Choosing Meaning in Acting
Choosing Meaning for acting is important selection of Emotional Preparations actors do towards a scene. For the serious actor it does take time to determine what meaning they will choose to work from. Your own personal emotion will be added into the interaction of your acting. Your Choice to determine which emotion you will spark means everything for your acting scene. Making a Meaningful Choice can provide the Actor with incredible emotional life in their acting.
Your Acting means your choice.
You choose your Meaning behind your scene and match your Emotional Preparation to your scene. When you activate your emotion you leap from your Emotional Preparation into receiving the other actor. The deeper of a habit you can make in your acting technique into receiving the other actor the more of your talent will flow into interaction within your scene.
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Some Top Quotes of this Acting Article:
“Accessing yourself is the master key to Acting.”
“Experiencing what you fear may open you up to what you need to experience.”
“Capable of expressing that meaning and it is within your available range of expression.”
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Emotional Preparation Technique Chapter Five
Chapter Five is part of Simon Blake Acting Book Writings.
Utilize yourself by Finding your own Talent!
Find your own Emotion.
Learn Emotional Preparation Techniques to put your Emotions into your Acting.
Copyright 2018, Simon Blake
Emotional Technique Confessionary Preparation
Confessionary Preparation is one way to do the Choosing of Meaning in Acting.
Technique 3: Confessionary Preparations
Personal Independent Emotional Preparation (Personal Sheep, Personal Secrets)
Key: You must believe within yourself that you have something to confess.
(Even if it is only your own belief and others may laugh at your belief.)
Is a confessionary preparation where you admit to what is actually inside of yourself? Confessing your sheep to yourself is an admission to acknowledge that you have that element inside of yourself. If you have any experience with an actual emotional life that is desired, you can often just confess yourself into the experiencing of that emotion.
Particular preparation based on your personal feelings of things that you are ashamed of, or have revealing feelings about. When you go into your own personal sheep you go into your own personal feelings which is different than using your past experience to enter into an emotional state.
You may know that you have a shame about your past of not being successful early enough which all you would need to do is allow yourself to fall into that space that you know you have the active emotion in.
The key to this preparation is based on your personal sheep. This is something that you have personal shame for or something that you personally have held personal to yourself. Doing the Choosing of Meanings in your acting takes finding your own emotions.
Technique is the ability to consistently find your talent.
You find something that you want to confess. You stimulate that desire to confess it then you focus on the other person during your acting. You do not confess what you want to confess.
You hold back your confession unless it might just spill out of you. You don’t want to express this confession because it is a personal confession that is possible that only you know.
Question: Do you feel any sensation once you confess over to having the Emotional quality in you?
Your goal is to activate a living thing that is inside of you and carry that living thing through the threshold into the acting work. This allows what is most personal to you to be used within the work while no one else knows what you were just confessing to.
Human admission is a great motivator to ability getting things off your chest and into your work. Surrending yourself over to admitting can trigger the emotional life of the Actor to further realizations that are internal.
Internal realizations will occur when the Actor works in a way that does not close their vulnerability to the sensations they felt during Emotional Preparation. Keeping the vulnerability open until at least the first moment of contact with your acting partner or acting circumstances is the key to having the acting elements interact with the Emotional Preparation. It is critical to hold the vulnerability and emotionality of what was really activated in Emotional Preparation until it becomes an exchanged quality within the acting work.
Your acting partner in your classwork or scene will pick up qualities that are really occurring in you as you work off of them. You will also notice things about your partner. The interaction will be influenced by the Emotional Preparation, but the Emotional Preparation will not influence you to not notice your partners behavior. Occasionally, very intense emotions may temporarily blind an Actor from seeing or working off the person that they are in the acting exercise or scene with, but this is rare.
Taking your attention that was placed on yourself during Emotional Preparation and putting your attention on the other person in your acting exercise can be difficult.
The hard thing not to do is mentally anticipate that the other knows something or act like they do if it does not come off of their behavior. If you are emotionally wondering if the other knows or sees what you are experiencing allow their behavior to answer that question.
If your partners behavior leads your anticipation, then that is a great but if your anticipation come from your thinking instead of instincts than you need to drop your Emotional Preparation and just work off your partner. What will likely happen is that as you have forgotten your Emotional Preparation your partner will notice it.
Trusting the subtleness of your Emotional Preparation takes time and patience. If you had an experience during Emotional Preparation, it would color your work and influence you in Suttle ways during your acting classwork or scene. Mentally assuming that the other knows your internal experience of Emotional Preparation because you know it is a mistake of taking for granted a situation. Allow the other to confirm or deny your instincts of each other and you will ride the lines between the extremes.
You will have the Emotional Preparation pepper into the work that you do in surprising ways and be able to learn more about how to activate your own instinct, which is what Emotional Preparation is.
The Difficulty of Choosing Meaning in acting takes guts.
You cannot confess to what you do not believe that you have done wrong.
Examples: 3 examples:
OR? _ Make 4 examples each
40 examples first 10 exercises plus addition one or two examples.
Plus 5 exercises, = +20
Add another 8 examples
68 examples.. 12 students -14 students on the roaster.
ADD: JOURNAL MATERIAL
Atleast 30 places throughout book – 100 words each
Adds 8-9 pages
About 290 -320 (including Indexes) pages at 350 words/page.
Possible add Journal of each student, how they individually struggle with and overcame aspects of it.
Remember clearly your personal secret .
Activate your personal secret by desiring it.
Let go of Self stimulating that personal secret.
Put your attention on something within the acting work.
Your acting partner may not know your personal sheep or secret but that does not mean that you at times may believe that they know parts of your secret. Your partners behavior to your perception may seem to you that they already know what you have just refreshed within yourself. This reality of your partner maybe knowing your secret is partly because of how tight your partner may be working off of you in your acting work.
Example: What becomes apparent to Sandra early on when working with Emotional Preparation is that there is no pretending. The imagination actually gets activated as real time occurances happen. This is a freightfull realization to her while working with Secrets.
