Serious Actors Develop Deep Audition Skills – Acting Techniques

July 26, 2012 · Posted in Education · Comment 

Acting involves the development of many skills, one of which is auditioning, a skill you can develop in some acting classes in NYC. Gaining acting experience on stage, film or television is an important way to develop acting skills, but that won’t happen if you don’t audition well. If auditioning is not being taught in your acting classes in NYC, it’s a skill that you will need to work on developing. Being prepared, with a deep set of auditioning skills is necessary if you expect to exploit every opportunity to audition that comes your way. Acting classes in NYC that teach the Meisner discipline are known for turning out highly professional actors that know how to work. Meisner acting techniques are strongly connected to powerful auditioning skills.

One or two ways actors tend to crash and burn during auditions are common. The first is to be overconfident. At the same time, being deeply insecure won’t help either. Being overly nervous or overconfident is not what will count against you in an audition. Being nervous or confident projects a sense of “self awareness” which can kill a great acting performance.

This is a very bad acting habit, being too closed off and too rehearsed and it’s a poor auditioning technique as well. Too nervous, and it’s too distracting to you and the auditors and you run the risk of not being open to the performance and the emerging character. The many layers of human traits, communicated in a thousand smalls ways is what must shine through, how you feel personally can’t inhibit this.

Many preparing for auditions consider the slate unimportant. As many of you know, the slate is when you state your name into the camera so the auditors can keep track of everyone they’ve seen. What may seem to have little importance, in fact may be the very thing that keeps you from being seen. The bad news is this. Watching past the slate to see the actual audition is not always the norm. Seeing hundreds of actors audition for a role is a daunting task. Anything to speed things up, like a poor or boring slate, is a good excuse to just move on. A quick dismissal of an actor’s tape because of a lackluster slate gets them to their goal more quickly.

While this may seem harsh, it is certainly expedient. Fair or not, this is the way it is more often than not. While some acting classes deal with auditioning, many don’t. Acting classes in NYC are a great resource for learning about slates. Slating on an audition tape is sometimes required to enroll in acting classes in NYC. It’s something you can do on your own, and do quite well with a little help from a friend. Enlist a friend to help record your efforts on tape and you will instantly see how well you are doing. Practicing slates isn’t easy. Looking into the camera and truly communicating to a presence beyond the camera is an art form in and of itself. This is something you can record, playback and assess. Feedback from people you trust is also important, the slate should communicate who you are.

Keep the information to a minimum and keep it simple. The shorter the better so they move on to the critical thing, the audition. When auditioning for commercials a hint of character might be okay. If you fall short of their expectations they may hit the eject button before the actual tape. The goal of the slate is to present yourself as an actor and a person, not as the character. Once the slate is done, move quickly into character and give them the portrayal they could never have anticipated, the character they didn’t even know they wanted. if you want to know more, look into Meisner acting NYC, for tips on how to create character, emotional preparation and scene study for auditioning.

The Maggie Flanigan Studio provides meisner acting training in New York City. For more information about acting classes nyc visit the studio website where you can get specific answers to any question you have.

Acting Auditions – Difficulties and Obstacles Make Your Character Believable

July 26, 2012 · Posted in Entertainment · Comment 

There is no question that the majority of people wish to avoid a state of conflict and drama. It can inevitably lead to anxious feelings, fear, and chaos. However, during an acting audition, conflict is essential to delivering an impressive reading. In order to have a good audition, it is necessary for an actor to find the conflict within a story and within a character.

The majority of persons and characters have internal conflicts between desires and feelings. External conflicts can also permeate a person’s life in the form of struggles between man and God, fate, the world, and Mother Nature. And, of course, relational conflicts exist as well. When an actor reads for an audition, he or she is only given the bare framework such as a story overview and the lines. Every story and character has interior conflicts, with some being harder to uncover than others. It is the actor’s job to find the hidden conflict and give it life in their audition.

