Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Great Acting Blog Has Moved

Dear Friends,

Posterous is shutting their service down on the 30th April, and so The Great Acting Blog will no longer be found there. All posts can now be found at 

I do hope you will subscribe at the new site, and continue to receive The Great Acting Blog posts.

Kind Regards,

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Great Acting Blog: "Poetic Acting In Noirish Project"


As many of you probably already know, filming began on Noirish Project recently, and, generally, it went very smoothly. We all had worked together before, and we all wanted to work on this material, which created, despite the early start on a cold February morning, a very happy, productive camp. It was also my first opportunity to try out my notion of “poetic acting” (which I outlined here). In a nut shell, poetic acting requires austerity on the part of the actor, aswell as simplicity and discipline, rather than forcing things, he simply allows moments and expressions to “pop out” of his performance, as a by-product of his attempt to do his action. Poetic acting also requires pared-back camera work, and minimal editing,  as this clears the way for those organic moments and expressions to become significant – such subtleties would be lost without this minimalism. The object of poetic acting is to offer the viewer the chance to interpret the behaviour of the characters they see upon the screen, using those momentary expressions created by the actor as signs.  This invites the viewer to engage more intensely with the scene, and witness hidden truths, witness that which is not manifest in the script. This does require  the viewer to pay acute attention to what he is watching, and clearly the minimalist filmmaking helps by offering the minimum of distraction.

The script is very gentle and slight, which requires the acting to be likewise, and again, this is in order to  give precedence to small moments. Ironically however, I find this gentle form of acting enormously challenging, it’s more natural for me to play high drama or (sometimes) high comedy. If I don’t feel as though I’m hurling my very soul at a brick wall as forcefully as I can, then I don’t think I’m doing any work. However, when I reviewed the scenes we had done, the little moments, which are so important to the film, were certainly present, and shockingly so at times. This has certainly re-enforced my belief in the aesthetic we are employing, and hopefully, we will see it strengthen and produce even more vivid results as the production progresses.


Next up, Billy and Jimmy get lost in the woods, which should be a lot of fun to do. We will be taking a slightly different approach this time, as the scenes are only sketched out in the script, and we will, on the day, improvise specific tragi-comic events, and then, the week after, we will be back to fully scripted scenes.

Monday, 25 February 2013


Production on my new feature film, Noirish Project, will continue through March and April.

Meanwhile, a free download of short film, Prelude (To Noirish Project), can be got here.


We fully rehearsed scenes last month, only for the shooting of those scenes to be postponed due to snow. This week, we are in the odd position of having to re-rehearse those scenes, as we are shooting those same scenes next week. It’s odd because our original rehearsals had been rigorous, and we had reached the point where we were ready to do the performance proper. Now, all actors have a creative metabolism, which is to say that each actor has his own rhythm of work and knows how to time his development in rehearsals so that he peaks when the scenes are to be done for real. So when you reach that peak but the performance doesn’t happen, it creates an odd feeling when you have to come back to re-rehearse those scenes. Usually, once I’ve performed a scene and it’s done, I can let it go, and put it behind me, but these recent unperformed scenes still linger at the back of my mind, as I haven’t been able to go through the process of discharging them. As I approach this week’s rehearsals, there is a feeling of history in the air, there are ghosts, and they need to be exorcised.

How to approach these new re-rehearsals of old scenes then? Well, we do not need to go through the script analysis process, as that has already been done, and it will be just a question of re-focusing and reminding. After that, I think it is a question of forgetting about how we did it before, not re-heating that old work, but instead, just create afresh, using the same analysis to support and enable that. My feeling is, that once we’ve broken the seal as it were, the creative energy within us will be unlocked, and something new will emerge. Cobwebs will be blown away, then that sense of the old work still hanging around will dissipate.

Well, that’s the theory. Either way, we’ll find out soon enough.