Sandra comes from a background that taught her how to bide her time enough to be able to create moments during scenes happenings. In this technique using Emotional Preparation the heightened reality turns her stomach at times and does not leave her any time to fake anything. Before in her acting she was always able to calculate the amount of braveness that she was approaching in the scene.
Sandra writes in her journal: When using Emotional Preparation, I start the scene usually in an upset state. My upsetness doesn’t interfere with taking in my acting partner or observing them with my opinions, but it does interfere with any chance that I could fake anything. I hope that I can get used to that because it is so scary. I cannot rely on anything planned to work at the beginning of the scene.
The teacher keeps telling me to fall into the “surprise of the event happening.” Who knew that acting could be such an actually real experience? I used my personal secret as Emotional Preparation and I wasn’t acting about anything. It was all real. How I really felt about the secret about to be revealed came out completely.
My entire acting experience became this surreal thing.
The teacher kept encouraging her towards the surreal experiences that she was having in her work because they had the gripping reality of real life. Her intellect no longer filtered her work when she used Personal secrets as Emotional Preparation. There was no longer character, the secret in the scene was her own. Making the secret her own made the imaginary circumstances reality an automatic reality to her. The work that she did on the single element made the circumstances completely real. By doing the work of Choosing of Meanings in your acting, you can better select your Actor Preparations.
The student at first thought because the teacher was encouraging her own surreal experience that the teacher was trying to get too personal. Later the student discovered that the teacher was helping them to understand themselves and their own instinctual impulses better. It was a challenge to be so honest with yourself as a student to admit that you felt bad about certain areas of your life.
Personal Secrets taught her more how to utilize all types of Emotional Preparation. The personalizing of of Personal Secrets in Emotional Preparation catapulted the experiencing within her work.
Taking in the surprise of the event happening gave her a choice to either believe or not believe in her preparation. She gave over to believing in her preparation which encapsulated her in an experience that she was forced to live in in order to have a chance to work out of.
The keys are incredible truly submerging yourself in the imaginary circumstances. In real acting the acting comes last in the work, not first. When there is connection there can be moments that build upon each other. When there is performance that is not connected to an internal element the acting out can literally cut
Choosing Meaning is part of the art of acting.
Key: Must be able to express the meaning that you choose.
Choosing to express a meaning is actually choosing to expose something that has meaning to you. This focus does not perform your intellectual understanding of your own meaning. This focus is a bringing down of personal defenses to avail yourself open to the meaning however it manifests in your acting work. The vulnerability of exposing your meaning is often the active ingredient that continues to awaken you in different ways in your acting.
Choosing a meaning that you do not have expressions for is an early mistake of many Actors. You are not choosing meaning based off of having something ready to perform in front of the audience or another person. You are choosing meaning that reveals your humanity to others you work with.
You can only have expressions for what tingles you internally. Confessing an honesty to the internal desires of the meaning is so much different than upholding the integrity of public image. Sometimes images of self that we regard as truthful do not reveal who we are as human beings.
The grand idea of a meaning does not mean a human expression is guaranteed. Revealing yourself in a vulnerable way that you give into your meaning will insure you have a human experience. Focus on what you are capable of expressing, regardless of its simplicity. The simplest concepts usually can have the most activating qualities.
The most activating qualities are the times when you give into the admission of exposure to what the meaning actually internally stimulates. To not hide the embarrassments or titillations within your acting work is too honest you’re meaning in truth. Abandoning fiction that hides or disregards actual stimulations will assist your human experiencing.
Whatever is active in you guarantees authentic expression. You do not need to identify all of what a meaning is to you in order to utilize it. You need to allow the activation of it internally to exist without filtering it or fiddling with your own experience. It may take time to learn to experience without interfering with your own emotional flow. Often times an active meaning within you lacks a logical explanation before its expression occurs.
Students who search to quantify a logical explanation for what they are feeling internally before allowing it in their work often block what they are sensing. Blocking what your sensations are will only abandon you from the experience. Regardless of your intellectual quantification allow whatever you are stimulated by to be used in your work, unfiltered, when possible.
The choice of meaning means that you are capable of expressing that meaning and it is within your available range of expression. There is an enormous difference between expressing yourself and understanding your expressions.
Example: Being logical that she will not allow her acting to be expressive unless she has already planned her own emoting.
This example is obvious to many who work with improvisational techniques. She is limiting her own talent so much by strangling it with her own logic and mindset. Whatever she cannot do in front of a mirror planning and knowing what she looks like she will not trust.
She has the idea in her mind that Professional Actors know what they are doing when they are acting. She has the ideas in her mind that all expressions are practiced before being put into professional acting scenes. (Another person?)
She is the type of actress that comes from college training academia. Now that she is joining this instinctual technique it will be quite a journey for her.
= Her second example – letting go and into the experience.
Sensations like she is floating, also in an alternate environment.
Teacher teaches her that is what an imaginary circumstances can feel like.
- Check – matching the meaning to the purpose. –
- Add example – not allowing yourself to be influenced because you have an emotional preparatoin implanted in you – is wrong — !!
The Inability to Express:
Once you are able to express yourself without filtering your expressions logically you can start to experience your acting rather than quantifying it. Experience is King in acting. Nothing trumps experience in acting. Real interactions will always expand experience. Often times comedic levity in acting will only work to increase the having of the experience because it loosens the actor’s mentality to let go of their own logic and just be in an experience.
Lesson: Acting is the active life of experience. You cannot act what you do not have actively alive within you.
Example: John has an anger towards his estranged father. He has joined acting classes to really express himself. He decides to bite the bullet and really bring in the meaning of his feelings about his estranged father.
He gets into the work of the scene, and he can’t express it. Nothing comes out that is of particular interest. He thought that he would be angry in the scene and go mad but that doesn’t happen.
The reality is that he can’t express it. It is not a workable emotional meaning that he is skilled at enough at this point to try to include in his work.
