Stonestreet Studios Inc.
48 West 21st Street
New York, New York 10010
Studio Office: 212-229-0020
Fall 2018 Studio Rules and Releases Handbook
TO: All Fall 2018 Students
Stonestreet Screen Acting Conservatory
DATE: Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Welcome to Stonestreet Studios and the Stonestreet Screen Acting Conservatory. We have prepared this Rules and Releases Handbook (“RRH”) to help you understand what is expected of you this semester and to outline your various obligations and responsibilities during your matriculation at Stonestreet, in addition to the release we require you to sign which is incorporated by reference to this RRH. This also highlights several of the opportunities you can experience while at Stonestreet.
Our mission is to train actors in the art of screen acting - markedly different from stage acting - by transcending previously learned techniques within the professional environment of an independent film studio. The Stonestreet Screen Acting Conservatory student body and the professional community work in partnership to create dramatic and provocative filmed entertainment in all genres.
Faculty and Staff Contact Info
Your Stonestreet faculty are all working professionals. Below are their email addresses, should you need to communicate with them directly. This information is also on our website.
Alyssa R. Bennett - email@example.com, Artistic Director; Producer of Stonestreet Projects
Gary O. Bennett - firstname.lastname@example.org, Executive Director; Faculty, MicroMovies, Executive Producer of Projects (Advanced)
Allison Brzezinski- email@example.com, Managing Director
Pati Amoroso - firstname.lastname@example.org, Assistant Director/AD, Editor, Post- Production Management
Michael Lynch - email@example.com, Equipment Manager
Sohailla Mahjour- firstname.lastname@example.org Studio Manager and Intern Coordinator
Drew Robinson- email@example.com Marketing, Distribution and Social Media
Cormac Bluestone. firstname.lastname@example.org, Faculty, Screen Acting & Production,
David Cady - email@example.com, Audition Coach, Faculty, Screen Audition Technique: Commercials
Gil Zabarsky - firstname.lastname@example.org, Faculty, Screen Audition Technique: Legit, Sketch Development & Production
Ellen Parks - email@example.com, Casting Director, Faculty, Casting & Character
Jennifer Sukup - firstname.lastname@example.org, Casting Director, Faculty, Voice-Overs
Kristjan Thor - email@example.com, Director, Faculty, Directing the Actor, Screen Acting and Production and Development & Production (Advanced)
Elizabeth Bunnell firstname.lastname@example.org, Casting Director, Faculty, Voice Over Reels (Advanced)
Joe Holt - email@example.com Faculty, Directing Third Semester Projects (Advanced)
Alana Barrett-Adkins - firstname.lastname@example.org Faculty
Some of the studio rules set forth below may seem self-evident, but after many years of experience, we have learned that it does not hurt to remind everyone of certain courtesies.
● Please clean up after yourself. This seems like a simple rule, but there is a tendency to grow comfortable in our studio, which can be accompanied by an increase in laxity about litter. Please DO NOT leave any of your garbage – food, bottles, cups, wrappers, pens, papers, etc. – behind. Take it with you - RECYCLE APPROPRIATELY - or throw it out in one of the many garbage cans placed primarily in the back near the freight elevator. Please make it your motto to leave a place better and more beautiful than how you found it, be it with the work you do, the way you leave a space, or what you give to a class or film set.... Character colors everything you do - on screen and off.
● DO NOT leave your purses, backpacks, wallets, bags, phones, satchels, or anything else of value out of your view or possession - when the elevators are not locked there is through traffic so do not take the risk that something can be easily picked up and stolen.
● There is NO food allowed in any of our 5th or 8th floor studio spaces. You may eat in the common areas of Stonestreet, but again, please clean up your trash after you are finished with your food. Please be careful with your food around our furniture and carpeting. There is absolutely NO gum chewing in the studios! The time and expense of removing gum from our carpets and seats has made this an absolute no-tolerance rule.
PLEASE DO NOT BRING OR EAT ANY PEANUT PRODUCTS AT STONESTREET - there are colleagues who absolutely need you to honor this wholeheartedly!
● At the end of class, there is inevitably a chorus of props and furniture all over the set from the scenes performed in class. The approved borrowed props or furniture are there as a privilege to use. Please CLEAN UP your props and place the set/furniture back to its original condition. Your instructors know to remind you of this at the end of each class and/or scene, but it is appreciated if you take the initiative and clean up anything used or any mess you see, yours or a colleagues.
Please note: Stonestreet does not provide props for scenes. You are responsible for bringing in props that personalize your work and your scene.
