Steps of Listening in Acting
Steps to Listening in Acting:
Authors Note: This is not an instruction to force your approach.
Listening in a certain way as a guideline to evaluate the way you do listen is advised. Offer an opportunity to yourself to widen your scope of listening. Advance your technique of how much you hear when you listen. Techniques are not meant to hinder but failing to hear is the common result in Acting.
When you’re listening you are actively connected to the other Actor. Everything that’s connecting you to be “Tuned In” the the other Actors intensions is part of the listening process. you need to be able to be listening like a playwright who intentionally pays attention to every word and the overall intention.
Actors know that it takes hard work to listen to their acting partner’s verbal and non verbal intentions.
Purposeful Body Language in Theatre Help You Master Listening and Responsiveness
Body language is a powerful tool in theatre. It can help you to better understand and respond to what is happening on stage. By paying attention to the body language of the actors, you can gain a deeper understanding of the characters and the story.
Body language can also be used to create specific effects on stage. For instance, by using strong body language, you can convey a sense of urgency or intensity. Or, by using more relaxed body language, you can create a sense of calm.
By mastering body language, you can become a more responsive and effective theatregoer. So next time you’re watching a play, pay close attention to the actors’ body language. It just might give you a new perspective on the performance.
You’re acting partner has both facial expression, non verbal body language and their words spoken all to receive in a listening process. Both what the other Actor might say and what they might no say nonverbally are important indications to be able to connect with emotional reactions. All the nuance of physical responses onstage are part of the eye contact that the camera catches during acting.
How Spontaneity Helps You Listen To Others
When you are spontaneous, you are more likely to be in the moment and to be present with the other person. This can help you to really listen to what they are saying, and to understand them better. It can also help you to build a stronger connection with them, as you are both sharing in the experience.
The spontaneity of any moment not ruined by listening but rather amplified.
Learning to amplify your responses of being affected by the other because of your intuitive listening connection is the desire. If you are aware of the full listening process and practice the full listening process you will achieve a greater result.
Not rushing your own responses when communicating with another takes practice. You will never know your full response without fully getting that stimulation from listening to the other.
Relaxation is part of the listening process. The Kind of listening skills required in acting and an audition you’re looking for is relaxed body language listening. If you Actor’s are relaxed when they are listening they are receiving more than if they are tense, unless they are tense in the moment.
Question: Am I ready to Act or ready to be an Actor?
Answer: If you are ready as in willing to be affected by another person than you are ready to be involved in Acting. If you are willing to have your responses influenced by listening than you are “ready”.
Steps of Listening in Acting:
State 0) The Being state is the unblocked and open available state of paying attention to what attracts you.
(This means being free enough in yourself to be open to either what attracts you or what repels you.)
Steps of Listening in Acting step 1:
1)Being in co-existence (connected with) with whatever your stimulation is or whatever your desire to be stimulated by. Being is the first state of hearing
(You may have an initial reaction at this point, yet you work to discipline yourself to stay connected regardless of your reaction)
Steps of Listening in Acting step 2:
2)Receiving a stimulus (truthful observation of listening) connected observation, unfiltered.
(You receive a stimulus based off of something that they do or something that they say)
Steps of Listening in Acting step 3:
3)Internalizing (The Emotional Stage of Realization)
Steps of Listening in Acting step 4:
4)Honestly Expressing Feeling of Stimulus
Steps of Listening in Acting step 5:
5)Doing or taking an action (which includes speaking) (optional step pending upon improvisation of moment)
(Free will action coming out of an internal desire? or external stimulation)
The reality to listening is that it is two fold. You have a response to both Being co-existing with the other and to what the other Does or Says. If you are wise enough to stay connected to both your responses will be full rather than half hearted.
Many modern Actors cannot and do not utilize the opportunity of listening or fully listening before they express and their work turns into rubbish because it is not based on the reality of the connection between themselves and what they are having the opinion about.
Working at Listening beyond your impression will guarantee your responses are based in an on-point fashion. What you express will be connected to its cause rather than an obscurity.
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Acting Tips That Help You Listen Help You Receive the Other Actor
Listening is one of the most important skills an actor can have. It allows you to be present in the moment and really connect with your scene partner. Here are some tips to help you listen and receive the other actor:
1. Be present in the moment and focus on your scene partner.
2. Listen without judgment and let the other actor’s words affect you.
3. Respond truthfully to what the other actor is saying and feeling.
4. Don’t try to control the conversation, let it flow naturally.
5. Let go of any preconceived notions about the scene or character and be open to what unfolds.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to really listen and connect with the other actor, which will make for a more believable and enjoyable performance for both of you!
