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Adventures In Acting - Nerves!

This month's collection of acting-related thoughts and feelings:


Afghan Girl
Muhammad Ali stands over Sonny Liston after dropping Liston with a short hard right to the jaw in Lewiston, Maine

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do."

Mark Twain - Writer of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"


Nerves - In Acting:

Nerves are good right?

Means you care?

Terrifying when they are present though, eh?

When Olympians are interviewed before a big event they seem to always answer the question "How are you feeling?" with "excited!".

When most Actors are asked the same question before a big performance, the usual response is "nervous!".

The one thing that strikes me about why these responses might be so extremely contrasting is that the parameters are more set with a sport than a performance potentially.

As an actor it can feel like so many factors in our work are outside of our control, so many elements of what makes a captivating performance cannot be premeditated.

We do seem to easily allow nerves to dismantle our sense of self.

Some of this is the "being nervous about being nervous".

There is an assumption that the true greats in any area of the creative arts would never feel "this way", they would feel "ready", "equipped", "excited"!

This is obviously not true, i have had friends who work on the stage door of big London theatres telling me how very experienced and well known actors often threaten to leave before they are due on stage as the nerves are just too much.

Its very simplistic to offer the advise of "just embrace the nerves" but it seems that anything worth doing, anything that will flash before your eyes or into your mind before we part this earth will have been extremely nerve wracking at the time.

Maybe all the extra oxygen being pumped into your system and the blood rushing through your body is preparing you for something great.

Try to trust the body and mind sre on your side and not attacking you next time.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." - Helen Keller

Stay Playful People!


The next adventure?:

After the success of the first Adventures in Acting Screen Acting workshop we have announced the dates for our second.

May 17th - May 26th.

We will be using some Meisner based exercises to establish relationships and pairings for bespoke scenes that will be filmed professionally, which could be beneficial material for your showreel.

Scenes written by Mark AC Brown based on the exercises we run in the first weekend of the workshop, then the scenes are filmed by the excellent Kieran Coyle on the last day.

To be considered please email:


What's my motivation?

This month's scene is from "Goodfellas" chosen by the excellent award winning Writer, Director and film maker Andy Taylor.

Andy is a prolific film maker and and been nominated for multiple film and music video awards and has won a fir share for his directing too.

Andy says about the scene:

"I love this scene because this is the moment Henry realises he is a dead man, he had everything and threw it all away. His success, his marriage, his loyalty to his friends, all has come to an end"

For context:

In this scene from "Goodfellas," Karen (played by Lorraine Bracco) becomes aware of her husband Henry Hill's (played by Ray Liotta) involvement in the drug trade when she discovers his stash of drugs hidden in their house. Fearing for their safety and wanting to protect her family, Karen takes drastic action and throws away the drugs.

Click on the video link below and then check my short interpretation underneath:

(Please be advised this scene contains very adult language and some argy bargy)

Goodfellas is one of those films, if you haven't seen it people will tell you "Oh, you must!".

Here at AIA hq we aren't in the habit of shaming anyone for not having seen any films but.......

It is rather good.

See it if you like.

Or not

(you should)

In this particurlarly dramatic moment Ray Liotta's "Henry" discovers his last hope has been literally flushed down the toilet buy Lorraine Bracco's "Karen".

In the tradition of "What's my motivation"

Ray Liotta will be nicknamed RZA

and Lorraine Bracco will be refered to as LZA

(like the odd extra members of Wu-Tan Clan)

Much like many great scenes, the two characters are in very different emotional states at the start of this scene.

RZA is scurrying around like a man possessed and LZA is very calmly gliding into the room.

Notice the tonal quality of both actors, there is a heightened panic in RZA's voice but still attempting to remain loving (like speaking to a child) LZA is very slow and almost defeated in her manner.

As RZA discovers his precious drugs are gone he starts to grab his heart, almost holding himself for comfort until he then shifts his enegy to LZA and seemingly cannot help but shake her out of maddening frustration.

As RZA lets out all the stress onto the wall LZA drops to her knees and feels the full weight of the situation.

All these movements, if blocked very precisely, could feel very cliche as an actor but here they are both full enough with the apropriate emotion to carry the scene with truth and avoiding what could be an icky cheese fest.

What happens next is quite beautiful in my opinion.

After the intensity of this tragic discovery and the drama that unfolded both RZA and LZA end up on the floor and LZA crawls over to RZA bawling and they have an embrace that is quite heart warming.

Entwined and curled up together in an exremely vulnerable and beautifully brutal display of humanity.

The noises that escape LZA in the end of this scene are so raw and hard to fake i suspect.

All in 1 minute and 30 seconds!!


Keep it real people!


Have a short scene you want to see analysed simply?

Click below to send link to scene:


Any acting related news or questions email me:

Thanks for your attention - stay playful people.



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