Ideas for Actors brought to you by The Ihrig Approach
Contact Me: TheIhrigApproach@gmail.com

FAQ’s

Who is David Ihrig?

David has an MFA in Acting and teaches the Meisner Technique and of course, The Ihrig Approach. He is a certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Merging these two disciplines gives David a unique perspective on actor’s training. His first book, The Actor’s Machine, shares valuable information from the fields of human learning and technology with the actor.

What is the Ihrig Approach?

The Ihrig Approach is a neurological approach to acting. It is an alternative to the psychological approaches that have dominated actor’s training for the past 80 years.

The Ihrig Approach is a new way of thinking about acting, and actor’s training. Instead of reorganizing or building on the premises of Stanislavsky’s System or The Method, the Ihrig Approach reverse-engineers the processes of real-life human behavior using scientific principles in order to teach actors to construct authentic behaviors in performance.

Book one in the series, The Actor’s Machine, is available on Amazon, and lays the foundation for actors to understand their own processes. The book describes a simple step-by-step technique any actor can use to replicate the natural internal processes of many master actors.

What is the difference between a psychological approach and a neurological approach?

I define psychological approaches to acting as approaches that attempt to learn about their character’s behaviors using text analysis, which requires actors to make intellectual observations about their character and notate their characters behavior much like a psychologist does.

Neurology is the study of the nervous systems reaction to stimulus and the resulting behavior. A neurological approach to acting dictates an actor learns about the character’s behavior by identifying the stimulus that creates the characters behavior, so the actor can construct the experiences of the character for herself.

Is The Ihrig Approach appropriate for beginners or veteran actors?

The material is beneficial for anyone who wants to take his or her acting to the next level. Early exposure to this material will help eliminate bad habits for young actors. I also believe this material will enhance the techniques of veteran actors.

The Ihrig Approach is created to help actors find their own techniques, and make each actor’s personal technique efficient and effective.

For Young Actors:

The foundation of these techniques was developed working with young actors in the studio. The simplicity of the techniques works wonderfully with young actors. The reason for this is the The Ihrig Approach is based on experiential learning. It teaches an actor to work with his or her own natural process. Intellectual work can often be age-inappropriate. Most importantly, whether a child plans to act as a career or just for personal fulfillment, the lessons instill the habits and skills of acting that will serve them best in the long-term. As an example Directed Focus teaches students a systematic way to use their imaginations. This skill set can be used in many different applications throughout a person’s life.

For Experienced Actors:

When studying The Ihrig Approach, veteran actors are often introduced to a working knowledge of his or her own behavior producing mechanisms for the first time. Suddenly, an actor has insight as to why a specific technique they currently use works so well for them. And they can improve upon the use of that technique because they have learn about a set of variables they can explore.

Is The Ihrig Approach the Best Acting Technique?

Truly, each actor must develop his or her own technique. The Ihrig Approach is created to provide actors with a framework to better understand the process.

As an example, The Actors Blueprint is a model that teaches actors how behavior is naturally created. I teach the Meisner Approach, which is an extremely effective training program that teaches actors the skills of listening and responding through a series of exercises known as Repetition. I began introducing my Meisner students to the Actor’s Blueprint before I began teaching the repetition exercises, and my students learning curve was cut in half!

What is the goal of the Ihrig Approach?

Great acting. The learning curve for traditional actor’s training takes years. The fact is most actors spend a good portion of the their careers giving mediocre performances. I describe mediocre performances as actors who recite their lines, usually in an animated fashion. The performances almost look like real life, but lack authenticity and complexity.

I describe excellent acting or great acting as actors who are experiencing the circumstances of the story. As a result of their experiences, the audience witnesses spontaneous reactions and unconscious behaviors from the performer.

What’s different from traditional Actors training?

Imagine this scenario; an actor does a scene in an acting class. The entire class can see the scene needs work. The instructor says, “repeat the scene, but this time ‘live truthfully in imaginary circumstances.’ The student repeats the scene and gives a great performance. (Insert buzzer sound here.) That scenario has never happened. There are many reasons the verbal instruction ‘live truthfully’ will not automatically produce great acting. Acting is a visceral, experiential art form. It is controlled by a set of processes outside of our conscious awareness. Separate processes in our brains control the act of verbal communication.

What makes it different is the result it gets in practice.

It gives an actor the ability to experience what great acting is instantaneously. Now maybe that’s only for one moment at first, but once the actor understands the technique, they turn one moment into two, and two into three, and so on.

Secondly, it cuts the training time in half. So that’s different.

Can I learn to Audition using these techniques?

Although originally created in order to teach actor’s to think like a master actor, it turns out to be a wonderful tool for making quick decisions that work well in auditions. In the audition process, you will often be asked to re-do a scene a certain way so the auditors can see how well you take notes. Using Directed Focus as outlined in The Actor’s Machine will offer you an immediate way to make adjustments that are comfortable and fully execution-able for you as an actor.

At what point in my training should I read The Actor’s Machine?

Now. The simple principles outlined in The Actor’s Machine will allow you to more fully comprehend acting concepts taught to you in other disciplines and techniques. Whether you study Stanislavski, The Method, Stella Adler, The Meisner Approach, Michael Checkhov, Uta Hagen, Harold Guskin, The Alba Method, or any other worthy training technique, reading this book first will help you more fully understand how to assimilate and implement any one of their teachings.

How can an actor develop the ‘technique’ of a master actor?

Master actors have confidence because of their competence. They don’t have all the answers, but they have a process in place to find the answers. From the moment they first pick up the script, to the end of their performance, they know they will succeed. Experience has taught them what works, and they know how to solve the problems that arise. Their personal experiences have provided them with successful strategies, and systematic ways of thinking about and approaching each task.

This body of knowledge is what is referred to as an actor’s technique.

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