Practice your consecutive interpreting skills with this new note-taking exercise. This speech is about cinema and method acting. Note: The Speech starts STRAIGHT AWAY!
Topic(s): Cinema, Theatre, Method Acting
Terms: filmgoer, method acting, Marlon Brando, Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, method, Konstantin Stanislavski, model, living the part, emotion memory, Oscars
- An Actor Prepares, by Konstantin Stanislavski | Buy it here (UK 🇬🇧) or here (US 🇺🇸)
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Good For Practicing:
- Interpreting note-taking
- Simultaneous interpreting
- Non-standard accents
- Abstract concepts
- Lists / Itemisation
- Advanced consecutive
Also available on Speechpool.
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*Please check the script only after you’ve done the note-taking exercise, otherwise that’s cheating! 🙂
‘Every good filmgoer must have heard the term ‘method acting’ at some point. A ‘method actor or actress’ is a label that is often associated with some of the greatest Hollywood stars.
Marlon Brando, Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Natalie Portman and Christian Bale are some good examples. But in reality, there’s a big chance your favourite movie star, just like the aforementioned ones, is considered to be a method actor.
But what exactly is that? And why does it seem to be so popular among some of the most iconic big screen artists? That’s what I’ll try to cover in this video.
Let’s start with the basics. The term ‘method acting’ is applied to a range of training and rehearsing techniques that were specifically designed for actors. Their goal is to improve the actor’s performance, more specifically, to encourage emotions that are genuine – as if they were actually being experienced by the actor himself.
The ‘method’, as it became known, was originally created by Konstantin Stanislavski – a Russian actor and director who lived between 19th and 20th centuries. Stanislavski’s approach to acting was originally designed for theatre, but as we know, thanks to its effectiveness, his principles and techniques were eventually adapted to the cinema. The long-lasting impact of his work has survived generation after generation, and it keeps influencing big screen actors to this very day.
But what makes the method so special, intuitive and effective, to the point of becoming a standard in the acting world? In simple terms, I would say the secret to its major success is in its main principle.
Acting is a form of art. But it’s not the art of representation. Instead, it’s the art of EXPERIENCING. The actor must live the part every moment that he or she is playing it, and every time.
Let us suppose that you are an actor and you’re preparing for a role. What do you do? According to Stanislavski, there are 2 major steps you need to take:
First, you should assimilate the model. You need to study the character’s reality, more specifically, its own point of view. Think of the time, the country, the social background, the physical appearance, and so on. Then, think of the manner, the movements, the speech, the intonations, etc. You must know everything about your character, and you must do this very clearly and vividly.
Once you’ve done that, you can move on to the second step.
You’ve created the character’s model in your imagination. Now, you take every single feature and transfer all of them to yourself. You won’t be playing your part: you will be LIVING your part. Representing is a mechanical form of acting; there cannot be true art without living.
This, of course, is not to be taken literally. You don’t need to kill a person in order to play the role of a murderer in a film. Imagine that!
What the method advocates is the exploration of the inner feelings that you have experienced yourself. For example: If your character is furious, you need think of a moment in your life where you also felt furious. You will act upon that very same rage that you felt on that particular time.
‘Emotion memory’ is the key term. Think of your character’s point of view, and make sure you understand the reason why he or she is feeling that way. Then, it’s time for you to make use of your own emotion memory: was there a moment in your life in which you felt the same way? Bring back that memory, and bring back the feelings you experienced when that happened. And that’s how your acting becomes sincere and genuine, because IT IS sincere and genuine.
Stanislavski has developed a number of techniques to achieve this goal, and so have his followers for a century. I wonder how many Oscars and other important awards have been won all thanks to him.’