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Adventures In Acting - Feelings!

Updated: Dec 18, 2023


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

 

Actor screams into camera lens
BTS pic from the "Soldiers of the Damned"

 

"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."

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


 

Feelings - In Acting:


Who would be such a fool to feel feelings fully?


Well, the Actor of course!


But Why?

Everyday, ordinary, neuro-typical people don't show off their feelings all day so why should Actors?

Given that the purpose of Acting is "to hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature" according to Hamlet.


Well, even though we don’t show our emotions all the time we do have them all the time.

At any point in our day we could (if we really tried) probably tell you not only how we are feeling in explicit detail but where in our bodies we are feeling it.

We do however have many ways to get out of saying how we feel….

“How are you feeling today?


“Fine!”

“Not bad”

“Could be worse”

“OK”

“Alright”


The truth is we only really let it all hang out (emotionally speaking) when we are really going through something and can’t keep it in and THAT is what most decent stories are about when people are really going through something and struggling to keep it all in, mostly losing that battle with emotion spilling out everywhere, eeurgh!


Let's be honest though, most acting work doesn't require us to have all the feelings, all the time but we do have to know we are capable of getting to those extreme ends of the human experience without doing any long term damage.


Actors want to act truthfully.

We want our behaviour to be believed.

The ability to change your mood, alter your emotions, adjust your feelings seems to be a huge tools for the actor.


To truly change how you act, you must change how you feel.


It once again begs the question:

HOW?

How does the actor practise getting to these places so we can summon them safely for our job?.


A lot of courageous, consistent focused training with some clear and conscious guidance.

Find a teacher you trust!.

Find a safe place to go to unsafe places!.

Find way to work on your own emotional journey!.


Emotion wants to move through us, freely and without resistance:

E

Motion



 

Want help adjusting your actions for a Self-tape or Audition?


I have been busy working on the most straight forward and transparent way to change your mood, and therefore change your behaviour, in any given situation.


Below is the link to my "Target Checklist":


Have a look, experiment with using it for all different types of scenarios, either acting related or otherwise.

Any questions about how it works, contact me on connect@tomsawyeractor.co.uk or let's jump on a quick Zoom call, details below:


 

What's my motivation?


This month's scene is chosen by Pravi Singh via the Scene Suggestion button below.

Check out Pravi's acting work here .


Pravi says` about this scene:


From Peaky Blinders. Alfie Solomons (Tom hardy) meets Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) for the first time. It has already been established Tommy is an intelligent man, so this scene introduces Alfie to the viewers also as an intelligent man.

The way Alfie's character is introduced is so...fascinating. Mind games. We learn so much about Alfie in these 4 minutes.


Notes on the show:


Peaky Blinders" is a British TV series set in post-World War I Birmingham, following the rise of the Shelby crime family led by Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). The family runs an illegal betting business while clashing with law enforcement, including Inspector Campbell (Sam Neill) and Chief Inspector Chester Campbell (Tom Hardy). With a gritty atmosphere, distinct fashion (razor-blade flat caps), and complex characters, the show depicts the Shelby family's bid for dominance in the criminal underworld.

Please note this scene has some quite colourful language in it.


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

(Please be advised this scene contains adult language)


This is pure intellectual and emotional warfare between these two powerhouse thespians!


For this scene i will look at both actors and attempt to point out the ways in which they both get the most out of this scene and play off of each other beautifully.

Let's just refer to them as Hardy and Murphy as if they were an old school cabaret double act.


If you had to immediately asses the contrasting approaches of Hardy and Murphy you might say Hardy is playing "fake friend" and Murphy is going full "poker face" to start us off.


Plenty of fun games being played here.........


Murphy dares to suggest that Hardy might not be "winning the war", which clearly riles up our Hardy quite a lot, to the point where his hands turn into fists and he reaches into his desk drawer for something (but what?).


Hardy's twisted mind then quickly recalls a very violent memory from his gruesome past, regarding some unique use of a "duck board".

All this though under the illusion of a casual chat.


Murphy is being very reactionary here but all very subtly, it seems he is very aware of the stakes (literal and metaphorical).

His life is on the line.


Murphy knows he is poking the beast when he says Hardy needs to "be more realistic", he can barely look at him, and then, the bear bites.


Hardy hears this as a threat to his status and instantly gets more animated, but in doing so he uses an excellent acting choice....


Opposites!


The text might suggest that the actor get angry, but Hardy gets super childish and playful.

This is so smart as it suggests there is a delight or enjoyment for Hardy in this very intense interaction.


When a collaboration is suggested by Murphy play time is over for Hardy, tantrum has begun.


Just to highlight:

Notice the body language, the shifting of position/momentum and how this is an indicator of which one feels more in control.


Hardy has dark thoughts again and reaches for the drawer, but Murphy gets very practical here, he lays out his case very clearly, including letting him know that he is well aware there is a gun in the drawer and he is aware of all the shenanigans going on in his world.


This changes the dynamic once again!


Murphy is now talking to Hardy like a little fragile child and it's Hardy left to brew and reflect on what's being said.


Hardy is not ready to listen just yet and before we know it..... The gun!!!


Murphy's turn to stop and listen, this time facing sudden death.


The stress has all been a bit much for Murphy, as while Hardy is describing what he would do to his dead body and broken cabinet Murphy gets a nose bleed.


This doesn't stop Hardy finishing his "amusing" story though and actually seems to relax Hardy back into his chair and almost reset the situation entirely with Hardy seeming quite willing to talk now.


The whole thing is like a testosterone test.

Both men choosing when to attack and when to defend.

As in most one to one sports, there is an kind of embrace and earned mutual respect between them at the end.


Beautifully Brutal!


Hardy goes from kinda scary to kinda friendly while Murphy goes from kinda friendly to kinda scared.



Have a short scene you want to see simply analysed?

Click below to send link to scene:



 

Any acting related news or questions email me:


Thanks for your attention - stay playful people.


Tom


 

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