Acting is doing
In “Acting is Doing” John Boorman raised a very interesting point about how actors can relax themselves in acting. I absolutely agree with his idea, which is “the hardest things to tell an actor is to relax” and “people cannot relax by relaxing”.
I have five years performing experience in my bachelor years and high school, and I found whenever I tell myself to relax I became more anxious. I though it was my own problem but after reading this I realized that it occurs to everyone.
When you are telling yourself to relax, you are telling yourself to forget anxiety. However, each time you repeat this, the concept “I am anxious” roots deeper in your unconsciousness.
Unconsciousness, it is almost impossible for people to control it because people are unaware of what is happening with it. It’s like when you force yourself to forget something, you will remember it more clearly. While those things you forget, etc. key rings/ wallet are all left behind when you are not thinking about them.
Now as far as I can remember, the most relaxing time for me while performing is the moment when I and my counterpart actor were telling jokes to each other. This is exactly the same like John Boorman claimed, that “good actor knows that there is little they can do to get the emotion except rely on the circumstances or the other actor.”
In‘An Actor Prepares’, Constantin Stanislavski suggests actors should arrive at his dressing room two hours before going on, and he can relax himself by meditation. However in reality not every crew have the facility or time to do it. Hence in my opinion, it is essential for crew members, especially directors, to master some joke telling technique, or at least some easy games. Crew and casts can tell jokes or practice easy games before shooting, so as to relax actors and make them perform better.
Writing for the Screen: Beyond the Gospel of Story
In this article Kathryn Millard mentioned Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai, referring him as “extremely inventive” as Wong generally does not use fixed script when he makes films.
In my personal opinion, Wong’s theory is very unique and other directors should really obtain its essence if possible.
Wong claimed that images can’t all be written on paper, not to say music, sound, ambience and actors, and if all these things were written down, it would make the script boring. Before production, he would prepare basic plots, essential lines, but no fixed script.
During his production Wong would create and design lines and concepts base on casts’ performances and conditions, as well as elements in shooting scenes, hence more space are provided to the casts, and their potential can be stimulated to achieve their limit.
I believe Wong is referable, as directors should not be locked in original script, they should make full use of the real situation in shooting scene. They should sometimes modify the script base on actors’ performance, so as to make characters and casts fit each other better. Also, certain improvisational performances from actors should be allowed and encouraged if they are really good and natural.
Another point is, Wong always use lots of time in watching playbacks of previous filming records during production, sometimes he would spend days polishing lines and would talk to casts for long time, hence every frame of his work is polished.
However, we should also remember that we could hardly copy Wong’s experience, as it is also highly personal. Before Wong started his directing career, he was a screenwriter, he is experienced in making lines and he always spends lots of time in polishing his film in post-production.
Also，most of Wong’s films are slow-pace artistic ones, which allows him to create and polish. Other directors, especially directors of commercial films, need to exam themselves whether they have time and budget to make similar works.