Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Milestone for a Beginner Actor

I've directed now quite a few actors in five films and a tv show. I've directed really experienced actors with more films to their resume than I could ever hope to be a part of. I've also directed actors that are brand new to the craft and to the screen.

I've found that there are varying degrees of talent dispensation in the arena of acting. And that most people see great acting all the time in movies and tv and great actors make it look very easy. So many people approach the craft thinking it is easy.

It's about as easy as 45 people all staring at you, the clock ticking away dollars, while you try to capture an emotion you might have never felt or experienced. Or an emotion that is difficult to recreate with all eyes on you.

So for the newbies, when do I know they've turned a corner? The eyes. They start looking at the other actor in the scene. Until then, inside their brain, it's a big frantic fire fight to remember the lines, the blocking and try not to think about all the people watching. They can look at the other actor and not see them.

For instance, one actor who shall remain nameless (it's no fun to name yourself anyway), did a whole scene where the other actor hung a piece of fruit from his wardrobe. Everyone else in the room noticed except this poor beginner actor. Definitely a sign that he wasn't paying attention.

But now I know that actor is a lot more comfortable in front of the camera. He "sees" the other actors-- he looks them in the eyes. He doesn't sweat the lines, the blocking or the looks from all the other people.

So if you're a new actor, memorize those lines so you don't have to think about them. And then take the time to "see" the other players. And have fun.

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