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modeling & talent ● breaking into showbiz By Adam Hill The Dog Ate My Homework! While the performance is what the audience will remember, it’s the homework done before the performance that actors cannot afford to forget W hy is homework so important to an actor? Be- cause it is important to anyone who wishes to achieve success in any profession. What is homework? It is the education of the subcon- scious mind. “Acting and the privilege of being able to do it for a living is so important to me. I don’t turn up and hope for the best. I do my homework.” ~ Kate Winslet The following is a handout I give all my students: THE SECRET OF ACTING! When a student is late for class, I’ve been known to say as they entered the room, “and that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the secret of acting!” Their response is always akin to, “Very funny, Adam.” Ac- tually, it isn’t very funny, nor is it meant to be. BE ON TIME! You never know what you may miss. It does raise a question. Is there a “secret to acting?” Are there one or two statements that could communicate a precise approach to our craft? I’ll offer a possible answer. There are three parts to the process of creativity. They in- volve the conscious mind, the sub-conscious or subjective mind, and the instinctual/intuitive occurrence. If I call the conscious mind the “masculine,” the subjective 24 PAGEANTRY “I still feel like I'm trying to make it. It's hard to shed the strug- gling actor thing.” ~ Mark Ruffalo mind the “feminine,” and the instinctual/intuitive occurrence the “baby,” I have a clear understanding of the creative process. I believe this process is true not only for the actor, but for all creative artists. The actor’s homework and rehearsal process is the “mas- culine” part of his work. Through clear and speciﬁc choices the actor impregnates the “sub-conscious.” These speciﬁc and clear choices most deﬁnitely will express themselves as the “baby,” which is the moment-to-moment living of the character in performance. Why do I emphasis clear and speciﬁc choices? We don’t know how the sub-conscious processes the infor- mation it is given. What we do know is unless the sub-con- scious accurately understands, it does not retain this information. In order for this process to work, actors must be speciﬁc and clear in their choices. Is this, therefore, the “Secret to Acting?” Is this simple piece of knowledge the key to becoming an accomplished actor? If so, then the famous acting adage “In your choice lies your tal- ent!” has more muscle then we might have guessed. Why is this handout important to the development of any talent? Because it’s the basis of all learning. “I was taught to use your imagination. You do your home- work and then use your imagination.” ~ Mark Ruffalo SHOWBIZ Continued on page 90