The Actor's Guide to Performing Truthfully: Tools that Really Work | Adam Lowder | Skillshare

The Actor's Guide to Performing Truthfully: Tools that Really Work

Adam Lowder, Actor, Writer, Director, Producer

The Actor's Guide to Performing Truthfully: Tools that Really Work

Adam Lowder, Actor, Writer, Director, Producer

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7 Lessons (46m)
    • 1. Introduction

      3:46
    • 2. First Things First

      8:09
    • 3. The Most Important Ingredient

      5:27
    • 4. The Foundation of Acting

      9:57
    • 5. The Actor's Fingerprint

      7:22
    • 6. Emotional Preparation

      4:06
    • 7. Lessons from the Masters

      7:14
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About This Class

Learn how to act like your heroes by mastering the tools and techniques they learned.

Inspired by the world-renowned instructors of acting such as Sanford Meisner, Stella Adler, and Constantin Stanislavski who taught generations of the world's best actors, this class empowers you with the fundamental tools used by the legendary students whose performances inspired the world.

Those tools include:

  • Script Analysis

  • The Use of Imagination

  • The Importance of Listening

  • The Door and Activity Exercise

  • Understanding What Drives a Character

  • Particularization

  • Choices

  • Characterization

  • Emotional Preparation

Whether you've never taken an acting class, you're just starting your career, or you've been acting for years, this class offers the necessary skills for the actor who desires to perform with truth and authenticity. You will walk away with doable assignments that give you the opportunity to apply the tools discussed. 

In less than an hour you will be well on your way to becoming the actor you've always wanted to be. This class gives you the confidence needed to reach your potential.

Meet Your Teacher

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Adam Lowder

Actor, Writer, Director, Producer

Teacher

I've been working professionally for the past decade in New York City where I've acted in 60+ projects and developed dozens independently. I learned acting for four years, two of which were strictly dedicated to the Meisner technique.

I am passionate about telling stories with truth and authenticity that make a lasting impact on the viewer and I'm excited to share what I've learned over the years!