Steps of Listening in Acting Explained:
0) The zero point
The zero point in steps to listening is being unblocked, open and available to what gains your attention. You may be in a scene where the situation gains your attention. You may be in a scene where the other actor in the scene gains your attention. Regardless of what is the stimulation are you in an available enough state to be open to it getting your attention.
If you miss this zero-point step you may find that your audience does not feel the suspense of your drama as deeply. When making films especially you want to be in an open available state of emotionally unblocked reality. This way when something does get your attention you can have that initial reaction and all the steps that follow it can be there and real.
Many times, Actors who miss this step start to respond to things that have not even gotten their attention. This unfortunately frequently happens. If you jump to just coexisting and you do not have a relaxed being before you are missing part of your moment of connection.
Actors often are two lit fuses with combusting emotions that gesture out emotional expressions. It is going to be a test to be able to listen and also hold your own after emotional preparation. Your entire body may be indicating inflection of the stage directions or doing their own authentic processes. A great actor goes with both their instincts and their natural authentic expressions even in the moment in front of casting directors.
As a scene unfolds the audience might start to really feel the safe space of expression between themselves and the actor as one of those things that help build interest in the acting. Actors on stage know that the decision makers of the playwrights intensions are part of the posture and overall theme of the production but when their authentic expressions occur the actors make inclusions of those moments within their productions.
1) Co-Existing in Acting
Being “with” is sharing the presence of space with another person or stimulation. It is not Being Present “over” another it is clearly being present with someone else which means you accept where and who they are at the moments you are in their presence.
This is the first way to not be able to hear another is by keeping a position where you are “over” or your “presence is over” another. You will always have difficulty hearing another or identifying with their perspective if you are not in being with them.
You must be in a state of being which is an Active state of forever becoming. The Being state is in a state of all possible outcomes that are present to the individual’s awareness. The state of being can be forever changing in order to be in a state of having any presence with another or in any situation. In order to be able to listen you must be in a state of being which allows at least some movement of self or change in perspective.
Equality is a very important factor when adjusting yourself into the first state of listening. If you are “over” or ‘under’ another you will be in a constant doing with self that reminds you that you are over or under the person you are attempting communication with. This disruption cuts off the communication between the two or more participants making the success of listening an incomplete endeavor.
The truth of not being able to hear that which controls you is a real thing that protects us and our own free will. If you are not capable of being present with the stimulus or entity that you are supposed to be hearing, you will not be able to hear until you are allowed to be present and in a state of existence with that which is your stimulation or the person you are in communication with.
This initial state of being is the state that dictates the openness between the listener and the stimulus or the listener and the person demanding or requesting attention.
Dropping Emotional Preparation
2) Receiving Stimulus in Visceral Ways
The first thing about Receiving Stimulus is being stimulated and responsive to what gets your attention. Do not try to retrain yourself away from what gets your attention, give into it. Listen to what is said but do not interrupt your own talent by ignoring what you are stimulated by.
The second element of Acting and Creative Arts has to do with Receiving. If you receive the attention of sincerity from another than you work off of it. What actually happens is after receiving the others sincerity you will try to identify with that quality. At that point of Sincerity, it has already started to affect you because it has affected your state of Being with an authentic exchange.
Breaking down the interaction and understanding the first moment of being affected by another is a critical thing for Artists to understand. Canvas Painters go through this same thing but in relationship to their art. The moment of first being affected by another person, idea, or thing is the first moment of a break in concentration of just Being. This is the first real stimulus that occurs outside of Being. That first moment if filled with all sorts of information for the listener if they are open to hearing it.
Interacting with conditions that have an effect on you is your responsibility to respond to. The ability of your being affected rests on the shoulders of your talent and capability of how deeply you are able to receive. It is vital to be able to open yourself up in ways that completely allow you to receive in order to have the fullness of realization which then leads to responding to the stimulus.
You cannot work off another Actor defenselessly unless you are able to receive them. Your actual response and formulation of response is incapable if your being is threatened, and you are not able to receive from the other.
