BU Film School

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

FT 706 Lecture: Tuesday, September 9

Learned reflexes
You're coming down the street, and you trip. What are the first things you do? Look around for the cause, look to see if anyone saw you, and laugh (or swear). Why? To protect yourself from the pain of embarassment and humiliation, which last longer than physical pain. To protect yourself from the pain of becoming human. Plays and movies are written about imperfect people.

Brutal honesty
Acting requires brutal honesty -- about yourself. Exercise: name, your day, favorite body part, least favorite body part.

Assignment: Three roles
Think about/name three specific roles from film or TV that are perfect for personality/how you look. (Talent is not a consideration.) How you look is your haircut, your clothing, the way you sit, playing with pen, etc.) Watch film/TV -- what are actors doing?

Lottery tickets
Question: how many of you buy lottery tickets? Question: how many of you have bought lottery tickets? Shows how you see yourself.

Impulses: things you do, not what you say or tell other people or hope or want to do. What you actually do. Do things to feel things, not other way around.

Space alien: what is the room?
Question from space alien: you have rooms I don't understand. This room has a platform at one end, which is dark, and seats in the other, which is lighted. At first, the room is empty. Then some people come in and hide behind the stage. Other people come in and sit in the seats. Lights go down on the seats, lights come up on the platform. The people behind the stage come out and do things. Then they leave. Lights go down on the platform, and come up on the seats. The people sitting get up and leave. Why?

Answer thrashed out in class: room serves a need for people -- people need to feel. Theater and film are communal. Guy breaks up with girlfriend, feels lousy, only one who feels that way. Goes to movie, with other people who feel that way. Pack mentality. It's a ritual -- communal, with rules (usually unspoken). Other rituals: church, Red Sox/Yankees at Fenway Park, commencement, Xmas, wedding, etc.

Other component of ritual -- certain things always done a certain way. (Arguments about Xmas traditions, etc. with SO.) Ritual helps with being remembered -- continue ritual, that part of me won't die.

Assignment: how does room work?
Question for next time (picking up with space alien discussion): how does the action on the platform do its job?

My notes (assignment)
Three roles: June from Joy Luck Club? Daisy from Primary Colors? Abby from ER?

Space alien: requires suspension of disbelief from audience -- forget that actors are pretending. Lights, music, acting.

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