I like this...I've never seen acting explained so well in one sentence. That's what I was looking for when I said "conveying emotion", except it didn't sound nearly as good as this.
I'm confident I could be a good actor in the sense of the definition, it's getting a line wrong here & there that makes me nervous for some reason - like the most minor line mishap might put me the wrong tangent working a scene.
I've always "felt" certain roles in movies, mentally projected myself into that character, and realized there's nothing I want as bad as to be an actor.
I also know the deck is not your favor when trying to be an actor, especially at my age of 29, and not having any experience beyond having taken a few classes at the collegiate level.
That quote is from Sanford Meisner. I studied Meisner technique early on, and it's my fav quote about acting, because of its truth and simplicity. I suggest you find a good acting class. backstage is an excellent resource for that. Good luck
Yes, but at the same time, it's impossible to order a hamburger strictly using non-verbal communication.
Sometimes I think that gets exaggerated. I understand something can be said a certain way with different ranges of intonation/tone/inflection and sound completely different.
"Yeah, that was good" for example, can made to sound genuine, or completely sarcastic. If Jerry Seinfeld said it (using his natural voice) - would most likely sound sarcastic.
I have seen behind-the-scenes documentaries where they show the cue cards. I've also seen a small headphone put in the actor's ear while the lines are fed to them by most likely the director or someone important in the production process.
I'm not sure how often cue cards are really used, because I wonder if it's seen as using a crutch, at least until one is an established actor and his "paid his dues" so to say.
re: subtext, I usually say what I mean in person. Honestly, I don't know anyone who regularly speaks in subtext. That's a writer's tool for story-telling.
I won't address everything you said..you simply don't have the knowledge/experience to get what we're saying. I'll just say this: One of the best exercises I rmember from my Meisner training in NY was simple repetition. 2 actors, male and female, just recited "brown shirt to each other. that was their only dialogue. BUT, as they went along, you saw their relationship. boyfriend/girldfriend. lovers quarrel. 2 people deeply in love trying to communicate. you saw it all from their BEHAVIOR, not from the lines, since all they had to work with was "brown shirt". Just find a good class. It will become clearer to you as you progress.
This is NOT an excuse to not memorize lines.
This has NOTHING to do with Stella Adler's teachings or Method, which many people thought he was, Brando was NOT Method.
Brando before Godfather would know his lines. At around Godfather, he was starting to become lazy and chose not to memorize his lines. Luckily he was still brilliant.
when i get a script these are the steps i take to memorize:
1)i read it page to page (not just my character's lines)
2)I look at whats going on in the scene, who am i speaking to, where is it taking place...kinda like in an english class when you do "who what when where why".
3) Then i paraphrase ALL the lines in my own words. That way the pressure of memorization goes away and now my awareness of whats going on the in scene is even better.
4) Next, i find the sub-text (what is each person really trying to say with each line). For example:
late night a husband is coming home:
"its 1 am."
subtext would be "you're late again, where the hell were you i was up waiting you had me worried"... or whatever it is, based on how the rest of the script goes
5) i repeat the paraphrasing a few times without having to look at the script
6) then i run my lines while doing a distracting activity (laundry, subtracting/adding math, someone throwing stuff at me, etc... ) ---> see Sanford Meisner, he talks about this. this is done to ensure when i walk into an audition room, i don't get nervous. because distraction causes me my subconscious mind to memorize lines no matter what stimuli is introduced in front me (ex a scary casting director or reader etc..)
7) Lastly, repeat repeat repeat step 5 and 6... soon the actual lines will start sticking effortlessly.
Okay i hope this helped. my longest post on here but i am sharing because this never fails me. but you should def. take a real acting class
I don't agree with the paraphrasing part. The downside of doing that is you might memorize the paraphrasing and say that instead of what is written.
Here's what I do to learn lines for an audition:
I normally do these things in distraction be it walking on the treadmill or while the T.V. is on etc. Most cold reads are in environment where there might be a lot of noise, so prepare for the worst.
1. Read EVERYTHING through multiple times to get what is going on. I think the most important questions are:
"what's my relationship?"
-We act differently towards different people because our relationship could range from really close to non-existent.
"what's my environment?"
-You don't want to look like an ass when you're yelling in a library when it's clearly meant to be an intimate conversation per se.
"the moment before?"
-If you have the first line, this will definitely help determine how you'll deliver it with the relationship and environment in mind. Even if you don't have the first line, it will give you something to do before the first line is said.