John’s classwork is flat. There are very few expressions and impulses in his work. The teacher says to John “You need to find an active meaning inside of you”. “Doing the work of Choosing of Meanings and weighing them out.”
This really confuses John. John was an abandoned kid with an estranged father. What John doesn’t know how to do yet is Emotional Preparation. John does not know how to stimulate himself internally to make alive what is likely inside of him.
This is a common happening in acting classes across the globe. Just because you have real life experience in something does not mean that you know the ability of how to stimulate it and activate it in your acting work.
Emotional Preparation is the learning of the techniques to bring alive within you both real and fictitiously based circumstances alive and then live out the fictitious imaginary circumstances of the acting world.
(Unless he needs to be in the specific state according to the script writer of being in this foundry than he is actually outside of his own abilities. )
For classwork and his own human growth as an Actor he would be better to stay within his emotional range then activate something that he does not have the ability to really interact with while being stimulated by it.
The intensity of the emotional life will block the interaction between himself communicating with another in a scene. If the author or scene does not dictate this circumstance than John would be better to stay connected more to his partner and learn from interacting rather than isolation.
Example Part B: The teacher tells John to remember something recent about a trouble that he had this past week. John works with that ingredient and finds that he has impulses and an aliveness with a lot of expression in his work.
The difference is in the ingredients. In time John will learn techniques of Emotional Preparation and how to stimulate past real life circumstances. He will also learn to use imaginary stimulation that actually activate him internally.
For now he will need to stay with what he is really feeling alive about.
Emotional meanings that you are unable to speak because of their intensities present challenges of limiting your human interaction. The actor’s bread and butter on stage or film is their human interaction. Blinding yourself from not being able to interact due to an intensity of emotion must be highly chosen based on the material.
Being familiar with what the meaning is does not affect whether or not you will be spontaneous with the material. Many Actors pick larger and grander meanings than they can actually identify with because they think that they are going to be gifting their spontaneity by doing so. The life of Spontaneity is most active when you are in freedom to react and interact. You will have more spontaneity with materials that you are more familiar with than less familiar with. That is a big key to choosing materials. The Choosing of Meanings is such a key component.
Spontaneity does not equal intense preparation.
Description: Julia wants to be an expressive actress/actor. Her intense life background of travelling all over before the age of 10 gives her a real gumption to go for things. This gumption has really become part of herself. It also makes her tend towards extreme life circumstances without being conscious of it.
She seldom likes to stay in one place at a time, she is always curious and inquisitive.
She leaps into a scary experience that she had while travelling in Greece. The intense experience almost led to her being kidnapped as a child. In her mind she can remember being grabbed and attempted to be pulled into a van.
She does what she thinks she understands about Emotional Preparation, yet her work does not reflect an actual experience. Her work reflects representing an idea. She stands facing her scene partner assuming that they know that she should be in a terrified state.
To the onlooker either the emotional life was not active in her or she was petrified internally from what she remembered. Either way it left her expressionless. We know it was not based on emotional life because her impulses did not reflect fright but instead an ideal. Her behavior although the idea was clear in her mind did not produce anything that was instinctual to her intended emotional ballpark.
This exercise could have gone the other way and her fright of emotion could have blinded her from being able to express it. The fear may be beneath the expecting intellectual response, but intensity of the Emotional Preparation did not catch something impulsive within her.
As we learn about Emotional Preparation we will discover that even at the most still points there will be impulses of emotional reaction. If there is not in many cases it will be either too deep of an experience to stimulate or it will be an intellectual pursuit that is trying to be achieved.
If Julie works with meanings that stimulate her rather than working from intellectual pursuits she will achieve better and more spontaneous results in her acting. Learning Emotional Preparation has a lot to do with learning the difference between emotional stimulation and mental stimulation.
Example: Bernie gets serious and takes classes very seriously. He is always searching for meaning and trying to explore what has meaning to him. This exploration is really improving his humanity and expanding him as an artistic actor.
The teacher tells him to go outside the studio and Emotionally Prepare. He activates within himself a very stimulated anger. He has the wrath of God in his eyes.
The teacher and the classroom wait for 15 minutes, and he has still not come in or engaged in the work. After 30 minutes pass the teacher goes outside to check on what is taking him so long. Bernie is nowhere to be seen.
The next day Bernie comes into the classroom and the teacher asks him what happened? Where did you go? Bernie sputters out of his mouth that he was so angry that he couldn’t take it anymore. “I knew that all I wanted to do would be to strangle the other actor, so I took off. After some time had passed, I took the bus home. On the bus I kept flirting with this guy’s girlfriend in front of him hoping that he would pick a fight with me so I could release some of the anger I felt”
Bernie knew that all he wants to do is strangle the other student but he knew he can’t. The imaginary circumstances he did not dare enter because he was afraid of how he would behave.
He cannot carry the anger that he has prepared on into the imaginary circumstances and use it in any way at all. He literally stopped his own acting work and left without telling anyone. He has gotten himself so upset and can’t use it.
- of restrictive Emotional Preparation that did not allow normal personality to function. All that was felt was acute anger.
Unless the scene calls for acute anger than you want to keep spontaneity in your work. The balance of learning to both prepare with an intent and to keep the spontaneity in the work is key. It is vital to the actor to learn this balance. This balance cannot be learned by being focused only on intentional upset.
Many Actors choose meanings and to work with meanings that are only so intense that they can barely function. This approach is limiting to their human growth within their acting experiences. It is the vitality of your acting experience to maintain the healthy spontaneous approach. Understanding that with a resonating intense emotional preparation you can achieve more because it is variant. Restrictive meanings that do not have given and take in their output restricts the actor.
Many times, Actors will rely on this restrictive intensity to keep them at a performance level in their acting. At first the experience during the first or second takes may seem to be real, but the fluidity is broken. In actuality, the takes will become identical to one another. The spontaneity being lost out of the work is a discredit to any skill of the actor.
