Working hard or Hardly working?
- March 12, 2021
- Posted by: regencyalliance
- Category: News
I have worked as an actor in movies and TV for over 25 years and there’s one thing that people always say to me. “That looks easy; I bet I could do that.” Well, I say, maybe you could but it’s not as easy at it looks. It takes a lot of work to make it look so easy.
Watching a finished film for the first time, most of us never think about what it took to create those 90 minutes of entertainment. But what you see in front of you is cut together seamlessly, is very believable and you don’t even notice the “work” of the actors. If they’ve done their job, they come across as characters in the story, not a trained performer who’s playing an advanced form of make-believe.
That’s our goal! To allow you as the audience to experience the story on a level in which everything seems true and looks effortless. So how did we get there? And wouldn’t you like to achieve that level of expertise in your work every day?
There are 3 keys to making it look easy
1) Preparation, Preparation, Preparation! – I had the great pleasure to work with Mel Brooks and his band of comedy geniuses. When you watch his films, they come off as a type of artful chaos – spontaneous bits of humor which were the result of just turning funny people loose with the story. But I was amazed at how rehearsed each one of those bits of chaos was. Each moment was worked down to the most precise bit in order to get every ounce of humor out of it. When the cameras rolled, their brilliance was not just to make it funny, but to play it as if it had never happened before. The precision that created that mastery only came from diligent preparation and attention to detail.
2) Trust – Once you’ve done your due diligence and rehearsed your moment, you have to trust that you’re prepared. There comes a point when you must choose to believe that you’re ready to show your stuff. After Mr. Brooks had worked his players and crafted the right moment to put on film, you as the actor have to trust that you’re ready to play this scene and make people laugh. Because if you don’t, you won’t be able to…
3) Be In The Moment – The final and most critical element to making it look easy is the ability to take your preparation and trust it so you can have the freedom to be fully present–right here, right now. The magic comes from being so confident in how you get there, that you can be totally focused on being there. Allow yourself to listen and react to your audience, your fellow actors – your client!!! Play your part and listen as everyone else is playing theirs. React to new information with confidence and ease. Rehearsing those comedy bits over and over wasn’t meant to make our work mechanical; it was meant to refine the mechanics so we could get turned loose when those cameras rolled and not think about them. Mr. Brooks was great about getting his comedy symphonies so finely tuned that when it came time to put it on film, all we had to do was play.
No, it’s not as easy as it looks. But you can make your work look totally effortless by following these 3 steps every time.
MIKE PNIEWSKI is an American actor and public speaker popularly known for his role as chief of Detectives on the hit television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent.