Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Great acting advice from Robert DeNiro

And it sounds so simple....

But he's right.  Brilliant acting advice in only one minute.

12 comments:

RockGolf said...

His hand gestures are so simple yet eloquant that he looks like he's using Sign Language.

PS: The current Captcha is nearly unreadable. This is my 12th attempt.

Anonymous said...

This echo's what Michael Caine ( or Peter O'Toole sorry for bad memory) said when asked about film acting in particular.
Do nothing
Long time ago interveiw program - Dick Cavet??? that time period.

anynameleft said...

anynameleft

Anonymous said...

Not great advice because it's not in any context. It would be better to say "do nothing beyond the required specifics indicated from the text." Listening to the other actor is also not a bad idea.

There is also the problem, frequently faced by television actors, of dealing with extremely poor dialog.
That's why they're television writers exclusively, and can't write for movies.

The real challenge for actors is how to cope with horribly written scenes, by some hack whose uncle got him the job, while pretending to the writer's face that it's great stuff. An actor must do this since most television writers (not all) are failed artists, turned to being hacks to make a living and safe face. These are not secure, or often pleasant people in the heat of the work environment. Give them what they consider "shit" and you'll be marked as "difficult." So always tell them they're amazing.

A really good writer means the actor doesn't have to "do" much. Most of the time, since most actors don't get to cherry-pick roles like DeNiro, the actor will deal with "works in progress," from writers who are in over their heads.

This is particularly true in "improv" comedy formats, where the writers are too weak to even create a half hour of comedy, and turn to the "improvisational skills" of the actors, who are forced to "write" for the writers, while getting no direct fiscal rewards for being one of the "writers."

In any case, is it any wonder that many actors reflexively "improve" on some aspect of the dialog they're given, when so often they're "asked" to "help" a show with their writing problems?

After a while, they just begin to think of it as part of their jobs.

bleowtheline said...

@Anonymous: I look at Ken's CV and he says it's great advice. I look at yours... oh, you have no CV. But I'd guess you're an actor.

Johnny Walker said...

DeNiro does use a lot of takes, but hey, I really love the idea of a "doing nothing" school of acting. It sounds like fantastic advice -- just be present and let your emotions show.

Johnny Walker said...

And continuing the theme of big actors giving advice, here's some great relationship advice from Bill Murray:

http://bit.ly/murrayadvice

:)

Dan Ball said...

I could see this being a funny sketch or something. An actor wins an Oscar for just doing nothing. Cut to a clip of the performance and it's just the actor standing there, not saying a word, but it moves the whole audience to tears because of it. Cut to another clip. The actor's not doing anything still, but it's funny as hell. Cut to another scene, a girl's pouring her heart out to him, sobbing, he doesn't do anything, and she just instantly feels better and takes him back.

The whole time...he's never moved a facial muscle or made any noise whatsoever, but he won an Oscar for it. lol

Phil said...

@Dan Ball:

See 'the Kuleshov effect'.

Lorimartian said...

After the foundation for the character is established, acting is listening, period. Ashton Kutcher is a much better listener now than when he joined Two and a Half Men. Megan Boone's performance would improve ten fold if she stopped pretending to listen and genuinely listened.

Kate said...

It echoes Spencer Tracy's advice: Come to work on time, know your lines, don't bump into the other actors. In counterpoint, I give you the career of Keanu Reeves. He has an entirely impassive face, and is sometimes lauded (My Own Private Idaho), sometimes derided (almost every other movie). Same face, no matter what.

Mary Field said...

Great tips! In addition for this, actors know this one How to Keep Motivated While Breaking Into Acting because even if you have the talent but don't have the motivation then you're just totally wasting your time. I hope actors should be inspired and keep motivated.