Actors, imagination, and the ability to imagine the world of the screenplay

It seems to me that most actors misdirect their imagination or they don’t have enough imagination. Actors should not worry about what they look like on screen. They should worry how accurately they are able to imagine the source of fear, or the source of anxiety or the source of love.

No matter how much you want to appear scared or in love or angry and no matter how motivated you are you will not appear scared or in love or angry if you do not see the source of fear or love or anger in your mind. The source of emotion is not just in you. It is channelled through you because of your motivation which gives you a reason to react and defines how you should react but what you react to is not in you and that’s why it needs to be imagined. Trying to imagine what you look like when you are scared or confused or in love or any emotional state and then trying to replicate the feelings or expressions is not enough. It is not acting. Throughout the script breakdown stage many actors seem to be focused on their ability to imagine their own reactions but how can their reactions be truthful when there is nothing to react to, they have not imagined the source of emotion, they have not imagined the person or the prop to which they are responding.

Acting is imagining the source which is outside yourself and allowing yourself to respond to that source in any way required without worrying if you will look ridiculous or ugly or stupid. It is working with the other actor or prop or location and using your imagination to make whatever is in the script real and right in front of you. It has nothing to do with your ability to visualise yourself. It has to do with your ability to visualize the object or prop or actor or monster described in the script. When you can see its every line, smell its acid, feel its warmth, feel its texture, see its shadow cover you, see it touch you with its ugly oily hand that’s when it gets real. Unfortunately most actors are not capable of imagining in multiple dimensions so they act in one dimension, the dimension of flat speech . If you are talking to someone you hate, someone who disgusts you, you don’t want to touch him and don’t want to smell him and don’t want to be in the same building and you don’t want him to touch you and you know exactly what it is about this person you hate. And it comes across in your speech and your posture and your hand movement and your eyes, and where you direct your attention, and how you hold your body, what you do with your clothes and your belongings and how quickly you want to get out of there.

If you can develop your imagination to the point where you can imagine a great amount of detail half of your acting is done. If you let yourself react to the imagined your body will respond almost naturally without any need to force that action. But many actors don’t take any time to imagine the space they are in. They don’t research the script or talk to the director. They focus on the lines, lines, lines, lines. Where is this taking place, why this room, what is the meaning of this prop, what does this prop mean to the other actor, why this location, what is the next location, why am I here, how do I feel about this room, this space, sitting in this chair, in this part of the room, driving this car, looking in that direction, what am I seeing outside the window, why is this source of light here, why is this light here and why are they lighting the set this way, what does it mean to have this light on my arm. A great amount of time, effort and planning goes into designing sets and props but to beginner actors they don’t mean much. They are not in touch with the place so props and locations have little influence on their performance. They always sound the same. They could be in a dungeon, or at the top of the mount Everest or in a jet fighter they always speak with the same level of intonation, volume, phrasing, pitch and timing of the their delivery varies little across the film, they could be tired or high on coke or hit by a sixteen wheeler it’s always the same.

Actors do not realize that their characters’ every little movement is a response to the world in which they exist. They are what they are because of the world of the story and if they are to create a unique and detailed performance they have to imagine all the tiny little details of the world described in the screenplay and then construct ‘a character existence’ (my term), an existence which is a direct response to, and a result of the world of the screenplay, and it is through this detailed and unique ‘character existence’ that we learn about the world and about what it means to be human.

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The present as the foundation of tomorrow, not as the battlefield of the past ideals

The world of ‘tomorrow’ was imagined ‘yesterday’ and is being built ‘today’ and the world of ‘today’ is the result of our inability to accept our old mistakes and misconceptions.

The world is entirely in the hands of the individuals who can predict, satisfy and control people’s’ tomorrow’s needs, tomorrow’s technological directions, tomorrow’s cultural trends and tomorrow’s scientific advances. Anyone who lives in the ‘now’ is too late. The world of tomorrow is being built now. This is a natural state. However most people are not aware of this because they are working for the ones who have imagined and planned and designed the ‘tomorrow’. Most people are building this ‘tomorrow’ just by being in their jobs but they never realise this. As what we will need ‘tomorrow’ cannot be built ‘tomorrow’ because that is when we will need it. If one is to change the world one better start thinking of how his ideas will fit with many other ideas, concepts, systems and other dimension of tomorrow. If one tries to create a new idea and integrate it into the today’s world he will be too late because by the time his concept is ready for deployment the world of today will have turned into the world of tomorrow.

