Archive for the ‘Shurtleff – Twelve Guideposts’ Category

Five Common and Avoidable Theatrical Mistakes

June 29, 2010 1 comment

Most of the writing in this forum has to do with social and marketing psychology, but I want to make sure and devote time to acting and directing technique as well. I consider them relevant to “People-triggers” in two ways:

  1. Broader knowledge of how people push each other’s buttons can make for better script analysis and more subtle acting, and
  2. Any storyteller needs to know what will make their audience respond in the desired way.

What up, you cocky bastards?

This weekend, I went to see a regional Shakespeare company do a new adaptation of The Three Musketeers. I’m not going to name them, because I need to knock them a little.

I will say that my wife and I are contributing members to this theatre company, and that they do good work, by and large. This was the first of their shows I’ve seen that I would call downright bad.

This company made a lot of mistakes with a story that is generally considered a crowd-pleaser. They fell into almost all of the common acting traps. But sometimes it’s good to see this happen to paid professionals. First, it makes you feel better about your own skill (always a plus for insecure actors), and second, you can see clear illustrations of what to avoid.

Based on the production I saw, here are five very common acting and directing mistakes that people should avoid: Read more…


The Single Biggest Mistake Actors Make, and How To Fix It Now

May 10, 2010 2 comments

This weekend, I was re-reading Shurtleff in order to talk about some of his guideposts in “People-triggers”. As I was reading, a single point became excruciatingly clear as Shurtleff highlighted it over and over: 99 out of every hundred actors never move beyond a one-dimensional reading of the script, and 50 out of every hundred never even understand the single dimension correctly.

Michael Shurtleff

Playwright and Casting Director Michael Shurtleff

Usually in any given script, the negatives are obvious and the positives are between-the-lines. Drama is written and friction and confrontation, so the most overt elements of a script are the fights and impulses to separate. The characters are deadlocked and hate each other, and that’s all there is to it. ¬†When most all actors fail to realize is if that were the complete and total picture, the characters would simply turn off and walk away, and the scene wouldn’t actually happen.

Read more…