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Getting Into Character

Discussion in 'AFRICAN MOVIE STARS' started by vince, Feb 26, 2004.

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  1. vince

    vince Well-Known Member

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    Genny will never be able to work with Tade with that kind of working schedule lai lai!
    She has said it herself that she wants to work with him and that means she will have to have a lot more time for him than she normally does with other directors.
    About people not knowing their lines well,that is exactly the reason why.Everything is too impromptu.
     
  2. 4Satat

    4Satat Guest

    GOD BLESS YOU FOR THIS POST!!!!
    JUST COMPLETELY TRUE!!! I created a thread "looking for an actress" and another member made the same observation.
    theyt call it VERSATILITY in the industry where those that have 'connection' take on EVERY damn role! Even those that fit them and those that do not!

    SHAME!! Ma bro....
     
  3. vince

    vince Well-Known Member

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    No actor or actress can independently ask for more time,'cos everybody is working on tight schedules set by the financiers who want their money back very quickly.Nollywood is not that flexible yet.
    Not until the average time of making a movie rises to about 3-6 months,instead of the 2 weeks they work with,will we have actors being able to have enough time with their roles.
     
  4. mykindofmovies

    mykindofmovies Active Member

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    Right ooooooooooooooooo,Vince.
     
  5. blackbutterfly

    blackbutterfly Well-Known Member

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    Its a shame then b/c its not about the ART of acting, directing and producing BUT that of making money. Its a shame. These are the same people who want to be put on the same list as American/Indian directors, actors and producers? These are people who take time to discuss shots, location, costumes, music score, props, lighting, sound, editing and most especially character interpretation. We all say "we have a long way to go" "Its new give them time" but personally, I don't feel the wind of change. I can understand if the financiers/directors are the ones pushing schedule b/c of money but the ACTORS? What is the joy of acting if not to completely illuminate a character on screen and give a role complete justification? How justify a life on screen in FOUR days? If the actors are the ones demanding a rush schedule just so they can make more money shooting more films, then I have lost respect for them. This is why there are COOKIE CUTTER actors in Nigeria!!! They all act the same way...caricatures of Nigerian life. These are actors with hopes of crossing over? God help them.
     
  6. Austeen

    Austeen Member

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    Ironically, the industry has already been polluted, and become a mockery. Back in the days, there used to be what we call "character analysis - developing character traits, no matter how little a role is. This exercise ultimately aids the player in being able to fully transform him/herself into the 'character' - which embraces your entire being in the achievement of the goal.
    Personally, I have not observed any iota of versatility in our actors/actresses. May be this flaw will be attributed to the quality of scripts, pressure from producers or whatever. That can not be an excuse for puting on a shabby performance or "carrying" same character from one movie to another. Of course we have similar issues within the American scene as well. Take Martin Lawrence, Julia Roberts for instance, these actors seem to have permanently moulded themselves into one type of character and can't seem to comfortably fit into some other roles.
    Having said that, though, until the Nigerian viewing audience becomes well educated in the appreciation of quality ARTS and productions, they will continue to take whatever is dished out. I know that these actors are well equiped to competently translate any role, but the dictates of the money mongers have culminated into an unfortunate, utter disrespect for the industry including the real professionals (not those who take it as just a job). So, there are two issues here; first, what are the producers looking for? Quality or .........what? Secondly, Why does the actor do what he does?...for the love of it or just to make a living? Either way, I can understand given the conditions under which one is made to operate - the societal ills.
     
  7. blackbutterfly

    blackbutterfly Well-Known Member

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    I do agree with you whole heartedly but I will come to the defense of the actors in Nigeria by saying that unlike Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Kathy Bates, Claire Danes, Paul Newman, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Cecily Tyson, Sidney Poitier who are given time , an essential when preparing for a character, something Nigerian actors get zero of. Even in not having time, they don't even get trailers where they can be alone and come up with something when they get that script thirty minutes to an hours before shooting...I don't know if they know about practicing Public Solitude but time is very important.

    Also, these actors are busy shooting two and three movies at the same time (whether for greed or to stretch artistically, I will never know) they can't even dedicate time to one script so as to go far talkless of all those scripts they are working on

    . Also, they don't have props/makeup skills to transform these actors. The parts aren't even written to require that transformation. Costume and makeup can go a long way in aiding in character transformation.

