Saturday, February 25, 2006

If They Want You, They Will Have You

Many actors receive coaching to put additional skills onto their resume; like stage fighting, accents and dialect, all in an attempt to improve their chances of work. This is all well and good but is it entirely necessary?

Depending on the budget of the production if a part requires further skills then you will usually be trained in them - generally to a standard satisfactory enough to get the right take.

There was an incident a short time ago where a little girl, who only knew two phrases in French, bluffed her way to a young lead in a major Hollywood film. When the charade was uncovered did they replace her? Non!
The well known director merely ordered she have French lessons.

My best friend won a part in a musical in Germany though he didn’t speak the language. Was this a problem? Nein!
They taught him German!

I myself recently went for an ad casting which called for a knowledge of tennis. The role required me to perform a serve - and trust me, me and balls do not mix!

Never played the game? But got the look they want? Is this a problem? “You cannot be serious!”
The morning of the shoot they simply gave me tennis lessons! My coach was great and taught me everything I needed to know to deliver the perfect serve and that was it. That was all I needed to know.

So the next time you’re on the courts and see a fit, agile athlete give a serve that would have Serena standing behind the baseline, then that’ll probably be me… Just don’t expect a great return!

Look, Its Me Centre Page! Yes That is Danny Glover

Francesca Marotta - The Designer of my Dress

Monday, February 13, 2006

Acting Training Is For Life, Not Just For Drama School

“Oh I’ve been to drama school so I don’t need to train anymore.”

“I’m already a working actor so why do I need to train?”

These are just a couple of things I hear from my fellow actors when I tell them I do class twice weekly in the Meisner Technique. In America, actors tend to value the need for continuous training throughout their careers more than British actors do. This may be because most ‘methods and techniques’ were created there.

Don’t get me wrong doing any old class won’t necessarily improve your acting skills. There are many courses out there promising the world (usually for a very high fee), also countless ‘Workshop Junkies’ are prepared to do these courses with no regard to cost or actual transference in their career. So pick your courses carefully. Check reviews and recommendations, look at successful graduates of the course. Do your homework.

Then there are the teachers who teach acting methods which inadvertently make the actor dependant on the teacher, so each time they audition, get a new job or just to get out of bed in the morning they need their teachers support, advice and confirmation to do so, thus creating actors who lack independence and confidence.

For me class works. I’m not saying that I’ll do it for ever but I will continue to do things that benefit my career, keep me in check and on my toes; be it short or student films, role playing or play readings. So when it comes to actually working on the big budget stuff you will have the confidence, knowledge and skills to do your job as an actor to the best of your ability. Here’s to a fabulous career! X

BTW I recommend The Actors Temple for courses in The Meisner Technique plus other useful and beneficial classes. Click the link below for further information.

The Actors Temple

Look, Its Me In Action! Production Still

Reading Recommendations

Here are some books on acting technique that I find extremely useful:

  1. Acting In Film: An Actor's Take on Movie Making - Michael Caine
  2. A Practical Handbook For The Actor - M. Bruder, (L.M. Cohn, M. Olnek, N. Pollack, R. Previto & S. Zigler)
  3. Sanford Meisner on Acting - Sanford Meisner and Dennis Longwell
  4. True and False: Heresay and Common Sense for the Actor - David Mamet

These books are not listed in order of preference. Many are based on the Meisner Technique so you may not have the full picture if you are not familiar with the practice. All can be found at Amazon, click the link on the right for further information.

Look, Its Me In Colour!