Human Beings have emotional cords of variety. When one human being with their instrument of self-offers the sound with the sincerity of an aspect of themselves the other will automatically add to the production of that sincerity.
The easiest way to look at this is by seeing it between two people who have similar interests. As soon as one offers a sincere interest of theirs to the other the other will immediately start to identify with it. If Jealousy or other factors like it are out of the way the two individuals will start to resonate with each other their similarities. This is the natural exchange and process that is involved in steps of listening in acting.
Authors Note: “Acting is the Craft of Listening.”
Listing is how to have others do things to you that are your internal abilities collectively connect with – note about how it is about others doing onto you and the allowance of crafting ways that you can able yourself to be affected by others, not the crafting of how you can penetrate others past their abilities and talents of being themselves and working with the talents that they presently have to offer.
Further Note: I have made this mistake as a teacher to take students to the points of which I knew they were capable but beyond what they were even unconsciously aware of. It is a place where a director has righter than an Actor has the right to be able to achieve. – this is interesting to be able to discuss prior to the beginning of Work booking Yourself.
4 Short STEPS to Emotional Preparation
3) Internalizing Process To Receive The Other Actors Intensions
What stimulates you allow it to process. Don’t try to have a quick reaction to what you are stimulated by. Maybe what the person is saying is making you feel a certain way. Get the full story and intention to how you are reacting to it. Too many Actors get the smallest wif of reaction and then try to exaggerate the reaction or Act their reaction out rather than being patient and really letting their reaction internalize.
The internal process is far more transparent than most are lead to believe. We are far more basic and intricate all at the same time. The Internalizing process leads to the decision or instinct that entails in a response. There is a decision here at this internal process to either deflect your emotional response or to embrace your emotional response.
If you embrace your emotional response to the stimulus than you will have a transparent feeling of awkwardness or awareness of presence that can translate into the emotion that you respond to. If you do not embrace the Internal Emotional process than you likely will deflect logically the events occurrence either by denying that the occurrence existed within you or by de-signifying the event and minimizing its occurrence as having any significance.
The actual reality of life is that every single moment is a moment of significance if it effects your internal process. Every moment has a meaning of its own and every moment is an occurrence of affecting more than one entity. Thus, the moment of initial internal process is the first moment of shared process where the internal decisions between two parties are actually considered based off the already initialized stimulated occurrence.
4) Expressing Yourself At The Right Moment
Pick a point of intention, then express your opinion. Select a direction to the other person and intent the expression as specifically as possible. Direct expressions often yield the highest results.
Is the emotional expression of self after an event or occurrence has already taken place and is the second part of connectedness that is based off the original occurrence? The expression is often a confirmation of what the original instinct has interpreted to be true. Expressions most often look for confirmations in order to have certainty.
Doing is a two part commitment of the moment. Doing can come from two different areas of self, the inward spontaneous instinctual self or the self that is calculating with the mind which makes a decision to act or do. If an Actor has the wisdom to turn off their thinking then they can respond in doing only from their instinctual being rather than their intellectual decision process. This is how an actor creates an eb and flow within themselves of each moment of their craft. There are two ways to commit to a doing. You can commit to doing something, or you can commit to doing nothing. In Acting both are actions as long as you have been considered and have had the initial 3 steps to listening occur.
Doing is often decided by either instinct, or logic. Actors instincts can often make decisions of when to express or participate in a Doing at a faster pace of logic. Depending upon the Actors process they may act to Do out of a logical approach to self or out of an instinctual sense of self. We encourage you to do from instinct.
The moment where Instinct has ran its internal course and you result with commitment towards an action that is the moment your internal self has processed to commit to an action. Committing to an action may abruptly change a relation to another’s actions and may not result in a completion of action committed to.
?? – The Doing can be a verbal expression of speech or an Action of motion with the body. Typically an emotional expression is an automatic response to be present in Being within the moment present.
The results of a vocal expression can result in a hinging or pivoting after that moment is expressed and lead to a Being approach which starts a new moment present. A moment of Being is the starting of the listening process, the Action of Doing is either the instinctual allowance of the Actor or the purposeful intent of logic from the Actor.
Important: Regardless of which type of Actor you are working off of you need to respond to what actually happens and the actions of their actual Doing. If you respond off of what they are Doing then you can be certain that you are staying ‘Present’.
