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The Origins of Acting and “The Method”


This FilmmakerIQ lesson is proudly sponsored
by RØDE Microphones. Premium Microphones and Audio Accessories for Studio, Live and
Location Recording. Hi, John Hess from FilmmakerIQ.com and today
we’ll take an abridged look at the history of Western theater leading us ultimately to
what’s now called Method Acting. We could start our story much closer to home
but I think it’s worth it to jump far back into history – to the very beginning of acting
– all the way back to Ancient Greece. The ancient Greek culture and it’s rich mythology
of gods was not based on a holy text. Instead, their mythology were told through word of
mouth. Like a long game of telephone, each generation of Greeks would retell the myths
with a different interpretation reflecting the contemporary issues of their time – this
process of handing down stories became theater – from the original Greek theasthai which
means “to behold” Theater was central to ancient Greeks – The
communal sharing of stories was centered around the annual celebrations of the god Dionysus
– the god of Grape Harvest, Winemaking, Wine, Ritual Madness, Religious Ecstasy, Fertility
and eventually Theater. The earliest celebrations involved participants from the community – men
and women – gathering at the base of a hill singing what was called Dithyramb in honor
of Dionysus. In the 6th Century BC, these celebrations
became more formalized. Theater became a men-only affair. Another change came with the Greek
Poet Arion who started writing down the Dithyramb introducing the written word to the oral tradition.
Around the same time, a singer named Thespis would become theater’s first star by creating
an act where he as solo actor accompanied by the Greek Chorus would interpret the Dithyramb
using different masks with exaggerated facial features and expressions to perform different
characters. Greek Theater continued to advance in the
5th century with the introduction of the skene: a background building to which the platform
stage was connected which could be painted to represent locations and act as a changing
area for actors as more people became part of the theater production. Format wise, theater developed into three
categories: Satyr Plays, Comedies and Tragedies. Satyr Plays were the oldest drawing from rituals
to Dionysus and featured a lot of slapstick. Comedies were topical light hearted lampoons
of the people and events of the time – in fact we get the word Lampoon from Lampon – a
Greek statesman made fun of by the Athenian performer Aristophanes. Tragedies were more
serious works which featured a flawed mythic hero and Greek chorus which acted as the play’s
moral compass. At the end of each tragedy the hero manages to find himself in a catastrophe
caused usually by his own hubris. Now because these theaters were open air events
often in front of thousands of people, the acting was much more declamatory – that is
it emphasized on vocal projection and grand body gestures so everyone could see what was
happening. When Rome took over the world – they also
took to Greek theater – changing it to their favor adding in more spectacle and variety.
Roman drama adapted Greek works but did away with the Greek chorus in favor of dialogue
and even began to underscore their shows with music. Theater was the popular entertainment
of the time – sometimes even lewd and offensive. The actors morals even challenged the decadence
of Roman society leading to some brush ups against Roman authorities. Still, massive
theaters were constructed in virtually every corner of the Roman Empire. But then Rome fell and theater would pretty
much grind to a halt during the Dark Ages with only amateur productions of religious
morality plays being staged by the church. It would take a millennia before Acting would
become a professional art form once again. It wasn’t until the Italian Renaissance that
we begin see a new form of professional theater – Commedia dell’arte in the 16th century in
Venice. With one foot in the world of court royalty and one foot in the street performer
tradition, Commedia dell’arte was a populist form of theater – representing all people
from aristocracies down to common peasants. The first notable acting troupe was I Gelosi
working from 1569-1604. Sponsored by nobility, I Gelosi toured Europe travelling all fom
Italy to France, Poland, Spain, Germany and England. With a strong emphasis on improvisation, the
actor in Commedia was also the author and editor of their own material. And for the
first time women began to share the stage with men. Because Commedia dell’Arte relied heavily
on improvisation, the form centered around a few key stock characters and situations. Actor roles in a Commedia dell’Arte troupes
fell into three broad categories: servants (zanni), the masters or elders (usually old
men hence their Italian name, the vecchi) and the lovers (innamorati, also known as
the amorosi). Among these stock characters the most familiar to modern audiences may
be the Harlequin, a slightly higher up zanni, an amoral, mischievous but playful and narcissistic
servant character. The tradition of masks carried through into
Commedia dell’Arte worn by both the lower and higher up characters, but some of the
characters, especially the amorosi, performed unmasked. Commedia evolved into different forms as it
spread across Europe as each culture took from it to adapt to local customs. The French
were particularly fond of the Harlequin character and developed it further – in England you
