Streetlight Cinema

 

 

A FEW NOTES ON CINEMA ACTING

 

IN GENERAL :

I am partial to acting that doesn't look like acting. Sometimes even our most successful stars end up looking like they're pretending not to act. A kind of forced casualness. Acting is about feelings, but it isn't, in my opinion, about shoving feelings down peoples throats, but about leading them to experience them. Falsity of any sort destroys the magic. An actor must be aware he's acting, but not feel as though he is. The acting style I am partial to might be described as subdued passion simmering under the casual surface. The actor/character creates tension by holding back his emotions, letting us glimpse them, seductive subdued outbursts, careful build-ups. A great performance has a kinship with music.

 

DIRECTING STYLE:

 

I like to let actors make their own discoveries -- and would sooner leave actors to their imagination rather than submitting to mine. I assume we are all mutual friends to each other, as well as friends of the film and while we have to work to produce a seamless and whole work with stylistic unity, we can each bring our own light. I would guide that inner light if I see it straying out of bounds -- or becoming too intense -- or too subdued.

I prefer talking about the history of the character, clarifying the internal life -- rather than outward demonstrations except when it's a practical matter of blocking or mise en scene.

When in doubt, underplay, ie paint space and the viewer will fill in. Every great painting needs emptiness.

Do not fear silence. My method of writing is to give a lot more lines (as indicators and guides) than I'd like to end up in the film. If I could do the entire film by replacing 2/3's of the dialogue with the choreography of expression, gesture, movement, that would be magnificent.

 

PRACTICAL MATTERS:

When in doubt, I like to ask, admit, brainstorm: I hope you will feel the same way.

If you come up with a better line, more comfortable line, please bring it forth. I don't mind ad libbing as long as it doesn't have a random lackadaisical quality -- rather it should have a sense of fated spontaneity. Adlibbing that sounds like adlibbing is just as unconvincing as bad writing badly delivered.

If you're tired, burned out, need a break -- A-okay, I'm with you.

 

 

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