Monday, May 3, 2010
1. Know Your Material
If you are given the sides in advance – prepare them! Use the methods you have studied in your acting classes to analyze the script. (Every actor beginner or professional should always be enrolled in acting classes to keep their craft sharp!) If the audition is a cold reading then take the time you need to make sure you have the scene(s) down. Don’t go in until you are ready. Either way you should be extremely familiar with your lines and situations so your head isn’t buried in the script.
2. Know WHO You Are Auditioning For
When you get an audition one of the very first things you should do is some research! Look up who the major players (the director, casting director, writer and producers) are. See what else they have done - you are likely to get a better feel for the project and what they might be looking for.
3. Know WHAT You Are Auditioning For
Or, in other words, know the genre. Each genre requires a different style of acting, and knowing whether you are auditioning for a sitcom, a single camera comedy, a drama, etc can help immensely.
The “industry” is a business and you should treat it that way! Always be on time. (Yes, even in LA you have to be punctual. Factor in plenty of time for traffic even if there might not be any.) Be respectful to your auditioners and your fellow actors. Dress appropriately… even if you are dressing the part. Have a crisp clean copy of your headshot and resume, not a wrinkly unstapled one. Nothing says “Beware - Don’t hire me!” more than a rude, sloppy actor.
5. Nail your Slate
Finally, first impressions are so important. And your first on-camera impression is the slate. Don’t fidget or look at your script or play with your hair or pick your nose (trust me I have seen all of these and worse!). Make sure to portray confidence, affability, professional and personality! And SMILE!
Friday, October 23, 2009
We've recently opened up EEAS San Francisco Bay Area where I will be coaching and teaching classes approximately twice a month!
And we've also launched WebCam Coaching so that actors all over the world can get Hollywood acting coaching right in their own home!
But no excuses - the blog must go on! And starting shortly I should be back on track with weekly posts!
As you may know, my mission for this blog is to teach acting for film and television through film and television! I believe a great way to learn about acting and to strengthen one's own acting abilities is to watch and study the performances of others. In each post I take a look at a performance in a film or television series and discuss it. And as I start up again I will continue in this fashion, but I also want to hear from you! Is there any particular series or movie you would like to discuss? Any particular actor or performance you want breakdown and analyze? If so please let me know! You can post to the blog, or you can always contact me through the website www.elisaeliot.com or email me at email@example.com!
Looking forward to hearing from you all soon!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
But this is not always the case. Take for instance Happy-Go-Lucky the award-winning film written and directed by Mike Leigh. Happy-Go-Lucky chronicles a few weeks in the utterly optimistic life of elementary school teacher Poppy played by actress Sally Hawkins who won the golden globe for best actress in a comedy for her performance in the film. This movie isn’t typical in many ways, but from an acting perspective we see a very unique difference: our protagonist doesn't change! At the start of the film we see a Poppy who is happy, centered, silly, confident, light-hearted, caring, and adventurous, and at the end of the film we see a Poppy who is happy, centered, silly, confident, light-hearted, caring, and adventurous. So plotting a character arc probably isn't your best option for a role like this. We see that our protagonist doesn't go through any profound changes in the film, but if nothing changes in the entire story then it definitely wouldn't be interesting! So where are the changes? Looking closer at Happy-Go-Lucky we find that Poppy may not change but the characters around her certainly do. I believe the answer to analyzing a character like Poppy then lies not in plotting her changes over the course of the film, but by plotting the ways she affects change in the other characters over the course of the film. Take for example her relationship with her disgruntled driving instructor Scott (played by Eddie Marsan). At first he sits rigidly in the driver seat militantly instructing Poppy on proper driving etiquette. Unyielding and austere, he is disturbed by almost everything about Poppy, particularly her completely "inappropriate" high heeled boots. But over the course of the film we find that he has secretly grown to like, even lust after Poppy. And in the, end when he realizes that she does not reciprocate his affections, he breaks out of his rigid shell and goes ballistic. Not exactly the same Scott we saw at the start of the film! But Scott, though certainly the most obvious, is not the only person changed by Poppy's presence in this film. We also she how she affects her roommate Zoe (Alexis Zegerman), her two younger sisters, a troubled young student in her elementary school class, and even the handsome school social worker Tim (Samuel Roukin). So don't be daunted by a role that isn't standard - see if your character changes over the course of the script, and if not, look at the way your character affects the other characters in the script and I bet you will find some interesting inklings to start you off!