** – Expand –
You are more likely to let go and have a playful interlude with something that you are familiar with than something that you have no idea about. Being familiar gives you more options to work with. Believing the opposite will only leave you with a limited approach to your work. If you are not familiar with the emotional range of what the meaning represents than you will likely only be able to express shock or surprise rather than a range of emotional components. Having a full orchestra available to you means that you are able to do the Choosing of Meanings in acting that you have a full range of expressions with.
Example of working without Meaning:
The work is alive and focus on the other person is easy to connect to observations.
- 2nd example: Free from – bored?
- Ability to connect with the other is not gripping or intense. It seems like there is less that the other person notices about you. Even working improvisationally you example
(We must understand the contrast of what it is like to work without prior emotional stimulation to understand what emotional stimulation does to us. Learning how it influences our work is the keys to discovering yourself as an actor. Learning your own influences is discovery of your own human growth.)
Meanings come with emotional intelligence, not logic. Emotional Preparation is the adding of meaning to your instinctual intelligence. Informing and waking up the aspects of yourself that is the alive feelings inside of you.
There is always an emotional component that wants to interplay with meaning. Without emotion meaning is a lifeless entity. Crafting meanings is the action of profession training.
When you craft meaning you want to craft openness, vulnerability and surprise. You want to allow as much activity as possible to attach to the meaning. At first when we are training, we are training for one emotional ballpark to specifically attached to the meaning. But as soon as we take the flight into the pathways of meaning now multiple things will begin to process at their own accord if we let go and stop watching the emotional ballpark that we selected.
The real trick to the trade is allowance and trusting that the emotional ballpark that we have ‘activated’ will attach to the closest meaning that it can, and it is an automatic process.
Example: Sarah had a great day when she returns home, she has a sick feeling. Emotionally she is sick, and she doesn’t know why. She gets a phone call from her boyfriend who says that he wants to take a time out and break up with her for a few months to really test their relationship. Sarah instantly believes that the reason why she was sick was because her intuition felt this was an onsetting condition and the meaning of why she is now sick is because of breakup sickness that she is now feeling.
In this example the meaning found her, and she did not have to find it. The meaning is a breakup with her close boyfriend. The sick feeling that she had to begin with is only part of her Woo’s once the news comes of the meaning.
The reality may be that her assumption is true that she intuitively knew but the part of the story that she did not tell you is that she was working a lot and waited on some tables that had a couple with the flu. The Meaning of her sickness and as soon as her sickness had a meaningful context, she very simply made the leap to her emotionally sickness of her intuition knowing ahead of time that things were not right with her boyfriend. The meaning of her feeling ill takes a whole new dimension. When Actors are emotionally sick, they often should do more Choosing of Meanings to expand their options to be more sensitive with themselves.
The result is that Sarah is now in internal contemplation about her relationship time spent with her now x boyfriend, which is an emotional thing now. Truth is that there is no way that Sarah can think about this topic either her being sick or the breakup phone call without being emotional. The sick feeling that she had prior to finding out her meaning is now taking on different forms. The more she contemplates the Meaning of her relationship and break up the freer the sick gut feeling is in her and it attaches to other emotions that also go with the meaning taking turns with other emotions.
More is being felt by Sarah now than ever before and she is not even thinking or feeling intentionally any emotions on purpose. Sarah is feeling far more than the original emotion that she was, and the meaning of the breakup is making her even sicker. She decides to go over to the xboyfriends house with the guitar that he had bought her for her last birthday and give it back to him in an effort to rid herself of the sick feeling that she has from the breakup.
What is interesting is that Sarah never physically Ailes even though she was sick. Her sickness was just emotional and as soon as a Meaning was given to her, she immediately attached the meaning and feeling of sickness she had together and let free the emotion to focus on the meaning of the reason why she was emotionally ill.
Interestingly, when Sarah gave the boyfriend back the guitar the boyfriend saw how much she cared for him whether the emotion that he saw in her was there before his phone call to separate from her or not. This caused them to get back together and learn more about each and how deeply they actually felt for each other.
The Choosing of Meanings | Selecting ‘Meanings’:
Learning how to do the action of Choosing Meaning for acting is incredibly important. This is part of self-discovery for the Actor Preparation.
Instruction of How to Select Meanings
1.) Matching meanings that can exclude logic
When you match a Meaning with an emotion you want to have it be believable that the two would go together. The tighter the emotion with the meaning logically fits the less logic will be needed and used in the exercise you are delving into.
Some examples and preparations will need Explanations in order to have them make emotional or logical sense but the way the artist works is when it makes emotional sense it is good to work with. We know as Artists and Actors that if emotionally something is driven forward than their will be a logical meaning reflected in the end. If we focus on the cart (logic) before the horse (emotion/meaning) then we will forfeit our own chances of our talents coming fully into existence in our exercises, scene word, carvings or masterpieces.
2.) Choosing Personal Meanings that you relate to
Choosing Meanings that you can relate to, gifts you as an Artist the intimacy of having been close to something. The tighter the intimacy you have with the meaning you choose the more familiar you will be with that meaning. You can gain Intimate Personal Meaning by thoroughly understanding something or by thoroughly experiencing something. Choosing of Meanings in acting requires personal searching of self.
The Step of ‘Selecting a Meaning’ is the step of 1.) matching the emotion you are working with 2.) matching personal intimacy you desire.
This is the basics of selecting Meaning. You need to understand the aspects of what it is that you are connecting to. It is a logical but an emotionally logical step you are attempting to take. If you take this step well you will find yourself in an emotional state of consciousness, not just a state of logical presence.
The reality is that just by keeping the focus on your meaning whenever you’re entering a new situation your emotional life with the meaning will transfer into the new circumstances. Additionally, by keeping your focus on meaning whenever your mind wanders you will come right back to the purpose of the internal work and your internal emotional work will be reignited.
If you choose your meanings well may not even need a reasoning to be present where you are because it will be so self evident given your circumstances. Your emotions and meaning will be a self evident reality when cohesive.
