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“The Beautiful Thing About Charles Conrad’s Process”

Updated: May 29

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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I studied at/with CC in the mid 70's at the Burbank house/studio. I was/am a trained RADA actor, USC school of Drama under Alex Segal. All that 'experience' was minimal to the CC approach of 'moment to moment', freedom of impulse and acute observation and listening. Sandy Meisner was the 'seed' of this and CC worked/studied under Sandy for 7 years or so. After 50 years of working as a professional actor in Hollywood, I strayed from the CC approach and it cost me dearly in my enjoyment of this craft. My last 2 films I revived my CC approach and was ecstatic at my results and so was/were the Directors. Trust and explore. Hope this helps.

Brian Cutler
Brian Cutler
10. apr. 2023

Thank you, Andrew, for your cautionary tale and story of hope. We here at the studio get to connect with Charles through Brian and we are grateful for his teaching every day. May you continue with your success!

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