Patrick’s Acting Class Notes: 2/9/17

Four of us…  Aaron as a whacky wife with her seriously dying husband for Angie Tribeca.  Jean working again on Good will Hunting.  Zahn working a movie role… spiritually broken and of course drunken native.  Oh, how the white man can write.

Jean…

Better this week.  Zahn was right that you put in all the work.  You were solid on lines.  And really talking to a friend can sharpen your focus and intention.  But the work was careful.  I can see some movement and phrasing that you memorized into the way you say the longer passages.  And its coming off in almost a monotone.  The short lines were more alive because they were reactions to what the other character was saying.   But the longer passages were memory based.  You’re saying the words because that’s how you memorized them.  What you need to do is find the thoughts and use the words to say them.  Thought comes first and then words.  I have a feeling that when you memorize you are pounding lines over and over and building in a pattern.  I’ll give you a handout for some exercises that will work for you. Your still a new actor.  This is like baseball.  Practice practice practice.  I think you need some scene study too as well as some improv.  Lets talk about this is in class with other actors.

Aaron…

This such a whacky show.  I don’t know what the style of the show is since it samples from so many styles of comedy.  But the running gag seems to be that everyone plays it straight to the crazy around them.  So in a  scene one character acts normal and the other does absurd things.  Like throw up their heart or vomit like Monty Python.  Now that doesn’t mean you have to play it careful because she’s certainly nothing less than kooky… but you have to play it straight within the confines of the character.  So she can be as absurd as Julia Child or as quiet as the little church mouse of your third take.  But she would be a strong character no matter how you play her.  I actually liked your first take this time.  The last takes has some period to period reading I thought… whereas the first takes had more thought.  The OMG line… how selfish he is…Its only one thought and not broken up.  so maybe you can find some elements of the last takes to weave in but the first take resonated with me.

Zahn…

I had the same thought after your first take…”What can you add to that.”  Well as a white man… the image of the native(over and over) is so shallow and racist.  And elevating it somehow to Chief Dan George status should be the aim.  But since the lines don’t support that… what’s the best you can do. With both these last two scenes we went for a sense of humor and normalcy.  Maybe that’s something.  Maybe it humanizes these cardboard cutouts to give them humor.  I know with the guy in the door it was transformational… and it let us the camera in.  So maybe that’s a first step you can look to take with these characters.   I think that’s why I talked to you about being a pilot… of course you’re right about him being a bush pilot but there still some of that straight and narrow kinda guy that does that.  There’s an old saying from fighter pilots… “There’s old pilots and bold pilots.  But there’s no old bold pilots.”  Maybe that ’s why the ‘flew it into the water’ line landed with me… That’s the way a bush pilot should die… almost like ritual harikari.  The unrecorded take was a little more subtle than the last two takes… al least how I remember it.  Substitution works if you wan to get tears.  I think maybe letting the camera in to see these guys humanity is they key.  There was no way into him in your first take. After that you let us in.  In the second scene.  No way in.  I think that’s why I was asking when did he decide to tell him about the wife and kids. It doesn’t have to be on that obvious line(You lost every thing). And it doesn’t have to be a sad moment.  It can be with relief at confession or incredulity for what he did and irony that they could save him and not the family. You got that spiritually broken character down… but how can you elevate him?