Understood - what about auditions though? Do you think it matters whether they are off book or not?
First, have you had the sides for a week or did you just get them for a cold read?
Second, while you may not be being judged on your ability to memorize, having your face buried in the sides, or focused on the board they've written them on, is never good. But on that hand, if you say a sentence wrong, its not a big deal either.
Thirdly, as with just about everything in life, starting and finishing strong are the most important.
I and many others prefer being off book as much as possible.
1. You're more open to the camera and the reader
2. There's going to a bunch of others who are not only prepared but close to if not off book as well.
3. If you're off book, still hold the sides. Brain farts DO happen!
4. CDs normally tell you not to memorize because they technically would have to pay you according to Union and CSA guidelines
Thank you!! I agree with you. I thought it was bad advice for the acting teacher to say he shouldn't ever have to think about memorizing. It wasn't a "well- shouldn't be your 1st priority" type of thing...it was you do not have to have sides memorized and this was in an audition class.
"Take this teacher off of your resume! He's a joke!"
"When you audition and have other people in the scene, just have one eye line."
This doesn't count for instructors, but I did once have a director say...
"I want you to say these lines as if you're teaching algebra to a 5 year old."
It worked well for the first scene, but then he said it for EVERY SCENE WE SHOT! Every single time, no matter the context.
I finally said unless this movie is about me teaching algebra to a toddler then maybe you should suggest something different!
This one is especially amusing to me. Back in September or so I had a audition where I was talking to two separate characters. The CD was rather "clear" on just how exactly she wanted my eyeline to be for each separate character.
Come to our industry night showcase. They're casting out of our class...
Laugh when people try to take you as a fool.
From someone who says to have studied with Meisner:
"Acting is NOT living truthfully under imaginary circumstances!"
"No self respecting actor would ever do amateur theater or student films. You can only use short films on your resume if they've been entered into and chosen for film festivals. No actors ever do extra work, have a bit of fucking self respect"
"As actors straight out of university you'll be working for free for quite a while. If you can try and get an agent so you can do some extra work to build a relationship with them".
Good thing I didn't listen to him and did a bunch of student films and short films anyway. Less than six months out of university I landed an awesome agent !!
Ultimate Crack Smoking Warlock
The majority of the legendary screen actors NEVER studied Meisner or even agree with his technique.
Yes, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, and Cary Grant were acting before Stanislavski's influence made it to the U.S. or when Sandy started teaching.
Actually, the majority of actors after that period DID come out of the Meisner training like Gregory Peck, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, George C. Scott, Grace Kelly, Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Jon Voight, James Caan, Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jeff Goldblum, Dianne Keaton, James Gandolfini, Sandra Bullock, Alec Baldwin, Kim Bassinger, Kathy Bates, Sam Rockwell, Timothy Oliphant, and even Tom Cruise to name a few.
Hell, even people who were originally trained by Strasberg like Paul Newman and Dustin Hoffman would end up studying with Meisner.
Even today, the Meisner schools seem to be the non-collegiate schools who are producing more working actors than most of the "Guru" schools out there.
Emotional memory is not reliable. As we age, our memories and feelings of events change.
It's sad people who have never studied Meisner think it is nothing but repetition.
My mind, creativity and imagination have greatly expanded since my 2 years plus of Meisner. It IS living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. As Meisner and Alderson teach, "the character becomes you. You don't become the character. That's why you have to personalize everything."
Using your unique truthful self in imaginary circumstances. I'm all for that. Works for me.
Even if you are not a strict Meisner actor, it is a wonderful tool for your acting toolbox.
And I'll give this teacher the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didn't completely understand Sandy's brilliant definition of acting which is:
"Acting is living truthfully within the imaginary circumstances"
Here's Bill Esper's great example of Sandy's quote:
"When you go to see a play-Hamlet, for instance-you know the man dressed in black isn't really a prince of Denmark. That woman who's marrying her brother-in-law isn't really the queen. As a matter of fact, you're not even in Denmark. You're sitting in the upper mezzanine seats in a Broadway house on Forty-fifth Street and the whole thing is a tissue of lies, a figment of William Shakespeare's Imagination. So, if it's all lies, how can we make it about being truthful?... If the actors are skilled, we'll begin to react to the events onstage as if they were real, as if we were bystanders at some actual event...what we're watching isn't pretend. It is an actual event. "
And before you go, "but that's theatre!" What about those successful sci-fi movies like Alien/Aliens, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, etc. where we know that they're really people in suits but we accept that they're xenomorphs, velociraptors, and droids/ewoks?
Or more realistic films like "Philadelphia", "Godfather", "Sophie's Choice", etc. are imaginary circumstances loosely based on actual events or events that can happen but the actors live so truthfully within those imaginary circumstances that we believe them to be real.
"You spend the whole first year of Meisner training doing repetition. In the second year, you finally get scenes and hit the wall"-From someone who said they studied with Meisner
Student: "Don't you need to know the objective, relationship, moment before, environment?"
Teacher: "NO. YOU. DON'T!" (Apparently sitting in a chair and whispering lines to the other person is good enough)
"Only working actors are the best teachers"
"If you don't have any credits on your imdb, look up old soaps and shows that only lasted one season and add yourself!"
"People go to Lesly Kahn to learn how to be funny"
"Strasberg (his teachings) is not (derived from) Stanislavsky"
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