See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Acting is a bunch of things. It's so many things I love it, it's this and that well, acting ultimately as living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. If everything you do get you to that point, you've done your job. Hi, my name is Adam louder. And in this video series, you're going to walk away with some key tools enacting like script analysis. How to break down a script, understand the given circumstances so that you can get yourself into that. Eventually, the importance of a childlike imagination, how that can relate to the tool of fantasy and the importance of listening the door on the activity, which is an exercise created by Sanford my XNA to basically provide an exercise that will mimic the dramatic essence of a seen. Someone has an activity that they're involved in and someone has a great need. And the struggle of the spine of a character, which is what drives a character through life. We all have something that means the most to us. Something we desire more than anything that drives us through life and characters and no different. So you have to bring yourself over to that. So we're gonna talk about how to fuse your spine with the spine of the character so that you can act if more truthfully, particular realization, which is a tool that Stanislaus who came up with it. My XNOR also taught, which is how to relate yourself more specifically to a circumstance, choices, how that matters for your artistic take on something, but also in characterization when you're trying to figure out a way of speaking, way of moving that is necessary to play that character truthfully based on how the script is laid out, where the characters from, et cetera, and the importance of emotional preparation to get yourself in a position where you're not starting a scene emotionally empty. To give yourself a shot at being full to succeed for that first moment in propelling you into a scene. So I played basketball my whole life, and then I just took a hard right turn and went into theatre. When I played basketball. There were so many disciplines that we had to master. You know, an athlete has to prepare their body all the time. We have to be in and out of the, the weight room. Then we have to have a certain diet. So you regiment that and the discipline of showing up early and practicing every day. You working on conditioning and working on strength training, mobility, defense, offense, plays, studying film, you know, you're doing all these things and an athlete has to prepare all the time. And no one really questions that because it requires a lot of the individual who is pursuing that sport and trying to Excel. If you're an actor or if you're just starting out and you're trying to learn how to act. Why would you not take that with the same seriousness, with the same passion that a pro athlete would spend 13 years since I started acting. I've had to equate those similar disciplines, transfer it from athletics over two, acting. And so I would just say that if you have that passion, if you have that desire, if that's your one dream, if this is your one life where you can do something with acting and you want to pursue it. Why would you take it any less seriously than someone who pursues athletics or someone who tries to get a law degree, or someone who needs to be a doctor. If this is your passion. And theater was really designed to tell people the truth through story and you're supposed to be a vessel of that story. Then take it seriously. Your exercise for this first video is to journal and ask yourself why you want to act. Remember that that's the most important thing because He who has a why can withstand almost anyhow, means you can get through anything if you have a really strong reason for why you want to act, put yourself in a position where you're not going to be interrupted, turn your phone off for an hour or two, and just try to get to the heart of why you want to act and why it matters that you act truthfully. And that's your first exercise. 2. First Things First: In this video, I'm going to cover the important tool of script analysis and why it matters. You're going to be breaking down a script to find its given circumstances which are just the facts of the story, so that you can ultimately relate yourself to those facts and given circumstances. So remember the last video I talked about the definition of acting provided by Stanford Meitner, which was living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. In this video, we're going to cover the latter part of that definition. So the imaginary circumstances part, those circumstances are always provided by the writer. So you don't have to do anything when it comes to imagining circumstances because they are given to you by, by the writer. The purpose of script analysis is to identify what is, what are the facts and what is being done, which is the action. That's it. For the first time you read a play. Just read it like the newspaper. Don't make assumptions. Don't get ahead of yourself, but just try to get the facts and lay them out. Once you have all the given circumstances laid out and you have the facts of the story in front of you, that's going to lead you to certain things that you'll have to research. So for instance, if you're analyzing a view from the bridge by Arthur Miller, you're going to have to know what it was like to be a long Sharman in red Hook, Brooklyn in 1955. You're just gonna have to know that. So go to the library, get some resources, dive into it for a few days. It's probably gonna take a lot longer to, to actually get yourself to understanding what the time and place and location of your character and all the rest of relationships. It's gonna go on and on and on and on. Ultimately you're going to have to know if you're playing Eddie Carbone, how big the spiders were on the banana shipments. I mean, this goes to the smallest five minute little detail, but this is the first step and the first thing is first and script analysis is the first thing. So for this exercise, what I want you to do, I have a copy of beyond the