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About this book

Do you have to be an extrovert to succeed as an actor? This book offers ideas to create inclusive acting environments where the strengths of the introverted actor are as valued as those of their extroverted counterparts. As this book shows, many introverts are innately drawn to the field of acting, but can often feel inferior to their extroverted peers. From the classroom to professional auditions, from rehearsals to networking events, introverted actors tell their stories to help other actors better understand how to leverage their natural gifts, both onstage and off. In addition, The Introverted Actor helps to reimagine professional and pedagogical approaches for both actor educators and directors by offering actionable advice from seasoned psychology experts, professional actors, and award-winning educators.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Acting and Introversion

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Foundations: Temperament Diversity

Abstract
This chapter answers the essential question: “What does it mean to be an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert?” The authors provide a definition that focuses on two key elements of our biogenetic nature: sensitivity to stimulation and sensitivity to rewards. This common language provides a framework for the rest of the book and debunks popular Western notions of introverts that tend to have negative associations, including “shy,” “antisocial,” and “slow.” The authors explore the ways in which human beings are also able to adapt, exercising free will to set stretch goals. Strategies for preserving authenticity in the process are offered. The chapter concludes with an investigation of the ways in which introverts and extroverts alike can avoid burnout.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 2. Introversion and Acting

Abstract
This chapter examines why an introvert would choose the field of acting when so many of its activities seem to favor the stereotype of a spotlight-loving extrovert. One of the main suppositions of the book—introverts enjoy acting to “become another”—is scrutinized, while other motivations for acting, including instant community and connection with others, are also posited. The main strengths of the introvert are examined in relation to acting, including ways in which introverts may excel in the profession, including access to vulnerability, listening, observation, processing information, and deliberate practice. The final section of the chapter examines how introverted actors are not exclusively “head-centered” actors.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 3. Self-Awareness

Abstract
The concept of being self-aware and able to critically examine your work is covered in this chapter. Standardized testing that records introversion is studied, and the authors ask the reader to take such a test four times. The first test explores the personal or private self. The second test explores the professional self the actor has cultivated. The final two tests are taken as characters the actors have portrayed—one in which they felt successful and another during which they struggled in performance. Two case studies of actors taking the four tests are shared. The question of whether an introvert can successfully portray an extroverted character is examined, while the concept of stretch goals is used to create a process that can expand an actor’s skills.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 4. Survey Results

Abstract
The results of an international survey of actors (professional and student) and actor educators comprise the bulk of this chapter. Over 400 people completed a signature thirty-one-question survey. The survey examines personality styles, actor training, and professional standards in relation to temperament and acting. The results of each question, along with critical analysis of such findings, serve as foundational information for the rest of this book. Most striking in the survey is that over 90% of all respondents (including introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts) find that actor training favors extroverts.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Training and the Introverted Actor

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. Temperament-Inclusive Learning: Essential Strategies for Educators

Abstract
The chapter begins with a brief history of Susan Cain’s and Dr. Kasevich’s “Quiet Schools Network,” where educators from around the country were trained in the basics of temperament-inclusive pedagogy. The authors posit that leveling the playing field for introverts and extroverts alike in any classroom begins with self-awareness, and they offer a Personality Preferences Indicator to help teachers and students understand their unique styles, harness their innate strengths, and plan for comfortable stretch goals. Research-based strategies for writing anecdotal comments, orchestrating group work, and supporting deliberate practice are investigated. The final section explores the benefits of solitude for all learners.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 6. Acting Classroom Design

Abstract
This chapter examines many standard acting classroom approaches and how they may favor extroversion, including participation, improvisation, ensemble building, theatre games, and warm-ups. The chapter is divided into two sections: “To the educator” and “To the actor.” In the educators’ section, advice on how to reconsider warm-ups and group work is offered, as well as coping strategies to assist introverted students who may be anxious about public presentations. In the student actors’ section, personal safety is considered along with personal advocacy. The chapter concludes with acting studio adaptations, including classroom discussions about temperament diversity, planning ahead, and modeling vulnerability.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 7. Improvisation and the Introvert

Abstract
The authors support the idea that introverts can and do thrive in improvisation, one of the most feared activities for introverted actors. The authors explore the many misconceptions related to improvisation and introversion: the loudest voice is the best; improv is about being the funniest; introverts can’t think quickly. The technique of coaxing students to “come out of their shells” is challenged as coded language designed to change the introvert into an extrovert. Semester-long courses devoted to improvisation are explored, and the various rules and structures of improv games are reconsidered so as to honor both introverted and extroverted students. Ensemble building is studied and suggestions are made to create more quiet climates for the introverted actor.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 8. Cultural Comparisons

