Cathy Haase


© 2003 Cathy Haase

All rights reserved. Copyright under Berne Copyright Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, and Pan-American Copyright Convention. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher.

Published by Allworth Press An imprint of Allworth Communications, Inc. 10 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010

Front cover photo by Tom Zuback: John Gallagher directs Heather Matarazzo and Brian Vincent in The Deli. From the collection of John Gallagher

Cover design by Mary Belibasakis

Page composition/typography by Integra Software Services, Pvt. Ltd., Pondicherry, India

ISBN: 1-58115-252-3

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Haase, Cathy. Acting for film / Cathy Haase. p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-58115-252-3 1. Motion picture acting. I. Title.

PN1995.9.A26 H33 2003 792'.028-dc21 2002014956 Printed in Canada


introduction: where am i coming from? 1

The Actors Studio A Note to Teachers The Book


chapter 1: relaxation and the art of the face 9

Mental Relaxation Gibberish

The Inner Monologue chapter 2: concentration 19


The Observation Exercise Sense Memory

The Process of Relaxation, Concentration, and Sense Memory chapter 3: the voice and the breath 31

Choosing the Right Practice Material

The First Steps to Giving the Character Your Voice

Getting Stuck in Your Head

The Preconceived Idea

The Journal as Inner Voice

The Trained Voice chapter 4: listening 45

Watching Movie Scenes for Listening

Listening in Life

Setting Up a Sensory Structure

Listening to the Other Actor

Journal Writings as Inner Monologue


Apocalypse Now chapter 5: the skin and the overall 59

The Overall

Other Overall Examples

Scenarios That Invade Your Concentration

Does It Really Work?

chapter 6: substitution: the camera as partner 71

Substitution for a Person Substitution and Filmmaking

The First Steps to the Substitution Technique: Choosing the Right

Substitute Finding the Key to Your Substitute Monologue with Substitution Speaking to the Lens chapter 7: creating the space 83

Place as a Sense Memory Creating an Imaginary Place Being the Character in the Room Place as Inner Emotional State The Fourth Wall On Self-Indulgence


chapter 8: the audition 99

The Typical Movie Audition The Breakdown Services Types

Doing the Videotaped Audition Different Types of Auditions Do It As Often As You Can chapter 9: reading the script 113

Important Elements of Screenplay Format for the Actor Approaching the Text On the Set

Following the Blueprint chapter 10: creating the character 129

Location, Location, Location

Character's Log

Observations, Thoughts, and Journal Notes

Time Line: Continuity



The Sensual Character Creating Relationship Needs and Actions chapter 11: rehearsals 137

The Reading

Script Development through Rehearsal and Improvisation Things to Do on Your Own


chapter 12: big-budget versus low-budget films 153

Understanding Filmmaking Using the Word "Film" All Films Are the Same Student Films No/Low-Budget Films The Big-Budget Movie chapter 13: the first day on the set 167

Be Prepared

The Call Sheet

The Actor and the Call Sheet

The Makeup Department

The Costume Department

The Actor and the Crew chapter 14: hot set: the classic camera setups 183


The First Rehearsal

Shooting the Master

Shooting the Rest of the Scene

What to Do with the Wrong Preparation chapter 15: the rushes and the finished film 197

The Rushes

The Actor and the Rushes Assessing Your Work in the Rushes Your Acting Preparation and Performance The Finished Film bibliography 209 index 211

about the author 215


This book would not have been possible without my work with the great teacher, Walter Lott.

I would like to thank the following people for their support, advice, and sharing their knowledge: Ulla Zwicker; John Woodward; Marilyn Moore; Leslie Kaminoff; Leonard Easter; Marilyn Horowitz; Patch Schwadron; my editor, Nicole Potter, and publisher Tad Crawford of Allworth Press; all of my students; and the School of Visual Arts, especially the film chairman Reeves Lehmann. A special acknowledgement must go to my husband, Steve Thurston, for his patience, understanding, and loving support, for which I am forever grateful.

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