Michael Shurtleff’s 12 Guideposts

1. Relationship

  1. Find the love in the scene; for example the presence of love, absence of love, betrayal of love etc.
  2. Who is the other person in the scene in relation to me? Mother, daughter, son, lover, husband, etc.
  3. What’s your history with this person?
  4. Ask the question: “If you loved me you would…”
  5. What do I love about this person?
  6. What do I hate about this person?
  7. The problem in the relationship is always with other person.
    The “I’m Okay, You’re Screwed Up” Approach.
  8. Important to Remember: “This is a play about me in a love relationship.
  9. What is the problem with my partner and what can I do/ give to my partner to solve my problem in order to get my dream today?”

2. What Are You Fighting For? Conflict

  1. What is my dream and can I do to my partner so that this person can make my dream come true today ?
  2. Your Fighting For is done in a variety of ways, which are called Actions.
    An Action is described as an undeniable communication that affects or changes your partner to get what you want. The best actions are physical, because they are undeniable. Some examples of actions: to berate, to infuriate, to surprise, to tease etc, etc. Name the action, then play the action.

3. The Moment Before

  1. Your Dream, plus your Fighting For focused into a first action seeking conflict.
  2. A strong beginning.
  3. Physicalizing the first action is recommended.
  4. Do it whenever you can.
  5. Remember, you are also carrying into the scene the personalized history you have made up for yourself, which are facts or inferences you’ve made from the script.

4. Humor

  1. It’s a way of coping with the absurdities or sorrows of living.
  2. It connects you with your partner, for example, to tease, to put at ease, to share a laugh with, to deflect pain.
  3. An appreciation about the irony of life.

5. Opposites

  1. In life a fundamental truth about ourselves is that at some level we want something and at another level we don’t want it.
  2. Whatever is true in the scene, the opposite is also true.
  3. An opposite is an action that interferes with you getting what you are fighting for.
  4. The 3 most obvious opposites
    1. Action -Screw you , I hate you.
    2. Action-You’re right, I’m wrong.
    3. Non-Action-I give up. You give up your dream for the moment.

6. Discoveries

  1. What’s new?
  2. Discovery is the moment to moment action.
  3. What is your partner saying or not saying.
  4. Be attentive, alert, sensitive, aware of what’s happening in the scene.
  5. Listen and be affected.
  6. Talk and effect change.
  7. You must make discoveries or you’ll miss the events. If you miss the events, nothing will happen.
  8. You must make discoveries or your scene will die.
  9. Action comes right on the tail of discovery; something which you may have suspected is suddenly confirmed.

7. Communication & Competition

  1. Give and Take.
  2. Give and Receive.
  3. What are you sending and what is your partner receiving. Vice versa.
  4. You must send and receive both Emotionally and Physically.
  5. If you are alert and aware you will discover wins and losses in your communication and competition.
  6. Celebrate your wins and mourn your losses. Keep score. Count the wins and losses.
  7. Love to compete.

8. Importance

  1. Raise the stakes.
  2. This is not everyday life, but a day of crisis.
  3. Today is the day I fight, where formerly I fled.
  4. A day when everything changes.
  5. It’s has to be important or the scene falls flat.
  6. Add “I” – if you don’t, nobody will listen to you. You must personalize.

9. Find the Events

  1. Events equal changes, especially in the relationship.
  2. You have to create the events.
  3. Be alert to what is happening.
  4. Discover it in your partner. See if your partner is aware of what’s happening between you. Otherwise, nothing will happen–the scene will be dead.
  5. Events move the story forward.

10. Place

  1. Where are you?
  2. What’s around you?
  3. Are you indoors; outdoors, on your own turf, your partner’s; or neutral.
  4. What’s your emotional connection to this place?
  5. There may be a possibility of third area focus. For example, deal with the trees or flowers in the park.

11. Game Playing & Role Playing

  1. It ‘s not insincere-it’s very true to life and real.
  2. Game Playing and Role Playing is a way dealing with reality, not escaping it. For example, a teacher’s role with students in a college classroom setting is different than later if they meet later at a cocktail party.

12. Mystery & Secret

  1. Wonder about your partner and your situation.
  2. Have a secret – keep it a secret, but let it add drive and intensity to your scene.