can see many Commedia’s influence on the bard himself, William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer
Night’s Dream features many elements of Commedia dell’Arte Even though Commedia was incredibly influential
it would have the same moral opponents as their Roman counterparts a millenia ago. The
church saw the work as vulgar and heretical, perhaps competition for their own morality
plays. But actors found political enemies as well. Napoleon Bonaparte would outlaw Commedia
in 1797 during his occupation of Italy because political dissidents hid behind masks to hurl
insults as mocked their new emperor. Still, Commedia dell’arte influence persisted
through the years, informing stage tradition and ultimately making it into film from the
pantomime schtick of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and even into the sound era which brought
in vaudeville influences as seen in this clip from the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup: Jumping ahead to late 19th century, theater,
though perhaps not seen as the most noble of pursuits, was a generally accepted tradition
that had ancient roots in Greece, Italian Renaissance influences and strong literary
backing from great writers like William Shakespeare. But acting on stage across Europe and the
United States still focused on the grand declamatory style and in the era before stage mics you
kind of had to be. But the style wasn’t just born out of necessity, it was the prevailing
theory that theater had to be exaggerated to be real. Actor and theater theorist Benoit-Constant
Coquelin, who was hailed as the greatest actor alive by his contemporaries, said: In my opinion, nothing can be perfect, nothing
can be great without nature, but I must reiterate once again that Theater – the art and, consequently,
nature can be reproduced in it only with some kind of idealization or stress, without which
there is no art. I will say more: stark nature produces in the theater only a very weak impression. Coquelin was firmly against naturalism in
acting. Acting for the stage meant simulated emotion – a French musician and teacher François
Delsarte would even publish a book of poses and hand gestures for every emotion. Though
his intent was to connect the inner emotional experience of the actor with a systematic
set of gestures and movements, it was taught as a shorthand way of acting – when the script
calls for this emotion – make this pose. Well this type of acting bored a young actor
by the name of Constantin Stanislavski. Born in 1863 as Konstantin Sergeyevich Alexeyev
to one of the richest families in Russia, Stanislavski was a stage name adopted to keep
his acting pursuits hidden from his parents. But Stanislavski wasn’t interested in poses
or grandiose gestures. Instead Stanislavski was interested in “living the part” – he would
disguise himself as a tramp or a gypsy and go to public areas and try to stay in character. On June 22, 1897, Stanislawski, now quite
established as an actor in Russian theater circles, and playwright/director Vladimir
Nemirovich-Danchenko met for a lunch meeting that would go down in theater history. After
an extraordinary 18 hour meeting which ended over breakfast at Stanislavski’s estate the
following morning, the two men outlined the details and practices of what would become
the Moscow Art Theater. The emphasis of the Moscow Art Theater was
to bring naturalism to popular theater – gone were the bombastic playing toward the crowd
– in was an emphasis on realistic performances. In rehearsing the troupe of actors Stanislavsky
spent hours and hours asking questions of the script and actors – looking for what he
called the “empirical truth” Over time a system began to emerge. In 1909, he began crafting the first draft
of his system. Though the science of psychology was just beginning to develop, Stanislavski’s
system took what we would now call a very psychological approach to acting. But ultimately
it was all about getting actors into the moment. To reach this level an actor must train the
body, the voice and the mind in the preparation stage. Then the actual role must be studied
looking for motivations and deeper understanding of how the role integrates with the rest of
the piece. Finally truth would emerge in the role as the actor would feel as the events
that were in the play were really happening. To create realism Stanislavski experimented
with emotional memory or sense memory – that is to bring up a past experience in your mind
that would match the similar feeling in the scene, sometimes these would traumatic experiences,
to create the reality of very dark emotional scene – but he later abandoned this technique
after it made his fellow actors crazy. To Stanislavski, emotion can also come from
the action. Let say we put an actor in a small room with no windows with a single door. We
give that actor a motivation – there’s a bomb in that room it will go off in exactly one
minute. If the actor can deeply believe that objective, the bomb is about to blow, the
only logical solution is to get out of that room. And if the door is locked, panic will
naturally set in. That emotion will be real without having to recall a real life experience
of being stuck in a room with a ticking bomb – which hopefully not many of you have. This is only one of the ideas that Stanislavski
developed in his system. But even before he had fully developed his ideas, the Moscow
Art Theater and it’s natural style of acting became a hit and began to tour the world. On January 2, 1923, the Moscow Art Theater
