Characterization & Performance Projects


You have the opportunity to take this course as an Auditor or a Participant.

A Participant is able to work and receive feedback from the instructor, while an Auditor is able to observe and learn without needing to be active in front of other students.






Live Webinar




I hear you thinking… Another acting class? And on Zoom no less? How is that possible?

Actors need to use their body, their voice, and other actors to pay attention and listen to. Are you trying to generate a world of talking heads? Actors need an audience!

Here’s an answer: Let’s try it and make it possible. Perhaps playing on Zoom will open up a new area of expression, creativity and imagination that you wouldn’t normally tap into. Maybe we can develop a group of actors, directors, writers and tech people who will form the first Zoom based Performance Co.! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

You ask… So what will we do in our collection of personal windows? How do we connect to ourselves, our character, our partner, and an audience?

What to Expect:

  • Improvs, which will tune up your responses and imagination.
  • Monologues you have prepared by modern or classical authors. The material should be from pieces that challenge you.
  • Scenes that you and your partner are in the process of working on. The material should be from pieces that challenge you. You can cast yourself against type.
  • The Auto-drama. A presentation of the high points of your life, done metaphorically. This is explained in the book, ‘An Actor Performs‘.
  • The Auto-drama of the Character. You might want to develop an Auto-drama about a character you are working on.
  • One Person Show & The Activist Project. Or an exploration of a living person, someone, someone who wants to change the world, the Activist Project.

Weekly Breakdown

Each week will consist of a 2- to 3-hour session:

    • Week 1 – Improvs
    • Week 2 – Monologues
    • Week 3 – Scenes
    • Week 4 – The Auto Drama
    • Week 5 – The Auto Drama of Character
    • Week 6 – One Person Show & The Activist Project




Master Teacher |

Mel Shapiro is professor emeritus at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and was previously a founding member of NYU’s Tisch School. During his decade-spanning career, Mel has earned a number of awards including a Tony Award and New York Drama Critics Award. Read more about Mel Shapiro.

Some notable people Mel has worked with:


Do I Earn A Certificate Through The USC School Of Dramatic Arts?

Yes, this course is taught by instructors from the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Your certificate will be sent through USC School of Dramatic Arts with your name and the name of the certificate completed. Fight On! (The Trojan Motto).

Who Will I Be Working With?

Your primary instructor is listed in the “Instructor section” above.

How Many Classes Does It Take To Complete The Certificate?

Great question! To earn this certificate, you must complete four 4-week courses. View the “Curriculum tab” to see details about weekly assignments and class topics.

How Long Does The Program Take To Complete?

This program takes 16 weeks to complete, so you can earn the certificate in one semester.

How Often Do The Class Sessions Meet?

Once A Week. Students Meet Once A Week For 4 Weeks. Each Class Session Is 2 Hours In Length. The Date And Time For Each Course Will Be Reflected On The Course Details Page.

Are Class Sessions Online? Are They Live Or Pre-Recorded?

This program includes weekly live class sessions. Students have access to recorded lectures after the class period, as well.

What If I Miss A Class, Or Want To Review The Class?

No problem. You will be able to access all recorded sessions at your convenience. You’ll see this recording once you login and access ‘My Dashboard’ after the class has ended for the day.

What If I Miss The Start Date Of A Class? How Often Are The Courses Offered?

Each course will be offered on a rolling four-week cycle. So you need only wait until the next month.

How Do I Pay? Can I Pay In Parts?

Payment is required prior to the start of the first day of class. To enroll and pay for a class, select the “Register” button on the course details page; then follow steps to complete payment.

Additional information


Auditor, Participant