I turned in a thesis outline to my advisor (Ray Paolino) last week. It included notes on some preliminary research that I did over the summer, text analysis, etc... I mostly, however, wanted to focus on my goals in this production. This included the standard things I've been working on: Vulnerability, learning when my defense mechanisms are appropriate character choices and when they are personal inhibitions, etc...
I also traveled to Wilmington, NC to pick up my car last weekend. While I was there a friend of mine with considerable on camera experience gave me a brief private coaching session. As per usual, I found myself grimacing, fidgeting and self-consciously giggling. My stage training always makes it difficult to relax. Strangely enough, I also think this is a function of my lack of discipline as an actor. If one has discipline, one can simplify and distill their choices until they're camera-ready.
My biggest goal for my thesis is to master this sense of discipline and simplification.
When I was in Italy last summer, I wrote the following journal entry. It uses food as a metaphor, but if you can't in Italy, when the hell can't you?:
"I've always considered myself to be a good cook, and seen my process preparing a meal as a metaphor for my acting process: Improvise, make big choices, fail big, avoid expectations that hold you back, and feel free to liberally stray from the recipe (that last part drives my mother crazy).
"Ultimately, it works. Most of my meals are unexpected and tasty. I can count on one hand the number of times I've experimented to the point of something being inedible.
"That being said, this free-form style that I have has flaws that also mirror my acting process: Lack of attention to detail, difficulty repeating a success, overuse of a particular flavor...Often the complexity and delicacy just aren't there. They get sacrificed in favor of bold choices.
"The pasta that I had last night (which was so good that I'm STILL thinking about it), had a perfectly blended harmony of flavors and texture. There was CRAFT to that meal, not just embracing one or two good things and then rolling with it. The specificity made it memorable.
"A good actor can do a passable (even entertaining) Lady Macbeth with a few bold choices. A great actor- an artist- crafts each moment as part of the whole.
"I have a good grasp on mining raw material, but need to practice how I incorporate it. Discipline should be my focus in year 3."