Abstract
This chapter delves into introversion and acting in three unique countries, each with a rich theatrical tradition: India, Greece, and England. The chapter acknowledges the generalities that can come with such an overview and first looks at the stereotypes of actors from the United States. Based on interviews, the authors conclude that numerous cultural influences converge to support varying temperamental influences related to acting, including religious and caste structures in India. Cultural and historical influences on actors in Greek theatre are examined. In the last section, the United Kingdom’s actor training related to introverted actors is explored in comparison to the United States’ training.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 9. Interview with Rodney Cottier

Abstract
This chapter is a transcript, along with author commentary, of an interview with Rodney Cottier, who heads the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). In the interview, Cottier discusses how LAMDA’s small classes and physical approach benefit introverted actors. Other aspects of the training program, such as the personal creation of creative content, delayed professional showcases, and professional mentorship, are pedagogical concepts that further support introverted actors. Cottier offers examples and approaches to more easily enable introverted actors to play extroverted ones, and vice versa, through a probing series of questions.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 10. Case Study: Comedy Class

Abstract
This chapter explores pedagogical adaptations made during a semester-long acting class at Michigan State University. These changes can serve as blueprint for actor educators to implement throughout the semester: assigning articles on temperament diversity, taking online temperament tests, leading discussions about temperament, and creating syllabi with temperament-inclusive language. Highlights include offering a variety of ways for students to present ideas, mandating quiet breaks, partnering actors with those of opposite personality styles, and using the Long Runway approach. Extroverted, introverted, and ambiverted student commentaries about such pedagogical innovations are shared. The chapter concludes with advice to educators wishing to create similar parity in the classroom.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

The Professional Actor and Introversion

Frontmatter

Chapter 11. Interview with Jennifer Simard

Abstract
This chapter involves the transcript of an interview with the award-winning Broadway actor Jennifer Simard. The interview examines Simard’s struggles as an introverted actor and her later acceptance of her own personality style. She shares a variety of ways to succeed in the more extroverted aspects of the business, emphasizing self-love, acceptance, and kindness. Simard stresses that her introversion affects her work relationships and relationship with an audience. Simard also comments on how introversion affects her creative process and approach to inhabiting a variety of roles.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 12. Auditioning

Abstract
The ways in which bravery is required for auditioning actors are explored, as well as many strengths that introverts possess in any audition situation. Several professional actors share their struggles in auditioning and how they overcame them. Advice related to connecting to the passion of acting is provided as a way to succeed in auditions. Strategies for succeeding in the waiting room, the interview, and post-audition rewards are investigated. The final section offers practical and simple changes to audition room protocol.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 13. Rehearsals

Abstract
While the ways in which introverts excel in rehearsals are examined in relationship to the concept of deliberate practice, the ways in which they struggle—and persevere—are investigated through first-hand accounts by professional actors. Advice is given to directors for simple, yet subtle, adjustments in the rehearsal hall to best nurture and support introverted actors. Strategies for overcoming self-doubt in rehearsals are provided. Advice collected from respondents of the international survey is shared, as well as strategies for carving out break time in rehearsal or finding effective ways to recharge away from rehearsal. In the final section, the authors embrace a few words of wisdom, including the idea that introverted actors should not compare themselves to extroverted actors, who may have more ease in large groups or lengthy social situations.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 14. Performance

Abstract
The ultimate motivation for being an actor has arrived: performance. The authors offer performance strategies to the introverted actor, including finding comfort in regular patterns and identifying routines that optimize preparation for performance. The question of whether it is best to acknowledge or create a barrier from the audience is examined. Advocacy for mindfulness is shared as a reminder of the passion and elation any actor may feel when performing. Finally, the authors delve into post-show best practices, including cool-downs, leaving the theatre, and self-care techniques. Emphasis is placed on the nexus between self and community to heighten personal satisfaction when performing.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 15. Networking

Abstract
One of the most potentially draining aspects of the introverted actor’s life is examined: networking. Introverted professional actors share their initial struggles and later successes at networking. The concept of “acting like an extrovert” is examined from multiple angles, including the importance of preserving authenticity while pursuing stretch goals. Strategies for successful networking are presented, including prepared communication, visualization of success, personal energy preparation, the ability to ask questions of others, timed contracts, and the assistance of a wing person. The authors posit that when introverted actors set out to share their passion at such events, it is easier to get into the state of flow, and when they do so, networking events can be enjoyable—and possibly fruitful, too.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Chapter 16. A Call to Action

Abstract
In this concluding chapter, the authors ask actors, educators, and directors to enact the changes described throughout the book. Highlights include self-advocacy for the introverted actor and redefining class participation for the educator. Final advice from working professionals includes stirring affirmations and thoughts about vulnerability, stillness, and varied forms of participation. The chapter concludes with a call to action designed to: empower actors to honor their true selves, encourage actor educators to foster temperament-inclusive cultures, and invite directors to be mindful of temperament diversity.
Rob Roznowski, Carolyn Conover, Heidi Kasevich

Backmatter

Additional information