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modeling & talent ● breaking into showbiz By Adam Hill The Five Steps Adam Hill offers steps to creative success and stresses the importance of doing your homework A ll creativity originates in the subconscious mind, which I like to call our creative computer. I don’t know how a computer works, just as I don’t know how the subconscious works. One thing I do know about both is neither can give you in- formation that has not been stored in it. (We are not talk- ing about the internet at this time.) Acting is being spontaneous in a situation. In order for this to occur, the actor must program his subconscious with information that allows spontaneity to happen. In other words: Acting spontaneously and intuitively is the result of HOMEWORK! “Until I found the craft, I didn’t know how limited I was with these instincts I took such great pride in.” —Sean Penn THE FOUNDATION I call the 5 steps, “The Foundation.” The foundation is the most important part of whatever we build. The stronger the foundation, the better the result. The foundation is a series of questions that enables the actor to explore all areas of the human experience. One of the dangers of the foundation is if we think of it only as an intellectual process. The actor needs to remember that it is an organic, emotional process, as well. The foundation is separated into five sections. STEP ONE: WHO AM I? “I have always been intrigued by these lives I have never ex- perienced.” —Daniel Day Lewis It is impossible to know all about a character when you first begin your work. You have heard of actors doing char- acter research. It takes time and work to be able to discov- er the truth about your character. 22 PAGEANTRY DANIEL DAY LEWIS “What is the simple look into the character — where do you start?” —Alec Baldwin Start simply. Facts! Character’s name, age, where they come from, anything the script tells us as true. When the script runs out of material for us to work from, we use our imaginations. Begin with simple facts such as your charac- ter’s favorite color, music, foods. What does the character dislike—rude people, lima beans, loud car horns? Can your character play the piano, cook great French toast, or does he/she wish they could fly a plane or speak perfect French? All these choices make your character human. I often re- mind acting students that if it’s true in life, it’s true in act- ing, and if it’s true in acting, it’s true in life. Make your characters as real in their world as you are in yours. “Part of preparing a character is getting a library of images from that characters life.” —Glenn Close Who am I emotionally? I recommend that actors start with themselves when they want to understand their char- acters. The actor needs to honestly list some truths about themselves emotionally before attacking their characters’ emotional lives. This is not about what emotions you can feel. This is about who you are as a person. For example, I know that I am shy. This doesn’t mean I can’t lecture a crowd on acting. I know that being shy is part of who I am. There is no right and wrong in this. “Ask yourself, ‘What is the emotional journey your character takes?’” —Jessica Lange Start to build a history for your character. The play- wright/screenwriter will hopefully have supplied you with facts about your character’s past. It is your job to fill in the blanks, to use your imagination to create those life experiences that are relevant to the event of the play.