September 23, 2021
Harper Romano wants to know: “Why do we say the lines 250 times?” It’s very interesting that you ask that today, because Laurence Olivier gave that to Anthony Hopkins. Laurence Olivier gave that to Frank Langella whom, it’s too long a story, but who told that to ME and i’m telling it to you. Now 250 doesn’t mean “do it like a machine”, it means sit down and do it. Now lie down on the floor and do it like Kermit the frog. Now do it with a southern accent, now do it as yourself, now do it sounding like a New Yorker. Get it in your body. Now 250, I’ve met people that have said “I learned a lot about my own nervous system from you. I need to do it 550 times. Oh Yeah? I need to do it 1050 times to really feel relaxed.” Because if you walk into the room and you’re not sure of the words, oh my God. When you go to fly a plane, you can’t think: “What do I during landing?” It’s gotta be second nature, right? If you have to think about it and Carole is shuttering, because Carole has worked as a flight attendant. Yes, Carole? Yeah. You don’t want a pilot that goes: “Wow, I haven’t flown one of these big ones in a long time. Heh heh, here we go!” Right? Guys, acting, because you’re talking, it’s not just talking. You gotta be able to get emotional. If you’re suddenly given a direction to sing it or yell it, if you can’t let that short you out. But if you’ve only been learning the lines in à very grammatical way, which is the left side of the brain, the emotional is the right side, the words will disappear. So that’s why you need to rehease them also emotionally, with the full tilt (and boogie). When you look at good work, you think “Oh I could do that”, but it’s a result of a lot of improv, it’s a result of a lot of cold reading stuf, to where you just are so comfortable in your own skin, it’s “throw anything at me, I can hit that ball back to you. I know I can.” If you don’t have a methodology for really working on the words and you work on memorizing them, they’re just in a little quadrant of your brain, they’re not in your whole person. You will get faster at this. If you’re doing series television, you’re learning 7-10 pages a day. If you’re on a soap opera, you might be learning 20-30 pages a day, but there’s a teleprompter, because most people can’t learn 30 pages a day. So you’ve got to make words your friends. I love when this question comes up, because if you were auditioning with a violin or you were auditioning to make a sports team, would you have not practiced for months and months and months and hope you get lucky on the day? That’s why it’s insanity to me when actors have no work methodology or regiment that they do daily, then you’re going to go to an audition and you hope it goes well? It’s not going to go well!! It’s not going to be a semblance of what you’re capable of!