Registration Information

Course Dates


Participant $325 - Auditor $125

Course Length: 6-weeks

Course Day/Time: TBD

Workshop Description

  • Building a Character

    Using 5 images (animal, nature’s element and 3 adjectives) learn how to modify your body in such way that your character will have his own feelings and thoughts. You’ll then just enjoy and live his life, feel his feelings and think his thoughts.

  • Physical Actions

    This workshop will explain how emotions are fundamentally physical actions/movements of muscles in the face, limbs and internal organs, and feeling are the mental representation of these actions and also the generator of conscious mind, rationality, imagination and creativity.

  • Distancing Phenomena

    Since the character has his own body (different then yours), the movements triggered by an emotion will produce feelings and thoughts that are different then yours as well. Become then a privileged witness of your character’s feelings and thoughts without be affected by them.

Learning Objectives

  • Learning Physical Characterization

  • The Best Ways to Start a Character

  • Physical Action vs Thinking

  • Instructor Bio

    Meet Your Instructor

    Since 2006 Gulu has been a professor at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. In Europe, Gulu teaches workshops in Paris, Berlin, Madird, and London. From 1985 to 2000, Gulu led a theater company in Rio de Janeiro, the Companhia do Gesto, where they introduced the language of clowns, masks, and gesture to Brazilian theater. In 2001, he moved to Los Angeles, where he started a new company, the Ipanema Theater Troupe, which he received the most important awards of the city: Ovation Award, Maddy Award, and LA Weekly Award. His work as director became rapidly well known in LA that he was invited to direct for the most important venues in town: the LA Opera, Broad Stage, Getty Villa, among others.

    Gulu Monteiro

    Acting Instructor

Weekly Breakdown

Each week will consist of one, 2-hour session.

  • 01
    Class Access: Located in 'My Dashboard'
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    • Step 1: Welcome!
    • Step 2: Getting Your Bearings
    • Step 3: Virtual Class Best Practices
    • Step 4: Technical Document
  • 02
    Class 1: EDP THEORY
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    • EDP Theory
    • Walkthrough
  • 03
    Class 2: ANIMAL WORK
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    • Animal Work
  • 04
    Class 3: ELEMENTS
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    • Elements
  • 05
    Class 4: ADJECTIVES
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    • Psychological Characteristics (Adjectives)
  • 06
    Class 5: THE INTERVIEW
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    • The Interview
  • 07
    Class 6: SCENE WORK
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    • Scene Work


“I love Gulu and his method, I have been fortunate to have done a show with Gulu using his method and was blown away by it, I was inspired to help him facilitate his workshops so as many people as possible can experience for themselves, the nuanced character that appears with such ease. His work is incredibly transformative, he includes mask work, animal work and the elements (earth, fire, water, air and wood ) along with adjectives to bring the character alive within us. He is a very passionate and kind teacher and creates absolute joy around the work. Highly recommend.”

Catie LeOrisa

“Working with Gulu was a profound and joyous experience. Using his distinctive approach to character work, I was able to physically inhabit my character. Gulu uses neutral masks, animal work, the elements, and adjectives to bring the character into our bodies with focus, imagination, breath and images. What happens is that the character appears with ease and effortlessness, and we can explore the character's world by being in our bodies without being in our heads, so to speak. We did many exercises before we ever used the text and then what happened was magical. Gulu brings his passion, intelligence, and joy as an artist to the classes, so they were just so much fun! He creates an atmosphere of joy and sharing for all of us.”

Susan Fisher

“I was able to witness Gulu Monteiro's Building a Character Workshop in Paris. The result is amazing. At each stage of his work, the actor seems free and creative, and always able to draw new impulses, without being subject to imitation of oneself. He seems to experience, as in life, a constantly renewed creation of his actions and feelings, while being aware that he is "playing”. This means that the performer can give free rein to the imagination of his character, while keeping control of himself.”

Brigitte Fossey


Pricing for all student options.


  • Why is the actor’s physicality so important to the acting process?

    With the technological and scientific advances, the 21st-century actor can have a better understanding of his organism, wich is his instrument. The body is the medium through which emotion is expressed. Whenever we experience a strong emotion — fear, anger, happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise — our experiences express themselves physically. Our muscles contract or relax; our movement and posture shift; our facial expressions change. And, without their being completely conscious of it, other people instantly perceive it. Emotions are body movements and feelings are the cognitive interpretation of these movements. If the actor accurately modifies his physicality to portray his character, the character’s feelings and thoughts will be unexpected and surprising to the actor himself.

  • How can I modify my physicality without being a caricature?

    The human organism functions as a constant loop of information between body and brain. This communication happens via images, sounds, touch, smell, and taste experience. But since we are visual creatures, images are most important to us. As actors create powerful and compelling images, they will be able to modify their bodies to create a new looping of information between body and brain. This new loop then becomes the real way a character perceives the world, and the performance that results feels genuine and authentic. This mechanism can be called the “Emotional Distancing Phenomenon” (not to be confused with Brecht's “Distancing Effect”). The actor becomes a kind of spectator of his own character, and it’s not unusual to hear actors say that while their character was going through enormous pain, they themselves felt joy and fulfillment.

  • What can I get from this workshop?

    The goal is to train actors to expand their creativity and to experience true emotions without having to tap into their personal psychological experiences. Actors experience the emotion in their body, and feelings emerge from this “body state." This allows the character to experience real feelings and thoughts that better serve the situation or scene and free the artists’ creative power in a totally new way. This allows the actor to find intentions, objectives and know their character from the inside out by simply and literally being in her/his character's body. This workshop will give actors the tools to enhance their creative power, have absolute control of their bodies, build truthful and unique characters for movies, television or theater, and make their acting craft more fun, spontaneous, surprising and above all, passionate.

  • How can I get this result?

    We’ve developed a series of exercises to achieve this. First, the actors work with the Neutral Mask. The Neutral Mask is the simplest and enables the actor to widen all of his or her senses. The Neutral Mask is the starting point to build the character. A silent mask, it allows actors to establish a relationship with their environment based on calmness and perception. With five senses open and their minds calm —in almost a meditative state — actors learn one of the fundamentals of acting: to be in the present moment with great concentration. After working with the neutral mark, the body is ready to interact with the actors' creative power. They will choose five images that define essential traits of a character. They choose an animal, an element of nature (air, fire, water, or earth) and three adjectives (mischievous, jealous, and greedy, for example). The actors then use these images to create a new body state, which affects how that character experiences emotions. They end up being surprised by the spontaneous and unexpected actions of the character they’ve created.