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modeling & talent ● breaking into showbiz By Adam Hill Life is constantly offering you teachable moments, one sense at a time It’s Just Common Sense W ithout a doubt, the most important tools of a per- sonal nature that I can bring to the craft of acting are my five senses. I was born with, and am grate- ful to have accessible to me, all of my five senses- sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. I have the ability to feel cold and heat; to see a sunset and a love one’s face; to hear the music I love and the sound of a baby’s voice; to taste great food from all over the world and taste the sweet kiss of my beloved; to smell flowers and freshly baked bread. I may have only focused on pleasant things, but I can feel, see, hear, taste, and touch the unpleasant opposites of all those aforementioned experiences, as well. Yes, I live through my sensory experiences, as do we all. Even those deprived of one or more of these sens- es experience life through their other senses. When one sense is taken away the others become heightened. So, what has this to do with acting? RECREATE SENSORY EXPERIENCES I am performing a scene on stage or in a movie. The scene takes place on a very cold day in the Arctic. It is very hot under all the stage and set lights, yet I’m to convey cold. How do I do that? The novice actor first thinks to show cold by flapping their arms and shivering. Fortunately, our modern day audi- ences are sophisticated and can spot phony acting a mile away. The good actor must be able to recreate truthful cold by using his/her sensory recall. You have the ability to recreate a sensory experience. It is not about pretending, although that’s a beginning. It’s about actu- ally believing that something exists when it actually doesn’t. HOW DO YOU START LEARNING THIS PROCESS? Pour yourself a nice cold drink. Make sure the glass has 22 PAGEANTRY “For the actor, The Lee Strasberg Notes are an indispensable companion.” ~ Johnny Depp plenty of ice. Let it sit for a while, maybe five minutes. Pick the glass up and hold it in your hand. Study its appearance. Study the ice inside the glass, as well as the liquid. Feel the smooth- ness of the glass. If your glass is cut crystal, feel the design with your fingers. Be aware of the weight of the filled glass. The glass may have sweated. Feel the dampness. Move the glass from side to side. Does the ice click against the glass? What does that sound like? Taste the drink. If you chose something like lemon- ade, is it sweet or is it sour? Does it have bubbles, and do the bubbles tickle your nose? Experience the glass and its contents using all of your five senses. Now, place the glass down and pick up an imaginary glass that is the duplicate of the glass you just examined. Recreate what it looks like. See the ice and the liquid in the glass. Feel the smoothness and the dampness of the glass. Experience its weight. Listen to the ice in the glass and taste the drink again. Re-experience the glass of liquid using all of your five senses. Recreating using our five senses is an everyday occurrence for most of us. It’s just that we don’t make note of it when we do it. Did you ever share an event with a friend? Didn’t it frus- trate you that while relating the event you couldn’t find the voice to express fully what you had experienced? You usually end the conversation by saying, “You had to be there.” Yet, in telling the story you had no problem re-experiencing the sen- sory yourself. Take a simple event from your life and see if you are able to re-experience it. It can be a very simple event. For example, I recall being at the beach at midnight. I was sitting on old wooden stairs gazing at the ocean. It was a clear star-filled night. The moon was off in the distance and shone a pathway of light onto the ocean. I can clearly recall the sounds of the