Incorporating character resolution into Action/ReAction
The best way to describe the Action/ReAction technique that I created is 'orchestrated'. In doing the work on a scene, an actor must chart the phrasing of the dialogue, designate the interstitial reactions that can have a duration of a split second or several beats and author the unspoken thoughts that come as reactions to what another character says or does. In all the ways, it is like a composer orchestrating a symphony.
The technique calls for an exacting precision for two reasons; it is designed to produce performances that are the same and equally compelling on each of the takes (master, medium, 2-shot, close-up, etc.) that will be used to cut together a scene so as to match and, secondly, to achieve the most important goal of any performance--to put the audience in the moment.
In speaking with a fellow writer, I mentioned that a story must have a universal truth at its core without which it becomes a story of plot. In the same manner, I think it is important for a character to have his or her own universal truth that is discovered during the course of a play or film. Usually this would occur at the resolution of the story (assuming that the character is resolved, which is not always the case--witness Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia). As Peter O'Toole's character in The Stuntman said, "It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it... sort of interesting."
In the accompanying clip, I asked Wendy to find a moment in a monologue I had written for her at which point her epiphany would occur. After she decided on the place, I asked what interstitial was being performed there. Low volume anger was the answer. I then asked her to choose an emotion contradictory to the anger (or irritation) she had chosen and perform it after the interstitial anger and prolong it--four whole notes rather than a sixteenth, for example--in order to underscore the moment of realization the character was experiencing.
This was the first time Wendy has performed this exercise and I think she did a very good job of it.
In Rachael's monologue below (taped during a lesson on Skype), the same exercise creates a different effect.
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
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Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
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Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...