    I think the most essential thing missing in Nigerian productions are Time, Respect, Artistically Challenging Projects and Discipline. I've been to one of their rehearsals for a play and I was amazed at the lack of discipline and lack of respect in the rehearsal space. The energy was just off...rowdy, loud and plain annoying. This was a situation whereby some actors were there while some chose to do something else important to themselves, the stage manager did not obviously know his job which is to make sure actors show up, arrange for the space and props besides working the lights and giving actors their notes with regards to their marks, entrances and exits. Everyone was just sitting around with scripts in hand talking about inconsequential matters...even if the other actors aren't there...at least sit around and read the scripts or go to a quiet corner and work on your lines...NOOOOOOO, it was like a BBQ in that joint minus the grill, meat, drinks and potato salad!
     
  8. vince

    vince Well-Known Member

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    Let the average budget of a nolly production rise to 10 mill naira,and average production time rise to 3-6 months in nollywood,then and only then can we know the real talent of our actors/actresses.
    With that kind of time,they can really get to know their xters,and the director will have enough time to get the best out of them.
    Until then,i can't blame the actors o!
     
  9. Hardcore

    Hardcore Active Member

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    Getting into character is important...and the only way you can get into character is by understanding your script...you have to feel your script, feel the character, understand the character that you are supposed to play, live inside that character and trust me it does amazing things.

    For example...if your script says

    EKENE: Why are you doing this to me Ngozi? Is it fair? After everything we have been through???

    You cant just repeat it and then think you are acting.
    You ask yourself, What type of person is EKENE? Is he a mean, harsh man, is he a softie...
    IF Ekene is a harsh man, lets say a well known popular player, his weakness is his anger...
    Then how he says that sentence, is going to be more aggressive...

    You dig what i mean?
     
  10. Austeen

    Austeen Member

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    In as much as I would like to agree with you, I feel its rather shameful that such 'professionals' lack the ability or discipline to manage themselves and their resources no matter how little they have been availed. If a man cannot, or is unable to judiciously manage an income of $100, trust me, that same man would not know the value of $1000 when it is thrown to his face talk less of being able to spend it wisely. There is need for these actors to inculcate in themselves a great height of responsibility and accountability.

    Oh yes, without a doubt, there're obviously a handful who, despite the indequacies, continue to strive to do an excellent job. I applaud them greatly. However, these are very few. Nollywood, at this point in time, boasts of more than just a handful of talents. Unfortunately, only a few of these actually treat the industry with the respect it deserves. And that is very appalling, going by the % of quality products we are privileged to enjoy as opposed to the bunch of sub-standards that are thrown out there to the mounting discontent of those who trully appreciate the work of arts.

    This industry is being treated like every other item and venture in Nigeria. Just like our national soccer team thats always hurriedly assembled and given 2 weeks to prepare for the "World Cup". The results of such laxity are just too clear to us. But then, if the theater is the most appropriate platform for us to examine the ideals of our time, must we not endeavor to give credence to the purpose for which the theater exists and make a difference, rather than take our seats at the same table and eat as they? Do you honestly think that with this attitude, wanting in seriousness of purpose, Nollywood can ever become Hollywood? Even though we are desperately aspiring to attain that height? I would think not. But we shall not relent in our efforts, and hopefully, someday, somebody is going to wake up and .........what's that phrase again? smell the coffee? Whatever!!!
     
  11. youngblood

    youngblood Active Member

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    How much preparation is needed?

    It depends on the script and the significant of a character to the story or a particular scene. For instance, a lead role will require more preparation than a supporting role. A 'long' scene will require more preparation than a short scene. The actor needs to obtain the characterization from the writer to determine what type of person the character is and carry that thought process thru when reading the script. That will help a lot with ad hoc performances and make the actors performance more believable and natural.

    How long does an actor needs?

    Vince, it depends on the actor/ actress. For starters, they need to do their homework before arriving on the set otherwise you'll probably need a good 4 to 5 'dry runs' just to get them warmed up and into character. Even at that, they'll probably forget their lines a ton of times requiring numerous takes. However, every once in a blue moon, you'll luck out and have an actor 'stick' his or her performance after 1 or 2 takes but don't count on it. Bottom line, is budget adequate time for actors to enter into character.

    How important is it?

    Very, very important otherwise you risk having a bunch of stiffs & talking heads running around in your movie. Insist on actors who take your script very seriously beacuse without the story, you don't have a movie... regardless of whether Genny, RMD, or whomever nollywood bigshot acts in it.
     
  12. vince

    vince Well-Known Member

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    Great response,youngblood.I hope the aspiring actors can take something from ya post. :)
     
  13. The Maverick

    The Maverick Well-Known Member

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    Well, this is true, but at the same, consider American soaps...I don't watch them except on rare occassions that I have to go see my dentist, doctor or mechanic in the middle of the afternoon, when the shows are on TV. They shoot those daily, with almost no time for the actors to prepare. But unlike the movies though, they're on going and the actors get a chance to really get into their characters.

