Posts by AP

We've all heard the mantras. "Practice makes perfect," and maybe even the newer one "Practice makes permanent."

While these both are really great examples of how we should approach our craft (& life in general), that is, with purpose and focus, it glazes over a key point that not many realize.

That point is that you're practicing already.

What's your daily practice?

Seriously, think about what it is that you're doing every day. You can go from simple things like brushing our teeth, to more involved things like writing your pages every day, or maybe even doing your sides from ActorPractice everyday ;). There are also a lot of rather mindless, more habit like things that you do every day, like checking Facebook/Instram, or culling over todays best tweets.

Some of this is moving you forward in your journey to a more complete person and specifically a better actor. Some of it is necessary (keep gingivitis away!), some of it is choice, and some of it is literally not only wasting time, but wasting your practice.

The thing is, you're practicing a LOT of things already. The fact that you can't focus on your scene without "looking up something real quick" on your phone is proof of this. The ability to maintain focus is paramount as an actor. There will be times, on set especially, when you're called in to do a scene, perhaps even an emotional one, and suddenly they have to change a lense. It takes longer than expected to get it from the truck, and now you're "out of it." Why? You don't have a solid practice of how to get back in there, and get it done.

What has your practice been? What are you used to?

All those distractions that your having that you see as harmless, actually aren't. They are practices that have taken over a portion of your life, and whether you realize it or not, they're going to take up your professional preparation if you're not careful!

Seen through this lense, what are the things that you're practicing already? For "good" or "bad?"

There's a great post over at The Guardian about actors and directors and the crazy relationships that can ensue.

It seems that there are more than a few directors that like or feel that they get better performances out of an actor if they are made to suffer for it. If it's made really, really hard to get through.

I think that some of this is due to the actor having a really really in depth story to tell. As in they are very personally invested in the material, because it borderline traumatizing them. Many actors, especially starting out, don't do the required due diligence to a part to make it either simply believable or make sense logically in the scene.


What are your thoughts on the great suffering of actors? do tell!

Remember how you felt the first time you showed up in LA, NYC, Chicago, London...where ever?

Remember the excitement of that place? How you felt that anything was possible and you kind of "arrived?"

Keep that feeling alive for yourself. Whatever you need to do to get that. People love that excitement and want to be involved in it.

Noone wants to be around a jaded poopy pants (unless, of course, the part calls for that), so keep that energy of possibility alive!

Also, can you use that old awesome feeling in your acting? When you walk into a room, can it be the FIRST time you've even read for that part, seen that casting director, or even had the chance to do what you love?  I betcha could! If you focused just a little bit, I bet you could embed that in your acting, and people would wonder what that little something about you was. Many times, it's not as much what you're doing as how you're feeling 🙂


(Not really an acting post per se, but a good one for the ramping up after the end of summer;)

What real lifke experiences are happening in your life that you can apply immediately to your reading?

Are you rushed?


Super happy?

Use the the material to totally take that feeling and crank it up to 11. That's where the magic is going to start to happen.

Just wanted to shout out and let you all know that the email service that I use is acting weird, I'm trying to figure it out, but it may mean an interuption in the sides for a week or so...I'm working in it...and I'll double send stuff once it gets up and running again.

So, you took a drink, right there? It wasn't written in the script, but you wanted to take a drink of water, right there, after your third line?

You better have a damn good reason.

If the author wanted you to drink there, they would've written "HE TAKES A DRINK OF WATER." But they didn't, did they?

Drinking water there could be brilliant. It could be the best decision anyone has made all damn day in the scene, but there better be a reason you made that choice, as in you can back it up and not just seem like an actor using a crutch to get through the scene.

If you choose an action, there's gotta be a reason behind it, and, of course, that reason will change with each scene. But it better be there, and it better be good.

There are a LOT of things, as in physical things you can do in a scene. Sometimes there will be things written, sometimes, not.

Something like, "HE TAKES A DRINK OF WATER." May seem like simple direction, but they can be much, much more.

If there's some kind of action written into the scene, it's there because the author had something very specific in mind for what that character was feeling in that moment. There's a very specific reason that HE TAKES A DRINK OF WATER right then, and not the line before or after it.

What's the reason?

Damned if I know.

Get creative. it could be a litany of reasons...maybe...
...he needed a minute to think
...he wanted to let the guy think about what he said
...he needs to relax
...he was actually thirsty

These are four off the top of my head. I haven't even seen the scene we're talking about.

If there's stage direction, sure, do the literal thing, sometimes that's all you need. But in the whole play/movie, the guy only ever is directed, in the script, to drink twice, why is this one of the times? You answer that, and you've got a little clue to the character, even if you don't have all the info you'd like on them.

How important is it to make eye contact with your partner?

Sometimes, not as important as you think.

Watch this vid, but especially starting at about the 1:45 mark.

You'd never know watching the film, it's that frikkin' smooth. And they're that good.

What looks natural to the camera, and what looks natural to you the actor may be two entirely different things. And you still have to make it work. It's what they're paying you for.

I'm not saying you're acting all by yourself up there. You're not. You've got to respond to your partner(s), the scene, the weather, and a whole host of other things that the character would logically be amidst of.

Sometimes though, it's as much, of not more about "the shot" than it is about you.

So that camera that's on you?

Remember how we said that you shouldn't change a thing? Well....that isn't entirely true.

You probably should have picked up that cup with your other hand. You just totally blocked your face and the reaction to what she said.

Also, where you stopped to wait for the bus, there's no light, we can't see how your worried about your mother.

As much as you shouldn't change if the camera is on you, there are certain technical things that can't be denied.

You have to hit your mark. You have to be seen.

As much as you shouldn't be concerned with the camera, you need to be worried about the camera. It would suck to do your best work, but all we see is your back.

PS. This, of course, all applies to the stage as well. Though, the audience doesn't move while, the camera might, so hitting the autopilot on your audience awareness is more tricky.