Conflict is always interesting. Conflict provides an element of depth and movement to a story and character. Once the desires and needs of a character have been discovered by the actor, obstacles are inevitable. That is life. All obstacles in our lives must be manipulated or overcome until they cease being hurdles and become collaborators. “Midnight Run” is a perfect movie to consider. Robert De Niro plays a bounty hunter who is responsible for the capture of Charles Grodin’s character. Jack (De Niro) is driven to find his bounty, Mardukas (Grodin), so that he can receive the bounty money. Jack is met with a number of conflicts including his personal insecurities, rival bounty hunters, and the infamous Mardukas.

All of the answers may not be provided to you in the material provided to you at the audition. To strengthen your acting audition, you may need to create a character yourself, one that has conflicting desires and needs. In this way, you will be more likely to grab onto and hold the auditor’s attention and make the performance more real for the viewer. Far worse than creating the “wrong” conflict is delivering a performance without any emotion and depth. If you are able to flesh out a character in this way, your auditions are sure to be more successful.

Make sure that the conflict you create is multi-dimensional. The average character will have several different desires and feelings that are in constant struggle with each other. If you are looking to make a good impression on the auditor, ensure that you portray this in your reading. The lines being recited are not nearly as important as the character that is created by the actor.

Although your character may be the only live person in the scene, there are doubtless other hidden forces affecting his or her life. To have a successful reading, you as an actor must know how to draw these emotions and circumstances out of the text and take the character to the next level. There is another thing to remember about conflict. A small amount of comedy should also be present within any conflict. Even the largest conflict will contain some levity. Neglecting to add comedy will make the reading unwatchable. In short, conflict and comedy are both an integral part of a successful and impressive reading.

Kirk Baltz has been a acting coach for more than 15 years. Kirk helps actors of all levels get the roles that they desire. You can read more about improve acting auditions at the actor’s intensive website.

Acting Classes in NYC – Emotional Expression and The Actors Instrument

June 2, 2012 · Posted in Education · Comment 

Actors who study the Meisner Technique are likely familiar with the term the actors instrument. An analogy between an actor and an instrument is a good way to help define all the aspects of the acting craft and help actors take in idea, information and lines and put out high quality work. Even the most inexperienced audience knows when acting is good or not, simply by how engaged they are in the material being presented. They don’t need a great deal of theatre going experience to sense when the acting is fantastic. They can also sense when an actors instrument is not well developed, because they don’t “believe” the character portrayal.

The actors instrument is comprised of six different elements, all important. The aspects of the instrument include sensory expression, emotional, empathy, intelligence and sensory and physical expression. These six aspects of the actors instrument are identified and developed when studying the Meisner Technique. Many actors have mastered many of the six aspects of their instrument and audiences can identify with and respond to those the most. Legendary actors are those that have mastered all six.

Take, for example, Sylvester Stallone who is know for his commanding physical presence and physical expression. While this does not mean the Stallone cannot express a character emotionally, he is general know for his physical expression, which is the most powerful of his acting tools. As an actor he expresses emotional in a very physical, often external way. Actors must focus and learn about all the aspects of the acting instrument, which will help them be diverse and capable of many types of roles.

Emotional expression is the most common aspect of the instrument that actors are focused on. Obsessing about how a character feels about something and how to express it is usually the primary thing actors concentrate on. While it can be short sighted to put too much weight on any one aspect of the actors instrument, emotional expression is certainly a key acting tool to master. It’s important to remember, however, that each of the six aspects of the instrument are related and must be developed and work together.

Meaning in a story is derived mainly from the emotional expression of its characters. It clues the audience in to what the character is about, the conflicts they face, what their deepest needs are. It is common in classes teaching Meisner acting in nyc to create an emotional history of a character, imagine it in detail and then use all the aspects of the instrument to express them. Meisner acting students are masters of human emotion, the full range and complexity of the human experience. They in fact, build a library of emotions and reactions and methods for communicating them. Specific characters can be created by delving very deep into the imagination and using the “library” of human behavior they have created. This created life, its emotions and patterns of behavior, are then drawn upon moment by moment, not in rehearsed ways, but spontaneously.

