Spring 2008
Electronic Media Performance

Dr. Julia Evergreen Keefer

Radio/TV Performance

Professor Julia Keefer has a B.S. and M.A. from Emerson College where she taught oral interpretation, voice and articulation, debate, public speaking and announcing, and a PhD from New York University where she is currently Associate Adj Professor. In addition Professor Keefer has been on news and talk shows, special interest shows like Court TV and NBC Dateline and has taught acting at various New York studios as well as acted in many films and one-person shows. She is also a dialect expert and a movement and fitness trainer with an extensive background in kinesiology.

Textbook: Television and Radio Announcing
Bring in your own copy and tapes for specific assignments to keep a record of your progress.

Objectives: To train future anchors, field and feature reporters, analysts, commentators, weather, business, science, environmental reporters, interviewers and panel moderators, sports and music announcers, readers or narrators of special interest shows or documentaries or commercial actors with a voice and movement practicum that develops confidence, poise and skills for on-air audio and video performance. We will cover the following areas, either in-depth or as an introduction: oral interpretation, articulation, phonation, breathing and relaxation exercises, phonetic transcription, microphone use, camera presence, ad-libbing, script reading, adapting one’s personality to the broadcast media, foreign language and medical pronunciation, dialect work, and basic control room operations.

New objectives are to investigate film acting from the POV of directors and performers, and to analyze what goes into Cyberperformance, what makes a Web site charismatic, and how the film and audio portions enhance the hypertext.

Because this is a workshop, there is nothing more important than attendance, attentive participation and timeliness to make the most of in-class exercises. In addition, weekly assignments, prepared at home, will be graded as well as the midterm and final exam.

Every class will consist of 1) a Performance Gym including movement, meditation and vocal exercises to improve voice and articulation, pronunciation of difficult words, relaxation and movement control; 2) Audio or video recording, playback and criticism. After the first month, students will lead the Performance Gym as part of in-class exercises, as well as take turns playing technical and floor directors to get used to timing, focus, cueing and hand signals.

It is recommended that you each keep your own audio and videotapes as a record of your work. You must bring the textbook to every class and study pertinent chapters every week.

January 24 : Introduction to Performance. Improvisation using the round table for multidimensional meatspace feedback. When performance is reduced through the camera or the microphone, how can you still preserve the three-dimensional energy, eye contact, and body language of face-to-face communication? For next week, read Chapters 1 and 2 and bring in marked copy, no more than one page, to record. Look for a TV and a radio personality to analyze. Start a word document, save to N drive and local computer, that will become your Performance Diary. Make copious notes about your performances and the critiques.

January 31: Performance Gym. Lecture on voice production, basic voice and articulation. Record and analyze prepared copy. For next week, read Chapters 3 and 4, record and analyze your own voice, showing a before and after. First exercises—to make a fool of yourself, and then to be still, devoid of mannerisms and idiosyncrasies, recording these two extremes of performance before you find your middle ground.

February 7: Performance Gym focusing on voice and articulation. Students present their self-analysis for critique and new recording. For next week analyze your posture, mannerisms and movement habits. Catch up on reading and read ahead, based on interest. Trip to gym.

February 14: Performance Gym focusing on mindbody relaxation and ideokinesis. Silent film studies. For next week, study Chapter 5 and critique your chosen radio personality. Bring in audio tapes of personality.

February 21:
Performance Gym. Analyze critiques of radio personalities. For next week read Chapter 6 and bring in the analysis of your chosen TV personality.

February 28:
Midterm: TV analysis of a personality (written and oral) and your imitation of the best of this mentor. For next week, choose a track to focus on—sports, music, news, or commercial acting and study your chapter thoroughly. Read Chapter 8 and find a person to interview.

March 6: Midterm continued.
From now on, students run the Performance Gym giving the class voice and movement exercises. Lecture on interview techniques. Break into small interest groups for music including weather and other intermittent reports, sports including commentary and analysis as well as play-by-play, commercial acting, including voice-overs, documentaries and industrials, dialects and characterization, and news, foreign and domestic, focusing on politics, medicine, the environment. Each group will lecture on topic, based on research and experience outside the textbook, give the class exercises and tips to improve performance and show or tape videos as they prefer. Prepare interview for next week.

March 13: Interview lecture and group pow-wow.
For group presentations, the whole class should read the chapter in question—news, sports, music etc.—beforehand so that the group can concentrate on details, practice and extra research. In addition to lectures and audio-video presentation, each group must give out marked copy related to the special interest and demonstrate content knowledge of the field as well as technique. Please prepare difficult copy so that everyone is challenged. While you can wear what you want in the beginning, dress appropriately for the group and special interest performances so you can see what happens with colors, fabrics, make-up etc, unless you are doing radio, in which case you must choose and play specific music.

March 27: Interviews and Group Preparation. Bring your tape and transcription as well as a written description of your process, research and results. Everyone gets their own grade in the groups. You must collaborate, research and rehearse together but you do NOT get a group grade.

April 3: Interviews

April 10: Group A presentations. Sports Announcing--play-by-play, commentary and criticism.

April 17: Group B presentations. News anchors, feature and field reporters—international and local. Music DJs?

April 24:
Group C presentations. Commercial Acting including voice-overs, narration, dubbing, industrials.

May 1: Group D. Dialects. Characterization and dialect work.
Submit Performance Diary and do a three minute presentation showing improvement.