fleshing out 3
FLESHING OUT STEP 3
By Kimon Fioretos
(inspired by great teachers of acting)
So what we followed in our own way was Stanislavsky's rules.
We are trying to flesh out a character for us, and as I stated in the first two steps, actors
most of the time have an attitude of "let's see what happens."
They try to intuitively find their character.
By no means am I against intuition; in fact, I am all about intuition and about impulse but
am also not a man that likes to leave things up to chance (at least not when I can)
According to Stanislavsky, creativeness starts from :
I) Text to the mind
II) Mind to the proposed circumstances
III) Proposed circumstances to subtext
And a few more steps…(Subtext to feeling ...feeling to objective-desire...and desire to
But let's see where we are now:
We did "text to mind". You read the play multiple times, and it did leave an imprint in
Then we did "mind to proposed circumstances" by finding the composite facts making
our lists, and fleshing out a behavioral pattern that informs us about our character's
primary behavior (major column) - secondary behavior (smaller one) - and Tertiary
behavior (even smaller)
We named those behavioral patterns
-trying to escape
-a desperate need for recognition
-and being an asshole to those around him
Because our character is constructed by those behaviors and even though in real life, we
are much more than just three distinct patterns on stage three are more than enough.
Finally, we answered our questions.
Now we are at step III "proposed circumstances" to subtext but not analytical anymore but in a sense "directed subtext".
But first things first.
What do we mean by directed, and what do we mean by subtext (I WILL TALK ABOUT
SUBTEXT IN THE NEXT STEP).
Great acting teachers and directors observed that unless an actor has a plan or a "directed approach” beforehand, self-consciousness, desperation, and distractions will manifest
themselves for the actor very quickly.
Therefore, what we will try to do is to set a plan, to "direct" ourselves consciously
towards a justification of the author's intentions, as we perceive them.
And we must start with the most important thing of all, something psychologist David D.
Burns Calls Core Belief.
What is a Core Belief?
It is something shaped inside of us from a very early age, maybe a traumatic event,
perhaps something that happened at school, something a teacher told us (you are stupid or
lazy), something we carry for the rest of our lives (I am lazy - I am dumb- useless, etc.
Remember to prefer the negative) and that "something" will influence our day-to-day
thoughts and our worldview.
Think about it, what is a character? Larry Silverberg, a Meisner Master teacher, says it is:
“a specific person who sees things, situations, problems, and the world through a
specifically colored lens.”
Moreover, since the character's life does not start when the curtain rises, or at least we
want the audience to feel the illusion that it does not, we have to utilize our first tool of
many to bring the character slowly to life!
Therefore, now we have to make our first decision, we did the analysis, and we have
acquainted ourselves with all the facts, now we have to find which ingredients will bring
the most vivid, vibrant, and dominating colors to the lens of the character.
By the way, still, don't believe me about negatives?
Again they are more interesting
"Feeling trapped" is so much more interesting than "wants freedom" Plus, let's see how a negative core belief can motivate us in both a negative and a positive
A)Teachers said I am lazy - I believe them, and now like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I keep on validating the teacher's words, I never go to college, I start hanging out with other "lazy' people, I lose my job, I start taking drugs, etc.
B)Teachers said I am lazy - I believe them, but now I struggle to get rid of this notion that has become a feeling inside me; I read more, but I still feel lazy, I find a fantastic job an excel - but inside me, I can't shake the "I am lazy" thought, so I need more, more reading more success. I even marry the most beautiful woman in the world, but I still don't fee good enough - I feel lazy, useless, etc.
In the first case, it had a negative outcome, but in the second case (even though I can't
recognize it and that is the tragic flaw of the character), I am trying to escape from the
lazy feeling I've created, and unconsciously I manage to have a positive outcome and an
unsatiated hunger for more.
So back to Core belief:
A core belief is a decided, feeling evoking, negatively or positively motivating worded
phrase that will dominate our character's whole consciousness. This belief will affect our actions and will affect our goal pursuing and our behavior.
Examples of core beliefs:
"Nobody gives me love".
"I am stupid".
"I am not capable".
"I will always be alone".
"I am a rotten person".
"I am hollow".
"I am defective".
You get the drift, even if you are playing a KING, even if you are playing Alexander the
Great, his motivation might come (without him realizing) from a negative core belief,
something that made him want to conquer the world!
Maybe his daddy whispered in his ear at a tender age that he was not "warrior enough!"
continue to fleshing out 4