Choosing Meaning is the crafting of not needing much of a Reason to be present in acting. What you need to be present in acting is an activated emotion. Both an activated emotion with your attention receiving the other actor will create success.
When doing or in an involvement your Choice of meaning will effect you because you have an activated emotion. In your artistic film work your activated emotion will create interaction in your acting. You will find out for yourself that if you match your Meaning and Emotion correctly it will lead your reasoning rather than having a reason that you need to follow with your emotion and meaning to make something happen that is scripted or to create the master art piece that is desired. You will find your passion in your work rather than having to take the logical approach to your passion.
Example 2: Mark, 36 Plumber /Student and Sally, 32 Business Owner/Student
Choosing to work with intellect:
Decisions about how you are going to be are not emotional stimulations. Intellect is the processor to emotion after the experience is able to gain hindsight. Intellectual decisions are not Emotional Preparations.
- Two examples of choosing to work with Intellect over meaning.
- One example of intellectual idea , and ?opinion that doesn’t have meaning.
If it has meaning it will return to you regardless of being in a new situation. Every authentic entrance into the imaginary circumstance is an entrance into a new situation. (*Expand —)
Example 2: Mark chooses a circumstance that he knows nothing about. Puts down into his work the belief that he is going to become a father. Mark has no idea what it is like to be on the cusp of being a new father or the nerves that it might entail. Mark considers his own Choosing of Meanings and options that can affect him.
What occurs is Mark setting up an Emotion and the Meaning and they both carry over, but the dynamic does not take off from internally inside of Mark very much because he really doesn’t know what type of nerves it would take to become a new father. Additionally, Mark had the idea of being a new father might be a creative enterprising idea, but he did not do the research to discover what it might be like to become a new father.
What is super interesting is that what Emotion he had activated did transfer over to the exercise and the Meaning did work as much as Mark had a talent for it. The lack of experience and the lack of research did not fill out completely but was still working for Mark as full as it possibly could. The technique made Mark’s work look professional but did not bring the fullness of what was possible.
If Mark would go back and do the normal research to discover for himself what it is like to become a new father and educated himself on what this reality is really like he would be able to utilize the technique to a fuller extent than he was able to.
Furthering this example: What is interesting is that Mark takes this technique into a rehearsal with Sally. Sally looks at Mark and instantly connects with him at the first moment of their scene rehearsal together. The look at Sally’s face brings out the pride of being and anticipating a child with Sally that only a new expecting father could appear like.
Sally’s truthful receiving of Mark brought out a new reality once the rehearsal came about and because Mark stayed with a technique that started him out with some emotion and a meaning the rest actually did fill itself in during the rehearsal.
The Director who is directing them saw the rehearsal and knew that Mark could have been ‘fuller’ to start his part of the process before the two met but once the Director saw them work it didn’t matter because through rehearsals the Director would gain the Actors the life experience that they missed in life or had not researched fully.
Preparing for Scenes
Preparing for Scenes?
??Designing Scene Preparations?
First things First
- Identify the Topics of the Scene.
- Identify the Prior Events of the Scene.
Question: Do you have a general Idea of what the Scene is about?
If you know the general topics than you can discover the details within your work with or without scripted materials.
General Scene Preparation does not need to be a complicated event. Scaling your preparations is a part of the artform of Acting. For some scenes you may not want to be as familiar with some topics than other topics. If you are a Doctor in the Acting scene you may need to know further evidence about the malnutrition of your patient or understand the medical details enough to be able to interact with them in the real time happening of the scene.
-Move to further down section in book after techniques are better learned. !
-For a scene -= matching to a scene .,
(Other example steps are for exercise work).
And/or The Private /Personal Preparation.
- In addition to all other techniques this still has to be remembered.
Traditional Emotional Preparation is:
Traditional Emotional Preparation: Preparation from a Prior Experience
Preparation from a Prior Experience.
The bread-and-butter reason why a technique needed to be developed for the Actor to gain the experience of a prior event that had occurred outside of the scene’s Real-Time Happenings. This technique spawned the teaching of Emotional Preparation from the teacher known to become Sanford Meisner.
Using Emotional Preparation to gain the life of what has just happened prior the Actor can arrive in a scene with a full preparation or a full experience from past. Anything that can be done by the Actor to the Actor before the scene or exercise work that brings in the prior experience to the Real-Time Circumstance is called Emotional Preparation in the Traditional terms.
The Choosing of Meanings in acting of using a Prior life experience is a brave thing that Actors can achieve.
The Mental Componant:
Why you are there, what have you come for.
Information about what has happened prior to the scene.
(Understanding how you feel about where you have just come from.)
(Understanding how you feel about the other prior to the scene.)
The Difficulty level of the work you are doing at the level of work you are doing is decided upon the depth of emotions in the work and the complications of number of factors in the work. Choosing of Meanings in acting will affect your difficulty levels. You want to practice how much emotional weight you can go into by ways of depth.
This is why there are layers to learning the work of Emotional Preparation. Choosing Meaning in acting will add to the layers of Emotional Preparation usually one-by-one. Sometimes the emotions will cluster out together from within the actor.
Gary arrives having just came from being in a Riot of Protestors. Gary’s Prior life prior to the scene or the exercise that he is working is that he left his work and had to walk through the streets full of rioters and Protestors to get ‘Home’ to his two-bedroom apartment in NYC.
Many Actors will bring props with them without bringing the Emotional Life of having just walked through the event that they experience.
The Scene is that Gary arrives ‘home’ to see his wife and her relatives waiting for him at the dinner table. Gary and his new wife are hosting her parents for the first time and the riot outside the doors with protestors adds to the Un expectancy of the scene.
Many Actors would try to Act to get themselves to even in ways pantomime their distress but not Gary. Gary wants to learn Acting old school and use the Traditional Method of Emotional Preparation.
Ex., Gary’s personal work relies on pulling up anything that recollects of riots that he has experienced in life. This preparation of Gary’s may not be textbook, but it is affective.
