Patrick’s Acting Class Notes: 10/16/18

Three of us… a party! Aaron working on a principal for a Disney pilot and Casey working on his movie script….

Aaron…

Yeah I think the first effort you put up was quite good… good style/size and character. What we did was bring more life to it in the second round.

I think this is a good example of the necessity of working with a coach or another actor for a self submit or audition. Your prep was quite good and allowed you to take adjustments…. but the third eyes just brought more life because you can’t see yourself and judge your work and for me that means another person’s POV. You got the laughs on the style and character adjustments so they work… and you made them look easy. And you added those little improvs… a couple of words… a look, moment. I love just adding ‘Ladies’ to addressing the girls.

In scripted work… improv means adding life. Suppressing those impulses “because it’s not written” feels uncreative to me. Careful is the opposite of creative. You have always had a good sense of those little life moments and you should trust them. There will be times when the script is sacred and no improv is allowed, but I’ve always known those situations in advance and prepared the work accordingly. And if you have to be word perfect you can used the script which is something that you have always done well.

The growing recognition of the creative value of actor’s input is something that I’ve seen over the years and following your impulses is the highest form of that creativity. And your talent(the actor’s ability to be in the scene) has always been spot on in this regard. This resonates with the confidence notes of several sessions ago. You have a strong talent and instinct for improv/life. You must have the confidence to play the material the way you instinctively see/feel it should be done. What is even more wonderful is that you can easily adjust to direction and insights that develop in the PLAYING of the life/writing. The marriage of flexibility and confidence is the goal.

Casey…

So… this work continues last week’s effort to find internal motivations/reactions/impulses (actable moments) that the writing provides.

We were trying to find the impulses/thoughts/reactions that the lines provoke. The lines are the skeleton… the thoughts, reactions, the emotional arc, the life(those things that actors do)… are the flesh. Or… the words are the musical notes on the page… but the music is what you play.

Around the “you’re a straight shooter” lines… we were trying to find a moment expressive of the character that could pull us through that beat rather than the line. Straight shooter just seems like a throw away. Almost a wrong note. We were searching for an emotional beat that would be more interesting and revealing. So… we were developing an emotional vocabulary to replace a verbal one. And I don’t think we nailed it but I’m sure that exploring/rehearsing this way is the key to this writing.

This story is an internal journey and I think this process of the last two weeks has been a guiding light for how to approach/develop this material. What will enrich this writing is a look, or a beat, or a thought/emotion washing over a character. This elegantly simple writing (as you said, you’re not reinventing the wheel) requires characters that are evolving in front of our eyes. Every scene should be a little arc that allows us into the character and how they’re being effected by the life, and how they change/grow/evolve in front of our eyes. Now every scene does not have to be a revelation. Music has movement and passages that lead to crescendos or resolutions or simply drift away… and then we immediately begin another musical passage. Our effort was to listen to the music and eliminate the chaff. What Miles Davis called the butter notes (Google this… there are a couple of good short articles).

You should be proud of this writing, but you should also take pride in the acting process that allows the musical notes that you have written… to sing.
Ain’t it funny that what we’re looking for is a way to PLAY this writing.