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The Chubbuck Technique is a 12-step method used by performers, writers, and directors alike across the globe in their quest to bring life to their characters. The premier acting teacher Ivana Chubbuck created the process, and she details each step in her bestselling book “The Power of the Actor,” which has been translated into 20 languages. Ivana’s very long list of students-turned-celebrated actors include Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Elisabeth Shue, Beyoncé Knowles, Djimon Honsou, and Jon Voight. 

“The difference between the Chubbuck Technique and those developed in the past is that I teach actors how to use their emotions not as an end result, but as a way to empower a goal. My technique teaches actors how to win,” Ivanna insists.

Chubbuck’s winning philosophy

Ivana draws on psychology and human behavior as a basis for creating authentic characters and bringing scripts to life. She summarizes her approach this way: “Take whatever it is—insecurities, fears, a trauma you’re going through, a split-up you’re going through, whatever it is you’re going through or you live with and that you’d like to get rid of—and use the material in front of you…and use it to impassion and fuel your ability to overcome it. On the other side, you become a winner because of the pain.” 

When portraying a character who’s experiencing strife, Ivana asserts the actor is going through that struggle or conflict. She explains, “You overcome [the difficulties] for the character, therefore overcoming it for you because you live the part…And therefore you give hope to your audience that they can prosper in spite of and because of the things that they’re going through. That’s how a star is born.” Ivana is convinced that audiences want to keep seeing the person that reminds them that they can overcome the troubles in their lives.  

Inspiring hope

Ivana is firmly against actors giving emotional performances with an end goal of stirring up sympathy from the audience. She implores actors to stretch beyond simply telling a story in which the audience comes to relate and feel for the character. In fact, she considers it an obligation for actors to portray how even the most grim of life’s circumstances can be overcome. “I want people to walk away from the performances I help create and say, ‘I can change my life, too. I can have a better life,’” she says.

Charlize Theron described her time with Chubbuck this way: “Ivana taught me how to take my emotions and take everything that has happened in my life and use it to make me an effective actor.”

No victim choices allowed

If there’s one thing that Ivana will not tolerate from her students—it’s making the creative choice to victimize their character. “You’re better than that!” she insists. Chubbuck actually aims to have her actors take all victimization out of their lives. Aubrey Plaza shared, “[Ivana] has taught me that my fears, insecurities, neurosis, and generally all those things that make me one screwed up human being—are actually the elements that make the substance and journey of the characters we create together—unique and special.”

Chubbuck’s beginnings

Decades ago, Ivana moved to Los Angeles to become an actress. She and her acting buddies would work with one another, trying to bring out their best performances. But it quickly became apparent that Chubbuck’s insights were having a significant impact on her friends’ performances. Soon enough, she was being hired to coach actors, and she discovered she loved the work. Ivana quit acting, and over three decades later, she continues to enjoy empowering actors as the head of the Ivana Chubbuck Studio in Los Angeles and hosting workshops worldwide.