The Traditional Emotional Preparation Technique is pull up anything that you have access to including your dead relatives and grunge through emotions pulling your own teeth out if it helps gain the Emotion needed for the scene. But that is not what this book teaches, and neither is that the real Traditional Approach either.
The fact is that the drudging up your emotional grunge has been acclaimed to making you a “Method” Actor. Method Acting is not Emotional Preparation. Emotional Preparation is its own technique that Actors use to access themselves as instruments of their own talent. Accessing yourself is the master key to Acting. Choosing Meaning in acting gives you self-access to your own emotion.
You determine for yourself the meaning required for the scene. Then leap into the Emotional Preparation of activating that emotion. Choosing Meaning based off the emotion within the script will help you activate the right emotional range.
Forcing yourself into an emotional life or area for your technique is not what this book or Emotional Preparation teaches, not even Traditional Emotional Preparation encourages that. Even though The Emotional Preparation Technique has evolved, and Traditional Approaches were rougher or crasser they were still development techniques to encourage your talent to come out of you in an organized way.
The Choosing of Meanings will affect even Traditional Emotional Preparation because it will put you in the emotional range desired for the scene.
The experimentation of Traditional Emotional Preparation techniques went across many different schools or ways of learning acting, not only the Method Approach which in a way tried to tie itself closely to realism beyond realism. Many of the Method Actors would test out things to see if it would work but that does not allow them to claim Traditional Emotional Preparation was only theirs. Teachers were finding references to Emotional Preparation going back to the early 1600’s.
We could say just as erroneously that Shakespearean Actors because they had an emotional process were the ones that created Emotional Preparation, but it goes back further than that. Any Actor who has an invested interested in being real will explore how to bring in their prior history to where they enter into the scene.
Remembering that the Traditional Emotional Preparation is the technique to bring into the scene or acting exercise the ‘first moment of the scene’ (or acting exercise) the prior history of events prior to the encounter that the scene is witnessed.
-Side teachings of Doors
Doors In Acting
Doors are one of the most interesting things in artforms. They are entrances into, exits out of, and access points to and from places.
Whenever you are in a situation and there is a door present in your acting you better know what that Door means. If your acting doesn’t reflect that meaning of the Door’s purpose and you treat doors as meaningless as many treat walls you need to be making and adjustment.
Every single Door frame, whether the door is open or closed, half open, half closed is an important detail to take in on film and in theater. This is the most overlooked aspect in modern day acting that only some have really mastered gaining a relationship with the Doors that they enter through or go out of. Choosing of Meanings and how it relates to your relationships are also key.
There is a meaning to each door you enter and exit. Exiting a Door means one thing to you as entering a door means something else to you. In many cases an open door suggests that you have open access to the person inside the door, but the meanings go deeper and correlate with the acting exercises or the scenes.
One last mistake that is too common is that people in acting exercises and programs treat the door as if it can never be locked on them. Each Door has a lock that can keep you out of it or at least a handle that can keep it shut. The significance of oversight of mindset of an Actor who doesn’t take in the reality that a door has a lock is a fabulous one.
It is so important to take in the reality of doorways in acting that just by doing that alone will take your acting to another level of realizing where you are and what you are doing in your scene work and acting exercise work.
?? – The Fourth Wall
The Importance of the Fourth Wall is a teaching that goes way back. Every single wall in a natural way that a building is build is having a static presence. It is static. It does not move. It does not speak. It does not give you input back.
So, if you are in a scene where there are walls you better understand that the walls keep the situation within them. The Fourth Wall however is the wall that encloses your situation nearly circumstantially forcing yourself to deal with the situation within the enclosed space.
The Fourth Wall as it’s known as is the audience wall or the camera lenses wall. It is the wall where the work is captured from. The more static your fourth wall can be the better it can be for your acting and the less you notice things that you under truthful conditions would never notice. Choosing Meaning help to set your emotions into truthful conditions if Emotionally Activation occurs.
There is another term called ‘keeping your eye still when facing the fourth wall’. This means that you don’t notice anything beyond where the wall should be and where the wall under the acting circumstances imaginarily ‘is’.
Building up your concentration to your Fourth Wall is the job and task of the Actor to gain their concentration beyond what is needed so that their reality does not change, and it is as if ‘a fly is on the wall’ watching their acting work.
The Fourth Wall or The Fourth Window in Camera Work
Every single camera on you as an Actor is a Fourth Wall principle in the Actors actuality on a set. This is where the building up of a single Fourth Wall and practice concentrating past distractions has and will become very important. On a film set you may have several cameras and a Fourth Wall.
We must not kid ourselves as Actors or Artists in a filming environment that when we have more than one Fourth Wall, we do. The reality of focusing beyond multiple camera shoots adds a difficulty that few can really overcome and that although it helps the production crew it can really affect the reality of the production and the realism of the Actor.
What is involved in working with cameras specifically is blocking out a static wall or window where the camera and those operating are stationed. This has to be a static area that you do not make eye contact, gestures towards, or noticing of movement from. The Choosing of Meanings can affect how much concentration you have in your fourth wall.
Examples of Traditional Emotional Preparation:
- Comes in after an audition – is a problem. – Main student in book.
- ?not honest enough.
Teacher – we will go into some techniques that will work on your honesty this week. Activating an emotional life is the first step, which you are doing but gaining your own experience based off another is where your training is at right now.
It sounds like you didn’t have as connected experience as you would have liked.
Student – yeah, it was there, but I just didn’t know how to handle this reader. They were such cardboard cut outs, there were two readers and there was nothing to work off of.
Teacher – the moment of honest reflection? Could be helpful here. ?
Teacher – some students are missing classes in auditions, hope they are doing well and bringing over some of the values of this work.
Journal – there was honest responsitivity, but the experience was not great. I did get a call back, but something is there more than it was but is still needing adjusted.
