Patrick’s Acting Class Notes: 7/30/19

Eight of us… Taylor and Maria doing working audits… Taylor as the flare gun totting spring breaker. Maria as the waitress who wants to sail around the world. Grace as the world’s most important UFO blogger. Aaron as the blunt roommate/ex-wife giving advice. Kate as the ever cheerful employee getting dumped and fired. Rob as the 1930’s sports writer on a hot human interest story. Dominic as the reluctant farmer/ex-soldier being talked into an adventure in ancient times. Busy night with lots of people. Commentary was insightful and supportive. Acting IS a collaborative craft.

THOUGHTS & ISSUES:

PREPARATION…
This is a most important part of the acting craft… and our workouts. Your talent… the actor’s ability to be in the scene… is developed in your prep. We saw several examples of cold reading tonight. There will be times when you are forced to perform/audition before a reasonable prep… that is some form of a cold read. The movie biz demands that we learn to prep quickly and work script in-hand. When you are unprepared for class use that time to practice this skill. But our workouts are most effective if you try to present set-ready auditions in our class. That’s the goal… cold reads are a distant second choice.

Maria and Taylor…

Preparation. The professional standard is that if you can do it in an audition then you can do it on the set. One of the challenges of our workouts is to develop a personal process of exercises and structured play that explores material quickly. Good prep allows us to see your talent. We could see talent and presence in your work tonight but being in the scene was not possible.

Kate…

Your comedy chops are coming into focus. I thought this character was impossibly naive. Somehow you made it believable. Dropping IQ points is a great comedic tradition. It allows us to laugh at someone’s self induced situation. The opposite side is the tough straight talking smart woman(Doctor, Lawyer, Cop, Mom, etc.) for which you also have aptitudes. I love the way you committed to the sarcastic approach to the material even though it was a way out there adjustment. I think it would be worthwhile to do another week of this character because she is a prototype that will solidify her in your body as a pocket character. I found her to be uniquely out there on the fringes of naivety but you somehow made her real… Kudos !

Grace…

You were under prepared. It felt like a cold read. That kept you locked on the script and that always produces line readings. In multiple takes you used the same inflections and gestures and that’s always an indication that an actor is in the beginning stages of prep. That was most obvious in the first round and I edited out those takes. I think you knew this based on your insight into who you thought the character was and what you brought to the work in the second round. However… when you choose a forceful character who walks up to FBI agents and makes demands… you must find a part of yourself that is comfortable driving a scene. I agree that you should bring her back next week and find that drive. This kind of work will expand the kinds of characters you can play.

Rob…

Really good workout. And the hat and the sense of character were great character foundations. We focused on specifics… who you were talking to, the location because every scene was in a different place and required different behavior and activities like talking or luring him into a bet. And through these specifics you found behavior and character. The more specific moments we found the more little opportunities to express himself. Character is reveal through lines and through behavior.

Aaron…

First round was muddled. Second round was focused and we found activity that provided the framework for throwing away lines… and that was the key to her character. Simply put, we developed a life based on their relationship and the fact that she was trying to get out of the house and could just throw away lines as she was gathering herself to leave. I think this is a key to developing this kind of character. If they are busy with something then they can just casually throw off lines. Now that doesn’t always mean activities… They can be listening to music, distracted in thought, settled into boredom, reading, watching TV… anything which occupies their focus and allow the lines to be thrown away. Interesting is that you can still love and be connected to someone you talk to like this. It does not mean you don’t care.

Dominic…

We all enjoyed watching you develop this character and the life in the scene. You always allow yourself to grunt and moan and make thoughtful noises… none of which is written… but all of which I love. Those sounds are pure reaction/emotion and illuminate character and thought. Sounds are are part of our normal conversation that actors seem to edit because of the pressure of being line perfect. This was a movie script which allows more improv and when you’re playing lizard people and elves and goat people sounds are expected. And here tonight when the breakdown is so broad and the information so sparse we have to make specific choices and ground ourselves by committing to them. You did that and both the life and the character grew throughout the evening. Great process… to move from cold read to almost set ready. Loved the self submit. Break a leg!