The Edge

 In a television interview, Jason Alexander talked about the intangibles of acting. He said you can have two people who have the same training and similar experience who both go on the same audition and one is brilliant and the other is average.  I am always trying to figure out how to help my actors so they can be the former.   If an actor is well-trained and well-prepared for an audition,  I think the differential comes down to soul.  I use a lot of food analogies in my blog. I love to eat and watch Top Chef. The other night I was watching and one of the finalists said a great chef puts his soul into his cooking. The same is true of acting. A difference between a good and brilliant performance is the actor leaves a piece of himself on the stage or screen.  We’ve all seen those performances. For some actors it  may happen once or twice in a career for others it happens in just about every performance.  How do they do it? For one thing, they take the material and make it better. They know how to analyze and work the script and put themselves into it so that when they perform the words come alive in a unique way.  In an interview on acting, Meryl Streep talked about how an actor finds the stuff in the script that is never explained and adds the details and the layers so that it makes sense.  You get an audition or booking and you read the script multiple times, do research, develop the character. It starts with a passion for the craft.  Acting inhabits your life.  It is not just your job.  You walk down the street observing characters.  Heath Ledger sat in bars and listened to voices to prepare for his role as the Joker in Batman. Every movie, play or tv show you watch, you analyze the acting. You use all of your senses to inhabit the space. it is about raw emotion.   It’s not work, it is passion. That is what we all pay our hard-earned dollars to see actors do. I wish they all could.