Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cause And Effect

Aim your stick, not the cue ball.

Gemine Lentine
Direct the play, not the players.

Dana Bate
Hello Sandy
I wonder how many things don't get done or get done in a slip shod and sloppy manner because the doer started out with the wrong idea. There is a tendency among otherwise intelligent people to ga after an effect rather than investigating and performing the cause that brings on the effect.

Think of an aspiring rock guitarist who wants to sound like Eric Clapton. He listens to Clapton records and does his best to mimic what he hears. And maybe he does well at mimicry, but in the meantime he hasn't really learned how to play the guitar, which if he did could come up with his own sound and wouldn't have to imitate anyone.

I have auditioned with actors who had a perfectly fine speaking voice but as soon as they were presented with a script started to sound like Marlon Brando. And some women wanted to be Katherine Hepburn.

I had the unfortunate experience one hour of performing a scene for an NYU Film School directing class. I don't know if the teacher was just playing a stupid game with the class or if he really didn't know what he was talking about. I tend to think it was the latter, And the reason I think so is that I have worked with young folks fresh out of a school somewhere who have wrong and useless ideas which they learned and have to unlearn quickly if they wish to keep working..

An actor makes a choice based on his understanding of the play and the character. He acts on that choice. If a good director doesn't see and hear what he wants he will ask for a different choice, or suggest one, if he has the imagination for it. A bad director will criticize the performing of the scene without knowing the choice, which causes a lot if misunderstanding and wastes a lot of time. Going for effect instead of cause is a big mistake. Some people won't learn that lesson.

There's a story my own director/teacher told me about his teacher, Maria Ouspenskaya. She was working on a scene with an actor and the director was giving her a lot of confusing notes. Finally she said "Do I want him, or don't I want him?" The director said "You want him." "OK" she said and played the scene the way the director wanted.

We should never be blamed for missing the target. We should only be blamed for not aiming at it.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up


pacifica62 said...

One reason why I hate those stupid singing shows they have on TV these days. They all mimic someone else and not one of them is original. Anybody can be a parrot if that is all you aspire to be. I expect the same situation exists with acting as well.

Ken Riches said...

Love the pool analogy. I am a pretty good player, and it is all about the stick, but the key is knowing where to point it...

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