began it’s first run in the United States, opening in New York City with Tsar Fyodor
Ioannovich at the Jolson Theater for a 5 month run. Those performances would set the ball
rolling for a new American interpretation of Stanislavski’s ideas which would ultimately
be folded into the term “Method acting” After Stanislavski’s Moscow Art Theater toured
the United States, two members decided to stay behind and open a drama school called
The American Laboratory Theater in New York City in 1923. Among the first students were
Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman and Stella Adler who would in turn start their own theater
with Cheryl Crawford called The Group Theater in 1931. The Group Theater was a collective
of actors, directors and playwrights, eschewing star driven theater and emphasizing the group
and dedicated to naturalistic but highly disciplined acting focusing on the Stanislavski’s system
but also trying to see how far they could push his ideas. Founding member Lee Strasberg became extremely
focused on developing the Emotional Memory aspect of Stanislavski’s system. This didn’t sit well with fellow Group founder
Stella Adler. Strasberg directed Adler in the 1934 play Gentlewoman, driving Adler nuts
with forcing her to constantly revisit a painful past experience. So much so that Adler decided
to take the summer off and visit Paris with her then husband and fellow Group Theater
member Harold Clurman. In Paris, Adler discovers quite by accident
that Stanislavski was doing a theater run. Adler arranges a meeting and asks legendary
actor “Why did you ruin my life?” Well Stanislavski was taken back by what the
Americans were doing with his system. He had abandoned emotional memory as a primary technique
years earlier instead focusing on imagination guided by emotional memory. Instead of revisiting
a painful past memory, the actor should use the entire life of experience to imagine what
the emotions that this particular scene requires. To ask the magic “what if” question. So for every afternoon for five weeks, Adler
and Stanislavski would work together workshopping her scenes from Gentlewoman. When Adler returned the States, she brought
a new take Stanislavski’s system that broke away from Strasberg’s emotional memory method. Strasberg retired from the Group Theater on
Adler’s return and acting technique in the United States began to separate and develop
into two parallel camps – the Strasberg Method which focused heavily on looking inward to
find emotion and the Adler Technique which was a bit more congruent with Stanislavski’s
current thinking on physical action and objective augmented with imagination. These Method techniques would start to gain
serious influence after World War II. Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford, Robert Lewis and Anna
Sokolow started the Actor’s Studio in New York in October of 1947. The Actor’s Studio
was an place for professionals and amateurs alike to work and experiment with their craft.
Members would be required to try out and it was by invitation only. It quickly became
an exclusive and highly regarded place to be in New York acting circles. By 1949 several
teachers began running classes at the studio, among them Sanford Meisner, Daniel Mann and
Elia Kazan. Lee Strasberg was also brought on to teach theater history but by 1951, when
Elia Kazan had left for Hollywood, Strasberg became artistic director and de facto head
of the Actor’s Studio and began to fashion it according to his own interpretation of
the method. But method acting would no longer be contained
inside New York Theater circles for long. Also 1951 method acting exploded on the screen
in a big way with Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in Elia Kazan’s movie adaption of
Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” Stanley: Is this before or after you got the
telegram? Blanch: Telegram? Telegram. Oh as a matter
of fact my wire… Brando: As a matter of fact there wasn’t no
wire at all And there is no millionaire. And Mitch didn’t come in here with roses ’cause
I know where he is. There isn’t a damn thing but imagination, and lies and deceit, and
tricks! And look at yourself. Take a look at yourself here in a worn out Mardi Gras outfit rented for fifty cents from some rag-picker . And with that crazy crown on! What kind of queen do you think you are? You know I’ve been on to you from the start
and not once did you pull the wool over this boy’s eyes. You come in here and you sprinkle the place
with powder and you spray perfume and you stick a paper latern over the light bulb and
lo and behold the place is turned to Egypt and you are the queen of the Nile sitting
on your throne swilling down my liquor and you know what I say? HA HA You hear me? HA HA HA. Here was a product of the New York elite
theater giving raw and powerful performance on screen. Method acting – with its naturalistic
style was the perfect for partner for cinema’s unblinking eye which could capture every nuance
of the performance. Strasberg took credit for teaching Brando
his techniques. But Brando denied it completely – instead owing his success to Stella Adler
who had started her own teacher school and director Elia Kazan. Strasberg does take credit, perhaps more authentically,
for other famous 50s method icons like James Dean Officer: That’s cute, that’s cute… It’s too
bad you didn’t connect. You could have gone to Juvenile Hall. That’s what you want isn’t
