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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Conflicted about Conflict


Conflict is necessary in art.  Doesn't mean we have to love it.

Most of us avoid conflict like the plague.  Even when we do engage in conflict, it's only by ramping ourselves up to a fervid passion in order to do it.

But here's the thing:  conflict is what makes the audience watch.  It's why football is typically more engaging than say...golf.

It's our job as actors to find, clarify and intensify the conflict in a scene.  If we shy away from it (our usual instinct), it makes the scene...well...boring, quite frankly.

Here's the other thing:  conflict sparks our creativity.  Imagine a scene where my objective (what I want from the other character) is that I want you to help me run lines and you want me to lend you $20.  Does it create an immediate and vivid picture in your mind?  Now imagine a scene where my objective is to convince you it's okay for me to date your ex and yours is to convince me that it is NOT okay for me to date your ex.  That image is FAR more crystallized, isn't it?

This is one of those points that many acting instructors gloss right over.  I've been lucky to have teachers that didn't.  It's such a vital part of the process that I'm making it the subject of my radio show this Thursday at 8 pm Pacific Standard Time (11 pm for those of you in NYC...sorry!), so join in with me here.  Also, I want you to call in with your questions and comments (even if they aren't about conflict) so here's the number: (424) 243-9619.  See you then!

If you're liking what you find here in my blogs, in my podcasts and in my radio show, try my online acting classes.  There's a sign-up form at the top of my blog--I'd love to see you in class!

1 comment:

  1. I had an experience recently that showed me how right you are about this. A friend was interviewing me for his product that I had tried, which is an audio for past life regression. There was one question I didn't want him to ask me ~ but it was one of the things he really wanted to know. After the Skype interview, I apologized for bringing out my embarrassing secret. But he thought it was great! To him, my shameful part was the juiciest bit. He even created the title of the interview based on that. Even though the title was a bit more sensational than I like to be online about my private experiences, I ended up getting a big laugh out of it -- and being glad that something a bit "out of my control" took place. It made me feel more daring, which is a confidence booster.

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