Patrick’s Acting Class Notes: 6/18/13

Just 4 of us and Casey coming in late.  Small classes rock.  Gaby breaking up with her boyfriend.  Zach sharing his pot with the cops.  And Aaron sharing her cold cynical self with the cops.  Casey worked on a guest star scene for an audition privately after class and I sent him notes.
We had two issues.  One was technical….   Gaby dealing with the dialogue of a classic cliched sitcom for a showcase.  While Zack and Aaron were developing character… both thru physicality.  Interesting that as we worked on dialogue with Gaby….. character became clearer.

That was fun.


Listen and react.  Other than that….. I’m trying to attack this organically… The character is you…. played large.  It’s emotional…. but always in reaction to what he says….. which is listening.  Be relentless.  Win the battle line by line.  Find ways to top him every time.  She must be a force.  His equal…. even if she’ll be “makeup breakup screwing” him in an hour.  She was fun for you, and if you’re having fun…. so will we.   We worked on words, structure, intonation, almost musical rhythms….. and somehow character emerged. Physically you relaxed and played more.  No more jackets…..  Play a drunk adjustment and see what happens… you’ll learn something.  She’s the lead in a sitcom.  She has to cary the show.  Doing cliched sit com is a great word challenge…. that is only accomplished when you can listen and react and play. I predict you’ll get a perfect take quickly.


The life this girl has lead is ground into her body and her mind.  You were learning to inhabit the physical image that fate has chiseled into her soul. She wears a look that is as real as a costume.  You must inhabit this kind of character.  You must approach her both externally and internally.  This is an example of a generic character type… your hooker, beaten house wife, homeless person…. anyone whose life has betrayed them.    Once you find her body (in a workout or a scene study or a play)…. you’ll know how to get back to her for an audition or for a set.  Your life hasn’t drug you down this dark path to the place where she lives…. but you must find some way to allow your body to inhabit her persona.  This is probably a character that you should bring back.  She has to marinate in your body.  A sports analogy… if you were working on your golf swing you’d have to first give up your old habits before you could alter your approach.  Here you’d have to give up the way you hold yourself and think and speak in order to allow her to seep into your body.


Welcome…. being rather than showing” is an on-camera vs stage issue.  It’s one of the first lessons you must learn as you transition from theater to film.  On stage you’re almost always putting out energy, projecting to the last row.  I know this is blasphemy… but don’t project !  Just talk to the other characters.  In film you have to live and let the camera in.  Here tonight….We were looking for a physical way to be stoned.  We were teaching your body to focus on small moments and just letting us watch you.  You’ve clearly had good training and we can see your talent, and this base will serve you well as you learn this new style.  It’s just like learning to do Shakespeare or Comedia del arte or improv or Restoration Comedy.  On camera acting is just anther technique or a style.  First classes are terrifying. You did well and were a welcome presence.  We should talk…. give me a call and we’ll chat about class and a path for you to pursue.