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Ghost Town stars the lovable, hate-able, hysterical Ricky Gervais. Gervais is best known for his single camera comedies The Office (the original BBC version) and Extras. As in Gervais’ performances, many actors make comedy seem effortless, but it is one of the most precise, detail oriented and unforgiving styles of acting. Comedic acting takes into account many things: timing, hitting the joke, physicality, characterization, to list a few. Of course we have to give credit to the writers for creating comedic scripts, because without funny lines we wouldn’t have funny actors. But one of the most important aspects of comedy is often easily overlooked because it is not necessarily written into the script. And that aspect of comedy is REACTING. Of course all styles of acting are about listening as much as they are about delivering the lines, but in comedy our reactions often act as a final punch line or even the joke itself. For example, take a look at the comedy of actor Rowan Atkinson. The entire premise the show Mr. Bean is Atkinson’s crazy comic reactions. Mr. Bean often doesn’t have any lines at all! Gervais is also an exceptional reactor. And we certainly see proof of this in his role as the sour, snippy dentist Bertram Pincus D.D.S. in Ghost Town. In this case I think pictures might speak more to the point than words. Take a look at these:
As we can see in these stills from Ghost Town, Gervais excels at unique, uninhibited, quirky, funny reactions. And, as I am sure you can guess, his reactions add tremendously to the comedy of the film. But looking at these stills out of context doesn't address one important fact: simply making funny faces is not reacting. Making funny facial expressions for the sake of it isn't a good idea, and often when actors do this they comes across as over acting. The reactions have to be in response to something and they have to be true to the character. In Ghost Town, the character Dr. Bertram Pincus definitely would sneer, scowl, snort, snip, scoff, mock, humph, guffaw and occasionally smile. So as we see in the film, Gervias isn't just over acting, he's reacting. And that's why this comedy is definitely something to laugh about! What do you think of Ricky Gervais? Let us know in the poll to the right. For more info on Elisa Eliot and Elisa Eliot's Acting Studio please visit www.elisaeliot.com.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Now check out the poll to the right to let us know what you think about type-casting! For more info on Elisa Eliot and Elisa Eliot's Acting Studio please visit www.elisaeliot.com.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Now check out the poll to the right to cast your vote for Chris Cooper in Breach!
For more info on Elisa Eliot and Elisa Eliot's Acting Studio please visit www.elisaeliot.com.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Last night I found myself watching the movie Never Back Down . (Let's be honest here, my guy made me watch it.) And you guessed it, NBD is no Academy Award nominee. The best way I can describe this film is The OC meets Fight Club. So yes, it isn’t the greatest film ever, but I still think we can learn a thing or two from it. Wonderful actor Djimon Hounsou (know best for his performances in Amistad, In America, and Blood Diamond) makes an unlikely appearance (or rather an interesting career choice) as Jean Roqua the gym owner and fight coach to bad boy Jake Tyler played by actor Sean Faris. Roqua owns the 365 Gym, a gym that is open every day of the year, and soon we find out he also lives there. Hmmmm… Why does this man never leave his gym? Why does he live in his gym? Does he love his job coaching mixed martial arts that much? No, obviously. Clearly Jean Roqua is living with a secret, a past life, something. And that’s what I want to talk about - secrets. Giving your character a secret (even if it isn’t written in the script) is a great way to create depth and back story. It also makes the audience want to learn more about your character. What are you hiding? Why are you hiding it? Think about it in real life; when you have a secret, people are more attracted to you, they want to find out more about you and what your are concealing. People can’t let a secret go, they feel compelled to discover the truth. This is how Hounsou’s character makes us feel throughout the film - compelled to find out why he is the way he is. We want to know more. But unfortunately all Hounsou's realism and beautiful acting is ruined in the end because of a sappy and contrived speech where he spills everything. Sometimes the secret just isn’t that great. But up until that point he has us captivated. Now check out the poll to the right and let us know what you think of NBD!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Now check out the poll to the right to cast your vote for The Tudors!
For more info on Elisa Eliot and Elisa Eliot's Acting Studio please visit www.elisaeliot.com.
Some of the most popular methods I teach are:
Stanislavski · Method Acting · Chekhov · Meissner · Classical Technique · Viewpoints · Stella Adler · Alexander Technique · Brechtian Concepts
Out of this diverse training, I developed the method that I use and teach called Modern Thought®. I believe that no actor can be confined to just one of these older methods in today’s acting world; and that is the core idea of Modern Thought - it blends old methods with the tools needed to succeed in today's Hollywood. These disciplines all work well to capture the essence of a role and bring out powerful emotions but each actor learns and works differently and can benefit from slices of each. My method teaches a blend of all these methods tuned to my student’s specific needs and learning style. I like to help find what makes you unique and to explore which ways of thinking work best for you.
I am starting a blog because I believe a great way to learn about acting and to strengthen one's own acting abilities is to watch and study the performances of others. In each post I will take a look at a performance in a film or television series and discuss it. Also, feel free to post questions and comments! Enjoy!