The Being Exercise in Acting
Copyright 2016-2019, Draft from Acting Book “Mastering Spontaneity in Acting” by Simon Blake.
This is an expanded approach that few have ever taken. This is not a typical “Meisner approach”, this is the approach to acting by being and affected realities.
The Affected Being Exercise (is often called The Door Exercise)
Every time an Actor works they want to get into an unaffected state of Being then add on the exercise or circumstance to their blank pallet. Accepting where you are in your life and zeroing out the effect of life unless you are about to use it in your work.
ACTING CLASSES INFO: HERE!
After achieving an unaffected state of being you build up your work like you are adding ingredients to your own recipe. The detail is in adding the ingredients until they affect you. Once one ingredient affects you then you can add another ingredient. Be certain that you are aware to what you have added. As soon as the effect starts to happen to you proceed to the next step or start the journey of your work.
The affected Being Exercise is like the Actor has some kind of virus. What is in them is affecting them even when they are not focused on what is affecting them. The key is to be able to craft the background of what is truthfully affecting you. Craft is the ability to clearly be affected by your chosen emotional ingredients. The Being Exercise in Acting is key to focus on rather than expectations.
If you are not affected by your choices than you are not working with any affect. Your work will not have an an awakened lively thing about it. The liveliness of your acting is not a performance of how badly your affected by your choices instead it is a subtle liveliness that will ping inside of you its own timing and urgency.
Film Section Continued:
THE BEING EXERCISE:
Emotional Ingredients / or / ‘Reason at the Door’.
The Being Exercise will assure you that you are doing the work and building the storyline correctly including the parameters of the exercise blocks.
The Actor needs to go through a process of Being still and certain about their choices which moments later will center the reality of being present within the exercise. The Being Exercise is the preparation process of getting ready to work as an Actor in Exercise with real and tangible stimuli and solid choices.
The Being Exercises steps lead to knocking on the door of the person/scene partner. The Being Exercise leads to the preparation of getting ready to work as an Actor on Stage or a Film Set just prior to the moment of entering.
The Being Exercise Tangible Assets
LESSON; THE BEING EXERCISE; TANGIBLE ASSETS, writing portion
Tangible Assets are objects, things, belongings, possessions or places. They usually can be carried physically out of the exercises but sometimes can involve permissions like season tickets to the baseball field.
Write a list of Simple Tangible objects
List at least 25 tangible assets:
Typewriter Bicycle Flower Pot
Sugar Dresser Printer
Computer Cable Coffee Pot Water Container
Television portable float-boat a Book
Barbecue Waffles/Food Mirror
Painters Tape Mixing Bowl Paper
Milk Laptop Money
Copper Wire Lamp Plants
Bucket Eye Glasses Chocolate
Paint Can Flower Pot Tissue Paper Box
Bug Spray Fence Pole Dish Soap
Garden Tools Car Apple Tree
Plants Television Coffee Pot Gardening Tools Tennis Shoes Computer Desk
Projector Mixing Bowl Painters Tape
Cat Food Barbecue Artists Brush
writing exercise: TANGIBLE OBJECT OF MEANING
Writing Exercise: Tangible Objects of Meaning
Write down examples of objects and arrange them in order of personal meaning to you.
List of Objects that have meaning to you:
Jacuzzi Hot Tub Vegetable Seeds Office Furniture
Jewelry Nightstand Light Cell Phone
Gym Equipment Makeup Designer Jeans
Bandanna Board Game Play-station
Coffee Grinder Printer Security Camera System
Photographs Chocolate Bars Patio Shade
Diary Season Tickets Favorite Movie DVD
Patio Heater Potato Peeler Juicer
Yoga Mat Sculpting Tools
Then write each Object down and write beside it why it has meaning to you.
Utilizing Objects of meaning in your work can be done both directly and indirectly. Let’s look at how we are presently constructing the situations for ourselves outside of the door.
We brainstorm an tangible asset or object that the person inside the door will definitely be able to be in possession of or have access to. We add a motivated reason why we would like to be able to get that object or be granted permission to have access to a tangible asset. Sometimes the construction of the Tangible asset does include an actual object and other times it does not.
Directly using an object of meaning could mean that you are coming for an object that has great value to yourself as part of your already familiar set up. It could also mean adding an object of meaning as an activation tool that you are very certain will re-stimulate you even more.
Jane considers herself a bit of a problem child. Her background has war history and she has been taught to take anything she could from anyone she can get away with. She finds herself more interested in things than most.
Her inquisitiveness has her interested in taxidermy. She is getting more comfortable as a student in allowing herself to use things that are actually interesting to her in the work even though she feels like she is quite different.
She knows a bit of a secret from the person inside the door and has recently learned that John is a sculpture artists and actually a really good one. Keeping honest with herself she decides her tangible object will be John’s sculpting tools of which she will be able to taxidermy this really cute bird that she doesn’t have the tools for.
