Saturday, September 30, 2006

Emotions as 'Inner Muscles'

Fellings are the body at work. "I feel like this"; "I feel like that": they are statements of physical sensations. As such emotions can be thought of as the inner musculature of the human system. Everyone has them. Think of this way: I have as many muscles as Governor Arrnold S; only his are more developed. The chore of an actor is to work inner muscles; to be in inner physical shape so when it is time to exhibit our muscles/emotion in a performance, we will be "buff", as they say. Arnold got that way through hard work at the gym. Should a good actor work out his muscles any less? Not is he/she wants to be Mr. or Ms. Universe...or a "star" in acting equivalence.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Death of "Death of a Salesman"

Sad but necessary. I have decided not to do "Death of a Salesman".

"Passion-to-Form": An Acting Point of View

In the early stages of an actor's career, passion should often be wasted; which means organizing emotions/passions into form should be emphasized only sporadically.

Youth is necessarily profligate.

Young actors should learn to say something (a lot) first; only then edit. A young actor should not be overly concerned with the precise aesthetic packaging of their expressed emotional truth. They should not excessively constrain themselves within narrow bounds of movement, voice, body, staging, etc. Over-disciplining an acting instrument too early in a career will dampen--if not kill--the power of passion. Watch young boxers--even those who eventually achieve greatness; they inevitably flail and waste energy in the early stages (bouts). They swing wildly and move excessively. Their good trainers/managers expect this; and most importantly, they avoid overly inhibiting the passion to fight in their young charges. In fact they seek a boxer's passion above all. Only later, as the young boxers gain experience with pressure-packed (passion-filled) situations, only then do managers/trainers demand and expect severe form: the techniques of how to 'slip punches, shorten the distance of their punches thrown, gracefully maneuver their bodies around a ring, etc.

So, actors (and their teachers/trainers): actors should first be encouraged to drill inner wells of emotion, let their passion be tapped into first, let the emotional oil gush, perhaps even to the point of blackening the landscape...and then...and only then...cap that energy source and have them pump it out in precisely desired quantities.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Nice Comment From a Peer

"Great tips!"

los angeles acting school

--Posted by A Los Angeles Acting School to Cliff Osmond on Acting at 9/03/2006 06:47:50 PM

A Nice Letter From A Former, Former, Former Student

"Wow, I just found you on the internet and am so happy to see you are still teaching. I attended your San Francisco scene study classes for years in the the 1990's. Then I married, took a 3 year RV trip across N. America, settled in Oregon, gave birth to identical twins and moved my elderly parents in with us. Needless to say, acting has been on hold for me until recently.

"I made it to The Young and the Restless! Yes, my dream of acting on a soap opera came true last year. I had a small part but I loved it and am looking forward to more. I was nervous at first but I found myself remembering things you had said [Italics mine]. I worked very hard on my character before arriving at the studio and it paid off. Even though it had been years since my last acting scene, I found the life experiences I had since seemed to enhance my creativity and so much of what you had said finally clicked for me. For example, I remember you saying that once you are in the scene, you put your character bio aside [Italics mine]. I was a bit confused about that but realized on YNR that yes, my scene will be different depending on the choices I have made for my does she love or hate her sister, is the family happy about her new baby and so forth. And I don't have to be thinking about all that during my scene as I am that character at that time and know her so well [Italics mine]...."

Glad to have been of help!... and after all these years!!!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Self and Character

Acting a character with emotional insight can be seen as a four-step process:
(1) Understanding the character in yourself;
(2) Accepting the character in yourself;
(3) Enjoying the character in yourself;
(4) Sharing the character in yourself.

A Note from Jake Billingsley

"Hi Cliff,Your workshop [in Dallas] helped me get a commercial for Chick-Fil-A. You told us: '...make the part your own.' I did. I auditioned the way I thought the part should be played. While the director had a different idea than I did about the part, I followed my intuition and played the part the way I thought it should be played. He liked my interpretation...Interesting stuff you gave us in that workshop.Thanks Cliff. Just wanted you to know.


"Thanks, Jake. And congratulations."

Apologies For My Disappearance

Six weeks later. I am back.

For those of you who might been following my blog and might have missed me and my notes since July 20th, I apologize...but I was gone in 'actor-land' myself: I am preparing to do a play in Los Angeles in October...and have been swamped with the casting sessions and learning lines. The play is "Death of a Salesman". I am playing Willy Loman and he does nothing but talk throughout the play! Feel sorry for me, or envy me...or both. The play opens October 21st at the Oddysey Theater in West LA, and runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday matinee running until December 3rd.

During rehearsal and performanceI intend to continue to write blog-notes...but if I disappear will know where I have gone.

Thanks for staying with me.