July 20, 2021
Question from student: “My question is a little bit more about architecture. The thing I’m working on right now is so short, with every line, I’m trying to make each line its own story, with a lot of stuff behind it. When something is so short like 3-4 lines, how can we best do architecture? It’s the one I’m having the most trouble with”. Tom: Thank you for the question. We had a great time with Tessie a couple months ago. You guys remember Tessie’s 3 lines audition and she came in with that outrageous background? We use that on stuff to do with the Studio, because we created a little play and you get as much of the stuff as you can in there. I’m glad you mentioned this, because I have to constantly remind people that Guideposts, Viewpoints, vocal variation, four agreements, it’s not a trick that you’re great at those. I was never a big “acting exercise” guy, we used to do those in school. You had to do a “coffee cup” for two months. I thought I was in an insane asylum. If you give me a hot cup of coffee, I can’t just pound it, because it’s hot. Yes, sensory work is important, but don’t get caught up in “I’m not getting 15 guideposts, 6 viewpoints, 4 vocal variations into four lines, because you WON’T! Get as many of them as the text will support and we saw that beautifully with Tessie and that 3 line part, we had a moment before, we had a button at the end of it, we had some architecture over three lines and it was so fun to discover. Don’t make it problematic, it’s a fun challenge.The fact that you’re even asking me the question is encouraging. It means you are understanding architecture and you don’t want to play the same thing for 3 lines. Listen, for all of you, when you’re reading for small parts, when you’re going in on a movie or tv show and you’re reading for 3 or 4 lines, you’re not going to attempt/try to cram all this stuff into 3 lines. You’re reading for a very small part, you do not want to be a small part actor for your career, I’m sure, unless you’re okay with that. The stuff we’re working on here is to be a leading actor, which, I go back to the football game. Two teams were playing like it was another game and two teams were playing like it was life and sudden death and that’s why they’re playing a week from tomorrow. (referring to the Superbowl) It’s a great question, be playful with it. Make choices. Don’t worry about wrong choices. aThe thing to be concerned with is that you’re making choices, because your choices are your talent. Your talent is in the choices you make. Most people will say: “I don’t want to embarrass myself or be bad.” That’s the focus is on you, then you come in and do a neutral reading and they’ll think “Yeah, that’s a cute kid, nice guy, seems nice”, but instantly forgettable.