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Adventures In Acting - Business!

Updated: Dec 18, 2023


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

 

Actor screams into camera lens
Pic from "Cold Read on Camera Class" at Mixing Networks studio

 

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."

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


 

Business - In Acting:


So what is this business we call ACTING?


How do we navigate the seemingly less creative side of the craft;

these tricky elements such as networking, marketing, representation and negotiating?


Full disclosure:

The business aspect of acting has been challenging for me to navigate over the last 2 decades but here I will note my learnings and reflections on the topic, as much for myself as anyone reading.


This is showBUSINESS not showFRIENDSHIP!!


I'm not a Businessman, I'm a BUSINESS man!!


It's not personal, it's just BUSINESS!!


My gosh it feels personal sometimes though!

Like however hard we try or however much we want it, this business really doesn't care about us and our talent.


We can in theory, through practise and courage, add value to a project by mining our unique creativity, hopefully maintaining our artistic integrity in the process.


The more personally we explore our inner craft the more universal our reach can be, I believe.


If in the beginning of our journey there is a lot of focus on the training and improvement of our work then we must allocate some time and energy into our visibility within the world of acting with Headshots, Showreels and projects that get us "seen" by the right people.


Now with so many options, finding a platform for our work is as important as the work itself.


If you enjoy the more traditional craft of stage and screen acting, you may also want to invest some time and attention into curating content online and developing your skills for short narrative vertical videos - if this is something that appeals to you.


There are as many stories about actors being extremely lucky and catching a break as there are stories of actors finding and committing to a genius business plan and pulling it off.


It is also true that the 'luckiest' people I know also seem to be very hard working.

So do we make our own luck?

The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary." - Vidal Sassoon


Remember you can't fail at something if you don't quit but, then again, some people have a different perspective.....

"If at first, you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it." - W.C. Fields


But i know what you're thinking, what would Abraham Lincoln say?...

"The best way to predict your future is to create it." - Abraham Lincoln


Keep calm and carry on adventurers!

 

Want to connect?


Request an appointment for a video call with, lets see if we can work/play together.

Alternatively contact me on connect@tomsawyeractor.co.uk.


 

What's my motivation?


This month's scene is is from "Se7en", chosen by Carl McKenzie, Writer, Director and film-making legend hailing from Essex.


Check out Carl's website for his film work here


Carl is a huge fan of this film as you can tell from his writing below....

He says about the film:


"David Fincher’ noir classic thriller is, to me personally, one of the most influential movies of my lifetime. I still remember at the age of 16, sneaking into the cinema, hoping I wasn’t going to be questioned on my age, to see this film. And boy, did it stick with me.

When Tom asked me to choose a scene from the film, my first instinct was to say 'all of them'. Throughout the film, every scene works perfectly, with everyone involved being at the top of their craft. I honestly believe ‘Se7en’ is a modern masterpiece.

However, when pushed to choose just one scene, there really was only one possible answer. For many years now, if you ever mention the film ‘Se7en’, then nine times out of ten, someone in the room will respond with “What’s in the box?”.


Carl says` about this scene:


"This iconic scene comes at the end of the film when Detectives, Mills (Pitt) and Somerset (Freeman), have their final showdown with the psychopath John Doe (Spacey). This has followed a set up that has been expertly laid out through the entire movie and where the character personalities have been subtly built to make the final act so intriguing.


The scene works so well because when the penny drops and we realise the final piece of John Doe’s plan, we also realise that the true terror in the scene is that too late to do anything about it. We know what our grief would tell us to do in this situation and because we now know Mills, we also know what he will do.


We have already learnt that Mills is a man who powerless to acting on his emotions and how this act has completely destroyed him and yet we can’t let the villain win the movie…surely this can’t happen?

Which actor wins the scene, is up to the individual viewer and will continued to be debated.


However, I truly believe this to be one of the great scenes of the 21st century."


Please note if you are not a fan of the F bomb, you may want to watch this scene on mute.

So many F bombs!

Also a very disturbing account of a murder.


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

(Please be advised this scene contains adult language)


Well then! That was intense wasn't it?!


For this scene we really have to look at what all the actors are doing here and appreciate the dynamics they find within the scene and how these acting heavyweights interACT with each other as humans in a very inhumane imaginary circumstance.

Let's give them all nicknames like they work on a construction site:

Brad Pitt = Brad

Morgan Freeman = Mo

Kevin Spacey - Kev


Firstly, let us marvel at how Mo opens a flick knife in the frame to open the box out of frame, Genius!


Very quickly we establish the "triangle of attention".

Mo has his full attention on the box.

Kev has full attention on Brad.

Brad is torn between Mo (the box) and Kev as the source of his danger is in constant flux.


As if the visuals weren't enough to help us understand who the "baddie" is. the venom with which Brad speaks to Kev is palpable.


As the box is opened by Mo we get how messed up this situation is from his reaction, which is, after the initial shock (which is a little pantomime for my tastes honestly) there are some beautiful moments of almost numb processing, which in the wrong hands could have been totally overplayed.


Mo's switching from professional to personal priorities seems very clear here.

We see this a lot with Mo in this scene, calm exterior yet the emotional gears grinding under the surface with varying levels of masking.


Now to Brad and Kev....

Brad, like all of us at this point, is desperate to know what on gods green earth is in this damned box.

He needs to hear what Mo is shouting at him, but silly Kev keeps interrupting, it's like that which is hindering his task, has become his task.


At first Brad can ignore the ramblings of this sicko psycho but then he hears Kev mention his wife, by name.


Kev now has his full attention and oh how he enjoys it!

In this extreme close up on Kev his display of sickening pleasure is only manifested in the subtle sway of his head, like the tiniest of happy head dances.


Mo shows up to calm the frazzled nerves of the situation.


Question!

Right here, in this moment who has the "power" or higher status?

Brad? The guy with the gun?

Mo? The guy who knows whats in the box?

Or Kev? The guy who has orchestrated this whole situation?


Brad now knows too much but needs to know more.

He knows, Mo knows, what Kev knew all along.


Notice the 3 acting tools Brad uses to get this information.

He wants to know what's in the box and he asks 3 times in 3 different ways

Reasoning!

Begging!

Bullying!


As Kev keeps taunting and rambling on Brad is really going through the ringer trying to process what is happening or had happened.


Eventually his taunts get too much and Mo breaks all professional protocol and slaps him across his bald, stupid, face.

This is what makes Brad realise Kev is telling the truth and his pregnant wife has been beheaded by killer Kev.


Kev is delighted to share a sinister moment with Mo as he relishes the fact he has destroyed Brads life and taken the life of his wife and unborn child.


There is a look of peace as Kev closes his eyes, knowing what is coming to him.

BANG! and the dirt is gone!

But to be sure, another 5 shots to confirm he has temporarily made the right decision, or has he?


Mo is gutted, Brad is in bits, Kev has 6 holes in him.

Rough day!


One of the reasons i think this scene works so well is the way these forces of nature collide.

There is the "Unstoppable force" of the Police force, representing Justice, Order and all things good.

Then there is the "Immovable object" of the Psychopath who represents Chaos, Evil and the dark side of the human condition.

As we know, what happens when an unstoppable force collides with an immovable object?!

The unstoppable force stops and the immovable object moves.



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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