The Hollywood Style of Acting

Guest Blogger: Toni Attell is the co-author of The Little Blue Book for Filmmakers (with Carl Gottlieb). Below is a post from her blog, The Acting Biz. Please pay it a visit for more inside tips on showbiz!

Welcome to Hollywood! You will find many excellent coaches, agents, and managers here. However, please take baby steps as you start out in this business. Acting is a business. Your face, body, and talent are all embedded in “YOU.” You are the merchandise. The casting director already has your image in a picture, so make choices with your objectives (what the character wants) and your movement through spine and back life (that help the words, written by the writer to life).

First let me suggest that before you do anything, know that Hollywood has a style unlike most other states and countries, so like any business, you must learn the different styles of acting and then find the acting techniques that work for you, and feel free to mix the ones that work for you. Do not get stuck in just one style of acting. Learn Meisner, Uta Hagen, Bill Ball, Viola Spolin, Nina Foch, Alexander, Paul Sills, or Method styles and techniques, and combine them. You have to prepare before you get to the audition or set, as there is no time for a director to work for a long period of time with actors. Make your choices before you go to the audition and then forget them and do no “try” to be the character … just let the character make choices — in the moment. If you have done your homework, the choices will come. This is called the spine of the character.

Please do not let yourself be seen by an agent, manager, or casting director until you know your acting is ready to be seen. Big Mistake! Don’t take pictures or spend any money, unless it is to learn your craft through classes and then you can do the next steps.
Any agent or manager that asks for money is not a legal representative. Do not give your photos to a photographer without your permission or to anyone else, or you might end up as a cover for an insurance packet or other promos, and you will never get a nickel from it, as photos are not covered by SAG/AFTRA. This is a business, so remember to treat it that way.

The Little Blue Book for Filmmakers  discusses issues faced by all beginning filmmakers, with a historical perspective that explains problems and solutions that reach back to the invention of movies at the turn of the last century, and stretch forward to include new digital technology and the popularization of videography as global self-expression. A valuable addition to the shelves of all film school instructors who’ve not had years of practical experience working in the trade, it’s also a syllabus in itself and can be the foundation for a course schedule. More important, it’s something every film student will want to own as a reference and guide.



Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on March 8, 2013, in Film & TV and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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