● Please DO NOT move the furniture from the common areas of Stonestreet into the studio set(s). Try to use what is already available to you on the set of or in each studio.
● There is NO SMOKING of cigarettes, cigars, electronic or vapor cigarettes, anywhere in the studio, in the building, stairwell, or immediate entrance ways of our building. There is also no smoking during a scene or film shoot. Lit cigarettes, cigars, and pipes are rarely necessary to make a scene work. If a scene refers to such a prop, then please either find an inventive or creative replacement, change a line in the scene (film and television directors generally do not treat all of the screenwriter’s words and, particularly, stage directions, in a literal manner), or find a way to use an unlit cigarette, cigar, or pipe – make your work more interesting because of the limitation. You probably already know that limitations are the source of much creativity.
● IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT MOBILE DEVICES: All mobile devices, smart phones, iPads, tablets, etc. must be turned off during class at all times. This applies to both students and faculty. The appropriate and best place to catch up on emails and outside non-related class or project business is the GREEN ROOM. This goes for “idle time” on set for all crew and cast members as well.
Studio Facilities and Equipment
Stonestreet is a fully-functioning production facility (in all its technological mediums: film, television, theatrical, and Internet), so we are in a constant state of maintenance and upgrade. It is the nature of film studios that they require care and technical assistance on a daily basis. As such, we have organized our equipment in such a manner to make it easy to use for your class work and production. (Studios designated with an “8” are located on the 8th floor; studios designated with a “5” are located on the 5th floor.) Note all black walls in the studio spaces are painted with blackboard paint. It permits chalk drawing and writing.
Studio 8-A: our main theater. We usually do not use lights in class work (except for general room lights, of course), because it is about the acting and working with the presence of the camera and the small box of the “medium shot,” rather than the “photographic” look of the picture. Near the end of the semester, for some final projects and for all of our advanced semester students, we shoot and light professionally.
Studio 8-B: our most sound-secure room, and some instructors in this room may throw on a studio light to improve the photographic quality of the picture, at their discretion.
Studio 8-C: a smaller room and happens to be one of our most popular rental rooms for casting directors and auditions – it has lots of natural light, with the intimacy needed for casting sessions. It is, though, the least sound secure studio on the 8th floor, exposed to the noise of the city eight floors below.
Studios 5-B and 5-C: Stonestreet occupies the entire fifth floor, which contains an office, two common areas, and two large studios facing 21st Street, We use these studios for filming with Stonestreet II, III, and/or IV students, as well as a classroom space when needed for our Stonestreet I students. Studios 5-B and 5-C are located in the front of the building. They have natural light.
Studio 5-A: This is Stonestreet's largest studio space, taking up almost half the fifth floor and running two-thirds the width of the building. Studio 5-A is used for large classes, as a meeting/screening space, and as a production location. It also serves as a state of the art photography studio.
The Green Room: The Green Room on the 8th floor contains several computers connected to high-speed Internet, a printer, a copier, and a large-scale paper cutter.
The Green Room also serves as an audition preparation, rehearsal, or relaxing space.
The Green Room computers also each have movie editing software.
Computer, Printer and Internet Use. Stonestreet provides internet access and the use of our computers for class work, review, editing and internet access as a convenience to the students. Stonestreet assumes no responsibility, nor has any obligation, to provide this service, and any use by the students is at the student’s own risk. Please make sure not to add or remove printers from any of the desktop computers in the Green Room. Stonestreet assumes no risk of loss due to damage, theft or otherwise regarding a student’s own computer equipment or otherwise.
The password for internet access is “stonestreeter.”
Studio Computers may be logged in with the password “rewq4321.”
Post Production Suites: Stonestreet has Edit Rooms on both the 5th floor and 8th floor. Both suites are set up for picture and sound editing. Here, students will learn how the editor’s actions in post-production can affect their performances on screen. When editing do not sign in as guest, as work may be lost.
Sound Room: There is a dedicated Sound Room on the fifth floor which contains a sound booth for looping, voice over audio work and voice over class.
TV & Film: We have access to a lot of television and film programming, including: cable, Apple, on demand, Netflix, and access to vimeo via computers on the 8th floor and 5th floor. We also have several DVD players and a rather large library of DVD movies. We often screen movies, relevant interviews and important events on the large monitor in common areas.
Stonestreet’s website, www.stonestreet.net, contains information about our philosophy, our program, our studio, articles written by faculty, staff and students, as well as a list of alumni accomplishments. All studio schedules are up to date on this site. When in doubt, check here. It is the premiere resource for past, present, and future Stonestreet students. Stonestreet’s photo gallery of current students and alumni may be found at www.stonestreetactors.com.
