3 Types Of Characters The Camera Finds Irrestible

The film camera responds to “character” first and great acting second. Most actors don’t know this. They concentrate on great acting, but without the camera being able to identify a clear, specific, and vivid character even the most Oscar-worthy acting will fall flat on screen. This is what audiences mean when they say they can “identify” with a character. It means they recognize the character as the kind of human being that would exist in their world. Recognizable characters are what audiences hold onto, so that an actor’s great acting can move, inspire, enrage, and amuse them. If they have
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The Cult Of Hugging

Actors should mind their own business. They’re always sticking their noses into their characters’ problems, trying to solve everything. They want characters to understand each other and get along and forgive each other and bond and they’re never happy until all the characters in a story come together and hug. They’re a cult of “huggers” and if they had their way we’d all be drinking the kool-aid. They’re very cunning about it. They start with their characters but once they’ve brought their characters over to the “light side” they try to hypnotize the audience into wanting to be nicer to
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How An Actor’s Performance In A Drama Can Change The World

If you ask 100 actors what is their favorite genre to play 99 out of 100 will tell you drama. Ask them why and they’ll say they want their work to be consequential, to mean something, to have importance, to move people, to change the world, and the Academy Award goes to… It’s not surprising since the drama is one of the two most powerful film genres, the other being comedy. The reason drama has such cinematic power, however, isn’t because its stories are about important issues and meaningful themes. Its power comes from its ability to elicit compassion from
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3 Types Of Directors & How To Work With Them

Directors are idiots. And I should know, I’m one of them. We’re idiots because, with few exceptions—and when it comes to actors—we have no idea what we’re doing. Actors reading this will nod, but they’re going to need strategies to make sure their performances look cinematic even in the hands of the most well-intentioned yet misguided directors. Here are three directors to avoid if you can, and three ways to work with them if you can’t. 1. The explainer. This director doesn’t give directions. This director gives dissertations. He or she explains everything about the story, the character, the relationships,
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How To Steal The Scene & End Up Playing The Lead

I was directing the film “The Big Kahuna.” We were auditioning a small role in the movie—a member of the hotel room service staff—but it was a scene with Kevin Spacey, so it was going to be a big deal for whomever landed the role. The day wasn’t going well. We were seeing well trained actors, but nobody who I thought could hold the screen with Spacey. During a break I went to the bathroom and ran into one of the actors who had just auditioned for me. We said hello again. There was an awkward silence as we went
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The #1 Way To Quickly Create A Complex Character

One of the problems with the classic actor’s process is it robs the actor of the chance to create complex dramatic characters on camera. The simple reason is that the classic actor’s process encourages the actor to identify the things he or she has in common with the character and use those as the basis for creating the character. The result is one dimensional because the actor is creating character traits that he or she already possesses. When creating for camera it’s important to remember that the camera operates on aesthetic principles and a universal aesthetic principle is that “contrast”
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3 Way To Get A Laugh Every Time

Most actors aren’t funny. They would like to be funny. They would like to do comedy. Maybe their friends think they’re funny in real life, but give them comedic material and they couldn’t get a laugh if their Academy Award depended on it. They try, and they try hard. You can see them trying hard as they’re playing the scene. They’ll play the scene as if it’s funny and they’ll deliver their lines as if they’re funny, but they don’t come across that way at all. They come across as an actor trying really hard to be funny. It shows…
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3 Tips To Getting (And Staying) Out Of Your Head

Creation is a physical activity, not a mental one. The body can create better and faster than the mind ever could. A camera responds better to the physical than it does to the cerebral. But then why do so many actors spend so much time working in their heads? It’s how their “actor’s process” works. Their actor’s process entails a lot of analysis and takes a lot of time, and it’s the number one reason most actors don’t come across cinematic on camera. They’re stuck in their heads, so they’re not popping on screen. Actors who know how to create
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3 Things That Will Make A Director Love You

Here’s why most actors don’t get re-hired by directors. They only know how to incorporate a direction if it makes sense for the scene. What actors need to understand is that directors aren’t looking to see how well an actor fits a direction to the scene, or makes the direction work with the scene. We’re looking to see how well the actor can turn the scene into what we want it to be. Horrifying as it may be to actors who cling to the actors’ process, if they want to be hired, re-hired, build their career, and work over and
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How To Be Unforgettable When Acting In A Drama

Actors love to cry. For all their talk of creating complex characters and subtle moments, nothing attracts them more than the chance to weep. They also love to play anger, but if they can muster up genuine tears, that’s the holy grail, because it means they’re a genuine artist-actor with an emotional wellspring just waiting to be tapped. It means they’re a real actor. It’s a right of passage for them. And if that’s not enough, they’re always trying to make us cry, too. Aliens watching from outer space must think them very mean. Always trying to make other people
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