    But reverting back to your initial questions, there are no set parameters. There are so many variables that come into play, so at the end of the day, two main factors determine the answers to your questions...The actor and the character he/she has to play. Some people can get into characters easily and don't require much time, whereas others would train for months. It all depends also on the method of acting the actor was trained in. Just like in Nollywood, Hollywood actors jump from set to set too. Anthony Hopkins, for instance, arrived on the set of Hannibal, a day after completing another movie, without ever reading the script, he was learning his lines while getting his makeup done. Then again he was reprising a role he had played before, that was over a decade before that. Then you have Keanu Reeves and his co-stars in the Matrix that trained for about six months before they started filming.

    So it's all relative. But being prepared is always better, how long one takes to be prepared depends entirely on them...and there are static and dynamic variables that come into play. For instance you have a choice to pick from two actresses to play the role of a grieving widow. One of the actresses has never experienced anything like that, she has never even married before, but the other actress may have lost her husband recently, and she's just trying to get back with her life. Obviously, the second actress would most likely have an easier time preparing and playing the role, because she has her first hand experiences to call upon. Though this is not a guarantee that she'd do better.
     
  14. TVwriter23

    TVwriter23 Active Member

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    Not really true, actors do have some time to some what prepare at least enough to remember the lines. It's so tough that a lot of people can't handle that.


    Yeah, but Keanu was trained for 6 months so he had a lot of time. Anthony Hopkins probably had some time to practice his lines and do them different ways etc. Actually it's a lot to do with the director, if the director isn't good with directing the actors even the best of actors can end up sucking in a feature where as a director who does well with directing the actors has a good/great performance.
     
  15. The Maverick

    The Maverick Well-Known Member

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    1) Are you telling me that Nigerian actors have absolutely no time to some what prepare at least enough to remember the lines ? I seriously doubt that.

    1) I thought the topic was getting into character...not can actor's perform. I was just pointing out that different people do it differently. Some take more time than others. There performance is not what's in question here.
     
  16. TVwriter23

    TVwriter23 Active Member

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    actually it is because in getting in character leads to performance and can determine it. And it's not just remembering your lines, but how different ways you can do the line etc.

    Plus not being able to do script/ scene anaylsis to see who the character is and if they are right for you etc.
     
  17. tunmi

    tunmi Active Member

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    I'll give this a stab.
    1. A lot of preparation is needed, even for the minor waka-pass role. I pay attention to them more than I do the main character. The actor needs to completely be this character, he/she needs to understand why this character is like this and what makes him/her tick. Even if it is a cookie-cutter role, there must be some depth. Preparation also allows the actor to conduct research on the character. This is crucial. I have watched enough Naija movies where someone is supposedly using cocaine and falling asleep: Omo Gomina and Mad Family among others. Research on the writer's and actor's part would have revealed that cocaine is a stimulant, like coffee...so you should not fall asleep unless you are overdosing...and dying. Heroin is a depressant, that lulls you to a state of sleep.

    I was always of the mind that people conducted dry readings when filming. This is when actors with speaking roles gather at a table with the director, producer, the writer and some other crew members to read the script. The writer hears his work for the first time and improvements are made on the script.

    2. An actor needs as long as an actor needs. This reminds me of a question my classmates and I always asked our teachers.
    Question: "How long does the paper/essay need to be?"
    Teacher: "As long as it needs to be to get your point across."
    The time an actor needs depends on the role and the plot. A historical film, like Anini or Saworoide or Oduduwa, would require A LOT of time. The set of those films matched the time period they represented. I would cast mine as follows:
    Day 1: Actors get script
    Day 4: Dry reading
    Day 12: Start shooting.

    3. As our Naija films have shown us, preparation is crucial. It is like a paper one wants to write, without prior research, the paper will not be as strong as it could have been. Preparation gives complexity because the actor is so well-versed in his/her character that he/she is the character. If he/she stumbles, he/she can have something to fall back upon. And as someone pointed out, actors will not always hit the nail on the head the first try. Directors should account for this in creating their budget and timeline. Besides, it makes for some entertaining making-of/behind-scenes and bloopers.
     
  18. stylezkiss

    stylezkiss Member

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    I guess its going to do us (all upcoming) good if we work hard to improve our acting skills rather than talking much on those who've already made it to the top...what do you think ? But is it that some producers don't like paying us the upcoming our #2000 per scene dues as stated in the A G N constitutions ?
     
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