SIX ELEMENTS OF A STAR

1. – Charm  – Stanislavski discusses “an Actor’s Charm” in, An Actor Prepares.  The element of someone’s bearing that makes them “the life of the party”, or “interesting” or

Unpredictability can be dangerous

a “leader” is most often their Charm.  Everybody’s Charm is not the same, some Charm is goofy, some is ironic, some is direct – there are many different kinds.

However, an Actor’s Charm or “Appeal” is crucial for the ability to hold an audience’s attention, and win over the other Actor who you want to affect in the scene.

2. – Danger  – is not only the threat of violence, but the threat or presence of an unstoppable force of nature, an unstoppable will to get what you want – to use whatever power you have – to win.  When we don’t know what your limits are, or what you will do – you are ‘dangerous’.  You can have a ‘dangerous’ wit.  You can have sexual Danger.  Danger can be holding something someone cares about in your hands.  Of course, the threat of violence definitely communicates quite clearly, that you will stop at nothing to get what you want.

3. – Humor – one of life’s greatest tools – and one of the Actor’s.  When facing an obstacle, use of Humor illustrates “Charm” and “Danger”.  There’s silly-goofy Humor, mean-spirited Humor, glib or political Humor, lockerroom or bawdy Humor and Ironic Humor.  Irony is a brilliant tool for the Actor, because it expresses that you are saying the opposite of what you actually mean.  When working a long shift, a co-worker asks how I’m feeling, and I respond, “I’m feeling peachy.”  I’m being Ironic, expressing my pain, but with Charm and Intelligence.  Humor – especially irony – affirms intelligence.  A great use of Irony is when emotion is too strong to be expressed directly.  The only thing you can do is “go the other way” and be ironic.

Your wife has asked you to change – and then if you don’t want her to leave you –  you try to laugh, saying, “Yeah, I want you to leave.”  We immediately understand how much you don’t want her to go, but we see you trying not to expose your vulnerablilty.

4. – Intelligence  – has little to do with education.  Education does flex the muscles of the mind, hence improving and expanding one’s Intelligence, but Intelligence is something that is hard to put your finger on. You can have it instinctively.  What you gain through experience, we call  “wisdom” or “savvy.”  We know Intelligence when we see it and we want to see it in our “stars.”  It is often expressed through Humor and through what one understands of life’s complexities, one’s “heart.”

5. – Unpredictability  –  The element of surprise, and the improvisatory nature of life, are exciting tools at the fingertips of every actor who has the courage to use them.  Let the moment be what it really is, inside you, like it never has been before.

Act” on that.  Surprise yourself, and you will surprise your scene partner and the audience.  If you can’t surprise yourself with a given moment, be smart enough not to ‘tip your hand’.  Lead your partner and the audience one way – then change before they expect it.  Unpredictability can be funny.  Unpredictability can be dangerous.

6. – Heart  –  “HEART”, “Soul” or “Depth” is why we go into a theater:  To be moved.  We hand out Awards to the actors who “move” us.  There’s no faking putting your soul into a part.  We all know when it’s happening.  You want to move people, you have to be PERSONAL in your work, and move yourself.  There is no substitute.  You have to tap into YOUR well of experience and emotion to reach your deepest core.

Do it.  Go there.  Be brave.

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Adam Lazarre-White Adam Lazarre-White grew up in NYC, graduated from Harvard University with Honors, started at QB for the “Crimson” and played in the Harvard Jazz Band. He is known for roles on Scandal, Heroes, Ocean’s 13, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, The Temptations, Living Single, The Parkers, and starring on The Young & The Restless. Adam’s writing and directing have become equal pursuit in recent years; and he has owned his acting school in Hollywood, ALW Acting Studios since 2000. For info on Adam's classes, acting, writing & directing visit his website at www.adamlazarre-white.com