Jane is motivated by the thoughts of being able to taxidermy this latest creature. But now she is being asked to add a an object of meaning. She is standing outside the door putting this together as we are reading it. Jane doesn’t really understand why yet that there needs to be an additional meaning but she plays along with the class rules.
Jane brainstorms that she is coming for the sculpting tools but included in the sculpting tools is this thing that will allow her to 3d print the object that is part of what tools that John works with. She adds the meaningful object and really knocks on the door without hesitation.
John is inside and hears the door. Jane doesn’t wait any longer she knocks again and when John answers the door he says “That was a hurried knock”
NOTE: In acting we can borrow from life and life we can borrow from acting BUT, we need to know which is which.
Samuel is an avid locker hunter, even just thinking about Locker Hunting excites him. It is this thing he does on the weekends mostly where he goes and buys lockers to collect items and resell or re-purpose them. He has bought over 60 so far.
Samuel took acting classes because he knows he is artistically inclined and figured it would be a fun time at nights at this community college repertoire class. Twice a week he is learning acting in the class. The teacher is avid about working from real life experiences and choosing things that are realistic and easy to believe.
Kate is inside the door and Samuel is sent to knock on Kate’s door. Samuel doesn’t know anything about Kate at all.
Samuel brainstorms, what if Kate has access to 3 more lockers and she he knows that she has the contracts if he gets to her first he can definitely buy the lockers from Kate. The attainable object that Samuel decides on is the ability to gain access and purchase lockers from Kate.
?? — FILM ADVANCEMENT; THE BEING EXERCISE; ADDING MEANINGFUL OBJECTS (Emotional Preparation Writing Exercise)
Meaning is a personal attribution and a tool that adds depth to the specific situation or overall views of the person using the meaning. Meaning is a personal perspective. Adding a meaning to your work means that you are already able to handle the rest of the work as it exists in this book.
A Meaning is the first part of what evolves into the Emotional Preparation process. Adding the addition of Meaning is a sure fire way to get personal very quickly.
The INSIDE: Inside the stage or center stage with a door located on either side or center of stage. The Doer is actively engaged in a Doing Exercise. Preferably with full concentration on the action of doing or completing the activity they are involved in. They are typically alone until more advanced exercises, occasionally they will be assigned a roommate within the space but that is for later on.
The first moment for the person inside is the knock at the door. The sound of the knock and the presence of the knock and what that does to them. They instinctively need to identify with the style of knock and answer what type of knock it is that they hear. The closer to the meaning of the knock that they can describe often the better the catalyst forward momentum for the exercise.
The second moment is to answer the door and tell the person outside the door what type of knock they heard from inside. “That’s a quiet as a church mouse knock”., or ” I hear an abrasive knock”
Tangible Needs: But with NO Urgency.
writing exercise: Tangible NEEDS
Objects that you need for existence:
Mascara Food Shelter
Cue Tips Deodorant Aftershave
Soap Toilet Paper razors
haircut coupon Ink for Printer borrow computer time
borrow a vehicle gas clothing
shoes/winter boots female products payment for operation
Needs are an important step to explore near the beginning of the work. We want to know the difference between working out of privilege and working out of necessity. It is important to have the experience of knowing the difference.
Initially it may not be a very realistic exercise for some students to put themselves in a place of Need because they take for granted that their needs are met. We will continue to visit “Needs” throughout this book as Needs are often a requirement in scripted materials of interest in the future.
Showing up for a need at someone’s door is an event that can be humbling and really center us to what matters most to us.
Once we understand necessity and continue to visit it, we choose only to work out of meaning. Meaning and Necessity are a completely different essence to each other. The majority of the work in class will be out of Meaning and working with Reasons, etc.
Teachers: With Necessity clearly understood and the mere fact that necessity is very close to desperation, in the classroom setting we mostly work out of Meaning and Motivated Meaning. We identify the necessities and understand them and then find it easier to work within the centered mediums of Meaning.
All of this ties together to round out the talent that we have to utilize. The talent we actually have is the meaning of life itself of which we actually insert into our creative workings. Artists create using real stimulus and meaning in their lives and exercise their own talent found in the meaning of what they live in life as well as the meaning of what they find in art during the discovering processes. Adding Meanings in combination with created situations is the discovering processes that honestly few truly have understood to the date in this book publishing.
If you are having any issue’s at all to identify Objects that have meaning to you, then just go shopping. You will feel the items that you are drawn to and would like to purchase.
Have you ever had a Coffee Pot that made just the right amount of cafe beverage? And one day it breaks and you literally with no exaggeration for a slight moment feel as though you don’t know how you are going to get on with your day. That is Meaningful. It Means more than just a flighty emotion. The Expression of emotion has a Meaning to it that is personally applicable to yourself. That is the Meaning behind the Talent, because the truth is the Talent is you and the talent is within the meanings of what you feel meaningful about.