horizon here is one of my favorite plays. Really, really great play. I would, I would advise getting a play that you just kind of know is really good. And don't just pull one off the shelf due on that you've maybe heard of. One of the American master playwrights are a really good Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller. Anything you have around the house is fine. But I would just recommend something really, really strong and just open it up. And I'm going to just go through a little bit of what it would be like to do that with your script. And then you can kinda go off on your own and do it yourself. But so the first part is beyond the horizon. That's all it says at the top, hacked one. So that's your first thing you have to analyze. Beyond the horizon. A lot of what script analysis is, is, is you asking the question why? So the first question is, why is it called that? What does that mean? Beyond what horizon? The whole right? Why is it B, Y beyond? Why not just the horizon? Start to get your mind kind of percolating in working towards wanting to answer these questions. But don't do it for yourself just yet. Don't get ahead of yourself. Just ask Why. Says act one scene one, a section of country highway. Already we have some given circumstances. I would write GC next to every given circumstance that's just affect what does section mean? Its domain. I looked it up. Small part of a larger thing. You know, you probably know what section means, but This is where you're gonna get really diligent about just going into the definition. It's going to inspire a lot about laying out the facts for you. Don't assume you know what a word means. Look it up. So a section of country highway, contrary, that means it's not city. That's a given circumstance. Highway, given circumstance. How big is a hot wall? Look it up. What is the definition of a highway? What's the difference between the two lane highway, six lane highway was there between Los Angeles and Alabama, was what do we mean here? So we're kind of getting the lay of the land. The road runs diagonally from left forward to right rear and can be seen in the distance winding toward the horizon like a pale Ribbon between the low rolling hills with their freshly plowed fields clearly divided from each other. Okay, freshly plowed fields, that would imply that there's farmers here. So this is land that's been farmed by who? Y, for how long, what's the crop was the year? How's the yield? What does yield mean? Now I want to briefly go through what it's like to identify what is being done, the circumstances so far, to give you a brief history, Robert has been talking to Ruth, who is a neighbor nearby about his plans to travel the world. As they're talking. He decides to confess his love for her. He always expected that she did not love him back. When he confesses this. He also says that he thinks his brother Andy is the one that she's always loved. She responds by saying, I don't, I don't love AND I don't. Robert stares at her in stupid astonishment. Ruth weeps hysterically. Whatever, put such a full notion into, into your head. Oh Rob, don't go away, please. You mustn't now, you can't. I won't let you break my heart. What is she doing? They're important to note. Sometimes playwrights will put emotions to give you a clearer picture of what's going on. But that is bait for the actor. Don't ever take that. Because if you tried to do an emotion, you will fail every single time because emotions can't be done. You can't do sadness. You can't do anger while you're going to want to look for is what is actually being done. It's not always gonna be spelled out, so you have to figure it out for yourself. It says, Oh Rob, don't go away, please. You mustn't now you can't. I won't let you break my heart. What's she doing? I wrote here, she's pleading, begging, forcing. Those are actionable verbs. So you could do those things. Can you plead with someone? Yes. Can you beg someone? Yes. Can you try to force someone to stay? Yes. How do you know if you've gotten it done? They decide not to leave there with you. They agree. That's how, you know, you've gotten it done. And one of the things I'd say about disrupt analysis is its top heavy. So the first 20 pages, you're going to be tearing up the page with markings and GCS I row-wise everywhere. You're going to be writing all over the first 20 pages because you're establishing time, place, setting, character, everything. And you're going to have to lay out the world in front of you. And that's going to be introduced a lot at the beginning as you get into act 23 is going to be less and less given circumstances. They're going to be less than less introducing of characters, less and less introducing of time and place. So you're gonna kinda have that stuff already, but just bear with yourself. This is a long process. When I first went through a real analysis of a play, it was a view from the bridge and took me one month. And yes, I was only doing it two days a week at a class and we were doing three hours of time Now that's a long time. Six times 424, that's like 30 hours of analysis. It's gonna take you a minute. So be patient, be diligent. But like I said about the athlete, if you really take this stuff seriously, script analysis. If you skimp on script analysis, you're going to do yourself a disservice when you're ultimately relating yourself to the circumstances. Because what's the definition ultimately simplified? We have to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances. How can you live truthfully under those circumstances? If you don't even know what they are, Grab a story at home, grab a play at home, and do this yourself, and analyze an entire play. Do this every single time you get any part. Don't be interrupted. Set your phone down and just go through it. So for the next video, I'm going to cover the importance of imagination, the tool of fantasy, and the importance of listening. 3. The Most Important Ingredient: In this video, I'm going to cover the importance of imagination, fantasy, and listening. The most important ingredient for an actor as a childlike imagination. And Stanislavski said, you should either develop it or leave the theatre forever. And I agree, imagination is something that we don't realize we're using all the time that can push us into the realm of understanding. Fantasy. Fantasy is a daydream or visualization of something like fear or resentment or ambition of some kind. What people don't realize is that we're fantasizing all the time. For instance, last night I was going to sleep And I thought I heard a sound in the house and immediately I was thinking, 'Who's here?' 'Where are they? Are they on this floor?' 'Okay. My wife's on this side of the bed.' 'I'm on this side of that as you get up, I don't want to freak her out.' And then I just started imagining me getting a gun and opening the door and listening and waiting to hear and then I turn the light on I see them and I caught them I don't want to shoot them, but... That happened last night. And what was I doing? I was trying to fall asleep. This is what we're doing all the time. And it's about many, many things. Like I said, fears, resentments, desires, ambitions, dreams Really take note of how you're doing that throughout your life and in your day-to-day life, what you're doing Take note of that and see that it is such a useful tool that you already have been developing and using in your life that you can bring over to your acting to really give your acting some vitality and emotional aliveness, to wake yourself up to a scene So fantasy can be used for emotional preparation, which we'll get to later But it's also something that can wake you up to an imaginary circumstance that you didn't realize was something that you even related to Because it was about some fear of something about your life that has nothing to do with you But as Meisner said, 'The text is your greatest enemy' The text isn't where you get your emotional aliveness, your life, your imagination, who you are... That's where you get the tools with which you will use to act the part truthfully Listen like an animal in the rainforest. What does that mean? Probably the most important action or attribute to an actor when you're actually in a scene is the ability to listen You get you're acting from your partner, the life across from you If you're listening like an animal in a rainforest, what does that mean? Why animals listen so well is because they're in tune to survival They have to know where their next meal is coming from, which is not guaranteed and when they're going to be attacked and when that might happen So it's all about surviving in the wild That's why you see animals are so alive And this great quote by, by Meisner as well is, 'Where there is struggle, there is life" and there's great struggle and the animal kingdom that's no different than in our lives as well It just may happen on a different plane So listening is very important Imagine you're in your car and you have your GPS, and you type in the address to your favorite National Park And you set it up and you start to go And imagine it's an 8-hour drive You can probably think about how many turns it's going to take, what the speed is going to be When to slow down on a curve, what exit you need to take and when Now imagine you don't listen And you just drive One, you might just drive off a cliff Two, you might collide with someone unintended And three, you probably, and most importantly, won't end up where you're supposed to go. Let's say, for instance, in a scene you're there to break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend And you have to see if that person's getting the message, just like in life, you would need to check in and see, do you understand what I'm saying? And then if they are responding and they're happy about it Well, that's going to cause a different response in you But you have to check in if they start crying or they threaten your life, you're going to need to be in tune to what they're doing so that you know what to do next And that's what acting is. It's a series of Pinch and Ouch Pinch and out, listening and reacting, act and react That's all it is You get your acting from the life across from you So for this video, the exercise is to start really taking note of what you were thinking about, what you're listening to, where your thoughts go What are your fantasies? What are your fears? What are your desires? What are your dreams? What are your resentments, take note of that You can either take note of that physically on paper or just start to in your mind, see where it goes Our imagination is really, really powerful And to neglect that tool in our acting would be a huge disservice to us because, you know, there's this great Robert Duvall quote He was also taught by Sanford Meisner, but he said that, "A carpenter makes a chair out of wood, but an actor builds apart out of themselves." Your imagination is your own The more you sharpen it, the better it will be So that you can bring your truthful self to the part and really bring yourself alive to the story. 4. The Foundation of Acting: In this video, I'm gonna go over what the door inactivity exercises, what spine has and what that means, and the tool of particular realization and how it's useful in your acting. So the Dorian activity was something that was created by Sanford my XNA when he was developing his technique that basically broke down the dramatic elements of a scene. He thought that every scene consisted of someone in the midst of an activity, something that they're doing in life, and that the other life coming into the scene was someone with a need. So someone would be involved in activity and someone would knock on the door. A need would would bring them to the door. They would knock and then it would we would see how the same would play out. And you would say if the person would get up and answered the door, how they would interact, and if they could balance getting their activity done with this need that this person has, you can start to see, well, what's the activity I need to build for myself? Well, the activity has three elements. It has to be urgent, it has to be difficult, and it has to be meaningful. And this is something that at the end, when I give you an exercise you can start to do on your own. The foundation of truthful acting is the reality of doing. So. Like for instance, if I have to tie my shoe and a scene, I have to tie it. If I don't tie it, I may trip. That's not the reality of doing. So. I don't do this like an actor. I just do it. Acting is doing. So. I have to make sure I looped it. I put a not there. I tied it. It's not caught up. It's not okay. My shoes really tied. I know when it's done because look, it's tied and I can walk. I know if I fail because they'd be untied and I might trip. That's what an activity is on the basis of smallest, smallest level, that wasn't difficult, it wasn't urgent and it wasn't that meaningful, that's not a good activity. Those are the elements of an activity. The elements that door. It's just a great need and desire, something that brings the character into the room. Maybe it's something small. Can I borrow a cup of sugar or it's something big? I have to break up with you. I cheated on you. I am quitting my job. These elements of a meaningful, urgent, doable activity, hitting with a need where these two things are put at loggerheads and they're against each other. That produces a conflict. Every great scene has a major conflict internally, externally. And that's something that we as actors have to understand and get ourselves involved in physically so that we can bring our acting to life. This scene is from marriage story written and directed by noaa bomb buck. This is adam driver. In this scene. He is meeting with a social worker to determine whether or not he uses suitable parent to have guardianship over his son. So she's evaluating their lifestyle, their living situation, and he is trying to reassure her that this knife game that they play as a joke. It's not anything series is on anything that would endanger him or his child and he accidentally cut himself by not retracting the blade. If you haven't seen this movie, please watch it. It's so good, it's on Netflix. Right now. He's in the midst of trying to calm her down, make her feel like everything is okay in touch. If you have further questions. And thanks. Thank you for the water. Oh, yeah. Sure. You share. My oh. So he is now trying to unlock the door, but he's in the midst of his struggle. This activity is difficult, urgent, and meaningfully wants to get her out quickly because he's bleeding. He was trying to do it in a way that was subtle to show that he wasn't in pain and he wasn't worried. And now he is in the same activity, but she's gone. You can see the urgency. You can see how much behavior is coming out of him doing this activity with reality. He's putting water on it continuously because he's bleeding a lot. Now as soon as coming to the kitchen to get a snack, he's still in the midst of his activity. And he rolls over, lies to him, says he's tired because he does not want his son to see how much he's bleeding. So this is a doormat activity as well. He's trying to hide from his son who was naive enough and young enough to not think anything of the families living in the Florida sons need is to get a bowl of cereal. Any lies there at the end. She like us. Yeah. So that's a really good example of an activity. The next thing I wanna talk about his fines. I kinda covered this in the intro video, but basically a review spines. It's what drives a character through life. Spine of a character. You have one, I have one and all the characters that I've ever been built properly, you have one as well. An example of a spine that most people are familiar with is that of the Joker. The jokers spine is chaos. So everything he does is towards the goal of causing chaos. And that's what makes him a great villain. You have to find what your spine is. That's going to take some painstaking diligence. It might be hard for you to figure it out for awhile. But what matters is when you're acting in part, what is your spine now? Understand the spine of the character and then what you can do is you can fuse them. That brings us to the next tool of particular realization, which is an as if and if acts as a lever that lifts us out of actuality and into the realm of imagination. If you can do that, then you can really act truthfully. So, particularism, why is it called that we say this desire to travel beyond the horizon for Robert mayo. Hmm. That's as if or that's particularly like for me if I were to have a child, let's say two very different things. But the desire, the passion, my spine is in line with that. So every time he talks about the horizon on talking about my kid. And so it's as if you really dream of being a parent one day, if that's your thing, this is why it's important to know this stuff about yourself because a director cannot give this to you. The text can not give this to you. You have to bring yourself to the part truthfully. So that means you've got to know yourself really, really Well. That's why at the beginning of these videos, my first exercise was for you to journal and to figure out what is driving me through life. If you have that, you can connect yourself to almost anything. So what I want you to do is I want you to read a scene and look at the two characters in a scene. So preferably a two-person sane and read it and try to see which one is the door, which one has the great need, and which one is the activity? Which one is involved in something prior to the other person coming into the room or into their space and interacting with them, come up with an activity of your own. Remember the three ingredients that has to be urgent, difficult and meaningful. Come up with an activity and practice it, do it. And then separately come up with a door, come up with a great need. That's all it really means. In every great play, great film, great scene is a great need. Coming into the room, knocking on the door, someone opens it. Once wrong. A tornado just took my house. I need shelter for my family. That's a pretty great need. It builds in the meaning, the why the spine, the stakes are as high as it could be. And you need this from the other person or your, you and your family could die. That's what movies are made of. So we as actors have to get ourselves imaginatively to those places. So start to come up with needs that are really strong and with your imagination, connect yourself to it in a real way. The next thing I want you to do is watch a scene. There's Netflix, Hulu, there's all this stuff. Watch something, whatever it is, and try to see what struggle the protagonists are any character is involved in. And then ask yourself what it would be like for you to be involved in that struggle. You're seeing what is going on in imaginary circumstance and you're asking yourself, What's that particularly liked for me? And then you're bringing you're truthful self over to it. So do that. The next thing you watch, what's the struggle? What would that be like for me? In the next video, I'm going to cover the importance of choices and characterization. 5. The Actor's Fingerprint: In this video, I'm going to talk about choices and I'm going to clarify what that means and acting. So Stella Adler, great, great American acting teacher, she said, In your choices lies your talent. So what does that mean? Choices are not a pre determined way of saying align. Choices aren't a planned gesture at a certain moment. Someone choices. That's just artificial acting. So that's the opposite of acting truthfully. A truthful choice is choosing from where your talent lives. That's in what means something to you. A lot of times people say that talent is something you can't quite define, but for actors, you can probably categorize them. For Ilia Magazine, one of the things he said was the most important talent that an actor hat was the ability to believe. My XNA called it actors faith. How do we fuse their thoughts on choices and talent? Basically, it's the way you choose to relate yourself to a part will bring out your ability to believe the circumstances that you are in. This is where talent, skill, meat, that's in effect the work of an actor. Discovering how to choose from your talent. A quick tip I'll provide. It really helps to refer to the character. Once you know you're playing that part as me, mine. I instead of they, them, their, the character's problem. What we're really trying to do is make the dilemma of the circumstances and the play ours. So we don't want to say, well, the character is going through a hard time because their father passed away and now, no. Now start to adopt that as your self. Because it's really, there's a lot of power in languages, a lot of power in the way they think and speak about something. So sorry to say, it's my dilemma is that my dad passed away. You know, I'm struggling with my job. I have to figure out a way to to make some money for my family and feed my kids. I have whatever it is with the circumstances of the play. You're not crazy, you're not in character. You're just trying to relate yourself to the given circumstances so you can act it truthfully. Part of your choices as an actor will go into how you characterize a role. So Characterization, character itself is how you do what you do. Every person is different. No two fingerprints are the same. We have to take these things into consideration when considering people and characters are created from life. Every character has tried dimensionality of their make-up, which is physiology, psychology, sociology. Within each of those, there's tons of facts about a character. And that doesn't even touch on the spirit of a character, the soul of the character, the desire that, you know, there's all these things that we have to take into consideration when we lay out who this character is in the given circumstances. So some choices are not negotiable. Like if someone from break-ins Ireland talks a certain way, that's going to differ from someone from Laurel, Mississippi. You have to take that in consideration. Right? That's going to ultimately. Be a non negotiable factor about the way of speaking and the way of doing. But there are some choices that are negotiable that you as the actor can bring to the part that makes the part uniquely your own. For instance, a way of speaking. I was working on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And we're bringing that character to life. And I was trying to figure out a way to, when I switch from Jekyll to hide, how I would talk. Hyde was created by Jekyll in a way to fully separate the dark parts of himself out so that he could exist on his own as Jekyll without hide bringing him down through that scientific experiment, he produced an evil man. So I had to ask myself, Well, when I transition over to hide, how do I talk? Because Jekyll talks a certain way late, 18 hundreds. He's from England and he's a doctor that says that's a certain way of being. How does hide talk? How does that differ and how do we physically lies and characterize the darkness? So my way of speaking I came up with was going to be a very low register, a chest resonance. But then I thought, well that's not quite low enough. So maybe I can go as low as possible and I can open my throat as much as I can. Because for me, his voice came from the pit of hell. Now I know that sounds crazy, but I was trying to physically evil incarnate. So that's how I started to work on that Boyce. Now that's just my take on it, right? And every single actor, actor is going to have a unique technique, a unique way of looking at something in a different take on apart, just like a fingerprint, it's gonna be different. So your take on a certain choice is going to be negotiable. It's going to be something that you bring your artistic fervor to use your imagination. Think about how would I say that? How would I do that? How would I think about that? And that's going to start to be the thing that separates your performance from somebody else's. And ultimately you want to develop your acting to the point where no one is doing it the way you are. Because acting should be just as unique and individualize your own humanity. In this great quote, I think it's Kurt Cobain. He said, trying to be someone else is a waste of who you are. High, started out acting trying to be like Philips humor Hoffman. I remember watching his his movies and I couldn't believe how, how he could shift so much, characterized so differently and yet still be so truthful. I just wanted to be like him. He started out acting, wanted to be like Dustin Hoffman when he saw him on Broadway in Death of a Salesman. We all do this. We start to emulate those that we admire, but we don't want to ultimately copy them because that's not artistic. We want to look at the ways in which they principle themselves as actors, as creators, as artists. And we want to take that road of seriousness of study. Just like using the analogy of the athlete, we want to really prepare ourselves for the time to act. And this is a big, big part of that characterization is something you cannot do without. So in this assignment, this one's very simple. Look at the people around you. Whether it's a family member or a spouse, or a friend, whoever it is. And start to take note of how they do, what they do. How do they eat? How's that different from you? How do they talk? Do they think before they speak, or are they impulsive or they cautious? Or are they determined, or they outspoken, or are they subdued? The way that they do, what they do is what defines their character. Take note from that. See how it differs from you. And that's character. For the next video, I'm going to talk about emotional preparation. 6. Emotional Preparation: In this video, we're gonna go over the important tool of emotional preparation. Mostly preparation is device that allows you to start a scene from a place of emotional aliveness. And it's for the first moment only. It's not something that you want to keep trying to drive through the scene. Because what are you doing if you're doing that, checking in on your emotion, you're not in touch with your partner across from you. You're not in touch with really doing the activity that you've set before you, provided by the script. You're just checking in and you're, you're acting with yourself. And that's not compelling at all. The text is like a canoe. And the river upon which it floats is your emotion. That's why we don't predetermine or pre-planned how are going to say something? Because we don't know how we're going to respond emotionally to a moment that we've never lived in before. So allow your emotion to develop naturally from what you do and what you experience. Let the text ride on top of whatever that emotion is so that you can behave truthfully. Under imaginary circumstances. A lot of actors are tempted to show their emotion because they think that that proves that they're believing the circumstance. But that's kind of fruitless because one, you don't want to show them anything. You just want to be in the circumstance herself. How often in your life do you check in with yourself emotionally when you're involved in an experience and say whether or not you're crying enough, you're shy enough, you're afraid enough. Never. So trying to focus on the thing is usually what keeps it away from you, from really doing a thing. We talked about this with activity before, comes really feeling a thing. You don't really have a say over what your emotional response will be. And that's what can make this kind of tough because it can, it can be elusive. But the most important thing is that you give yourself a shot. So from script analysis, analyzing and seeing what you're going to find is it looks like my character, I start the scene from a certain emotional ballpark. That's what you want to get for yourself. Okay, that's the ballpark. The ballpark is joyful. And then you go and you say, how, what, what, what would make me joyful? Well, for me, I love giraffes. So I would imagine myself being out in the wilderness, let's say in Africa. And there's a family of giraffes. There's like a baby one and there's some parents. And there's just a little community of giraffes. And I get to walk up to them and they're not afraid of me. Maybe I've known them for a while and we're in protected areas so there's no predators around. And I get to walk up to the giraffe and I get to a pet, I get to pet the dura. And then giraffe reaches its head down and drink something out of my aunt, like some water or something or I have a plant and then eats the plant. And then it looks down at me and it nudges me. And then I can grab on and snack and then I'm writing it through the center. So this is, to me, this is like a very amazing thing because that's what works for me. And now I already feel myself just thinking about that, fantasizing about that I'm in a place that was very different from when I started this video. That's what you want to get to. You want to use something that's really real to you, that brings you emotionally alive to the ballpark that you've set for yourself so that you can start a scene afterwards. Do a review of what the most and preparation was like for you. Did you really feel emotionally changed? If you didn't, who cares? Throw it away, it doesn't work for you. Try something else. There's a million that we use throughout the day and start to work this as a muscle that's part of your exercise. Figured out a ballpark, emotional ballpark, and then try to get yourself in that state afterwards. You know, these are usually like two minutes or something. Look back and say was I changed or not truthfully? And remember, it's just for the first moment. 7. Lessons from the Masters: In this video, I want to cover a few things that are just important to take note of. Now, like I said, this is just a video series on acting. These are tough because when we're not in person and we can't go through what is normally a two-year acting training program? For me, it was I trained for four years, two years at a different place to it another years later. And I've, I've acted for over a decade in New York. So it's hard to not have this hands-on stuff. So, you know, this stuff, I can't go into much more detail. Each one and then, and then some. But for the end, I just want to leave you with some things to keep in mind. Don't do something until something happens to make you do it. A lot of these quotes and a lot of these tools are so correlative to life. Don't do something until something happens to make you do it. Isn't that how we behave all the time? Don't slam your brakes until a deer comes in front of you on the road. How would you do that? What would you say me breaking. My wife told me to. It's like, Well, if that's not necessary, don't do it. One of the best quotes by Sanford miser as an ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words. Acting is not talking. Acting his behaving truthfully and our imaginary circumstances, let your behavior come out of involving yourself in a truthful activity with life across from you, that's real flesh and blood, human being presenting themselves to you with a great need and you having to respond to them with your side. And then every moment is developing into something new. And on and on and on out of really doing those things, dealing with those people, responding to what they say truthfully will come behaviour cell either said, actors always think it's about the words, words, words, but it's really about where the words come from. In life, we like to think before we act. That's usually pretty smart. But enacting, it's all about the impulses. So really you're required to act before you think there's a time and place to use your brain. And that's in script analysis, and it's in making choices in rehearsal. Well, does that work? Does that not when they say action, when the curtain opens, it's not time to think. Nobody paid money to watch you think on stage, just to, paid money to watch a story unfold. Never choose material from your intellect or your ambition. Choose it from your gut. We're talking about instincts here. Every artistic choice you make should be from your instinct. A particular realization shouldn't be from your mind. It shouldn't be from any place except from your instinct. This feels right to me. Choose material that way. Don't choose materials selfishly by saying, I bet I could look really good in this part. And it's just going to lead you down a bad path. Don't choose it because you think it might be successful. Ultimately, it's up to you as your choices, your life, and your career. But I would just advise, choose it from your gut. If something really speaks to you, choose it. And if you feel like it's something that you want to say yes to because you love the story and you responded to that, then be a part of that and serve that story in the part that you've been assigned. I didn't cover a lot of things that exist in And play writing or in script writing. And a lot of actors call them monologues. I like to call them speeches because you're never acting just by yourself. You're usually acting with something or someone. A speech usually is one character saying something to another character. Really they're doing something but with their words, their doing that thing with reality. Always look at the last one or two lines. That's where you're going to have the driving force of this speech. And Miser said, you know, you want to know your lines, learn your lines, but pick up the impulses. Why did I start saying this speech? Usually when someone talks for a really long time, they have an overarching point trying to make, and that's darts at the beginning, but it's from the end. They're driving through that speech with what they're trying to communicate by the end of that speech. So when you're reading a speech, if it's a really good one, always up to the last two lines and say, that's where I get my impulse when all of this stuff is done within the rehearsal process and you've applied those tools whenever they were necessary. And you're starting to act as seen whether it be split up in different takes on different days and a film or different nights of a play. The very last thing that you do, and ultimately the most important act in serving a story as an actor is trusting and letting go. It can be very tempting because you've put a lot of work in to want to act it well. But if what you do on stage that night is try to act well, you won't. You need to have the intention of doing one thing for real? If to do that, remember, we have to prepare emotionally to have a certain aliveness to reach that ballpark, to get us to the first moment. And then it just takes a life of its own and a play hour and a half to three hours of continuous life, right. So you've rehearsed to make that work in a take, you know, it's it's one take. Get yourself emotionally prepared and then let it go. Acting ultimately as living truthfully under imaginary circumstances. If everything you do gets you to that point, you've done your job. But don't over-complicate what's already complex. Making something that's complicated, simple, awesomely simple. That's artistic, but over complicating something that's already complex as commonplace. The artistic processes about simplification. So if you can really get something that what does this activity? Well, it's urgent, a typical that's meaningful. What do you do? I tie my shoe. Did you do it? I did it. How do you know it's tied? This quote from Stanislavski says, let the artists live, let them be enchanted, disappointed, happy. Let them suffer, love, and lived through the entire gamut of human emotions. But let them at the same time learn to recreate their life and their emotions into art. That's the duty of an artist. You don't put yourself first seeing yourself act well in the part and be glorified. That's not the, the actors purpose, actress purposes to serve the story. So ultimately you are a servant. And if you aren't doing this from a place of joy, you're wasting your time. If you don't love this, don't do it. It's just going to be a torture. Always bring joy to acting. Always get in touch with why you do it. Always look at the meaning that acting is for you. And if you have that, you can truly withstand anyhow, you have your Y. So never forget that joy is the most important ingredient in acting. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen and I hope that some of these skills that I've shared with you are helpful in your own acting journey. And thank you.