On the homepage, please click the link to Stonestreet’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/stonestreetstudios and “like” the Page. We utilize our Facebook Page as a means to keep in touch with our alumni and current students – please feel free to post news of your own auditions, castings, acting, and other entertainment-related jobs! Please get connected with us by “liking” Stonestreet on Facebook, so you can see what Stonestreet Alums are professionally doing in NY, LA and all over the globe!
Stonestreet’s Script Library
In the past, we maintained hundreds of digital copies of film and television scripts in our Green Room, available for students to check out and use for class work scenes or personal monologues. But we have digitized almost all of them. They now reside on the desktops of the computers in the Green Room.
Stonestreet TV and Micro-Movies
Stonestreet utilizes both Vimeo and YouTube to distribute and promote the work of our projects and films as well as the work of our actors. Though we upload all work shot in our advanced classes to our Vimeo page at www.stonestreet.tv, most of the films and scenes there are private, viewable by students and industry people to which we share passwords. Many of the scenes are two to three minutes in length; we refer to them as “micro-movies.”
If you or an instructor are proud of something shot in class, please tell us so we may post it on Stonestreet’s Facebook page.
Reviewing and Obtaining Material Shot in Class
At the end of every class session, almost all material recorded will be on SD cards. There is an iMac in each studio. At the end of every class, the footage of that day’s class is transferred from the camera’s SD card to the computer. The footage from that day may be found on that particular computer in that studio, where it was shot, until the end of the semester.
It is the student’s responsibility to bring their own media - external hard drive, thumb drive, for example, and obtain the footage they wish from class. We permit each student to copy material to their own media. The iMac computers can be used for such transfers. Again, Stonestreet does not do this transfer for the students. Each student is responsible for obtaining their own footage and takes the risk of doing so in a manner that does not corrupt the files or their own equipment. At the end of the semester, Stonestreet moves the footage off the studio hard drives and stores the footage for a period of time.
Prior to sharing your work, you must consult with studio directors and faculty to determine appropriate credits for Stonestreet faculty and staff having participated in your projects.
Procedures for borrowing equipment for Create Your Own Material Project. It is possible to reserve and take out equipment for 24 hours only for class projects only. See Michael Lynch.
Please note that a student’s matriculation in the Conservatory grants Stonestreet permission to use material shot in class or in projects for its website and other purposes. This includes the right to the images we create in class and in our filmed projects, scenes and movies, both sound and picture, still photography and moving photography. We are proud of the work our students do, and try to showcase it whenever possible. On the same note, please list Stonestreet Studios for your screen acting training, either at Stonestreet Studios, or in the Stonestreet Screen Acting Conservatory. When in NY, LA, or elsewhere you will meet many Stonestreet Alums in very helpful places in the industry. Stonestreet has been training professionals for over two decades - so there are a lot of wonderful, talented, and eclectic alumni out there!
Procedure for Complaints or Other Issues
All of our students are encouraged to report to the Managing Director, Artistic Director, and/or Executive Director any problems or concerns they may have with an instructor, a peer, a class, schedule or program. This may occur via email, phone, or in person. If a student feels comfortable, and only at his or her discretion, he or she may speak directly with an instructor about any concerns. Stonestreet Studios’s policy is to take any and all student expressions in this regard seriously and confidentially. Together, we – administrator and student – can and will come up with a solution to rectify any situation.
Grading is based on a number of objective and subjective factors during a student’s time in the Conservatory.
Attitude: A student’s attitude is very important. “Attitude" is a general professional approach towards your process, instructors, fellow students, the Studio, and your own work. A good attitude implies that the student is open to what the instructor is teaching, does not decry the process (even though he or she may not agree), is generally good natured with a positive spirit and passion, and is imbued with humility. It also reflects a student's respect of the Studio's space and props – whether they litter, whether they return props to their proper places, whether scripts are returned to their proper shelf location, and whether a student is or is not generally disruptive.
Participation: Though related to attitude, the participation component is an analysis of the degree to which a student participates in the work and the class process, whether the student is attentive during class, and whether a student makes an effort to work and to assist in the work of their peers.
Preparation: This is an analysis of the amount and quality of preparation a student gives to his or her work outside of class. Many students are surprised by how different film acting is from stage acting, and they become flustered or frustrated, often concluding that their primary studio training does not apply. This often leads to a lack of preparation because of a mistaken belief that they must suddenly “start all over” again. Although it is Stonestreet’s philosophy that screen acting is different from stage acting, it does NOT mean we believe that your primary stage training is inapplicable. We encourage you to wrestle with the difficulties of applying your stage training to the screen rather than abandoning it – it is your work ethic that is important.
