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Method Acting for Directors -- Camera THR321 Advanced Acting * METHOD acting for directors * online forum Realism * * T-blog *
I'm an assistant storyteller. It's like being a waiter or a gas-station attendant, but I'm waiting on six million people a week, if I'm lucky. ~ Harrison Ford
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Bad acting, like bad writing, has a remarkable uniformity, whether seen on the French, German, or English stages; it all seems modeled after two or three types, and those the least like types of good acting. The fault generally lies less in the bad imitation of a good model, than in the successful imitation of a bad model. George Lewes

Michael Caine "Acting in Film" [ 1557832773 ]: Not only is acting more than a part-time job, it's more than a full-time job. It's a full-time obsession.




Method: Yoga & Freud


* Shake 2004: Bianca Story
Film Acting *
"On stage, the hardest thing for an actor to do is to keep the emotion on his or her face after speaking the lines—the camera removes that hardship simply by moving off the face." Lee Siegel
'I always had the view of movie acting per se as being different from theatre acting. I thought theatre acting was what I'd call real acting - acting that you can see. In the theatre, if you can see the wheels and the mechanism of the acting, that's brilliant - and the more you see it, the better. In the movies, it's the opposite. Movie acting is behaviour and reacting. In the theatre, you know it's a cardboard tree because it wobbles when they slam the door; in the movies, it's a real tree, and you've got to be a real person. People think that's easy, you see, and they say you're just playing yourself. No one plays himself! In a movie, with 67 guys standing around looking at you with their arms folded, or picking their noses, with fags in their mouths, when you're doing romance or comedy at 8.30 on a wet Monday morning, you're not playing yourself!

'With me, I've always tried to seem like a real person. In the early days, I used to get asked, 'What sort of actor are you?', and I'd tell them that most actors held up pictures for you, but that my acting fails if you don't believe you're looking in a mirror. I hold up a mirror and I say, 'This is you, not me.' Which is why in the street I'm not regarded as some great unapproachable movie star - people think they know me. Of course, it can be a bit self-defeating, because people always think you're playing yourself. My God! If only I knew who myself really was, I'd play him! To the hilt. But you never know who you are, not really.'

[ Maichael Caine, Guardian 2.6.97 ]

"... To the extent that acting does seem more real today, it's because the camera moves so fast off the face that it shaves off any sliver of inauthenticity. When certain actors win the Oscar for best acting, they should thank the Lens and the Viewfinder, not Mom and Dad. So, instead of talking about actors' clothes, or their hair, or their Oscar-night shticks and gaffes, it might be more meaningful if we started talking about acting as the demanding art form that it is. And that would mean, in part, distinguishing between movies where the actors act and movies where the camera does the acting for them." [ Lee Siegel, the television critic for the New Republic and a contributing editor to Harper's. ]

Film Acting: Eisenstein vs. Pudovkin (two original concepts) *

Secrets of Screen Acting by John Stamp, Patrick Tucker; Routledge, 2003 - Introduction - Chapter 1: Screen Versus Stage - Chapter 2: Film Versus Television - Chapter 3: The Frame - Chapter 4: The Camera - Chapter 5: Reactions and Business - Chapter 6: Sound and Vocal Levels - Chapter 7: Typecasting - Chapter 8: Acting - Chapter 9: Auditions - Chapter 10: Rehearsals and Technicals - Chapter 11: Directing Actors for the Screen - Chapter 12: Announcers (And the Art of Being Interviewed) - Chapter 13: The Shoot - Chapter 14: The Editor and Editing - Epilogue - Acting Exercises

Method Acting index * 200X * Film Dir * Books * Theatre w/Anatoly * SHOWs * Script Analysis * Acting * Directing * Russian-American Theatre (RAT) * Film Links * My Russian Plays * BioMechanics * Classes Dir * VIRTUAL THEATRE * appendix * links * list * Glossary * Anatoly's Blog *

Method Acting for Directors: Camera

John Clark (AM Director of NIDA): "Acting is the ability to get up in front of a lot of other people to tell a story and to involve those people in your life."
I just made a few pages for "Acting for the Camera" (here and in -- and another page @ Actors in Film Directing. [ see "film acting" menu, right table ]

First, read film pages @ Film-North.

