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FACULTY: Michael Goldfried

Writer, Director, Actor

My work at SVA focuses on the craft of the writer/director. I work with students on how to write and direct vivid, compelling characters who move a story forward by acting on their desire.

Stories come alive when distinct characters pursue what they want and are forced to make difficult choices. The protagonist must try and fail—then try harder and fail harder. Getting into trouble may be something we try and avoid in daily life, but is essential for the hero of a story. In my classes we strive to create characters that are real and also complex, whose humanity is comprised of their aspirations, positive attributes as well as their flaws. We do not judge the people who inhabit our stories, but rather investigate their depth—revealing the seeming contradictions in them that are the hallmark of all great film and theater characters.

As I teacher of directing, I work with students on the art of collaborating with actors. The goal is to get great performances onscreen. Great acting does not look like acting at all, but rather a person simply living in the moment, and we get to peek into the very real and private inner world of that person. To get actors toward this kind of work, we focus on the tools for directing that relate to the craft of acting, in order to achieve better and more effective communication and collaboration. We also put attention on the text: how to understand the story (both big picture and beat-by-beat), and how to get actors to honestly and emotionally live the story on the page. We also workshop other important aspects of directing, including casting, blocking, giving adjustments, working with children, working with a fight director, genres and production. The final goal of the class is the completion and screening of a great short film with fantastic acting.

MFA, Directing; Brown University/Trinity Rep

BA, Drama; Vassar College

LaGuardia HS for the Performing Arts

Additional Training: Mike Nichols; The Barrow Group;

Director and co-writer of “Mrs Smith Presents”;  “The Indelible Mark on Edward Barron” and adapted and directed “Tartuffe”, “The Imaginary Invalid”, “The Rover”. Co-writer and Associate Director of “Icarus”. New play development and productions: SPF, The Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, EST, Ars Nova, A.R.T and the Goodman.

Drama League Directing Fellow

National Endowment for the Arts – NEA/TCG Career Development Program

Innovative Theater IT Award

Directing Actors