it? Sure it is. You want to bug us until we have to lock you up. Why? Jim: Leave me alone. Officer: No. Jim: I don’t know why. Officer: Go on don’t give me that. Jim: Please lock me up, I’m gonna hit somebody.
I’m going to do something… Officer: Try the desk. Go ahead. and the incomparable Marilyn Monroe The Regent: Well my dear. Elsie: Well…. The Regent: My dear, wouldn’t you be more
comfortable on the sofa? You could put your feet up there and rest. Elsie: Oh no thank you, I think I’ll stay
right where I am. The Regent: Just as you please. The Regent: My dear, it was so good of you
to come and see me here tonight. Elsie: You said that before. The Regent: Did I? That is a beautiful dress. Elsie: You said that before too. The Regent: What does it matter? What are
words where deeds can say so much more! Elsie: That’s just terrible! The Regent: What is terrible? Elsie: That Performance of yours. The Regent: Dear I do not all together understand
you. Elsie: Oh now pull grand duke with me. You
made a pass and I turned it down – that’s all that happened. We can still be friendly. The Regent: Excuse me. Both Dean and Monroe are product of the Actor’s
Studio and of the Strasberg method – thus cementing “method acting” as the way an actor
prepares for the screen. There is a considerable heated debate over
which technique is right – Strasberg or Adler. There are strong proponents on both sides
but in truth they both just different approaches to achieving the same thing – a truthful performance. Lee Strasberg: If you have picked an incident
that has in itself some motivation it may suggest to you something to do otherwise frankly
you’re going to stand there on the stage. You will not know what to do and the only
thing that you will know is to remember the lines And that is not the way we become actors. The very word acting has nothing to do with
memory in that sense. It has to do with what we do, how we behave on the stage, how we
make whatever we’re doing real. When we sleep, we not only have to lie there,
we have to create sleep – which is a sensory reality. When we wake up, we don’t really
know. It’s dark in that place and so on. All these things you have to create because the
stage is going to be pretty light so you’re not going to get it from the stage itself.
You’re going to get it only from the way in which we commonly say your imagination creates
it but the imagination is nothing more than all these real things taking place unconsciously.
When they don’t happen the imagination doesn’t work, the inspiration doesn’t work and the
actor is left only with the lines. Stella Adler: The soul of the people that
are playing has to… I say, the only thing it is is that you act with your SOUL. You
do not act words and you do not act this… you act with your SOUL. And you don’t have that soul yet. – and that’s
why you want to be actor, I don’t blame you. I told you in the beginning that no matter
what I said you wouldn’t listen. You would go to the words. You are drunk with words.
You are infected, you are diseased with words. Instead of what words come from. You must contribute to the words. The words are not
your privilege. The words are somebody else’s – you must do something with them. You must
give them life. They are on the page. Shakespeare is dead as doornails on the page. The play has nothing to do with words. Nothing
at all to do with words. It has to do with ideas. That’s what plays are about. Plays
where you don’t dance and you don’t amuse the audience and you don’t wiggle and you
don’t shake and it’s not right there. It’s not absolutely comprehensible – not even to
you. Those and the parts – that’s what you call the big theater. Other acting teachers would add their own
techniques including fellow Actor Studio teacher Sanford Meisner who went on teach at the Neighborhood
Playhouse School of the Theatre and Uta Hagen who taught at Herbert Berghof Studio. But what has ultimately emerged from the 20th
century is the approach to acting that seeks to understand and identify with the character
and story as the preparation for a performance. And for the most part when we say method acting
we mean this process which an actor goes through to emotionally identify his character. How
an actor accomplishes that whether that’s through emotional memory, through observation,
through asking the big “what if” – that process – that method – is different from actor to
actor, from teacher to teacher and even from role to role. Even Stanislavski had this to say about the
method: As filmmakers I think we put too much emphasis
on the technical aspects of filmmaking – the picture and sound. What drives people to the
movies, is the same thing that drove the ancient Greeks to their amphitheaters – not just the
love of story but the need for story. The screenwriter creates the play, the director
visualizes it, the cinematographer captures it, the sound recordists capture the audio,
the editor pieces it all together and polishes it up, but it is only the actor that can breathe
the life into the character and the story. And it is the character who the audience identifies
with – it is through character that we undertake the journey of the plot. Everything else is
in service to this. Now some genres may rely more heavily on one filmmaking aspect or another,
you can craft performances and plotlines through careful editing – but it all still begins
with the actor. When it comes to performance, it is essential
to train and practice. It’s not different for filmmakers. Look at your story, study
the themes, ask questions, and develop your own method to make something great. I’m John
Hess and I’ll see you at FilmmakerIQ.com

