Doug MacHugh

BA, New England College. MFA, Sarah Lawrence College. Peace Corps, El Salvador. Writer of PSAs, commercials, industrials, and documentaries. Script writer and talent director at Gates Productions for 80 hours of local and regional live television in Los Angeles; one of two conceptual designers for Mitsubishi’s Waterfront Project, creating 32 amusement park attractions; creative producer of Red Monsoon, a feature film shot in Nepal. Film acting credits include Clean and Sober, Alien Nation, Come See the Paradise, and Weird Science; television acting credits include Guiding Light, Law and Order, Cheers, Quantum Leap, LA Law, and Night Court; stage credits include Holy Ghost, End Game, Zoo Story, Fishing, and Wat Tyler; directing credits include Platypus Rex, Mafia on Prozac, The 17th of June, North of Providence, Only You, To Kill A Mockingbird, and The Weir. Co-director and co-producer of SLC Web Series, “Socially Active,” Web feature film Elusive, and television pilot “Providers.” Recipient of two [Los Angeles] Drama-Logue Critics’ Awards for acting. SLC, 2000–

Previous Courses

The Actor’s Voice Over: An Intensive Exploration of Voice Work

Open , Seminar—Year

This class will meet once a week for three hours in the Heimbold Sound Booth.

Have you ever wondered who performs the voices that you encounter in your everyday life? You spend a portion of each day listening, waiting, and learning from these voices—the familiar voices you hear when watching television commercials, the annoying voice that tells you to hold and that your call is important. Voices are everywhere. These voices are created by performers. You hear them in the narration of documentaries, television and radio commercials, animation, graphic novels, video games, phone applications, podcasts, audio books, audio tours, tutorials, and PSAs. In each class session, students will work with a sound editor on a variety of projects—from film and television to commercial spokesperson copy, group ADR, ambience, (wala wala)—creating believable character voices for animation. Students will also investigate breathing and relaxation techniques, appropriate pacing, enunciation, flexibility, and clarity. Facilitating vocal and improvisational exercises, the students will develop what will become their signature voice, as well as investigate and develop character voices for animation. Students will also write original material to be performed and recorded. Conference work will involve specific readings covering the historical aspects of post-production work in film. The student and the professor will decide on a specific aspect of film production work to further investigate.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Less is More: On Camera Performance

Open , Seminar—Year

This course will focus on both the natural and technical aspects of camera performance. The student will learn how to create living, breathing characters constructed and crafted with an emotional inner life that is supported through organic impulses and analytical comprehension of text. The work will require concentrated attention and expansion of emotional perceptions. The student will develop the ability to actively listen and not to anticipate the resolution but, rather, to discover it in the moment. The scene work will be taken from published screenplays. The students will cold read the material and then memorize, rehearse, and further investigate character using improvisational and emotional exercises. Students will learn how much physicality is required for the various shots that make up the scene and learn how to harness the physical and emotional focus for extreme close-up work. There is the required movement aspect to this workshop, as well. Each session will begin with physical and emotional exercises that will allow the performers to move, to breathe, and to play. During the filming sessions, the students will have the opportunity to investigate sound, lighting, and editing. Voice-over and ADR skills will also be explored. Students are required to write original monologues and short original scenes that will be filmed during the spring semester. The scenes will be shot in a workshop atmosphere that concentrates on performance rather than production value. This course of study is equally valuable to the emerging performer, director, or screenwriter seeking to understand the alchemy of performance for the camera.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Less is More: On Camera Performance

Open , Seminar—Year

This course will focus on both the natural and technical aspects of camera performance. The student will learn how to create living, breathing characters constructed and crafted with an emotional inner life that is supported through organic impulses and analytical comprehension of text. The student will learn to create characters drawn from one’s own life experience, emotional substitution, and the limitless possibility of the imagination. The work will require a concentrated attention and expansion of emotional perceptions. The student will develop the ability to actively listen and see and not to anticipate or expect. The scene work will be taken from published screenplays, both contemporary and historical. Period work will require a richly detailed and historically accurate character study, paying attention to both the social and historical demands and the language. The scenes will be memorized, rehearsed, further explored with improvisational exercises, and reviewed with monitor playback. The scenes will then be camera blocked and shot in a workshop atmosphere that concentrates on performance rather than production value. Students will learn how much physicality is required for the master shot and for the two shot and how to harness the physical and emotional focus for extreme close-up work. There is the required movement aspect to this workshop, as well. Each session will begin with physical and emotional exercises that will allow the performers to move, to breathe, and to play. Students will be offered the opportunity to step behind the camera and observe what the DP sees in order to better comprehend the framing of a shoot. They will learn how to maintain and match continuity while using props and physical movement. Voice-over and ADR skills will also be explored. In the spring semester, the students will work on final scenes that will be either original or published. Those scenes will be costumed, with props and production value. Conference work will be discussed individually with each student. The course will include short writing assignments, weekly performance journals, short reactions to the required texts, and perhaps writing original monologues to be performed. This course of study is equally valuable to the emerging performer, director, and screenwriter seeking to understand the alchemy of performance for the camera.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Creating the Web Series

Open , Seminar—Year

Each student, without exception, must interview with the instructor.

