5-Day Travis Technique Intensive Workshop for Directors


DEGNZ invites New Zealand directors to apply for a 5-Day Travis Technique Intensive from August 14 – 18 in Auckland. The workshop is designed to fully immerse a small number of directors (max. 5) into STORY (Autobiographical Storytelling), CHARACTERS (Interrogation Process) and STAGING (Power of Placement). By practicing The Travis Technique on a story from their own life, directors will gain the confidence to apply their new skills to their own projects right away.

Based in California, Mark Travis trains directors in The Travis Technique worldwide.

Go beyond result directing and venture into inspired and impactful collaboration with your characters

The greatest obstacle for directors and actors is their desire to control the characters. Directors control by demanding results. Actors control by planning their performances, thereby effectively blocking the characters from emerging freely and organically.

The problem is that most directors are not given the training in how to engage with actors in a creative and collaborative way. Without these skills for inspiring and supporting the actors, directors will revert to result directing. This forces actors to fabricate the emotions and attitudes they think will please the director.

With The Travis Technique, directors can bring out the characters’ emotional truths from the actors without falling back on result directing. Actors can release their characters from within – complex and unpredictable, lusting and tumbling through the drama of their lives. Even the most vanilla scenes will start to breathe and pulse.

Once directors and actors have worked together in rehearsal, exploring the characters’ relationships and dynamics in the scenes, the quality of performances will be markedly heightened. During production, multiple takes can be tweaked quickly and efficiently, saving time and money.

“I love working with Mark. It’s as if he opens the top of my head and rummages around in there until all my internal voices are alive and conflict… then he calls action. I can’t plan or play it safe, I am forced to exist in the moment. It’s a gift for an actor.”

“I was fortunate enough to attend a 10 day intensive Mark Travis technique in [Los Angeles]. I found the workshop immensely beneficial. Especially in regards to workshopping characters, deepening my script and also blocking scenes in a more dynamic and interesting way.”

Zoe McIntosh

Our Tutors

MARK W. TRAVIS is one of the world’s leading authorities on the art of film directing, writing and storytelling. On-stage, he has directed over 60 theatre productions in Los Angeles and New York. Author of two important books on filmmaking and winner of over 30 directorial awards in theater, Mark Travis has developed a fresh and innovative approach to writing and directing that cuts to the living and breathing core of every story, script and character. Mark has taught his dynamic Travis Technique at over 50 film schools and director’s guilds around the world. Affectionately called “the director’s director,” Mark is in constant demand to consult on film projects worldwide.

ELSHA TAYA BOHNERT is an award-winning artist and poet, and the author of Don’t Trip over the Garden Hose (Deuxmers, 2013). Elsha has been a longtime student of Mark Travis’ autobiographical storytelling workshops in Hawai`i and is the only person authorized by him to teach it. With her background in multicultural learning and narrative medicine, she helps students learn The Travis Technique through playful and provocative games. “You have to be like an ancient four-year-old,” she says, “clueless and wise about the enchanted worlds we come from and still carry around in our bodies.”

Workshop Details

When: 14 – 18 August, Wed to Sun 9am – 6pm

Where: Samoa House, The Actors’ Program, 283 Karangahape Rd, Auckland

Price (Usually $4000 USD): 
DEGNZ member – $500
Non-member – $1000


To be considered for the course, directors must meet ONE of the following:

  • You’re in advanced development on a feature film (can be a debut feature).
  • You’re attached to direct scripted drama that’s likely to go into production.
  • You have directed on a feature film, scripted drama or telefeature.

What you will need

Selected directors will need to begin preparation two months prior in order to be best prepared to get the most out of the Intensive. Prep will begin with the assignment of writing a short 3-minute autobiographical story. Mark and Elsha will work with each director to develop the characters and deepen their story ahead of the workshop.

Note: Any work done by the directors will be observed in a supportive, collegial environment. This workshop will be open to observation by a modest-sized group of actors and fellow DEGNZ members.

To Apply

Application Deadline: 9AM, Monday 17 June 2019

STEP 1: Submit your details using the form below.

STEP 2: Send in one PDF to tema@deganz.co.nz:

  • your bio and CV, and
  • a brief, maximum 1-page letter that explains why you would like to participate. If you are in development, please provide details of the project, including what stage it’s in and key people.

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.


This workshop is brought to you with the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.


Last updated on 20 March 2020