100 Comments

  1. Mon Tage Author

    Thank you for taking the time to create this video. Always a pleasure to watch and learn. Like the new intro.
    Watched ‘To Have or Have Not’ recently on TCM and it made me wonder how acting was classified during the studio/star system era of movies. Don’t know what ‘school’ of acting folks like Bogart or Brennan worked from.
    According to Hitchcock actors are ‘cattle’, which pretty much summed up the studio system’s view of actors.
    It’s interesting that Stanislavsky’s system originated in Russia around the same time that Kuleshov and Eisenstein were working on montage. Especially since this was the time that Soviet Russia was being born. If you haven’t seen Hess’s video on ‘The History of Cutting – The Soviet Theory of Montage’ advise you watch it immediately. Also watch ‘The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing’ documentary from 2004.
    Editors have a great deal of impact on the performances seen in movies. Since the juxtaposition of images can have the same affect/effect on audiences as a great performance. (Kuleshov Effect)

    Reply
  2. child01 Author

    Please, do The History of MATCHMOVING (Not character mo-cap of people in tights with markers!! no no!).
    I'm asking about matching cgi movement with real camera movement. You know – pftrack, boujou, syntheye… I know, of course, big studios using their own software.
    John, it's a hot subject for filmmaking and you know that! Almost every movie has an artificial elements which must be matched solidly into a footage.
    So, please… right from the filmmakers' first step on the path of matchmoving!
    and HUGE THANX for your hard work, John!

    Reply
  3. Joseph Murphy Author

    My only complaint about Filmmaker IQ was the opening animation was not as polished and interesting as the great content that always follows. Glad you upgraded!

    Reply
  4. Peter Valentino Author

    You are the most pro teacher on the web. I am teaching acting in Hollywood. Today's class was better because of this very comprehensive video. I am inspiring my actors to be great! I have learned so much…thanks John.

    Reply
  5. Aman Panesar Author

    @Filmmaker IQ im surprised John Hess that u still haven't done any video on resolutions, and there is not much stuff about it either online. there is a confusion in general public about 70mm film being equivalent to 4k or 8k and then 70mm is also not the same as it was when it first started and remained that way for decades and now we have 70mm IMAX

    Reply
  6. Conor Birkett Author

    Thank you so much for this video, acting's a great passion of mine and seeing how it all started makes me love it even more! Keep up the good work man

    Reply
  7. Gugun Arief Author

    The best video on film acting. John, you explain it so clear and so systematic even for beginner like me. I hope you would make a video talking about Asian martial arts movie and it's influence to world cinemas. I've subscribed to your channel and waiting for it. Awesome channel.

    Reply
  8. Miley onDisney Author

    James Dean was a HORRIBLE actor! And the Strassbergs absolutely RUINED Marilyn's acting. She was so much better BEFORE the Actors Studio.

    Reply
  9. ianyapxw Author

    Just to clarify, I thought there are 2 main schools, Method and Classical Acting? People like Heath Ledger are known for method acting while like Jennifer Lawrence is known for Classical Acting, and she stated once in an interview it keeps her sane (can't find the interview now). From my understanding classical acting basically trains you to have very precise control of body language and use those skills to act out a role.

    I'm not really into film much though I've just been googling around, so I'd like to hear your opinion!

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  10. amstrad79b Author

    Religion besides putting humanity back 1000 years in science, it did the same to arts! And there are still humans believing in those crappy myths…

    Reply
  11. pepe barbas Author

    Great videos… today's commercial movies relay too much on special effects, and leaves the character just to go along with the visual spectacle.. So the story and actors work for the visual effects, when it should be the other way around

    Reply
  12. Darcy Grey Author

    Genuinely loved this video! Incredibly informative and jam packed full of knowledge, bravo.