Just as an example, vulnerability can express many characteristics, from innocence to deep insecurity. There are many actors who, with hard work, can learn to differentiate and express this complex emotion. If the actor has also worked hard to develop other aspects of the instrument, such as imagination, sensory expression and intelligence, the complexity of emotions will be there. A single tear, without words can accomplish this, but how about a sense of vulnerability shown while one is smashing a clock to pieces? This is a subjective, creative process.

Acting is not pretending to have an emotion. However, acting is not simply reciting words using certain inflections and gestures to communicate emotions. Sanford Meisner was often heard to say, “acting is DOING.” You must be in the moment and allow emotional reactions and behaviors to appear, and you must follow them. Great acting is, moment by moment, opening up to the character and allowing them to take you places you may not have imagined. Legendary actors do not force themselves to show emotion. What they feel is genuine, and the results can range from crying and screaming to sitting perfectly still to express an emotion. Developing a deep capacity to understand and feel the full range of human emotions and experiences is a great way to become an open, flexible acting student, the best kind of student. Actors must give themselves permission to feel strong emotions, and express them (or not, if the role requires it) in physical, intelligent, empathetic ways.

The Maggie Flanigan Studio provides training for serious actors committed to improving their craft. Find out more about meisner acting nyc by reading this article about actors instrument by visiting the studio website.

Acting Classes in NYC – Sensory Expression and The Actors Instrument

May 13, 2012 · Posted in Education · Comment 

Actors who study the Meisner Technique are likely familiar with the term the actors instrument. The instrument analogy can be helpful when breaking down all the various aspects that can determine how good an actor is. As an audience member, it becomes apparent very quickly who the good actors in a piece are or who might be falling short. It may also just be a sense of something not coming across in the right way. They can also sense when an actors instrument is not well developed, because they don’t “believe” the character portrayal.

There are six aspects to consider when looking at the actors instrument. They are: physical expression, emotional expression, imagination, sensory expression, intelligence and empathy. These six aspects of the actors instrument are identified and developed when studying the Meisner Technique. It is easy even for non actors to identify professional actors who have mastered the different aspects of their “instrument.” It is the true legends, the icons of stage and screen, that have mastered all six.

For example, an actor like Stallone is known mainly for his physical expression and presence. This doesn’t mean that he can’t express himself emotionally, it just means that his physical presence is the most developed of his acting tools. For Stallone, emotion is an internal process but it is reflected in a very physical way. It’s very important for actors to learn and develop all aspects of their instruments, to become well-rounded performers.

Emotional expression is one of the first things most up and coming actors focus on. Obsessing about how a character feels about something and how to express it is usually the primary thing actors concentrate on. While it can be short sighted to put too much weight on any one aspect of the actors instrument, emotional expression is certainly a key acting tool to master. It’s important to remember, however, that each of the six aspects of the instrument are related and must be developed and work together.

Of course, it is meaningful emotional expression that draws people into any character or story. Emotional expression is they way that the internal aspects of a character’s conflicts, needs, and feelings are expressed. Those that study Meisner acting in nyc use an imagined emotional history of a character which they must then express using all the aspects of the instrument. Students of Meisner acting must study the range of human emotions in all their complexity. They work hard to create a foundation of human emotion and way of communicating based on real people and fictional characters. When called upon to create a specific character, they dig very deep and create and imagine (another part of the instrument) what that character’s emotional story is. Having created a full emotional life and a foundation of behaviors, thoughts and ways of reacting, the actor can then bring the character to life, in the moment, in a spontaneous way.

Vulnerability, for example is an expression of the emotion of insecurity. It’s one thing for an actor to understand that and work with it. But, if they have strongly developed other aspects of their instrument, such as physical expression and empathy, they will be able to present an authentic, vulnerable character. After all, vulnerability can be expressed through tears, or smashing something to pieces or just walking through a park. There is no predictable, safe way to do this.

