for the past 14 years I have been running various drama groups acting for stage and film and many people do not know the secret of acting so what is the secret of great acting ???
Copy the link below to share this page:
I'm not an actor, but I am fascinated by what actors do. And no matter what the field you're interested in, to learn how to be great at it you must study and learn from those who are great. I highly recommend watching the series of videos called "Inside The Actor's Studio", available on one particular YouTube channel: accomplished actors are interviewed in the setting of a famous acting school on the topic of how they do their craft, and how their life events shaped them and their approach to the craft. Al Pacino is a good start, in my view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_47dpy0Q2Uc Having watched many of these, I'd say the secret to great acting is to learn to completely relax and not be afraid of making a fool of yourself. To always "listen" so that you are constantly reacting to the moment, whatever it brings. Learn as much technique as you can and master it, so that when you are on stage or in front of the camera, it is so much second nature to you that you can completely take your mind off of it, let go, focus on the moment instead of technique, and trust that it will kick in. Having studied classical piano performance for 18 years, I can tell you that the process of performing a piece like the Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1 is exactly the same.
PAUL I could not have written that and explained that better myself, this is the secret of all great performances regarding to arts, is based upon what you have said
My acting coach always told me "act before you think." I love Inside the Actors Studio. I think you can learn so much from them. Being relaxed is fantastic too, but I really enjoy studying people in my everyday life, seeing how they act, how they react. Of course, most of my friends just tell me I'm just weird haha.
Yeah, again, it's just what I've heard from the best actors, and to some degree what I've gleaned from personal experience with performing music. Daniel, your friends may think you're weird, but then as you know from watching ITAS you are in very good company. So many great actors and improvisational geniuses study everyday people in the same, almost obsessive way. Think of Robin Williams and Jim Carrey just to start! ;-)
RE: secret of great acting. Simple: show up and show up on time. Also, look for the author in the story. The author exists right behind the characters and once you see him or her manipulating everything, feel the author's presence behind the theme / concept, you'll be closer to the essence that makes the story work. The director will hopefully see and understand the writer's big and small and microscopic themes and ideas to prod you along. Many times I know exactly how I want dialogue to read/sound and indicators are many times already subtexted in previous scenes or chapters or in actor-flexible dialogue tagging. Closely reading the written words for all characters will allow an actor to listen and pick up your emoting tempos and dynamics. You are not speaking, talking or singing... you are always emoting. I build characters as if they were gears in a precision watch. Some are bigger gears, some have more tension, some preform as the hands of the watch, but all have a function— to move the conflict in a precise manner towards a conclusion. The micro-seconds, in between the gear's movements, can be further divided and that is where actor's instincts for creativity, improvisation and genius can really move words and actions into the meaningful portrayal of visual or spoken emotions. Example from my current novel: "Good morning, Robert. Did you sleep well?" Gina asks, her beautiful brown eyes envisioned distinctly in my morning-foggy mind, probing deep into my guilt over last night's failed marriage proposal with her sister. "Yes, I slept well." I hadn’t. "Merry Christmas," I say, swinging up out of the bed, pushing the mosquito netting aside and remembering the gifts given to her family. "Neither Aya, myself, nor any of our family are Christians," Gina says, a bit huffy, making sure to include Aya in the conversation. "Gina, I know, I know... Look, I got to thinking: Aya's just too young, I'm just too old. A fifty-six year old man, a twenty-two year woman... You know what I'm saying? Just wont be fair to her in the long run." "Robert Rubio, now you best listen to me! Twenty-two not, not old for Thai girl! Aya think of you as her good man, she ne'va think about your age," Gina scolds me, her perfect hotel English decaying in pidgin pronunciations. .... These character are not just speaking, every word and action has an emotion behind it and an actor must emote it. An actor's jobs is to bring it alive. What is the pov? Where is the author? Oh Christ, look at the time. I gotta get back to writing...
Is it 'timing' Kenan?
My acting teacher William Hickey (who played the Godfather in "Prizzi's Honor") at HB Studios in NYC told us the secret to great acting is in the wishes...knowing the wishes (objectives) of your character and staying in the moment...remember your character never read the play or screenplay so he or she does not know the ending.
Good points, Muriel! I think it can sometimes be even more challenging than realizing your character does not know the ending, because in film, of course, many scenes may be shot out of sequence ... so you may have to play your character as if he or she does not even realize that he's going to experience what he went through when you played him or her yesterday!
Great point....actually a perfect point for me to mention to my actors in my webseries since we shot the ending before the middle due to an actors scheduling problems and I knew I could write around the character but that character had to be there in the end....and now we are about to shoot what came right before the ending......glad you phrased it exactly the way I needed to hear it.
Living truthful under an imaginary given circumstance
Ah no. My mistake. That's the secret of good comedy. ;)
I totally agree with Max...yes - show up and show up on time......and do the PR stuff......and just be fun and pleasant to work with.....and if you are having a problem on set tell someone and ask for advice...don't hold it in until you act out by being late or not showing up.
Funny - Len....and I totally agree with you Chris.
You are cooking Trinidad......right on the money.
I think McQueen was a great actor who played roles that made a heap of money rather than Academy Awards...similar for Paul Newman.
I love this thread. I've read everyone's comments!
I feel that the secret of great acting is stepping out of oneself and BECOMING the character. I further believe that facial expressions and body language are essential to creating the desired reaction from an audience. Also, it goes without saying, but a good director can really bring out the best in an actor.