    What is missing online (that is available in a book of course) is an immersive breakdown of the technique each pioneer crafted (Strasberg, Meisner, Adler), which was definitely touched upon, in this video. But perhaps, a more in depth look at each of these pioneers and more on their approach to the method, could be the topic of another video? There is a lack of it on youtube – let it be you who brings it to us!

    Loved it nonetheless! Thank you.

    Reply
  13. Mayur Chauhan Aka Michael Author

    Great Video! But no reference of Indian Style and history of acting. You guys have missed mentioning the epic book ' NatyaShastra' . Check out the Indian way and Japanese too 🙂

    Reply
  14. HosterJack Author

    Great videos guys! But as an Italian, our "ch" is pronounced "kh", so when you say "Vecchi", it doesn't sound "Vecchi" as an English speaker would spell it, but it sounds like "Vekki"!

    Reply
  15. Mistermaarten150 Author

    I once read in the biography of director Paul Verhoeven that he had some trouble with the actor Peter Weller playing robocop. Weller was a method actor, and continually stayed in his role. When Verhoeven would adress him as Peter he would simply not respond, which at first was quite strange to Verhoeven.

    Reply
  16. Rick Gates Author

    You gotta love John's attempts to smoothly pronounce foreign words and names and keep it moving along. Although, at some points you can hear the dubbing. Still a great video though.

    Reply
  17. Scott B Author

    I think too many of today's Hollywood A-list try too hard, or appear to. Their school training shows through when they attempt to portray intensity and they end up looking very small. Watch any performance by Robert Mitchum to see the exact antithesis of this.

    Reply
  18. truefilm Author

    Thanks so much, John, for another fantastic video.

    I personally would say that the mid 1970s are somehow a true turning point. Looking at some Hollywood movies (mainstream I should say), I still can see even young actors/actresses rather yelling and exaggerating (for contemporary ears and eyes that is) dialog and gestures. That changed for good from the 1980s on. Just compare the acting in Star Wars (1977) and Return of the Jedi (1983) by the same actors. During the course of just six years they went from an older, "louder" acting style to a more subtle and "reflecting" style of acting. That's just one example.

    Acting became more and more restrained during that time and some performers nowadays are even mumbling and whispering.

    My theory is that actors (also) became aware of new technologies such as way better audio equipment capturing all nuances. No more need to yell every line so the microphone captures it.
    But somehow a certain energy and charisma are drained out of many a contemporary film.

    Perhaps another important thing to consider is that people are more afraid of overacting and being cheesy. There is a very fine line that separates the subtle from the "flat, emotionless". Just compare three great actors in the same role throughout the years: Sean Connery still was very energetic, commanding and projecting his voice as as 007. Timothy Dalton already took a subtler approach, still energetic but more restrained. Daniel Craig is rather quiet and even more subtle in his approach, almost talking with a slur at times (still impeccable diction though!).
    Sure: this goes for society in general. People seemed to express themselves (in real life) in broader gestures and louder voices back in the day – today we have a more controlled, restrained, composed society. That's why, looking back, almost everyone seems to be yelling and overacting in movies from, say, the 1930s through 1950s. Just an example: Richard Widmark in "night And The City" (1950). He is running, stumbling, yelling and sweating his way all through the movie – yet I think it is a fantastic performance filled with high energy – it is just an obsolete "old school" way of acting by now. My point is: that acting approaches also reflect society and culture in general – of a given time and place.

    One last example: compare the two versions of "Twelve Angry Men". The brilliant 1957 theatrical release version had a cast of the finest (and at the time modern) actors, yet there are still signs of a "rough edged" acting style – every sentence or remark seems to have at least one exclamation mark at the end (except perhaps for Martin Balsam and Robert Webber). Now compare the 1997 Television version, with equally brilliant actors including screen legends George C. Scott and Jack Lemmon – who both were very energetic actors – in very different styles – decades back (I am taking their respective ages at the time into account!). The tone is much more "jaded" and definitely "low energy" compared to the 1957 theatrical release version. Definitely signs of changing times.

    Thanks for reading my thoughts and input. And thanks for another most insightful video!

    Reply
  19. Robert Sean Parker Author

    Wonderful history of acting in only 28 minutes! I am going to show this to my beginning acting class. Thank you for your great quality of work!