Acting is not pretending to have an emotion. However, acting is not simply reciting words using certain inflections and gestures to communicate emotions. As Sanford Meisner always said, Acting is DOING. Being in the moment, and opening up completely to whatever emotions the character might present to you is the secret of great acting. This may feel risky at first. Great actors do not force themselves to cry. What they feel is genuine, and the results can range from crying and screaming to sitting perfectly still to express an emotion. Acting students who have developed a deep capacity of raw, true human experience that can express it using all aspects of the instrument are the ones that learn the most about the craft. Give yourself permission to feel fully and strongly, and express it in ways that are physical, intelligent empathetic and real.

The Maggie Flanigan Studio provides training for serious actors committed to improving their craft. Find out more about meisner acting in nyc by reading this article about acting classes by visiting the studio website.

Sensory Expression and The Actors Instrument – Acting Classes in NYC

May 13, 2012 · Posted in Education · Comment 

By studying the Meisner Technique, actors have a chance to explore the concept of the actors instrument. The instrument analogy can be helpful when breaking down all the various aspects that can determine how good an actor is. As an audience member, it becomes apparent very quickly who the good actors in a piece are or who might be falling short. They don’t need a great deal of theatre going experience to sense when the acting is fantastic. If this is the case, it is likely that the actors instrument is just not well developed.

The actors instrument as six general categories. The aspects of the instrument include sensory expression, emotional, empathy, intelligence and sensory and physical expression. These six aspects of the actors instrument are identified and developed when studying the Meisner Technique. Many actors have mastered many of the six aspects of their instrument and audiences can identify with and respond to those the most. Legendary actors are those that have mastered all six.

Sylvester Stallone is a physical actor who commands attention simply because of his physical presence onscreen. Stallone is certainly able to express emotionally, but overall his most powerful tool onscreen is his physical expression. For Stallone, emotion is an internal process but it is reflected in a very physical way. Actors must focus and learn about all the aspects of the acting instrument, which will help them be diverse and capable of many types of roles.

Actors often focus mainly on emotional expression, thinking it to be the most important. Obsessing about how a character feels about something and how to express it is usually the primary thing actors concentrate on. While it can be short sighted to put too much weight on any one aspect of the actors instrument, emotional expression is certainly a key acting tool to master. Each of the six aspects need to be studied and mastered so that they can all work together.

Of course, it is meaningful emotional expression that draws people into any character or story. Emotional expression is they way that the internal aspects of a character’s conflicts, needs, and feelings are expressed. Meisner acting in nyc is very popular, and these actors work hard to develop an emotional composite of a character, which they in turn, figure out how to express using the other aspects of the instrument. Students of Meisner acting must study the range of human emotions in all their complexity. They work hard to create a foundation of human emotion and way of communicating based on real people and fictional characters. Specific characters can be created by delving very deep into the imagination and using the “library” of human behavior they have created. Having created a full emotional life and a foundation of behaviors, thoughts and ways of reacting, the actor can then bring the character to life, in the moment, in a spontaneous way.

Just as an example, vulnerability can express many characteristics, from innocence to deep insecurity. It’s one thing for an actor to understand that and work with it. If the actor has also worked hard to develop other aspects of the instrument, such as imagination, sensory expression and intelligence, the complexity of emotions will be there. After all, vulnerability can be expressed through tears, or smashing something to pieces or just walking through a park. These are very nuanced yet, essential things to study.

One common myth is that acting is pretending to have certain emotions. Acting is not “emoting,” by injecting emotion into a script. As Sanford Meisner always said, Acting is DOING. Being in the moment, and opening up completely to whatever emotions the character might present to you is the secret of great acting. This may feel risky at first. Legendary actors do not force themselves to show emotion. There are genuine emotions in their performances, often unpredictable ones that appear as they work as character. This process requires that an actor develop the capacity to create and feel true sensations, and then express that through all channels of their instrument. Actors must give themselves permission to feel strong emotions, and express them (or not, if the role requires it) in physical, intelligent, empathetic ways.

The Maggie Flanigan Studio provides training for serious actors committed to improving their craft. Find out more about meisner acting in nyc by reading this article about acting instrument by visiting the studio website.