In these articles for the "Memphis Film Industry" we not only talk about films and auditions in the Memphis area, but we also cover some of the fundamentals of acting, as is the case in this article
There are quite a few different acting methods for developing one's self as a believable character, in which the audience; be it screen or stage, relates to that character and not to the personality of the actor himself.
One of these methods is called the Meisner Technique. It was created by Sanford Meisner, who was an American actor and acting teacher. He developed a form of acting that is now known as method acting, or the Meisner Technique. The Meisner Technique is a simple form of acting in which certain steps should be followed to become proficient as an actor. It is so simple because you don't have to think. You just have to listen and do. If they listen to each other, the change will naturally come. When beginning to learn about this method, repetition is very important.
In this method two actors are placed across from each other, and one is told to describe a feature, or something about the other actor, such as "You are very tall." The other actor should repeat word for word what the first actor said. This should be continued for quite some time, until it is done without thinking about acting. One of the worst things that can happen to an actor is when the audience catches him acting. He/she must bring that other character to life in a natural way, and keep him alive as long as he is playing that character.
He also taught a form of improvisation, where two actors go into a room together, and each has a specific role, but they do not have lines that are specific. When one of the actors begins to talk, the second actor plays off the words of the first, and they develop a conversation (dialog) though the use of their surroundings and body movements. This is a technique that we use in every day life in situations where we meet a friend, neighbor or even a stranger, and something starts the conversation, such as "This weather is getting hotter each day." An example for the second actor would be to say something in relation to what the first actor said about the weather. This can go on and on.
Techniques such as these allow actors to develop their character beyond what is in the script. In other words, they bring their character to life to interact with the other character.
The next step in Meisner's Technique is sometimes called the "Activity and Door" exercise, and it will be discussed in a future article. For now, if you don't already practice the Meisner Technique, get a partner and go to work.