Yes, I placed the alert for actors on several webpages:

Please, read acting for the camera pages in advance: Actors in Film Directing, Film in BM and Camera in Method Acting -- before we have video-sessions in class! You have to have your monologues shots-broken (Actor's Text). Post it to our Method Forum -- and give your feedback to others.

[ I don't know when I will teach Acting III next time -- 2005? ]


The dymanic of primary and secondary motions. When and how actor gets priority vs. camera? Always? Camera is actor's givens. Wide Shot (WS) -- exposition (Establishing Shots) and on big movements.

Close Up (CU) -- climatic sequences.

Indicate it on your Actor's Text and give the copy to me (and to student-directors).

* Test on basic film terminology (see TESTS pages in Film Directing 101).

[ There is no main directory for acting theory; acting page in theatre theory is the only gateway -- to nowhere...

So, you have to pick it up here and there on acting pages. Anatoly I tried to stay away from this subject for years! Why do I break my promice to myself not to make new webpages?

Spring 2004: film directors did monologues shooting in my intermedite acting class. I thought that on camera experience was benificial for both -- the camera forced actors to do what I couldn't imposed on them, regardless how long I try...

Method+BioMX Camera imposses the space and time discipline: "acting areas" -- after one take they all uderstood that they can be out of frame -- and the entire act is for nothing...

Is it possible that camera (technology) represents much bigger audience? "Addresses"? The eye of all!

Introduce the concept of POV (use samples from literature).

[ excer. in class on breaking down monologues for POV only * get some from my PLAYS online directory, including from films (Wild Strawberries, 7th Seal, Antonini + Ibsen, The Possessed, Cherry Orchard and other Chekhov's plays, including the one-acts. ]

"Open yourself!" -- they can't hear me. Not with the camera! They understood that we must SEE them! Their eyes...


Questions & Homework

Select a monologue for analysis; break into shots and bring it in class (my copy for record).

[ film acting menu in the right table -- where to place the sample of the actor's text broken into shots. ]

"Line-by-line" dramatic analysis for the camera.

"Vocalization" and "physicalization" for the screen: go beyond the obvious ("smaller" means nothing, if you don't have your choices for the camera).

Camera and shifting POVs -- how to understand the multivocal (polyphonic) nature of "camera acts"... (Bakhtin)


Read Chekhov Pages in -- do your homework (dramatic composition, 5W's, floor plan/acting areas -- scenes and monologues).

We do not have time to repeat what you should know about stage acting, we have to apply it!

* Again, I have to have MY COPY of your Actor's Text (no grade without it).


Both (at least) your audition monologues should be redesigned for the camera (dramatic and comedic).

** Where are the reaction shots, when we shoot monologues in class?

Your ideas -- when do we go for details (hands, props and etc.)?

Pauses and camera --

Lesson #
60 or 90 min

1. review (previous class)

2. overview

3. new key terms & definitions

4. monologues & scenes

5. issues & topics

6. questions, discussion, analysis

7. in class work

8. feedback

9. improv & games

10. reading

11. homework

12. online, journals

13. quiz



Chekhov Pages

Class Project (after the midterm)

playsChekhov, Ibsen, Shakespeare - Acting resources, career guides, and casting information.

* new :

ReadSpeaker AudioFeed - Podcast of this blog

Next : Film Actors
Spring 2003: StageMatrix * Meyerhold's Theory of Mise-en-Scene + METHOD: Private in Public *
Brando Marlon Brando Jr. was born April 3, 1924, in Omaha, Neb., the youngest of three children. His mother was a local actress who had founded the Omaha Community Playhouse; his father was a salesman. According to "Brando: A Life in Our Times," his mother was an alcoholic and his father "an unyielding moralist."
After the family moved to Evanston, Ill., and a brief stint in military school where he first studied drama, Brando joined his sisters in New York in 1943. He enrolled in the New School for Social Research's dramatic workshop, where his classmates included Harry Belafonte, Shelley Winters and Rod Steiger.
There, he learned Method acting from Stella Adler, whose motto was "Don't act - behave." After appearing on Broadway in "I Remember Mama," Brando was hired by director Elia Kazan for the Broadway version of "A Streetcar Named Desire." The play, and the film that followed, introduced the vulnerable and volatile persona that was his trademark.

[ Brando dies ]

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Acting in Film Analysis class *

Film Acting Pages: actors

2004: I do not know when I will have time to write about "acting in movies" -- here is a short list of actors I refer to in Film Analysis class.

Acting is a part of "mise-en-scene" in many textbooks (need definition).

Maybe I will put my comments to the titles and actors later. Anatoly

PS. Watch the movies on your own, we don't do in class.

Film Acting

Nicholson There a short list of titles I show the segments in class, when we get to Acting; here are the samples.

There are other movies with Jack Nicholson could be recommended (use Amazon suggestions).

[ I am not mentioning European film actors here. ]

See Acting I, II, III and Film Directing pages.

[ long list @ ]

I have no pages on individual actors. Only film directors -- Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Bergman, Kurosawa, Fellini (Film-North).

[ ... To help actors’ come up with the goods’, Russian director Konstantin Stanislavski developed a training system where actors analyse their characters, then draw on their own experiences to act and react according to their characters motivations.

John Clark: "It’s so right; it applies to the way we behave in real life. It doesn’t have any mystique about it. It doesn’t have any bullshit about it."

Stanislavski’s teachings flourished in mid-twentieth century America and Method acting’ was born.

In the sixties director John Cassavetes started experimenting with an alternative approach to film acting.

Robert Marchand: "Well, I think he is the first example of a feature film made using improvisation in which, as I understand it, they had scenarios to play out. Scenarios that the actors understood the dilemmas the characters had the situations they were in and then they were played out, so they were not tied to a script, not stuck by the boundaries of a script but were free to explore."

Robert Marchand believes in improvisation. His course is based on a method developed by English director Mike Leigh.

Robert Marchand: "He sees each actor separately and he keeps them separate to begin with so that between he and the actor he will create a character. They will discuss all manner of details about the character and they will go to tremendous amount of detail and the actor will do enormous amount of research… where the character lives, what kind of job he or she has, what kind of friends, social life, everything."

If Mike Leigh’s actors build their characters from the ground up, director David Mamet encourages actors to utilise their own psychological make-up. the movie shows ]


Taxi Driver

" the mid-40's Adler was teaching at the New School for Social Research and had found the role that was to make her a revered name among actors everywhere. In 1949, she started a school for acting that would last five decades and touch every part of American Theater. Combining what she had learned from the Yiddish theater, Broadway, Hollywood, and Stanislavsky, she opened the Stella Adler Theater Studio (later renamed the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting). Among those to study at the conservatory were Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Warren Beatty, and Candice Bergen. Her belief in the supreme seriousness of her art kept many well-known members of the theater coming back for her intelligent and passionate advice.

It was Adler's sense that "the theater exists 99% in the imagination" that informed her instruction. She proposed that one of the actor's primary concerns must be with the emotional origins of the script. A student's main responsibility was to search between the lines of the script for the important unsaid messages. This, she knew, took a combination of emotional availability and imagination. For her students she was both the toughest critic and the most profound inspiration, saying, "You act with your soul. That's why you all want to be actors, because your souls are not used up by life." To this day, nearly ten years after her death, Adler is still viewed as one of the foremost influences on contemporary acting."


UAF Albee


Dog Day Afternoon (Al Pacino)

new: Method + Biomechanics @


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