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“The Beautiful Thing About Charles Conrad’s Process”

Brian: The beautiful thing about Charles Conrad’s process, which Charles passed to me (thank God) and taught me, so I could become a really strong working actor… You just have to give yourself time and not rush.

Thomas: Mhmm.

Brian: Ya know?

Thomas: Yeah.

Brian: And you have to learn to work moment by moment and impulse by impulse.

We had someone last night, relatively new, who we probably won’t see again. And that’s cool. “What’s my motivation?” That’s why I tell you don’t read books about acting. Because that’s a silly question. Your motivation is to get the job. Your objective is to get paid. So, if you’ve read a lot of books about acting, forget all that other stuff. What you want to learn to do is trust your body, work moment by moment, impulse by impulse, and where’s my wonderful quote from my newly found friend Mr. Morgan Freeman?

John: Right here.

Brian: There’s a picture of Morgan, who I spent a whole afternoon and evening with just before Covid. Thank you, Father, for the wealth! What does he say on that picture?

John: “It’s what I learn from the great actors that I work with. Stillness. That’s all and that’s the hardest thing.”

Brian: So, three things I’ve been teaching for thirty years: stillness, active listening, and less is more. If you get those things down, and you do what James Cagney said in the thirties, “Learn your words. Hit the mark. Look the other person in the eye. Say the words.”, you’ll be a working actor. It’s just that simple! However, it is not easy.


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