Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What is the "Method", and why should I stay away from it?

What is the "Method", and why should I stay away from it?

There are many forms of acting “technique”.

A technique is a way or means of doing something.

In the case of acting the person doing it is meant to pretend that he or she is a character and assume that character’s identity and portray that identity on screen or stage. That is the actual product an actor is achieving, the creation of a believable situation to the audience.

The means to get there is the technique the actor uses.

The “Method” is a specific technique. I have personally never taken nor taught the Method, so bear with me in that I can only share the limited experience I have had with it. The Method is a technique that uses past experience in order to cause the actor to “find” his emotion in the scene. This can be bad for two reasons:1. If you have no past experience to draw upon you’re up a creek 2. If your past experience causes you a great deal of emotional pain you have opened a wound which could sting long after the scene is over.

I have heard of people giving up acting because it was “too painful”. The Method could be part of that.

I did some career counseling with a lovely actress not long ago. She was on the show the Ghost Whisperer, she had to cry for 8 hours on and off for every take. There was another girl in the scene who dried up and could no longer cry. The other was practicing the Method, whereas the girl I was counseling had done some scene study and was using her imagination. She never dried up in 8 hours of crying!

Why? Because when someone has a terrible thing happen to them they go through various emotions and eventually those emotions go further up scale from grief up to cheerfulness, in other words, you eventually lose the tears. However, imagination is endless, one doesn’t run out of emotion because imagination goes on forever and has nothing to do with real emotion. As an actor you get to pretend the tears, the sorrow, the joy etc. for as long as you decide!

Make sense?

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