It’s not hard to recognize a typical movie star. They’re not super ripped with six-pack abs, but you know the type.
The typical celebrity has one thing in common; they’re always talking about themselves.
They’ll be caught on a red carpet and tell the paparazzi how well they’re doing.
They’ll tell you about their divorce or financial problems.
Hollywood is full of such talkers, but now and then there’s a change of pace and an actor comes along who’s more interested in getting his thoughts across to you, the viewer.
Actor Gregory Peck is a perfect example of this
The late actor’s main selling point was that he played few characters that were unlike him.
Peck’s best work is usually an unknown and it’s because of his unique approach.
He was a quiet, laid-back personality, so when he took on a role you knew he would make it his own. He took the space between the lines and owned it.
Adrien Brody is a unique case as well. The French-American actor often uses verbal language to convey a sense of brooding loneliness.
He often speaks in short, often disjointed sentences, as if he’s always just been having a long conversation in his head.
He makes you feel as if you are in the scene with him, which leads me to my next point.
His words are like signals for the audience
No matter who you are or what you do, if you want to get the audience’s attention, you have to talk to them.
For an actor, this means talking to the screen, not the person in front of it. Actors talk into the microphone and onto the screen, asking the audience to engage and become lost within their lives.
They talk about how they feel, how they’re feeling, and what they want in their lives. If a scene feels fake, so does the acting.
If an actor has to force the words out of his mouth, he probably doesn’t want the audience to spend time with him.
He wants the audience to forget about his character, his job, and his problems, and just focus on how he feels at that very moment.
They feel his actions and they feel his character. We find ourselves able to sympathize because we’re human too.
And, if we let ourselves, we end up learning something, or we laugh. We’re allowed to laugh at his witty humor.
We can sympathize with his feelings because we feel them too.
A great example of an actor who gets it is Heath Ledger
Ledger’s most notable role as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” Ledger is often the best part of his performances, but that’s because he’s willing to go the extra mile.
He’ll put more care into his facial expressions than you think was necessary and he’ll think of the lines on the spot while keeping them spontaneous.
He’ll speak in paragraphs if that’s what it takes to get the audience to listen.
If you want to learn more about how to appreciate an actor, I recommend watching “10 Things I Hate About You” and “The American President.”
I would also suggest watching “The Fifth Element” with Bruce Willis.
If you’re into satire, then maybe “Funny People” is more up your alley.
And, don’t forget to check out Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut.” It’s a more well-known piece of work, but the movie’s script holds up to today’s high standards.
An actor’s impact on his audiences doesn’t end with his dialogue, though
His actions speak louder than his words.
While most actors simply talk about themselves, a good actor will come up with his own unique approach to things.
Not many people have an honest and accurate relationship with their parents.
When Seth Rogen’s character is having an emotional conversation with his mom, you realize it’s because his parents never talked to each other.
They never had a “conversation.” They didn’t communicate, but they loved each other and that’s enough.
No matter what kind of character actors choose to portray, the key is to go the extra mile.
Do more than simply take a stroll in a character’s mind, but explore what it would feel like to be them.
As a teacher, it is also important to recognize how hard it is to make a living as an actor
There is no denying it. Many talented performers live a pauper’s existence, meaning they don’t have enough to make ends meet and they spend their lives trying to pursue their passion.
Most acting jobs are low paying and there are only so many roles for which an actor can be cast.
When you add to that the expenses of an actor’s professional training, it’s easy to understand why they are not making a lot of money.
Their good works aren’t recognized by the public and they aren’t going to make the kind of money that, say, Justin Timberlake makes.
So, in this context, the one thing that I would ask any student who asks me what they should do to become a better actor is this: make a list of the things you enjoy most about what you are doing.
For example, if you love that acting allows you to be funny, write a list of the things that you like best about funny people.
If you love the way that these actors get to be creative, write a list of the things that you love that about it.
Also, if you like the way that people respond to funny people, write a list of those things.
That way, you are both learning and reflecting on your own acting technique.
It’s your “academic diary” for your own personal growth as an actor.