I don't think too much about objectives, superobjectives, and obstacles, etc. because we don't think that way in real life. It tends to get me too in my head.
2. Cover up my lines and read the other person's lines and write down what thoughts, opinions, etc. come up from just reading it. And then uncover my next line with those thoughts and opinions in mind. This gives me whatever subtext or choices for auditioning. It also answers why I say my lines and helps me in better memorizing.
3. Repeat each line MONOTONOUSLY with no intention, inflection, etc. I do this to ensure that I know my lines, but not in some kind of rhythm or sound that might get me locked into doing it only one way.
If it's a Cold read for Casting Director Workshops with a partner, I prefer to do the following within my 15 minutes:
I ask for at least 10 minutes to myself and go:
1. Read through it once or twice to get what's it about, the relationship, environment, and moment before
2. Run through every line of mine MONOTONOUSLY until I know most of it. The other person, PRAY THAT THEY DON'T SUCK, will give me how to say it.
I prefer a minimal amount of running though it with my partner. I'm not one of those people who likes to run through it multiple times right away. I always notice that most of the people who do that are only able to do it one way and look rehearsed. If you know your lines and simply listen and react, it should be a believable conversation and different each time.
I used the Marlon Brando example in its extreme context to demonstrate that if you have everything down, not knowing your lines by wrote won't kill you. If you are brilliant, you can pull it off. Most actors, are not that brilliant; therefore, that should answer your question. Conveying emotion/realism is harder than memorizing lines, because few can do it well. However, many can memorize lines if given adequate time. If you feel that forgetting lines is a particular weakness of yours then spend more time at it, you'll get better, and remember most actors forget their lines every now and then, it's not a big deal.
Off course I didn't mean to imply that one shouldn't memorize lines or use gimmicks, that is just being lazy. Another example much different from the Brando one, is Anthony Hopkins, he will say each line 100 times monotone to make sure it's embedded in his mind, in addition he will not rehearse with other actors to keep it fresh.
Every actors approach to acting is different and tailored to their individual needs and what works for them.
I would like to ask for your opinion on this.
Obviously it's about listening, but how long does it take you personally to shoot back responding to the actor? Do you still think after you've listened, or do you let your response go naturally, as in real life?
It's pretty obvious which way it should be done, however the reason I am asking is that during an audition, what if a CD/director would ask you to do it in the way he/she wants it? What if they want you to respond not as you would naturally respond? That means that after your partner delivered his line and a cue for you, you have to THINK about what was told to you, and only then deliver. Right? So it's not as natural anymore, and the whole "listening thing" is just going out the window.
Of course it might be, and probably is, different with good directors that give actors the complete freedom to do their job, but sure not all of them are willing to do that, because it's "their vision".
can't speak for TT, but here's my 2 cents.
know your lines. make strong choices. follow direction when given. be the character so it looks natural.
even "actor's directors" must give direction. various reasons why. it's all make believe anyway. let go and start acting. our job is to make it real.
try directing a shoot or play. can be small. acting is like making pizza. it's work (prep). it can be fun (tossing). if someone requests peppers (direction), you can do it effortlessly... even if you really don't like peppers.
When you listen IN REAL LIFE, you don't always instantly respond right away. You naturally take a moment, think about what was said, form thoughts and opinions about what was said, and then respond. If you're not doing that and rapidly responding every time, then it looks like you're saying your lines because you know that it's written in the script.
What do you mean "your partner delivered...a cue for you?" When you have a conversation in REAL LIFE, you don't always know when they've said everything for you to say something in response. If there's some silence in between, cool. You know we have this awesome thing with editing.
With the exception of sit-coms where it's a fast pace, it's okay to take your time. Especially in cold read auditions, it's not about rapid fire responses.
i'm sometimes cursed with a cpu that analyzes and calculates outcomes of various scenarios while hearing or speaking a sentence, including listening to the speaker's voice to guess who they are, based upon accent and vocabulary. in those same seconds mid-sentence, i'm choosing my words and accent. this happens faster than my mouth can finish a sentence.
in my personal life, some think i'm eccentric. in my eyes, i think others are slow. but not stupid.
if you pause too long each time to reply during a shoot, it can look just as bad as replying too fast.
just an aside, when i'm actively listening, i don't always make eye contact. some mistake this as zoning out. i process the speaker's info and can reply instantly if not cut them off. for acting, it's a different story. being an audiophile makes pacing effortless.
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