Monday, February 12, 2007
My intention in this article is to contrast what I consider flawed acting with a sample of the genuine article. The flawed acting is contained in the student film above, a two minute 3D animated film called "Interview." This film is far better than a lot of student work I've seen and I have to say I enjoyed it in spite of the fact that I'm about to rip it. My apology to the talented, deliberately anonymous filmmaker who I hope never reads this. OK, watch the clip then come back and we'll talk about it....
Well, what did you think? My problem with it is that the character is simply giving us a graphic description of what the words say. The visual doesn't add anything. In other words, they're's not acting. Good acting isn't just mouthing the words. Good acting is performance. Good acting is just like tight-rope walking or juggling or ballet dancing. You have to pull off something difficult and entertaining that an audience would be willing to pay for; something they'll imitate and talk about the next day.
A good actor creates a memorable character. He's not content to settle for acting that's simply "convincing." Convincing behavior is all around me, right outside my window and it's free. I don't need to pay an actor for it. What I am willing to pay for is hyper-reality: clever, beautiful, fun artifice that I'm willing to accept as real but isn't. Watch the Peter Lorre clip below and you'll see all these factors operating. Lorre could have played the role as a straight-forward psycho thug. Instead he creates a character who's a sickly, spacey, oddly-appealing troll. See what you think!