Improvement: A student's improvement during the semester is determined by each instructor. The more a student exhibits growth and/or change, the more he or she will benefit from this aspect of the grading process.
Talent: Although we hesitate to weigh this factor too heavily (we are an educational institution, not the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!), we are inevitably moved by the evidence of varying degrees of talent our students harbor and show. The more students are able to unearth and/or show their talent for screen acting craft, the more it is reflected in their grade. However, this aspect of the grading process will be significantly diminished if the student's attitude is poor or if other factors are not favorably viewed.
Attendance: This is generally the most objective standard by which a student's grade is determined. Attendance is taken at the beginning of every class. The rule is simply stated: Stonestreet has a five-minute policy – you must be FIVE MINUTES EARLY for the start of class. Time is taken by the clock at Stonestreet, not by your watch. Do not be surprised if you show up late and you are not permitted to enter the classroom – the door may be LOCKED at the start of class. Your instructor has the discretion to permit you to enter class at a break, even though you will be marked absent for that class. Two late arrivals equal an unexcused absence. More than two unexcused absences (a doctor's note would be considered an excused absence, for example) will reduce your grade in that class. If possible, please notify the managing director and your instructor by email prior to the start of class, so that faculty and class may be alerted to your absence. It is your responsibility to submit doctor’s notes to the managing director, who will then notify your teachers of an official excused absence. In addition, your instructor or an intern is responsible for monitoring if a student leaves class early or does not return after a short break. Leaving early more than twice will also count as an unexcused absence. If you miss any class on the day of evening industry meetings, you may not attend the evening. This applies even if your absence that day is excused. Please DO NOT make the mistake of thinking that an outside-the-studio audition constitutes an excused absence.
Calculation of Grades: Each instructor grades the student with a letter grade: F, D-, D, D+, C-, C, C+, B-, B, B+, A- or A. Each letter grade is equivalent to a number, and the average of those numbers from each instructor is the final grade for that student. It has been the history of Stonestreet that "A" grades are not given easily – an "A" student is considered to be truly exceptional regarding all the criteria described above, with nearly perfect attendance. Some students are surprised that they receive very high grades in one class (perhaps because they like the class, they have talent and/or good attitudes, or score highly on any of the criteria mentioned above) and low marks in another (perhaps because they arrived late too often or failed to show up at all). In such cases, that student's overall grade is significantly affected. Remember – attendance is important! Again, each instructor gives a grade which is averaged together to calculate the student’s final Stonestreet Screen Acting Conservatory grade.
Midterm Grades: Students are all given a “B” unless there are issues or unexcused absences. It serves as an early indicator if something needs to be addressed, doctor’s notes have not been handed in or work is not above average. It’s a chance to talk to teachers and administrators about how to improve or alter anything less than a “B” grade. At the end of the semester, grades are adjusted accordingly, but A’s and B+ are only given to students who are highly motivated, professional, making progress in their work and taking on extra challenges in and around their work.
Evaluations: At the end of the semester, all instructors provide a written or in-person evaluation of each of their students. This evaluation can vary in length and generally discusses a student’s performance throughout the semester in class, though it might also contain an explanation of the grade given, advice on where to focus improvement for the future, or other information. These grades and any written evaluations are compiled onto a single sheet, which is available after the semester ends for students to look at and/or take home for review. Students must visit Stonestreet Studios or the NYU-Tisch School of the Arts Drama Department IN PERSON to receive their Grade and Evaluation Sheet. All grades and written evaluations become part of the student’s permanent record (at Stonestreet and NYU-Tisch School of the Arts), in accordance with all state and federal laws regarding privacy and confidentiality.
Fall 2018 RELEASE and ACKNOWLEDGMENT
(This page is to be returned to Stonestreet Studios)
I acknowledge and agree to the terms set forth in the Stonestreet Rules and Releases Handbook, in its entirety, and that I understand its contents.
I agree that my matriculation in Stonestreet Studios Conservatory grants Stonestreet permission to use material, images, video, digital, film and other photography shot at or on behalf of Stonestreet Studios, in class or in projects for its website or for any other purposes, including but not limited to micro-movies, short and feature films, scenes, monologues, and other filmed entertainment and exercises, and that this document constitutes a standard actor release.
If I have any questions, I will not hesitate to refer back to the Rules and Releases Handbook or consult with someone from the Stonestreet administrative faculty.
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