Great Speakers Use Acting Skills

public speaking using acting skills

Their ACTOR’S CRAFT – What Speakers need to know.

In an Actors’ Studio interview, Ralph Fiennes said that in his audition for RADA he was told not to make it happen but to let it happen. And that that advice changed his work.

  • Here are many ways of saying it, so it might sink in. Because when I first heard “get out of your own way”, “leave yourself alone” at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, I didn’t get it.

What does it really mean? How do you go about learning to do this?

LET IT HAPPEN. Don’t make it happen.

  • All your attention has to be on the person/audience you are speaking to – totally. Making eye communication – not eye contact – is what matters here. That means listening to what you are getting from your partner/audience and adjusting accordingly.
  • You have to give yourself over to revealing yourself (it communicates your humanity and what you and the audience have in common).

GIVE UP ON PERFECTION – It is the enemy of great.

  • You really have to STOP directing yourself. You need to stop anticipating, judging, watching, and comparing.

And it can’t be stressed enough. YOU NEED TO BE VERY PRESENT – much more than you are in every day life. Ask any actor or athlete. If they wander for a second from the “scene” or the “ball” and what is happening around them, they miss a beat and the audience, fellow players/actors know and everything is way off.

  • TRUST, trust, trust yourself and your instincts, no matter how “wrong” they seem in your mind. Your judgmental mind doesn’t belong in the scene. Your intuition, heart and instincts belong there. Marlon Brando in “Last Tango in Paris” laughs when his father dies. It makes complete sense when you see it. TRUST.
  • AND MOST IMPORTANT – Remember it’s not about you – it’s about the story, the gift you are giving, the audience you are giving it to.

Frank Langella, Theatre and Film Star

“I do what works. I believe that acting is a wilderness and that just as you reach a clearing, feeling safe and secure, it’s time to march back into the wilderness. I subscribe to no method, no school, no approach. Providing an actor can speak, move, read English, and memorize, the rest is up for grabs.

There are, of course, certain basics. You must own your lines as you own your own toes. You must know what they mean and you must mean them when you say them. But, that done, the mystery of acting will remain your lifetime companion.

I have learned most from audiences, too often ignored by actors, as if somehow doing it for them is contrary to the truth of their art. Audiences have to hear you, they have to understand you, and they must be moved to laughter or tears by what you do. It is their comfort actors must consider – their pleasure. Actors send life across the footlights and audiences send back the reward.

It is, of course, not as simple as all that. If it were, anyone could do it, and anyone can’t. You need breath, stamina, skill and talent. The first three you can acquire, the latter you can’t. If you are blessed with talent, respect it and cherish it.

Young actors should, early on, rid themselves of the notion that there is a “right” way to act. There is only what works and, in order to come close to what works each night, an actor cannot burden himself with anything that does not result in the truth of the moment, and in the communication of that truth to his audience.

There is much to learn from the investigation of all theories, all styles of acting, and all approaches. But after he absorbs all he needs, the actor must be ready to forget it. He must take a deep breath, call upon his stamina and skill, trust in his talent and go out there and be.

All else is a wilderness in which the actor must happily wander.”

TWO ACTORS AND THE MOON

From The Invisible Actor by Yoshi Oida

In the Kabuki theatre, there is a gesture which indicates ‘looking at the moon’, where the actor points into the sky with his index finger. One actor, who was very talented, performed this gesture with grace and elegance. The audience thought: “Oh, his movement is so beautiful!” They enjoyed the beauty of his performance, and the technical mastery he displayed.

Another actor made the same gesture, pointing at the moon. The audience didn’t notice whether or not he moved elegantly; they simple saw the moon.”

Your audience wants to see the moon, the message, the experience, not you.

* * *

Barbara Kite is an executive speaking and professional acting coach, director and actress in Portland Oregon. www.barbarakite.com
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February 18, 2012 Posted by | acting skills, fear of speaking, presentations, Public Speaking | Leave a comment

Where To Start ?

You want to make major advances in your Speaking or Acting or in your Life.

Where do you start?

With ACTING SKILLS.  Seriously.  I want to share something special I do with all my clients.

The Comfortable Exercise below is the first major step towards Great Speaking and Acting Skills and Great Living that I give to everyone of my speaking clients and actors.

You must experience this process for yourself to truly understand what it takes to be even better in what you do and who you are.  It is the minimum required for interacting, connecting, reaching and empathizing with others.

I’ve had people say “Oh, I do that every day in my job any way.”  And then they make a lame attempt at it.

It truly is important to commit to this process completely.

So I say to you, – you have NEVER done THIS before!   Not the way you need to in order to soak it into your body, your soul and your emotions.

Because it requires full and total concentration and focus – the kind you’ve never used before and you’ll only be able to cover a fraction of it on this first attempt. You see, it requires a life time of practice to really understand.

For example, the “PRESENT” you have to BE is not the casual kind where you give only part of your attention to something. It has to be ALL OF YOU in THIS MOMENT, in your physical surroundings, in your body, in your senses, in your breath.

So I give you this assignment hoping you understand that it requires a depth of commitment and being you’ve never entered before. Because if you have, you would already be well on your way to being an amazing actor or speaker or artist. Because if you have, you’ll be grateful for this opportunity to do this again and again and again.


The Comfortable Exercise

For 24 HOURS make EVERYONE you come in contact with, feel Julie Davis _(Kate)comfortable” – not happy – but comfortable. Be clear about what that means.

You must be clear what “comfortable” means to you and to them.

Therefore, keep close watch to see that what you are saying and doing is making people comfortable. If it is not making them “comfortable”, try something different.

You must be PRESENT, FOCUSED, LISTENING ON ALL LEVELS OF YOUR BEING, ADJUSTING TO WHAT YOU RECEIVE FROM THE PERSON, TAKING YOUR TIME AND PUTTING YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES.

This is your objective for 24 hours. You may not tell them what you are doing.

AND WHEN YOU FINISH THIS ASSIGNMENT, I HAVE ONLY ONE QUESTION. WHAT DID YOU LEARN?

February 6, 2012 Posted by | acting skills, Public Speaking | Leave a comment