Tag Archives: Actors
Kimberly_Jentzen-The_power_of_Listening

Acting – The Power and Magic of Listening

Kimberly Jentzen presents a new and dynamic series: The Power and Magic of Listening, Part One. The following is an excerpt from her newly released book, Acting with Impact: Power Tools to Ignite the Actor’s Performance.

POWER TOOL: LISTENING

LISTENING IS WHERE THE MAGIC LIVES

Listening is opening up and hearing with not only your ears, but with each of your senses. To really hear the rain or take that moment to really taste the ice cream, or allow your eyes to take in the light through the trees in the early morning; these are all forms of listening.

Listening is being aware in the moment, like when a lover listens to your body and follows its message, or when a friend picks up on your indirect cues to leave the party and together you go. Listening is not only about hearing words, but being engaged with the whole communication of another and hearing with sensory intuition.

A skilled actor understands how to listen for more than just the words, sounds and tonality, but also with an emptiness inside that needs to be filled by the other character. When you listen to others, what do you really listen for? And what is your character listening for?

Listening is the first real obligation required to carry out a believable truthfulness in the moment. It creates an honest connection between scene partners. The actor has to surrender the planned response to allow a true response that can only come when really listening. Nothing can replace it.

Early in my acting career, I struggled with listening. I was playing the lead role in a play and I couldn’t find my character. My friend told me to try to get a reaction from the other actor, some physical response, be it a smile, a laugh or even a raised eyebrow—just play the reality of attempting to get an organic, real moment from my partner on stage. This concept completely improved my work. I began to listen for a response instead of just my cues. I realized that predetermining how to say my lines gave a performance that pre-judged the experience of the moment. My lines now had a goal: to generate a response from my fellow partner. This was a major breakthrough, and I also had more fun in the process.

To listen is to put your attention on the other actor and what is being said both verbally and non-verbally. You watch, you hear, you wait; you are captivated in an active process. You can even listen to the silence of someone. Listening is taking in emotional reactions, body language, facial expressions and energy.

We live in the moment, uncertain of what
the next moment will bring.

 

You can’t “act” listening

Never pretend to listen. Sometimes actors will move their head up and down, nodding or shaking their head, acting as if they are listening. How can you know whether you can agree or disagree until the other actor has finished their thought? You have to wait and really hear the actual thing that will generate your response.

The only way to listen is to honestly engage in the activity of listening.

When you really listen, your line deliveries gain nuances and become organic. Once this occurs, everything about the work can fall into place. When you really listen, you concern yourself with receiving the other actor—responding not in the way you previously planned, but with what naturally comes forth. It is genuinely accepting and connecting to what is being given.

Your listening dictates the delivery of your lines.

 

The connection is above the communication

Have you ever engaged in a conversation in such a way that you forget what you were going to say next? The organic response that comes from that conversation is a true connection. What you were going to say isn’t as important as the experience with the person with whom you are conversing.

Sometimes actors make the written words more important than listening to what lives beneath them. The truth of life is that the communication never rises above the connection.

Another life truth is how we listen. We respond differently in every relationship. Wouldn’t you prefer to hear bad news from one person rather than from another? We have special bonds with a select few. All of that is taken into consideration as part of the real communication.

Let’s say you are playing a small role as a messenger. The film takes place during 1944 and you must tell a Midwestern woman her husband was killed by the Germans in France. Your appearance in the film might be minimal, but the connection to the information will have a lasting effect on the life of this woman. And how you take her in, how you study her eyes as you tell her the news is crucial to the delivery of the lines.

**Acting with Impact is available at Samuel French Bookstore, Hollywood and kimberlyjentzen.com

Comments [10]
Joe Tremaine

Audition and Move On!

Auditions are the mainstay of the way performers get jobs. I know many people dislike auditions, but they are “the way business is done.” You have to show what you can do – “Show me what ya got kid!” Preparation: A performer should be ready to audition at a moments notice! You should be in Read the Rest…

Comments [1]
TV_Host-Part-3

How to Become a TV Host – Part 3

In Part 1 of How To Become A Host we reviewed what it takes, the (3) T Core Values it takes to become a host. -Think, Talk and Teach- In Part 2 I broke it down to (3) Key Areas of connection every host needs to understand. TV Hosting is a Mind Mouth and Body Read the Rest…

Comments [4]
5 Reasons You Wont Book the Commercial

Why You Won’t Book the Commercial

Even when you did a great audition I am sure you have wanted to know why or why not you do not book Commercials when you feel you have done a great audition (and even when those running the session have let you know you did a great audition). , You might get an avail Read the Rest…

Comments [10]
video_Who_Books_Commercials

Who Books Commercials and Why?

Once you have done your callback and leave that is when the director, agency execs, producer and maybe someone representing the client start the process of selecting who will book the job – whether they are in the room or via a video feed. I am sure you have wondered how the final selection is Read the Rest…

Comments [4]

3 Guideposts to Breaking Down a Script

By: Diane Christiansen Here are a few simple strategies to get a quick jump start on not only memorizing, but also understanding your script. Listen for the voice of your character. Read your lines aloud several times, over and over again while reading the other character lines silently. This way the only lines you hear Read the Rest…

Comments [2]
Five ways you are ruining your headshots

Five Ways You are Ruining Your Headshots

Watch this video for tips to improve your headshots, and a few things you may be doing wrong…

Comments [2]
Headshots On-Location

How to Prepare for Your On-Location Headshot Session

On-location headshots are very popular right now – and with good reason! They can look very natural and offer multiple different background options in one session. If your photographer has suggested an on-location shoot, here are five things you can do to prepare to make your photo shoot go as smoothly as possible: Plan, plan, Read the Rest…

Comments [2]

How to “Pop” at Auditions

By Diane Christiansen Auditioning is hard. It is arguably the most difficult aspect of acting. The actor’s imagination must be at it’s sharpest during the audition. You must be able to walk into a bare room and completely transform the environment and energy of the space, leaving an indelible impression on your observers. In other Read the Rest…

Comments [9]
Making Dialects Believable

How to Make a Dialect Believable – PART 1

In today’s video, Donald The Dialect Coach teaches you what to focus on when learning a dialect so that it will be believable. He also shows you how to keep your line delivery from being choppy while performing with a dialect. Tune in next time for Part 2.

Comments [0]