Are you a Method actor??
That’s right. I am. That is my acting technique.
I’m proud of it, too.
I trained for years, worked my butt off. Honed my skills.
Worked as an waitress, first, then a coatcheck…(With Bruce Willis & his brother, um hm, that’s right)…
I lived in a tiny apartment on the Upper West Side of NYC…(They lived in Hell’s Kitchen, then…)
…and all of my money went to my landlord, and to my acting class.
Every morning, just after waking, I did the Method Acting – Actor Studio’s patience-trying, acting exercises. Every day.
As well as learning lines, and meeting with whoever was my “scene partner”, to put up scenes in class, as well.
I stayed in acting classes, even after I got a ton of voiceover work. (Then, my residuals paid my teachers for both acting class and private coaching for auditions…And, the teacher and coaches, were “Method”.)
Even when I was on “As The World Turns”, I continued to study. Stretch-and-study.
Method Acting’s Morning Exercises Are T-e-d-i-o-u-s
As I began to get work, the value of that daily-acting-technique-stretching, those Method ‘Morning Exercises’… revealed themselves to be the treasure trove that guided my “acting ship”, at all times; in front of an audience, or camera, or both.
Especially, at critical times, like when I had a leg that wouldn’t stop shaking, on a movie set. Or, when I was working with a big star who was mad at the director; and we were shooting an intimate scene. Or on a television show,when I got nightly scene changes**, at midnight, (ahh,that sliding sound…can still ‘hear it’) as the pages were slid under my hotel room door. Nightly. To be played, on camera, the next day. When my call time, daily, was 6 AM.
Especially, I really appreciated them, was whenever any emotional work was called for. Any kind. Just to be able to command and release emotions, as needed.
(That is when having an acting technique is essential.)
No, scratch that.
I appreciated them, and what I had developed from them, or rather, as a result of habitually doing those exercises over a long period of time Morning Exercises, all the time. Really. I remember being gobstruck. When I discovered, how well those Morning Exercises and The Method worked; and how they translated into a solid acting technique…how they served to ‘supply’ my acting. When working.
Even, when doing voiceovers. ALL THE TIME, AS AN ACTOR.
Somehow, I found some discipline…
Ahhh, yes, the Method Acting Morning Exercises, with…the sense-detail-sometimes-make-you-wanna-scream-because-they-were-so-specific-and-repetitive, kicked in, big time. I hated them, hated-hated-hated doing them. (Most of the time.)
But I did them anyway. And, while I did, for a long long time, I had no good results to inspire my continuing. (Other than knowing that Brando, Dean, Pacino, etc had done them and look at their results..)
Why did I work on them?
Because I loved the work, I really really really loved acting. Through and through. And I wanted to immerse myself in it.
I wanted to be able to be great at it, and have it all be accessible, so I could handle whatever came at me: whatever was written in a script.
And, I loved the acting classes. I loved being there, I loved the other people in them. Loved to discover others, that had the same blinding passion as me. I loved watching them do scenes, and many of them were really, really great.
The work that went on in those classes was really really go-o-od. Solidly, mindblowingly good.
I couldn’t get enough of it. And I couldn’t learn enough.
That was the good news.
The bad news was that the more I attempted, the more I encountered my own lack of ability. Everytime an actor does a scene in a class, they are up against limitations. There’s a lot of work to do. It’s a big reality-slam for dreamers.
And, a supremely necessary one.
In every scene, there is so much that an actor must be able to do. Every scene had it’s challenges, especially when I was a novice. For all of us novice actors, it was a harsh and humbling experience.
It was my own individual limitations, that really motivated me.
Big secret: I’m kind of private. I was aware that I was never a big cryer. Even, privately. Never, publicly. (I even went to a summer camp, where, on the last day, it became a hysteria-fest. Uncontrollable sorrow, torrents of rain…Not me. I was sad, but not crying…)
In my acting class, the girls would go onstage and cry on a dime. That got my goat.
Especially, since I didn’t know I was funny yet, and anyway, ‘funny’ wasn’t serious-actor-enough, for me.
(I had no idea, yet, how hard being funny was, for most people.)
But I wanted to be Anna Magnani.
(No. Not kidding.)
….To Be Continued In Another Hollywood Actor Prep Blog Post…