    Reply
  20. Lovey Khatri Author

    i love it so much there was lots of learning proper description was given on method acting and imagination,but still i have little doubt about how to do method acting what are elements included and how to apply it! i am also an theater artist i would love to involve this in my life.do you have any link where i can get more depth about method acting, by the way thanks for your lovely video. 🙂

    Reply
  21. Yiota Cross Author

    The best shortened and adequate resume in history of acting online.
    I have added Greek subtitles to this video but haven't heard back for approval.
    Thumbs up John.

    Reply
  22. Aidan - PGUK co. Author

    Im really loving all these history videos of how things changed over time. they are just so interesting! thank you for making these!

    Reply
  23. Karla MarcanoMiranda Author

    Thank you for this video. It covers materials that I can use in five different courses I teach. A lot of information portrayed in an interesting way. Perfect!

    Reply
  24. DFDalton1962 Author

    If you suffer from misophonia, this video is a nightmare. If not, it's still at least mildly annoying. Are the fake chalkboard writing sound effects really necessary? They made it very difficult for me to focus on the content.

    Reply
  25. Dave Dennis Author

    This is the best video for me. I have always been fascinated with acting and the actor's ability to tell the story in a way that made me feel the emotion. I know that talent plays a big part in this also. This is why I really don't like the movies from the 50's and 60's. The acting seemed too rigid and stiff to me. While you were seeing the story, it seemed the way they talked and the movements of the body were so overbearing. We really do see and maybe don't notice subtle movements and gestures. Great video. My favorite actor? Russell Crowe.

    Reply
  26. Mychal Simmons Author

    John, John, John!!!!! Damn man! You are Killin it! I LOVE THIS CHANNEL!!! After that all I can say is WHEW!!!!!!!! GREAT LESSON!! This literally IS FILM SCHOOL!! Thank you so much John!!!

    Reply
  27. Suvo Pyne Author

    I would like to see what you think about Bresson's theory of acting in his films? You say actors breathe the life in the film, but Bresson intentionally abstained his actors to do so. In fact the lack of relevant expression heightened the moments in his films.

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  28. Dave Author

    John – Very interesting, taught and informed me more about 'The Method' than ever before. Now 65 and avid film watcher all my life pretty much seen every film that could be considered as the best examples of Traditional and Method. To me the best with out doubt is Ypres Montard in Manon De Sources when he learns at the end the son he always wanted is the hunchback he killed. Totally riveting, every time I watch it I am totally in that moment as if there and spellbound. Also the same with Al Pacino in The Godfathere when he tells Sonny he will shoot Sollozo. Both pure magic moments !! But unfortunately and I feel quite sorry for you and so many actors, which I would love to have been but instead 'performed' as a teacher, presenter and trainer most of my life the take over of fims by Marvel/DC Superheros I doubt there will be any need for acting as it once was. Considering the attention span of the present generation, the need for ear shattering music and sound effects, pure mumbling that even though a film is in English I always have the subtitles on, obscure on absence of any relevant, progressive or understanable story line – I can't really see acting survining. Shame 🙁

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  29. David Timber Author

    I'm not sure that the pieces to the puzzle are laid out correctly, especially the connection between Strasburg, Adler and Meisner. You seem to skip over Meisner. Montgomery Clift was the bridge between Brando and Dean, Dean actually was most fascinated with Clift's style.

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  30. Rickie Peete Author

    I am very appreciative of your work on this video and all the other works Filmmaker IQ puts forward. However, to say that acting began (0:48) in Ancient Greece just seems woefully ignorant. When we step back and look at the history of mankind (beginning in Africa) spanning 1000s of years before Ancient Greece, it's a stupefying assertion to imply that STORY was not acted out by human-beings until the Greeks. Acting represents many forms of story-telling and whatever the Greeks were doing, it didn't originate out of a vacuum.

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  31. 909sickle Author

    I always wondered what people mean when they ask "Are you a method actor?" So, they're asking, "Are you being truthful to the character you're playing?" Who would answer no to that? I think maybe what most people mean by "method acting" is actually experiencing the emotions and thoughts of the character, as opposed to portraying all of the same motions, but without actually feeling the emotions and possessing the ideas.

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  32. Aditya Sarnaik Author

    Dilip Kumar the greatest among Indian actors found method acting in the India. If someone want to see what method acting in the east , watch his movies.

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  33. Keith Naylor Author

    Interesting Quantity of acting tips… that Shakespeare is not about 'words' but 'performance' – brilliant, but I still cannot decide if I prefer Brando's Mark Anthony or Heston's!
    Both totally mesmerising!
    KAN

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