This term has been a very important one for Totally Lit!
In addition to opening the new school in Manchester, we have been looking at some detailed work with the students in both the London and Leeds schools. The theme for this term has been,"It's all about you", taking each student, individually and assessing them and concentrating on the most basic of things... ...improving their acting technique.
Working on camera is a completely different skill, to working live on stage, or in a studio space. It's not just about the size of the performance, but also about the level of awareness that is required, to understand what is needed from you, depending on how you are being 'shot', or 'framed'.
The area of the acting process that is exactly the same is the process for understanding scenes and the role of your character within a scene.
Some of the best work produced this term has been the work around "subtext" and "objectives". It has also been quite liberating for the students to look at scenes, based on how their character feels about the situation that they are in and where and how (if) it changes during the scene- what difference that makes to their character, or their character's objective. When given a scene, it seems only natural to obsess about how quickly we can learn our lines, but we rarely think first, about the character's feelings in the scene and where, or when those feelings change. If we can identify this, it gives us something to aim for in the scene and especially in an audition, as the casting director is certain to want to see how we show the changes.
One of the most important things that our students need to understand is that they are embarking on a course (in entering this industry) that is fraught with over crowding and mediocrity. Given that we are prone, in this country, to over celebrate mediocrity, or indeed, give credence to the notion that if you have queued up at the X Factor auditions, then you have earned the right to be famous, we are attempting to ensure that our students are in the top 5% of those attending auditions. The way that we do this, is to give them a sound technical training and a level of understanding that allows them to distinguish the difference between actual ability and over confidence.
It starts with a square. I asked one of our Manchester students to draw a square on the white board. The square, kind of resembled a square; there were four sides, there were four corners. It was a 'kind of square shape".
In order to achieve a perfect square, you need four lines/sides of equal length, four perfect right angles. The lines need to be straight. In order to do this and be certain that the angles all measure/read as 90 degrees, I would need a protractor. It requires an element of technique, to make a perfect square. We are aiming to make our students, perfect squares, not rough square shapes. If they are able to recognise the difference between the two, it helps tremendously.
This is our company Blog, re-capping previous weeks sessions.