Film Actor Using Alba

Understanding and learning to manage emotional intensity levels is an important practice within the study of Alba. Here is a story from my book, The Emotional Body, describing how a film actor used Alba and his understanding of emotional intensity when working on a film project.

pexels-photo-274959_4x8While teaching a college class in film acting, I was coaching an actor before a scene shoot. The actor was familiar with Alba Emoting and he was excited to see how this method translated from his stage acting practice to film acting. He recognized that film acting, particularly close up shots, requires extremely low-level use of the Alba patterns, so the expressions are not too big for the camera. He was working on reducing his expressive level just before he was due on the set for filming.

The student director of the project was watching his rehearsal and kept stopping him and instructing, “Deliver this text with no emotion at all.” The actor was confused about how to deliver the text with absolutely no emotion, so he tried a few takes using various low-level emotional choices, hoping that was what the director was looking for in his delivery. However, the director kept insisting, “No. I really don’t want to see any emotion at all.”

I finally pulled the actor aside and instructed him, “If the director really wants no emotion, I think you should show him what no emotion truly is. Use the neutral pattern and deliver the entire text while staying in neutral. This will mean that your voice will be monotone with no expressive intonation, you will have no gestures, facial expressions, and will simply stand with your body relaxed, symmetrical, and softly staring at the camera.” The actor returned to his rehearsal spot and began his text as I instructed. He looked and sounded like a robot reciting text. The director looked at him, speechless. Finally he said, “What was that?” The actor calmly replied, “That was a delivery with the closest I can humanly come to speaking with no emotion. Is that what you wanted?” The director started laughing, more so at himself than the actor, “No! Wow! Definitely not what I am looking for in this scene.”

I stepped in again, but this time I talked to both actor and director, “Perhaps we could talk a bit about what it is you are really looking for, and without using the phrase ‘no emotion.’ Then maybe we will be more successful in providing a performance that aligns with your vision.” We engaged in a brief question and answer session about the director’s vision for the moment, and soon enough discovered that the director was trying to get the actor to express a situation where only low-level positive emotions would be expressed. It was a classic situation where low-level positive emotions are overlooked, and only negative emotions are considered emotional. The actor finally knew what to do and was able to quickly provide a performance that made both director and actor happy.

Click here to learn more about the book, The Emotional Body.

Interested in attending a workshop to learn the Alba Method? Visit our Upcoming Alba Workshops page for more information on upcoming Alba workshops.

About breathxpress

Laura Facciponti Bond has taught breathing work related to performing and personal expression since 2002 through UNCA classes, as well as through private lessons and regional, national, and international workshops. She is one of the few certified Alba Emoting Instructors in the USA holding a CL5 certification. She studied and co-taught with Alba Emoting founder, neuroscientist Dr. Susana Bloch, in the USA and in Chile where Dr. Bloch resides. Working closely with Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® instructors, she often partners with Feldenkrais instructors in her Alba Emoting workshops. As a result of this partnering, Laura has developed new methods for teaching conscious breathing and Alba Emoting to non-performers, as well as performers, with greater somatic clarity and sensitivity to the individual. Laura is a Full Professor at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. She is the author of TEAM for Actors: A Holistic Approach to Embodied Acting. In addition to the teaching mentioned above, she also teaches acting, directing, voice production, storytelling and public speaking. She is a Certified Master Teacher (CMT) of the Estill Voice Technique, actress, director, singer, and voice-over artist.

Posted on January 7, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: