Thursday, September 17, 2009

In Character: Actors Acting

lots of shots here

* Couple shots up here

In Character: Actors Acting by Howard Schatz

Took me a while to find this book (I'd seen it once, but when I went to look for it I didn't know the title, and no one else knew it.) Anyway it's really cool. Professional actor's are given a prompt, then photos are taken of them portraying it. Beautiful book, great reference. Especially fun when they give the old guys prompts of being little kids.


Left: You're a finalist on America's Next Top Model who is hearing Tyra tell the other girl she's out—and you're prepping to give your nemesis a "sincere" hug. Center: You're a stand-up comic performing at a Toronto showcase packed with S.N.L. and HBO scouts—and your "lesbian chickens" bit is utterly tanking. Right: You're, like, 15, and he's, like, 17, and even tho U have only ever said, like, "Hey" in the hallways, he's just texted 2 ask U 2 B his D8 @ the prom!!! the prom!!!


Left: You're an N.B.A. power forward who's been lightly grazed by an opponent, flailing and wincing with Oscar-worthy panache to elicit a foul call. Center: You're an insufferable epicure at a revered restaurant in Lyon, having an out-of-body experience on your very first bite. Right: You're a high-school freshman who's just been publicly hazed by a bullying senior, skulking away ashamedly—but getting the last word.

Also included is short thoughts from the actors. Hence, these notes :)

I look for similarities and things that are very different as well. I decides should I play against certain moments or should I play into them? For example, if the character I just made has some kind of disability, do I want him to hide that disability and not make it seem so pronounced because I'm embarrassed by it? Or do I want to make that disability seen and do I want to elicit some kind of pity fro the audience or any other characters I might come into? - Giancarlo Esposito

If an actor asks me my process, I say I don't have a clue to my process. I just see it like it is a suit of clothes across the room, and my business, my obligation, is to walk across the room and get into that suit of clothes. -Richard Dreyfuss

All you really need to do on stage is have a good play, a good script, with good actors. The rest of it is almost unimportant. Adornments are unnecessary. The quality of the writing and the quality of the acting make everything alive...I don't really believe you need to act in movies. "Movie stars" do very little acting. They play themselves in various roles. They change costumes, and the situation is somewhat different. But Cary Grant is Cary Grant, no matter where you see him. And Cary Cooper and John Wayne; nobody in his right mind would ever accuse John Wayne of being an actor, for God's sake. -Philip Bosco

I read somewhere that "art is the search for beauty, and religion is the search for truth. And it hit me like a great revelation that it is the search - not the finding. And that search is the process where the art occurs and where the truth occurs. - Ellen Burstyn

I know that to play a role honestly you have to dig down into your own self and you have to find that little devil tn there who is yo, and you have to enlarge on that devil; you have to find that little angel - whatever is in there you have to find it. - Hal Holbrook

Acting is not showing. Only bad actors try to cry. Good actors try not to...How a character hides his feelings tells us who he is. The only people in the world who exhibit or show their emotions are bad actors. How a character distills and holds on to his feelings tells us what slips through. The power of that emotion is what tells us who our character is. In a well-written script, what people say to each other - the dialogue - is what a character's willing to reveal, willing to share with another person. The 90 percent he or she isn't willing to share is what I do for a living. The subtext is what makes the people do what they do. I watch people. It's not what they say that tells us who they are, it's their behaviour. - Martin Landau

The truth is a constant search, because it's constantly shifting and changing. It's the looking. It's the searching. - F. Murray Abraham

Actually, I think the word acting is a bad word for what we do. If we're doing it correctly, we are being. - Dennis Haysbert

Who can teach you emotion? Who can teach you how to be happy? Nobody. All there is to acting is find your mark, look the guy in the eye, and tell him the truth. - Charles Durning

An artist's job, is not to be judgemental. An artist's job is to tell his truth, too Tell the truth that he envisions. - Danny Glover

You go to the zoo, and you watch what an animal does, watch what a gorilla does, watch what an otter does, you know? And you try to move that way. A lot of my characters are bearlike. You walk like that. They're deceptively faster than you think. - Charles Dunning

Film, for me, is a director's medium, it's not an actor's medium. You have absolutely no control over your performance. It can be completely cut to smithereens. Your best work might never be seen. It's all up to the director. But what you can do is go for little moments of absolute truth. Because you're not going to go through it all start to finish, you really work with he moment. - Natasha Richardson

In movies, I always think of my job as putting globs of paint on an easel, for the director to paint his or her painting with long after I've left. For instance, i get hired for red and black, and I'd better have really iridescent black and vibrant red. - Scott Glenn

You have an uncomfortable feeling that all of these characters are within you, and the criminals out there are people who don't have an outlet. They're actually acting it out in real life. - Edward Herrmann

When a playwright writes a play, the orthodoxy says that he would be well advised not to direct it himself because director will find things in it...It's a collaborative venture, and as personal as writing a play is, we[directors, actors, set designers, composers etc.] could add tremendously to it. - Robert Klein

when I discover something that's true about the character in one moment, I try not to extrapolate it through the rest of the play. I try to keep what is true of the character in the moment true in that moment and then discover the true thing about the character in the next moment from the material.

With Strasberg you came first. You dominated the material. It's your character. It's what you want to do with it. You act out of yourself. - Robert Loggia

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