- Example – Amidst the class a student comes back from an audition.
another student had an audition.
Teacher – asks – How did the audition go?
Teacher did you try to audition your technique or actually have yourself auditioning?
You all want the values and virtues of this work to flow over into your auditions, yet you have to be careful that you do not audition technique. The auditor casting director needs to see you and your personality. It’s all about Choosing Meaning.
This technique does not need us to defend it, we are free to utilize it to activate ourselves into
- Example – the musician – had a really great gig. “Found some spontaneity in my music”.
Rehearsal example – between two students that are struggling with discipline or another aspect.
-End – student comes up to the student after class.
Student – I have this concern to ask you about.
Teacher looks up to listen.
Student – I don’t know anything about Acting. I have watched very little acting, the native girl says. I just know that I want to do it and participate in it. What advice can you give me.
Teacher – thinks for a moment.
Teacher – I want you to trust what I am about to tell you.
Teacher – You have an advantage that you are unaware of. Not being exposed to the work can be an advantage too. You don’t have any preconceived notions about the work. You don’t have any bad habits from learning this work somewhere else or trying to act or perform. Your point of view is fresh to the experience.
Student listens intently. She identifies with seeing things with a fresh point of view as everything in her life right now is a new experience.
Teacher – Allow the experience to happen in you and express the fresh experience that you are involved in. Don’t worry. Don’t worry about experience you don’t need to have any other experience than the experience of the scene that you are in. If you need more experience in the scenes you are in, I will let you know how to gain those experiences, which improvisational work can do. The Choosing of Meanings in acting will affect your improvisational work depending upon if you choose something that really Emotionally Activates you.
The student leaves with a huge relief taken off their shoulders. She feels the freedom of a bird flying through the air rather than huddled in fear of failure of taking life in.
Research Comparisons of Self Knowledge for Acting Roles
Research Comparisons to Self-Knowledge
How to initiate research for a Role. Choosing of Meanings and Determining the Emotional Range are key things to research for Actor Preparation.
Doing the research to compare what you already know about or have heard about a topic to what others have put out as research on a topic is a fantastic approach. Brainstorming whatever you can know about a topic or exploring ways to be around about it is great advice.
Choosing Meaning in acting will help inform the reasons why you choose. When you choose to work with certain materials you will expand your talent as an Actor.
Research is the added scope to the preparation of the part. The wider your research is the broader your comfortability while involved in the role in acting. The more you are able to interchange with the content of your research the more relaxed you will be while doing the part.
The First thing to remember is not to fear doing the wrong research. Allow yourself to be exposed to even apposing opinions on the topics you are forming for your role. It may take much more additional time than originally planned for as you discover the different points of view of your research. Expect extra time to be needed as you enter into learning about the differences on the topic you are studying. Don’t just read the opinions you agree with read the ones that you directly have a difference with as well.
Question: How much research do you need to do if you don’t know anything about the topic for the Part?
Answer: That is a great question. You need to understand how you operate. Sometimes people can research a lot on a topic and still be surprised when in the experience regarding the topic. Other people need to be more sensitive and stay away from the topics entirely or certain sections of the topics. With experience and trial and error you will adapt your abilities to fit your personality but finding your personality in a fair way will mean that you will strengthen your opinion and point of views that you have when filming when you do the right amount of research on the topics your part involves.
Suggestion: Get an automotive mechanic job with no pay and apprentice an auto mechanic for days, weeks or months before getting the part for the film. Even a few days in the environment working for free to the contractor or mechanic can really help you develop personality and understandings that are useful for the roles.
The Choosing of Meanings will affect every Emotional Preparation you do as an Actor.
For Each Emotional Preparation Technique:
Break down the following for yourself.
After having a well-rounded view of how several people consider the topics involved in your film scenes isolate how you feel yourself about the stronger topics. Are these feelings that you have to muster to feel strength about or do they overwhelm you just to think about them.
If you are overwhelmed by feelings just by thinking about the topic it would help you to better appreciate the opposite opinions on the same topics. A short-lit fuse doesn’t lite for very long so do your best to lengthen your own fuse and emotionality’s on the topic. Even with a strong point of view you can appreciate how not all people have those same present circumstances that you have.
Question: Why would you want to get an appreciation for an opposite point of view that you have in your own Acting Roles?
Answer: It is better to flesh out your appreciation for a point of view before your work often times so consider it an advantage to be able to put yourself in another person’s shoes and not only in your own shoes. However, as intriquette as life is you can trust that your initial feelings for the topics and instincts will persist, and your more rounded opinions will benefit you as an Actor as the audience will appreciate your inclusive nature while still having your strong opinions.
Choosing of Meanings can also be the finding of strong opinions for your work in acting. It is not to find a strong opinion to force on the other but to exchange with the other. Both have the strong opinion as part of your Choosing Meaning and then also receive the other actor mixing them in with your own outcome.
NOTE: This is an inventory of where you are at when you first go over the part not the roadmap of what you will go through to find out the role.
It is possible for an Actor to with or without a notebook go over points in the script and topics that are in the script to develop a depth of feeling and familiarity for the roles. It can be as nerdy or unnerdy as the Actor decides and as thoroughly written out as they decide. It can be a journaled approach or a more scholastic bullet point approach. Many people start with the Bullet point approach and then offer out more written journaling experiences later on in their book notes.
The Choosing of Meanings in acting requires the Actor to Brainstorm their own emotional abilities.
Acting Classroom Segment
Choosing Meaning in acting classroom segment.
- Example – student finishes work “I don’t know what just happened!”
Teacher stops the class. “Did everyone just hear what was said?” The teacher turns to the student “Make it your job during your scenes, to not try to understand it before it occurs. Instead experience it first than after your work an understanding may occur to you.”>
Student “you mean you don’t want me to think about what the other is saying.? “ I want you to listen comprehend it, but experiencing it means internally recieving it, taking it fully serious rather than stopping all your behavihor to intellectually understand it. Quantifying how much a person means what they say is an intellectual process. Learn by experiencing.”
