and then to map media of version types on to that in places on their body map – and the stories that would create
  • Stanislavski’s idea of Circles of Attention achieved though lighting effects – is it possible to use lighting controllers to create similar lighting based exercises?
  • Producing a good quality video requires professional camera operators and editors. Would it be possible to create a system using smartphones as multiple cameras and some kind of automatic vision mixer to produce a video output that required no editing or special skills to set up. Instead of a vision editor the system would rely on the camera operators to frame the most appropriate shot and the cuts between different cameras would be random. Could there be an audio or visual “sync” track that the performance could be tied to in some way?
  • Checkov’s colour theory – again perhaps using lighting controllers to produce colour changes

As we discussed these ideas some common requirements started to emerge:

  • The teacher might have time to set up things before a class – but during the class they would not be able to operate any technology – so during that phase the system needs to be totally automatic
  • The technologies that have applications for teaching might equally have applications in a performance
  • There are quite a few very different actor training methodologies – some with quite specific physiological roots – so creating a tool for these is going to be limited to essentially just that methodology and thus perhaps not as much general use as some of the other ideas above

We decided to go away and do some more research on these various topics to see which of the various ideas we have had are worth spending more time developing – and what the output from that process should be.