The other night I was watching an episode the new sit-com, Guy’s with Kids.  In this particular episode one of the characters is presented with an anniversary gift of a 60 inch flat screen TV.  As it is being uncrated he calls his children in to see his gift.  The two boys run in and joyfully exclaim, “Wow, a cardboard box.”  The next we see the very large cardboard box it has been converted into a space ship. Continue reading

The True Seed of Character Development

Casting is the process by which characters are born.  By choosing an actor suddenly the character is given eyes, hands, and a heart: the whole palette of humanity.  Directors are looking for the performer who brings her character to life, so that she is no longer an idea or words on a page but rather living, breathing, walking and speaking right before their very eyes. Continue reading

Objectives, Objectives, Objectives

It’s all about objectives. The first thing we learn in Acting 101 is that the most vital acting tool is the objective. Without an objective there is no theatre. There is no play, movie, or television show. The objective makes theatre possible.

So what exactly is an objective? An objective is what the character wants. Each character has a series of wants that connects to more important wants, that connects to the most important want. That most-important over-arching want is called a super-objective. Continue reading

Making Effective Physical Choices

Physical Actions, or choices that you make to do something physical as your character, can often come across as gimmicky.  To be effective, they either happen spontaneously in a moment, or are well thought out and/or worked on during rehearsal.  They’re an asset only if they don’t intrude on the story or upstage where the focal point should be.  They can be extraordinarily effective but must be used sparingly and creatively.

The substance of a physical action must come from within the play or from the life of the character.  Otherwise it is nothing more than a gimmick.

Continue reading

Fear of Falling: Acting Lessons from Rock Climbers

A friend of mine (thanks Ben!) recently told me about a rock climbing coach who teaches that when you are in the gym on a rock-climbing wall, you have to fall.  Especially if you are afraid of it.  Having a fear of falling dictates your technique.

I immediately thought of actors as I am constantly encouraging them to take risks…so I found the post…

The language (by Dave MacLeod, link to the post here) is very technical in relation to rock climbing, but struck me as very relevant to the actor.  He writes:

Adam Hill’s NYC Acting Class – Preparation

In this video, I discuss the work an actor must do to effectively prepare immediately before auditioning or performing.  And it has nothing to do with reviewing lines…

As always, please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

For the second part of this lecture, please visit the StageSuccess YouTube channel here.