“…there’s nothing interesting about ‘nothing’…”

Because of the intense intimacy of the camera, acting, that is, the behavior an actor creates in reaction to the circumstances of the text, is focused on in a way almost no human would experience with another, i.e., the ECU of questioning eyes, the quiver of lips, the cascade of tears on a cheek. You’d have to be a family member, lover, or fellow soldier in a fox hole to be that close to someone to experience such revelations. But, those are the common currency of acting for the camera. And in my opinion, they have become the overused fall back tools that in the wrong creative hands border on being cliche, trite, hackneyed and predictable. That overuse has resulted in the belief and even the education of, or as I see it, indoctrination of, new generations of ‘feelers’, rather than actors. I see it in my classes: students who ‘show’ me what they are feeling when so far nothing has really even happened in the scene yet, students who under analyze the cause of what they say and over analyze the way they say it, students who in the moment of conflict draw all attention to themselves which unknowingly draws the scene to a dead halt.

The Hagen Six Steps start with WHO AM I? (they psychology of the character), WHERE/WHEN AM I? (the physical world of the character), WHAT ARE MY RELATIONSHIPS? (the spiritual world of the character), WHAT ARE MY WANTS? (what drives the character), WHAT ARE MY OBSTACLES? (what fights the character), which all lead to WHAT ARE MY ACTIONS? (what the character does to win what they want). And in the main, it is action that is forgotten, ignored, unknown by so many camera trained actors. And it is in all cases, action that creates the very moments we observe on stage or in the camera. We are called actors not feelers. To even feel anything, something has to have happened, either internally or externally to affect you. And what happens is caused by an action: your or someone/something in your world. Without action we are in stasis. And there’s nothing interesting about ‘nothing’.

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