Patrick’s Acting Class Notes: 2/22/17

Four of us.  Jean as the pot-selling youth confronting his back-handing Dad.  Aaron as the whacked out sister who just left her husband to live with her brother.  Casey hitting the dumpster for a date with a troll for a showcase scene.
We talked about audition nerves… for me the only remedy is practice.

Casey…

We only did one round… The work was spot on.  This is good material and you are very comfortable with it.  The chore is to engage active listening and it was well accomplished.  Really we could see the scene through your face.  I saw no effort to show… just the focused listening and thinking.  We talk endlessly about how to create the character’s thoughts but…. Sometimes listening is thinking.  If you’re not only listening… but HEARING as the character.  Then that listening is thought.  We made one small adjustment.  There’s nothing to say here but that it is good work and should go over well in a workshop/showcase… just listen.

Aaron…

To quote Casey. “Not bad for a cold read”….great character for you.  I think Casey was right in pushing a Melissa McCarthy performance.  I don’t think you have to go that far but the size and effort is getting it out of your comfort zone which is always good. Some where between you and MM is a place with more size and impulse and still grounded in Aaron.  I liked especially the work on the drunk.  We could see your exploration in the second round and we talked about that kind of material as a one-shot piece. Trying to match drunken performances to shoot and edit is a nightmare… and we touched that same topic with Jean’s scene.  Controlled out-of-control scenes are best done with multiple cameras so you don’t miss anything.  Otherwise you can never really let the reins go and let the horse run.  It was obvious that your first efforts were to attain size but then the focus turned to impulse and that is a better approach that still left the residue of size and allowed you to explore. This whacked out woman is something you do well and its a great tool to have in your pocket.  I think you should do it again and lets see where it grows.

Jean…

You pick such difficult scenes.  The last couple have been a challenge that you could see but they both required skills and experience which you are still developing.  The material I sent you is no less challenging in its variety of characters or scenic demands but not quite so high a degree of emotional difficulty.  One of the last things that develop in actors is their emotional vocabulary and flexibility.  This material tonight required controlled-out-of-control-performance. You got closer to that in the last takes but we could see that you could go further… but let me be clear here… this kind of emotional scene is the kind of thing that Oscars are given for.  After listening to the playback I was probably pushing you too much… which made it harder.  Throw in the fact that he backhands you to the floor and this was a most difficult scene.  What was clear was the first moments of getting caught and then laughing at the Dad.  Your approach here was perfect.  We could see the guilt and the shock you had at the Dad’s reaction.  If this had been a set and the backhand had knocked you to the floor… I guarantee you’d have been angry enough to get out of control.  The way we staged it here made it next to impossible.  But every time you challenge yourself with difficult scene your muscles get stronger and your focus get sharper.  You’re a trainer… you get this.