Sam Rumbelow will lead our two-day Method Introduction workshop, which offers a full introduction and understanding of Method on a practical level with a selection of tools and techniques. In anticipation for the course on 23 - 24 October, Sam outlines the reasons why the skills gained from learning the Method technique are vital for a professional acting career.
Why Method is Important for the Professional Actor
The biggest mistake most actors make is a mix-up of two words beginning with 'C': craft and career. An even bigger mistake is belief in the myth called 'talent'. That’s not to say some people aren't naturally more capable than others — at first. Acting is always a craft, not a career. A career is something you earn through studying the craft of acting. You train to develop your 'instrument,' which is the foundation of your craft.
The important question to ask yourself in any class you take is, 'how does this increase my ability, not just my understanding?' You must have a framework and training to develop your creative muscles. It really doesn’t matter what interesting, intelligent, or insightful things you learn from other people, unless you’re able to put it into a tangible and repeatable action.
Beginning with Constantine Stanislavski and moving into the 20th-century, Lee Strasberg focused centrally on the concept of the actor’s instrument. In simple terms, it means the totality of you. To be creative, inspired, authentic, alive, and playful in front of the camera or on stage, there are set collections of heightened abilities that you need to develop through training. Without them, you are fundamentally an amateur hoping to get lucky.
The Unconscious is the True Creative Muscle
The reason I teach Method — amongst the other trainings I received through the National Youth Theatre, Guildhall of Music and Drama, and my teacher with whom I studied for six years in London, New York, and Los Angeles — is because I believe it is the only proper training that really gets hold of the central creative muscle of the unconscious. Without it, you are predominantly working from your intellect, i.e. the conscious part of your brain. Your imagination, your instinct, your impulses, your intuition, and your creative sensibilities all reside within your unconscious, which in turn fuels all of these playful abilities
Acting is a Conscious Construct
There is another very important fact to consider: acting is not natural. To live in a more heightened, vulnerable, sensitive, emotional, and at times embarrassing state of being while being filmed or watched on stage is at first an abnormal thing to do. You would not ask a camera crew to come round and film you having an argument with a family member or friend, because that's private. The initial instinct of any human being when they feel they are being observed in a more heightened or vulnerable state is to censor their behaviour and experiences.
Private in Public
Stanislavski talked about the ability to be private in public — public solitude. One acquires the ability to relax and as well as work from truthful experiences, which connect with the imaginary given circumstances. A central ability that separates good acting from average acting is the ability to relax and not be overwhelmed by the demands that an audition or a job makes upon you. Therefore, if I only learn skill sets which deal predominantly with intellect and I never develop an instrument that is capable of relaxing and being private in public, then what I will be bringing into the audition are my conscious endeavours. I will not be able to create with the material, but only perform it. Without the intuitive and impulsive unconscious exploring the material, fundamentally speaking I can only show what I think I should be doing.
Investing or Gambling?
The frustrating truth about aspirations toward a professional career is that many actors are willing to devote little time and money towards their dream, while at the same time hoping for incredible results in the industry. No businessperson, sportsperson, or scientist would think or work in such a way. The final question to ask yourself is: 'how much am I prepared to invest, risk, and work for the dreams I have?' Otherwise, those dreams will remain fantasies. So, come in the room for two days, do some real empowering and challenging work, and give yourself real options to move forward with your craft and work as an actor.
Method Introduction is open to Actor members and runs Wednesday 23 - Thursday 24 October from 10.30 - 17.30. Click here to find out more about the workshop as well as booking details.
About Sam Rumbelow
Sam brings over 39 years’ experience in stage, TV and film. As an actor he has worked with Helen Mirren, John Thaw, Bill Paterson, and Penelope Wilton, amongst others. Sam has extensively taught Method since 2001, teaching many training and establishing actors, as well as coaching for stage & screen.
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