Feb 21 • 1HR 1M

The Elysium Aesthetic

Week #3: Growing Excellence

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Happy Monday! Welcome back to Acting Class Daily. I want to start with a warm welcome to our new subscribers - it’s so wonderful to have you here!

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* Finally, guess what’s coming in just a couple weeks? Yup. Cabaret Elysium debuts on March 11th!!! Send in a slice of your creative passion … in fact, send in as many tastes as you’d like! It takes real risk to submit early. Game On! Use it as a tone-setter, a muscle-builder extraordinaire of being creatively fearless.


Welcome back to The Elysium Aesthetic Overview - to our getting to know each other month!

What are those special & unique muscles that earn that type of excellence in our craft?

What areas develop the muscles we need to roar us across our finish line of Elysium?

And … how do we deal with challenge?

We all get the right to be frustrated and we all get the right to be stuck. We all get the right to get lost. What happens when something feels … off?

Today, let’s focus on what we do about that.

Let’s look closer at the muscles of forward.

The Road To Elysium.

Elysian Fields (Derek Osborn)

We’ll use this space to track our EA 2022 progress. Share feedback & suggestions on what you’d like to see featured here to: actingclassdaily@substack.com

This Month’s Focus

The Elysium Aesthetic Overview

Today’s Class

Growing Excellence

Today’s Finish Line

Specifying the areas of growth and ways we take on challenge, that lead us down the road of earned excellence and across the finish line of Elysium.

PREVIOUS: What Is Good Acting? NEXT: The Muscles of Preparation

The Olympic Spirit.

We’ll use this space to recap each week’s personal crafting work - and share the discoveries and challenges of teammates within our community. Send feedback & suggestions on what you’d like to see featured here to: actingclassdaily@substack.com

Personal Crafting Work

Trait Work (Muscle Builder): Professions + Learning

We want to get great at pinpointing the muscles of forward. Those human traits, the characteristics, that set a person up for success in any given profession, in any given moment.

  1. Write down 5 traits most important to setting a person up for success in the profession of being the leader of your country (President, Prime Minister, etc).

  2. Modify each trait with a poetic word or phrase capturing the scenario of highest virtue (that way you imaginatively see the trait coming to life as an real strength).

  3. Fill in the gaps by allowing the first 5 modified traits to inform 5 more - really ensuring success in this profession. 10 modified traits total.

  4. Repeat for the yummy professions of: an astronaut, a high school math teacher, a brain surgeon, and a hostage negotiator.

  5. Finally, apply your developing ease at locating the muscles of success to the profession of acting - pinpointing those 10 modified traits that power success.

  6. BONUS MUSCLE-BUILDER: What modified trait helps a human succeed in each of the 4 stages of human learning? What about the hand-off moments in-between?

A Human Be-ing

Let’s get to know our Acting Instrument by discovering our baseline of be-ing. Our ability to release the habitual doings of our Daily Body and simply exist in the now:

  1. Do nothing for 10 minutes - a release of the doings of the Daily Body.

  2. Release it all on an unapologetic sigh.

  3. Take note of the experience by writing down the specific discoveries and challenges that showed up in the work.

Share your discoveries & challenges from each week’s personal crafting work. We’ll include a response (or two) on Mondays. Simply hit ‘reply’ to this email. Members can discuss anytime on Discord and comment in community here:

Leave a comment

Put It Up On The Wall!

We had a tradition of capturing quotes on the Elysium walls. The torch has now been passed to the digital realm. We’ll use this space to highlight quotes and translate those terms we tend to throw around.

Glossary Gigantum

Have a question about a phrase? We’ll translate!

ACTING INSTRUMENT; comprises the 5 areas of our humanity, of human behavior and experience: physical, vocal, emotional, psychological, imaginative/spiritual.

When we live in an Acting Instrument, we are freed from the rules of the Daily Body and caught by the possibilities of the moment.

When we live … it plays the truth of what we know. It allows truthful behavior to come out of the experiences of the moment.

The Elysium Aesthetic builds an instrument for the highest levels of our craft. More than behavior coming out of experience, we want an Acting Instrument that goes wherever the experience takes you, releasing whatever behavior is inspired.

We want an instrument that takes-in experiences without filter, causing behavior without apology.

An instrument strong enough and sensitive enough to allow anything the world is doing to push on our humanity and release truth. That’s our target.

We want a Fearless Acting Instrument.

Today’s Quote

“You gotta check yourself before you wreck yourself … and you gotta know yourself before you grow yourself.”

Sample the ‘stacks.

In honor of our friends at The Sample (who just knew the newsletters to send me … and here we are today!) each Monday I’ll highlight a Substacker that’s tickling my tastebuds:

Play On.

This is where free subscriber access ends each Monday ... but let’s keep things open in this first month. I hope you enjoy the complimentary content below normally exclusive to paid membership.

Aaron’s Notes

Members have access to my handwritten notes for each audio chapter, bonus resources, personal nicknacks and … a moment of magic.

The Notebook

EA Outros

Music inspired by our work, to carry us into the break.

Knicks & Knacks

A nail-biting legend from birth.

Moment of Magic

Addiction by Mia Michaels (SYTYCD)

At the end of grad school I was the last to leave our apartment in Cambridge. My roommates had sublet their rooms to a couple of dancing students studying in the area over the summer.

I remember them asking if they could record So You Think You Can Dance on my Tivo (always Mr. Technology over here) because it was a show they never missed and loved watching together.

I’ll never forget watching that night and having a tidal wave of inspiration and connections hit me. I felt I was watching something that was no different than the movement work we actors did in class exercises. This really felt like all the same meaningfulness of living truthfully … only a different style, a different discipline. Why did it feel like things were strongly separated into “dancer” and “actor” or “singer” and “acrobat?” Wasn’t all of this part of truthful performance, of communicating our creative truth?

Different disciplines reach into and find something unique inside all of us. They give us new avenues to express the nuance of what we know.

I started watching SYTYCD over those next few seasons while I taught and directed and considered how all these tastes of artistic expression fit.

Here’s a piece, so significant to inspiring my storytelling voice, from a moment in my life when I was first finding it.

I’d encourage you to hit pause/stop after their hug, around the 3:00 mark. Even with all the positivity shared, something gets lost when it gets “judged.” You know what I mean. :-)