So it's the Oscars tonight!!!

Unfortunately, I have to wait until 11:00 pm or so to start watching them.  This means I have to stay away from the web or else I’ll have a headline screaming at me that so and so won this award or whatever.  Luckily, the Razzies have already been given out.  Did anyone see them?  I never actually know when they are given out, but I have to say a huge thanks to Chris Hardwick’s tweet about this gem of a clip.

I have always been a fan of hers.  She’s like my guilty pleasure.  My favorite movie? While You Were Sleeping.  Second fave? It’s a tie between The Proposal and Miss Congeniality. But what I love about her is that, in this clip, Sandra Bullock shows us she doesn’t take herself so seriously and isn’t afraid to laugh at herself.

Let me preface what I am about to say:  This is my personal belief.  Whether or not you agree with me is entirely okay.  What I do ask, is that if you do disagree, tell me why.

But back to the post!  I have worked with actors that are so full of The Serious that their character never seems to become fully believable.  And when it’s a comedy, it’s tragic.  Usually, I can spot them by the way they laugh.  If I never see the person do a let it go-full belly contracting laugh (this is usually the same person that thinks they are doing the “polite” laugh) when something insanely hilarious happens, you know that they are holding back because they take themselves seriously.   Now you may say, but what if that’s just the type of person they are.  I can, with 99% conviction, say that as a kid, everyone has had one of those laughs at least once.  As we grow up, society plays with the mind and makes you think that certain types of behaviors aren’t acceptable. Let me ask you, as a kid did you every really question what was acceptable?  I know I didn’t .  As long as it didn’t hurt anyone (there’s a huge difference between moral compass and insecurity), I was as free as a bird with my actions.  There are some people that are able to maintain that great big laugh, and it’s somewhere in that feeling of letting it all go that, I believe, an actor should go to bring their character to life.  For me, that’s the place of Make Believe.   By the time the actors are ready to perform the show, they have to be confident and believe that their technique and practice has helped them learn their lines, remember when and where to cross, plus grab any props they may need the way it’s supposed to and bring them to performance level.  But to be completely believable, and sweep the viewers away into the world of the play, they have to go to that Make Believe place and simply become.  Just like when you played outside as a kid.  They can’t be inhibited  by their conscious insecurities, like I had ranted about in a previous post or else the stage never hits the brilliance it can shine with, even if all the lights are turned on high.

So it’s the Oscars tonight!!!

Unfortunately, I have to wait until 11:00 pm or so to start watching them.  This means I have to stay away from the web or else I’ll have a headline screaming at me that so and so won this award or whatever.  Luckily, the Razzies have already been given out.  Did anyone see them?  I never actually know when they are given out, but I have to say a huge thanks to Chris Hardwick’s tweet about this gem of a clip.

I have always been a fan of hers.  She’s like my guilty pleasure.  My favorite movie? While You Were Sleeping.  Second fave? It’s a tie between The Proposal and Miss Congeniality. But what I love about her is that, in this clip, Sandra Bullock shows us she doesn’t take herself so seriously and isn’t afraid to laugh at herself.

Let me preface what I am about to say:  This is my personal belief.  Whether or not you agree with me is entirely okay.  What I do ask, is that if you do disagree, tell me why.

But back to the post!  I have worked with actors that are so full of The Serious that their character never seems to become fully believable.  And when it’s a comedy, it’s tragic.  Usually, I can spot them by the way they laugh.  If I never see the person do a let it go-full belly contracting laugh (this is usually the same person that thinks they are doing the “polite” laugh) when something insanely hilarious happens, you know that they are holding back because they take themselves seriously.   Now you may say, but what if that’s just the type of person they are.  I can, with 99% conviction, say that as a kid, everyone has had one of those laughs at least once.  As we grow up, society plays with the mind and makes you think that certain types of behaviors aren’t acceptable. Let me ask you, as a kid did you every really question what was acceptable?  I know I didn’t .  As long as it didn’t hurt anyone (there’s a huge difference between moral compass and insecurity), I was as free as a bird with my actions.  There are some people that are able to maintain that great big laugh, and it’s somewhere in that feeling of letting it all go that, I believe, an actor should go to bring their character to life.  For me, that’s the place of Make Believe.   By the time the actors are ready to perform the show, they have to be confident and believe that their technique and practice has helped them learn their lines, remember when and where to cross, plus grab any props they may need the way it’s supposed to and bring them to performance level.  But to be completely believable, and sweep the viewers away into the world of the play, they have to go to that Make Believe place and simply become.  Just like when you played outside as a kid.  They can’t be inhibited  by their conscious insecurities, like I had ranted about in a previous post or else the stage never hits the brilliance it can shine with, even if all the lights are turned on high.

Pet Peeve when it comes to staging…

I have this pet peeve when it comes to certain parts of staging. It’s called a cross. A cross is when an actor or dancer is told to move from one point of the stage to another.  I didn’t want to say crosses in the title of the post out of fear of having the religious people freaking out. Well, that and it’s about more than just crosses.  Anyway, I hope this helps all of the actors that this applies to.

Crosses

When an actor is told by the director or choreographer to cross the stage, I can’t tell you how many times it looks like they are just  moving because of that exact reason. They were told to.  When asking the actors what they are doing during the cross, they say, “I don’t know. You didn’t tell me what to do.”   I want to pull my hair out!  I want to grab it by the fistful.

The director or choreographer is only there to give you just what the title implies, direction.  It’s up to the actor to create the reason why s/he moves. Putting intent behind movement creates interest and energy which adds to the show.  If it looks weird, or out of place, then the actor will be told ways to adjust the cross.  That first step has to come from the actor, I feel.  Otherwise, it would take 4 months of rehearsal to get the show up and running, and even then it would look bad.  It would look bad because it would be over worked and lose that spontaneous feeling that reality has.  No one plans out every single movement that they will do, do they?

Eye contact

I find that I am thrown, yes thrown, as in flung from the momentum of the show when I see this happen.

When an actor is speaking to another, it’s incredibly important that you maintain eye contact during those intense or intimate moments.  The difference between an actor that maintains the connection and one that doesn’t is HUGE! When the connection is lost, it shows that the actor is uncertain or unfocused which to the audience translates as unprepared or not as talented as the actor truly is.  When an actor can keep that connection, the moment gets taken to another level because the audience is engaged in the tension that is being built up between the characters.

Staying in the moment

Along the same lines of eye contact, if a movement is not something that the character would do, don’t do it.  I know, that’s easier said than done.  Here’s what I mean:  Just for an example, if an actor was playing Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, there is no appropriate time for him to adjust his dance belt.  Or if an actor is playing a corpse and adjusts their shirt because they are self conscious about their stomach.  It’s not character appropriate, and again takes the audience out of the  moment as well as the actor.  When an actor is fully immersed in the character, they will forget their personal issues.

Yikes, I feel like I am being super negative about these things.  I don’t mean for it to sound that way.  These are easy basics that will help an actor.  And I truly do want to help  and sometimes speaking truthfully is difficult to hear.

Now, go get’em!!!