- Example of not needing intellect.
- Example – two persons scene here
Teacher “There is no intellectual baggage. There is stimulation baggage. In a scene you want stimulation baggage to color the underlife of the scene.”
Intellectual baggage will give you verbal diarrhea and want you to add words to the scene that are not in the script. Emotional Stimulation will impulse you into an ease that will want to express the words in the script. There is a big difference. Choosing Meaning in acting can affect Emotional Stimulation.
- Example = about Sergio’s overabundance of emotional life.
We are only a few months into training together. What are you getting with using Emotional Preparation?
- You may not like what I need to tell you but if you understand that the process and journey is part of the discovery you won’t take what I am about to say in a personal way that will stop your progress. You will be able to take what I will tell you in a personal way that will uncover more of your own discoveries.
You marry your emotional life during your scenes. Impulses and emotions sometimes occur at the same time, but often they do not. You can’t forget about your impulses to marry your emotional responses. You can’t forget your impulses to only respond to your emotionality. The activeness of your acting depends on your ability to stay connected to your impulses regardless of the emotional element. What does that mean?
Sergio – It means when I feel something that is impulsive, I ignore it because it is not emotionally deep enough?
Yes. The depths of our emotional life will get activated when we work if it is open. However, you want to be able to be responsive even to a pin dropping on the floor which has no emotional connection whatsoever. All levels of your responsiveness need to be available.
Sergio – Are you saying that I am waiting for the emotional reaction instead of the reaction that I already have?
Yes, exactly. Your reaction to what you are experiencing is enough. It does not need to come from that deep seeded place of your rich emotional life. Sometimes your response will come from that depth but sometimes it will come just from your other reactiveness.
Remember., A seed doesn’t just grow from its center. After it sprouts, it grows in every direction as it interacts with what is outside of itself. So, you must not have your acting work only grow from its emotion.
Sergio – Oh, I get it. My reactions were there already, and I was waiting for the emotional preparation to respond to her rather than the response I already had. The Choosing of meanings in acting will affect your reactions pending upon your emotional selections.
Exactly. This is why your acting doesn’t come off of your own Emotional Preparation exclusively but what the other person interaction does to you. You were blocking off parts of your interaction so you could show your emotional preparation. You don’t need to do that. Be free enough to trust that your Emotional Preparation being activated is enough, then interact with all of your responses with the other person.
It is both high and low notes that makes up an experience. Have both naturally as they affect you. Don’t direct yourself just to answer out of your emotional depths ignoring everything else in the process.
If it makes you feel better this is a common mistake amongst even professional actors. The lack of freedom to respond to what is actually stimulating to them. The Choosing of Meanings in acting of an emotion that is too deep and does not have enough freedom can often hinder the Actor.
Student raises hand. Question: Why don’t you want to understand the work wh
(Put in another section_)
Story- student sneaks off into a church. Sits intentionally in the back row to look like they are saying prayer. But their ears are really on what they might be able to overhear or understand about confession.
Student spends just over an hour and 5 people came and went. Notices a difference in each one of them with their behavihor. Tense going in and a certain relaxation coming out.
Students conclusion to their field trip is that in order to use confessionary Emotional Preparation that she saw proof that must be relaxed into in order to be real.
- Actors need to be used to allowing their emotional lives to be open to the other person. We do not need the storyline of your life in order to have the expressions that you learn in life to be in your work.
- Doesn’t understand the difference between having a feel for it and having a pinch about it.
Something about doing a personal secret Emotional Preparation pinches his nerves. He has always avoided pinching his nerves in this fashion with the other Emotional Preparation Techniques. Understands that this, now, as something that really needs to get into his nerves rather than give him a general feeling or expression.
“I’ve never been this direct before with something personal to me and to be honest I find it terrifying.”
Teacher – the key is picking out of your own well of secrets and wealth of personal things that you will not want others to know. The more personal the more your reality of taking in the other person will change.
Example – student ‘that secret is between me and God!, whew!!’. Teacher – does everyone understand that we do not need to know what your personal secrets are? We just need to have them active within you. An activated emotion can interact, and inactive emotion will prevent you from interacting.
Example – a married student goes into a secret about their spouse (not knowing something, or something that they would like to do) .
Example – the musician’s son goes into a secret about his father.
Example – two students have similar dynamics and their dynamics clash. They find themselves competing with each other.
** Important example –
Story – Student in life. Nail salon to get fingernails done. Two ladies come into the salon. Sits with their backs to her but right behind her head. They don’t realize that she can hear them. They went into a story of a secret.
Student tells the lady that she will have her toes done as well. She decided to have her toes done so she could finish overhearing the story. Overhearing things that she never expected to be ended up being an acting lesson. The study of personalizing and innuendoes of the story taught the student a lesson about how to approach her own Emotional Preparation. How could she do the Choosing of Meanings in acting better to improve her acting?
(Lead that into her next exercise.)
/?example – student goes into an example / audition and they all thought he was possessed afterwards or some sort of serial killer. – Because the personalist of his approach.
Teacher – One last lesson before we go today. I want to address the topic of overwhelmed Ness. If and when you are relaxed there is no such thing as being overwhelmed. The keys to it are allowing yourself to realize things after they occur, if that is the way it happens.
If you interrupt your own learning processes, you will decline to keep being able to use the experiences information. It is part of the training of the actor to not expect themselves to understand logically all that is happening sometimes.
Many times, situations could affect you that you may not logically being able to follow. But if you listen and keep paying attention your retention span will just continue to expand.
The Choosing of Meanings in Acting Summary
Choosing Meaning in Acting is the artistic brush stroke of the Actor. It is a creative endeavor to achieve the selection of the emotional range you dare to do artistic acting in.
Selecting the Emotional Choice for your work for an Actor is the similar process as a painter who selects which paint brush. Their selection will affect their participation within their art form.
The Choosing of Meanings is an Actors skill to get good at by means of practice.
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