During the fall semester, the students will develop a community that supports a judgment-free working environment, where the goal is to collectively create the best original work possible. This class is not about competition but, rather, about creating collectively. During our Monday sessions, the students will conceive and develop 3- to 5-page film scenes that thematically capture a specific moment in time. The concept and materials to be developed will be revised and finalized for shooting by the end of the fall semester. (These scenes can also be the genesis of a larger script to be worked on later.) During our Thursday sessions, we will begin with warmup exercises developed to get outside of our passive selves and play like children. These exercises will expand our vocal and physical creative base. We will work on intimacy and trust exercises that address issues such as blocking, negating, and posturing. We will read both published and original scenes that will be memorized for the following week. We will break down the scenes dramatically to demonstrate what works and what does not. The students will work on improvisational exercises—taken from beats within the script—that will explore and expand the complexities of a character’s inner life. For our conference work, we will view and discuss feature films and documentaries that primarily focus on the Central American revolutions—such as El Norte, Finding Oscar, Under Fire, and Salvador—but will also include the historical origins of religious and cultural conflicts with films such as The Mission, Apocalypto, and Where the River Runs Black. The fall semester conference work will involve writing about a specific aspect of the films viewed and discussed in class. The spring conference work will be shooting the vignettes. The students will be required to experience all production areas, (editing, lighting, sound, camera, and directing) and to keep a weekly journal of the journey throughout the year. The goal is to make the class self-sufficient, in that students will write, direct, film, and edit their own material. We will have tech-lab workshops that help students better facilitate skills in lighting, cameras, sound, and editing. This class is open to writers, actors, and directors interested in creating through collaboration.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

First-Year Studies: Respect for Screen Acting—Performance and Film

Open , FYS—Year

This yearlong First-Year Studies course will focus on both the organic and technical aspects of the craft of camera performance. The student will learn how to create three-dimensional characters constructed with a deeply detailed, emotional inner life that is supported through analytical comprehension of text. Through specific exercises, students will learn to heighten and expand their awareness of the physical and emotional senses and how to read, decipher, and support emotional and physical subtext. During the first semester, the primary focus will be performance work. Students will work on emotional substitution, conflict, obstacles, inner struggles, duplicity, and character journey. They will work on published scenes, group exercises, and application of improvisation to expand the inner life and backstory of the character. Using scenes from both contemporary and historical films, they will observe, write about, and discuss the political, historical, and cultural evolution of contemporary directing and acting styles. The second semester will offer the interested student the opportunity to learn, through hands-on application, the technical side, as well. Through workshops featuring editing, sound, camera, and lighting, the student will explore the various aspects of production. During the second semester, the students will apply these skills to rendering both written and original work in class. They will be assigned production roles, whether operating cameras or doing sound, lighting, or editing. Conference work will include the viewing, analyzing, and discussion of classic and contemporary films and related texts and, in the second semester, the completion of a finished, edited, and workshopped scene.

Faculty

Less is More: On-Camera Performance

Open , Seminar—Year

This course will focus on both the natural and technical aspects of camera performance. The student will learn how to create living, breathing characters constructed and crafted with an emotional inner life that is supported through organic impulses and analytical comprehension of text. The student will learn to create characters drawn from one’s own life experience, emotional substitution, and the limitless possibility of the imagination. The work will require a concentrated attention and expansion of emotional perceptions. The student will develop the ability to actively listen and see and not to anticipate or expect. The scene work will be taken from published screenplays, both contemporary and historical. Period work will require a richly detailed and historically accurate character study, paying attention to both the social and historical demands and the language. The scenes will be memorized, rehearsed, further explored with improvisational exercises, and reviewed with monitor playback. The scenes will then be camera blocked and shot in a workshop atmosphere that concentrates on performance rather than production value. Students will learn how much physicality is required for the master shot and for the two shot and how to harness the physical and emotional focus for extreme close-up work. There is the required movement aspect to this workshop, as well. Each session will begin with physical and emotional exercises that will allow the performers to move, to breathe, and to play. The student will be offered the opportunity to step behind the camera and observe what the DP sees in order to better comprehend the framing of a shoot. They will learn how to maintain and match continuity while using props and physical movement. Voice-over and ADR skills will also be explored. In the spring semester, the students will work on final scenes that will be either original or published. Those scenes will be costumed, with props and production value. Conference work will be discussed with each student individually. The course will include short writing assignments, weekly performance journals, short reactions to the required texts, and perhaps writing original monologues to be performed. This course of study is equally valuable to the emerging performer, director, and screenwriter seeking to understand the alchemy of performance for the camera.

Faculty