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MODELING & TALENT breakingintoshowbiz By Adam Hill USEYour Imagination As children we learn to develop our creative skills, and to become a great actor it might just help to channel your youth he other night, I was watching an episode of the new NBC sitcom Guys with Kids. In this particular episode, one of the characters is presented with an anniversary present of a 60-inch flat screen TV. As it is being un- crated, he calls his children into the room to see his gift. The two boys run in and joyfully exclaim, “Wow, a cardboard box!” We then see the very large cardboard television box has been converted into a space ship. Memories galore. When I was a kid—many moons ago—the discovery of a large box would be a celebratory moment. My brothers and I would make forts, cars, airplanes, sleighs, toboggans and more. We would play with the box for a month or more until it was nothing more than shreds of its former self. I’m sure you have similar memories. Ah, the imagination of the child who can see beyond appear- ances into the wonderful world of possibilities. That ability to not only see but to believe and then to live the adventures is created by the imagination. My mentor, the incredible Rosemary Harris, when asked by me to define acting, said, “Acting is dress up time in grandma’s attic.” It took a while for what she was really saying to register. It seemed too simple. Could it be that the purity and honesty of a child’s imagination and belief system was all that I needed to become the actor I wanted to be? Many years have passed since I learned that lesson. Today I un- derstand that it is the foundation, the basic truth of acting, and along with solid craft training it’s the secret to acting excellence. T 136 PAGEANTRY “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” — Italian Renaissance Artist, Michelangelo The incredible acting coach, Stella Adler, on the first day of my acting training used the phrase, “In your choice lies your talent.” I wondered, as all beginning actors might, where exactly does this magical choice reside? One of the first exercises I did in her class involved displaying imagined dry-cleaning that I just retrieved from the cleaners. I was given the simple action of removing the item from the cleaners wrapping and hanging the item up. I was then asked to describe the article. My lack of trust in my imagina- tion became evident when I said it was a jacket that I was going to wear to work. I was told rather harshly to sit down. I soon learned that the article could have been anything I want- ed it to be with an extraordinary history if I had only trusted my imagination. Later that class when I was again asked about my ar- ticle of clothing I said, “My father’s last words to me were to be sure I picked up his favorite jacket from the cleaners. It is a hideous blue, green, and gray plaid jacket with gold and red threads run- ning through it. He loved this jacket. Later today I will bring his beloved jacket to the funeral home so he can be buried wearing it. I can imagine the smile this will bring to his face...” When working on a script, see your angel (imagination) and set it free. “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” — Scientist, Albert Einstein