Micheal Booth – 20 things I’ve learned in 20 years of acting
1. The character doesn’t know it’s a comedy. Don’t play for laughs, and always let the truth get in the way of a good gag.
2. Your first idea is an idea. And probably a clichéd judgement. Confidently try something else. That’s what rehearsals are for. And explore the wrong ideas. You will find contradictions and levels.
3. Energy is a useless word. You’ll hear it a lot from directors who are terrified of boring an audience. Dare to bore the audience. You have no idea how interesting you actually are when you don’t try to be interesting.
4. Intention not intonation. There are a million ways to say fuck off. Don’t let your idea of the line inform the delivery.
5. When in doubt, observe.
6. There are no adverbs in acting. Let go of ‘how’ and always ask ‘why’.
7. The definition of “to act” is “to do”. So find something to do and do that.
8. Emotion to the actor is like sweat to the marathon runner. If you simply do the task, the rest will follow. Or it won’t. Don’t beat yourself up for not sweating.
9. The words are the tip of the iceberg.
10. There are three stages to rehearsal: justify, personalise and do. Spend two weeks justifying everything the character does. Act badly if you have to. Feel free to fake it. Understand the moments that don’t make sense to you. Then spend a week personalising. Make every action your own. Don’t fake anything – just talk and listen. Bring the character to you. It’s a mistake to “be different”. What you are developing is a POINT OF VIEW towards the other actors. And that will inform something to do to the other actors in each scene. Then go out and do that. Every night.
11. Have fun. As Scott Williams says, acting is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
12. Don’t bend at the waist.
13. Don’t walk backwards.
14. Don’t kick your feet forward when you walk.
15. Perform a monologue to a friend at a table in a public restaurant. Trick them into thinking you are not acting. Anything else is performance poetry.
16. Knowing what happens next is the number one curse for the actor. Stick with what you’re doing, not what you’re about to do. Ditto for life. Any surprise is a gift.
17. Acting is not a cooking show. Don’t present “something you prepared earlier”.
18. Half the audience will hate you no matter what you do. Fuck ’em.
19. Stay inspired and relish the greats. Understand why Brando was special.
20. “Better an asshole than a chicken shit.” Thank you, Sheldon Patinkin.
Michael Booth is a successful actor and acting coach. He currently runs the Michael Booth – Film Audition Workshop exclusively for The HubStudio. For full course details please click the button below.