Acting Decisions: Learn from the Stars

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Rhym GuisseI recently watched the new film Robocop starring my favorite actor, Gary Oldman. As a teen I fell in love with Gary Oldman’s performance in Dracula and have been an avid fan since. So basically anything he stars in, I watch. Additionally, the scif-fi genre is among one my most loved genre of films – and I’m a big skeptic, having watched Star Trek and The X-Files growing up, there’s definitely a fine line between awesome and cheesy.

I did enjoy Robocop. Gary Oldman’s acting knocked it out of the ballpark as the tormented, genius scientist and the story had a good pace to it. But, what’s most important is that I’ve noticed that my attitude when I leave a movie theater is one of positivity and anxiousness to work on a film myself. Every time I leave a theater, I leave feeling uplifted – no matter how depressing the ending maybe or how bad the film. I realized that since I was a child I always leave the cinema feeling a certain anxiety I couldn’t place. Now I realize that it was because I was looking forward to being a determined and challenged actor, I longed to be on the big screen evoking and stirring emotions in others. You see, while I watch films for the pure entertainment factor, I’d like to think that most of us actors do our due diligence and take many mental notes while watching other’s performances.  If you have friends in theater its advantageous to watch and do a mental critique, feel free to ask them about their acting choices.

Personally, I know that many of my on-screen mannerisms and acting techniques I’ve picked up from watching other film legends. As artists we should be able to access and express the entire range of the human experience. Emotions are the life force of communication and the best way to convey them is with body language. So if you’re a cinephile like myself, make sure to observe and take note of your favorite actor’s performances.

Who is your favorite actor? Why? You’ll realize that many actors have repeated mannerisms and movements that add to the line delivery, to make that impact on the audience. Do the same, practice in the mirror over and over and add it to your arsenal. What I’ve advised actors is to record yourself and notice any nervous gestures you make but also any significant and well-timed body movements that make the impact you want, and practice. While everyone has a different take on their emotional connection to their lines, it is imperative to understand what yours are and why.