WYNN HANDMAN ACTING POINTS AND REMINDERS

Renowned Acting teacher and Co-Founder of The American Place Theatre edited a book entitled Modern American Scenes for Student Actors, in 1978. The following is a list from his introduction. www.wynnhandmanstudio.com
  1. Nothing is happening because you haven't motivated yourself. The "why" must exist for you and be specific and meaningful enough to make you really want and really do.
  2. Your opening moments are off and the acting that follows probably won't be good. Experiment with the first moment until you're secure, you feel right and alive, and you're in good contact with whatever and whomever is your object. Be sure to get a live impulse to start you off.
  3. Do relaxation exercises before you prepare to go on stage; you need to be relaxed to act well.
  4. Preparation is important, but remember - leave yourself open for what happens as then scene progresses.
  5. You're rushing too much. This is a rehearsal. Take your time so you can explore and discover what you're doing, and make contact.
  6. You're trying to give a performance too soon. Remember what Laurette Taylor said: "How can you give it, when it hasn't grown inside?"
  7. Your relationship to the other character is not particularized enough. Who is this character to you, and what is the nature of your feelings about each other that make it a unique relationship?
  8. You need better contact with the other actor. Really listen and react. Interplay is important.
  9. You're playing face to face too much, so the acting is very strained. Find things to do and ways of playing that make you less direct. There will be more revelation, interest and variety in the acting.
  10. Your behavior is too general or hardly exists, so that it does not contribute to the acting. Acting from the neck down is important too. Acting should be a total use of yourself.
  11. Stop illustrating what you are saying and doing. It's boring, redundant and detracts from the acting.
  12. We can't focus on you - you're making a lot of unnecessary movements and you're bobbing your head all the time. It's distracting.
  13. The acting doesn't find sufficient expression in your body. Take movement classes to tune up physically.
  14. Your voice is inadequate for acting. You can't project sufficiently, it is too strained and lacks quality and color. Get instruction from a good voice teacher.
  15. You need help with your speech. You cannot articulate clearly or rapidly enough and/or there are regionalisms in your speech that are too limiting.
  16. There are rhythms in the language that must be part of your acting performance. Don't break up the lines and speeches too much and unnecessarily.
  17. You're forcing. Don't push or put too much effort into the acting.
  18. You can help your concentration by finding various characters, objects, actions or thoughts to focus your attention in as the scene progresses.
  19. Don't anticipate - you're playing the end of the scene at the beginning. Find the progression.
  20. Don't play the emotion - play the intentions and let the emotion happen by itself.
  21. You're showing us that you're trying to be funny. Play the situation with conviction, so that we're convinced it's important to your character; then we'll find it funny.
  22. Stop "indicating"- trying to show us feelings you don't really have.
  23. You haven't found the style - there's no particular way of playing that makes your acting seem "right" for this role in this play.
  24. Your acting is too conscientious, too deliberate, too calculated. Spontaneity and the "illusion o the first time" are important. Your acting should have a more improvisational feeling.
  25. You're not really doing anything. To act is to do!
  26. Remember what Isadora Duncan said to Stanislavsky: "Before I go on stage, I have to put a motor in my soul."