Staying in the ‘Present’ is the sane way of approaching Acting without gaining distraction from speculation. When the teachings of ‘Being in the Present Moment’ are taught this is what is meant is to stay in the presence of what is actually being Done and the expression. Perception into the expression is an incredibly desired thing as long as the being present in the moment of the doing is also being taken in and responded to.
Doing is the result of a process internally already initiated by a stimulation that has already occurred from steps 1-4. Whether the feeling of ridicule brings a person to do something or an action of another brings a person to do something the doing of the thing is a result of an impetus already occurring.
The encompassing reality is the expression which is a doing and not a being of the work. But if you do not do the being part of the work than you are missing the expression of stimulus that grounds the work into the reality of what is actually the undercurrent.
Staying in the presence of what has actually been done keeps you awake and in a state of presence with another that is Active and not disconnected. If the two actors become close together and the expression becomes myopic it can still be assured that the camera will capture the expressions and behaviors of the Actors in motion and they are actively involved in a Doing response of the work that is also present to the act of listening.
It must also be said that often times during inter exchanges of communication in scenes and with others that steps 1, 2, 3, and 4 can happen without step 5 which is part of the communication that takes place without resulting in an action of doing.
The results of communication do not always result in a doing. Often times the expression of inward self is all that transpires. When the expression of inward self is all that transpires without verbal expression there is still an expression that occurs or an internal change in emotion achieved.
4 Short STEPS to Emotional Preparation
What Listening is Not
Ignoring what you don’t want to hear.
Filtering out what you want to hear and refusing to hear what you don’t agree with.
Editing out the other persons interaction
Speaking out the other persons thoughts
Knowing what the others persons thoughts are before they are said (Telepathic)
If you are to listen you are to take in a real time event without altering it. Much of what you listen to you may not want to experience but taking license to alter it is what Listening is Not. You are also not expected to know the thoughts and opinions of others all the time before they are said even though you may have a good insight into how they are feeling.
Examples of not listening:
Expressing yourself only to what you think the other person will agree with. – Not listening.
Waiting to make your point. Waiting while the other is speaking until you can speak is not listening.
Without the internalization process. The back and forth is not genuine because it does not go through the persons emotionality before getting expressed.
When you read the play and your non verbal responses don’t match the playwrights intentions you may think that you make the mistake of not doing good acting but instead consider an adjustment to your emotional preparation. Listen fully to the other actor to know whether you are in alignment with what is going on in the present rather than just what is scripted to be happening. Meisner’s approach at its base is to stay in the moment of reality not to pretend so you can stay within the imaginary circumstances of the scene.
Step of Realization in Acting:
Allowing yourself to Realize is a permission you give yourself. Understanding that there is no limit and no disconnect when you listen. Realization is a moment in Acting. This moment can be very quick or a very long specific thing that can go on minutes.
The actual step of realization is a receiving of being affected. This receiving gives you responsiveness and life when you are acting. Most Actors fail acting and at least particially cut off
Realize the things that stop you from being unblocked, open and available. This is part of the ongoing journey of the life of an Actor. You can have two choices when learning anything artistic.
You can either embrace these elements and become aware of them or you can try to reduce your awareness of them. If you try to reduce your awareness of your blocked, unopened, and unavailable emotions you will limit how much you have to work with. Ignorance will not be helpful for the long term.
At a zero point of being you are able to have balance that many people in life do not have on a day to day basis. Actors need a sounder balance than others in life because they go through deeper experiences.
Simon Blake with (Some) of his acting notebook from classes.
If you give in to your difficulties by exploring them you will find your talents. Talent is actually your inner emotional life. When you ignore what upsets you, you ignore your talent.
You can actually turn the negativity of your blocked parts of Self into assets you can use in your work. This is an incredible opportunity that artists have to encourage themselves to be more aware of their human faults and unavailabilities.
You don’t treat acting work as therapy, but to have a place to express how your inner life actually is without blocks to it. The allowance of Self to realize what is stopping you from full expression will grant your ability to develop tools to self expression.
The reality is that everyone has room to improve their availability of Self in acting. Do what is natural in the exercises and scenes that you do and also allow the long-term changes of Self to happen. The way that you do a particular scene one year will not be the same the next year if you are actively growing in your acting. The exercise work of the acting classes will develop you as a person and changes will occur if you allow yourself to unfold more of your human abilities.