Your car gets a radiator issue. You walk out of the coffee shop and see this green fluid on the ground under your front bumper. At first you wonder if it was someone else’s vehicle and you just happened to park there. You touch the front bumper and realize the green fluid is coming from your car.
The feeling and meaningfulness of having a car to drive hits you like a club under your chin and into your chest. That meaningfulness is the talent of which comes from when you know how to work with your talent and intertwine circumstances with objects of meaning.
You utilize the digital projector for weekly films with friends and also personal research of films you like to watch and enjoy. You also study with utilizing the projector as a study tool for certain scenes and when you turn it on the bulb goes out and it starts making this click sound. It is not a cheap projector and you don’t have the money banked away to be able to buy or purchase a new one or even a used one to replace it.
What is worse is that you left water near it and you just can’t figure out if that effected the breaking of the machine or it was just a coincidence.
Have you been able to isolate an emotional element of meaning from what the projector might mean to you.
NOTE: Your talent is what you invest in when you make decisions too. You decide things using your intuition all the time. Isolating the component of meaning for an object that you desire or have had in the past or do have in the present is all fair game for adding meaning to your creative work. Additional items can be added including objects of meaning after you have skillfully crafted your situation for your exercises. As Actors and Artists we must not shy away from adding personal elements in order to experiment to understand ourselves better and with more ability.
ADVANCEMENT; FILM; THE BEING EXERCISE; REASON – ??
ADVANCEMENT; FILM; THE BEING EXERCISE; MEANING
ADVANCEMENT; FILM; THE BEING EXERCISE; NEED
- Meaning is often a Circumstantial structure of yourself .
- OPTIONAL ; ADDING MEANINGFUL SITUATIONS
NEXT, Situations that have meaning to you
Weddings Funeral of your pet Dog Family Funeral
Pot Lucks Barmitfas’ Yard Sales
Meeting Cut your legs on a hot date Cut yourself shaving
Vacations Farm Sheep escaped
Writing Exercise: Make a list and keep it active of 25 Situations that hold meaning to you.
Then write each Situation down and write beside it why it has meaning to you. down and write beside it why it has meaning to you.
I recommend using situations not circumstances, but most wont understand the difference. A circumstance is more encompassing than a situation and a situation often leaves the ability to act with more fluidity.
Your brother had a cat that it fed because it was outside. One night the coyote’s got the cat and well., your brother bought a funeral casket and dug 4 feet deep in your backyard and buried the animal and held a funeral for it. You attended the funeral being his sister and had a hard time laughing the entire time.
The situation you thought was ridiculous and then your brother got made at you because you were not taking seriously fluffy’s funeral. You could see it didn’t matter to him that he only fed it for six months. He still thought of the animal as a friend and being a big sister you felt that your brother is so dumb to hold a funeral for a cat.
NOTE: This feeling that is a terrible attitude or not is the talent and meaningfulness of the one who actually is feeling it.
Example Two: Since the age of 6 years old you have been attending yard sales looking for a great deal and finding them. You ended up buying your first car from the money you earned from searching and reselling yard sales items. What yard sales mean to you is a livelihood and all kinds of interesting hobbyist interests.
The truth is that every time you hear the word Yard Sale or see a Yard Sale sign there is an activation in you and a wonderment about how or what might be at the yard sale. When you stop and think about it you actually take yard sales very seriously and consider them to be an event worth looking out for.
The outlook of meaning fullness is your own personal outlook and it is connected to your own personal talent.
- OPTIONAL; ADDING MEANINGFUL PLACES
Needing a ride or to get to places that have an importance to you is another vital ingredient to Acting. Arriving at a door with desire to receive a promise to have them attend an event or do an activity with you at a specific place is an accurate and tangible asset.
NEXT, Places that have meaning to you
Shopping Malls Buses Photo booths
Dentist Office Bar AA Meeting
NA Meeting Soccer Meet Political Rally
Writing Exercise: Make a list of 25 Places that have meaning to you.
Then write each Place down and write beside it why it has meaning to you.
The connection to your direct source of talent lies in anything that means anything to you. This is your oasis of discovery., this is your meaning., this is a large piece of who and what you are and that is what great actors and artists work from. Incredibly enough day to day we find more and more things that have meaning to us.
About Simon Blake
Simon Blake has studied OVER 30,000 – 40,000 acting exercises and studied over 8-10++ thousand acting students and professionals. Studying over 1000+ famous names in the industry learning techniques that are keys to unlocking their talents.
“Meisner In and Out Exercise, which was later known as Doors and Activities give a basic building block to modern day acting” Simon Blake’s training includes every aspect of Meisner Training.
ACTING CLASSES INFO: HERE!
The Being Exercise in Acting Chapter
Copyright 2016-2019, Simon Blake Draft Copy from “Mastering Spontaneity in Acting“