One must stay ahead of his own time. If one is to be truly creative one must stay ahead of tomorrow and must design thinking and concepts and art or science which operate in new dimensions of thinking, which are not available today and which will not be available tomorrow, because it is when we try to perceive or understand such advanced creations of imagination that we must attempt to push our thinking to new levels, therein lies the benefit of the most sophisticated, most complex and most intellectually demanding pieces of art or science. They are forcing us to see the world as it could be not as it is, and that is how and why they inspire us to work toward that better place or if the world offered is a dystopian place then we can attempt to rectify the problems before the real world becomes irreparable.

So because the world of ‘tomorrow’ was imagined ‘yesterday’ and is being built ‘today’ and the world of ‘today’ is the result of our inability to accept our old mistakes and misconceptions the only way to improve our present is by deciding to discontinue to ponder over and explain and attempt to understand and disseminate and justify past and current religious, social, political and scientific practices. Doing this is creating a conflict because the past cannot be changed by conducting killing in the present, and once we accept that no amount of killing or violence in the present is going to bring back the dead prophets, religious leaders or restore our cultural or social or political or philosophical status we will be able to use our present to collaborate on our future.

Our present should be spent, entirely, on planning how to improve our tomorrow, to protect what our children will need tomorrow. If we continue to use our present to ponder over the same old issues soon we will have so mismanaged our ‘tomorrow’ that there will not be any tomorrow left. Our focus, in the present, on our past, will have consumed us and so many of our resources, that no time or energy will be left to deal with our true needs of tomorrow. That is we will have used up all of our resources on trying to justify, explain and prove the past which we cannot change anyway that we will not have any tomorrow.

A permanent psycho social and religious misperception of time and therefore of action continues to contribute to ongoing national and international conflicts and formation of stereotypes.

Who we are and what we do

I think, no words can communicate what I feel about life, the universe and other human beings or how much I love them and life, so why say anything at all. Why say anything at all when all my words fail to communicate any of the things I feel. All I can do is strive to communicate what is inside of me through my work and hope that people will see, one day, what is inside of me. I realize now, as I always have, that is the closest the world or anyone else will get to knowing who I am. But I am not here to explain who I am, I am here to do what I can to help people find a meaningful purpose of their own by recognizing and working on my own talents and purpose. And the strangest thing is that being alone, working hard, struggling and being misunderstood never scared me. For I sincerely believe that if I can share part of myself with humanity no struggle is in vain. If just one of my films or one of my stories could mean to someone what Stanley Kubrick’s and Gene Rodenberry’ ideals and stories meant to me I would be a happy man. One humanity and one universe. Undivided and united in purpose to create and understand all life.

Change through a personal direction

A person is as strong and as determined and as meaningful as the beliefs they hold. If a person grows up without any particular conviction about what they are, about what they can do, if they grow up without any need to feel a determination of any kind then they can be influenced by anyone or anything. They can be influenced by the media or by a group of individuals or by an individual. And that is exactly what happens to most people. And once they have been influenced by other groups or individuals or any other sources of information they have no time to imagine and no time to think and focus on bringing their imagination into the real world.

They don’t have time to create because they have to keep up with expectations. Keeping up appearances. And appearances and expectations are designed by groups and institutions and individuals which are intelligent and which conceal their true intentions so that most people waste their lives on meaningless and trivial matters which have no consequences beyond the task itself. So people continue to perform their inconsequential actions believing that merely existing is sufficient or adequate or meaningful and thus are left wondering why the world is not changing, why it is not becoming a better place.

It cannot and it will not become a better place until each and every individual’s daily intellectual and physical efforts are directed at making the world a better place in any and every way possible and imaginable. The world is a big place and it is getting bigger and bigger every day and the amount of effort it requires to improve it grows every day and that’s why nothing will get better until each and every individual is doing their best to be the best they can because it takes just one individual of inconsequence, of inaction, of negative thinking to destroy decades of physical and intellectual effort of millions of other people. All individuals can and should strive to perceive and attain and contribute to new higher levels or thinking, doing, education, to contribute to elements of art, science, technology which are beyond our current levels of functioning.

Unfortunately, the stronger the individual the less likely they are to agree with other people, thus the less likely they are to be accepted into other peoples’ daily reality where the only important thing is the ability to comply with their daily demands. Thus the more original and determined an individual becomes the more resistance they encounter. Thus the number of people who want to work hard and create original work and make change decreases, who wants to continue to struggle against a tide of social norms. And if the number of people who create and invent becomes so insignificant that they are overrun by billions of inactive, non thinking, non creative individuals who criticize but do not create then our intellectual development will stop.

Technologies and sciences will continue to improve, at least for a while, but their applications will become increasingly destructive. We will continue to use them to demean each other, to kill each other, to entertain our mind and decrease its ability to think and create. There is no simple solution. I think, there will be no true happiness, for anyone, until the day when everyone realizes that none should be following someone else’s expectations but that we have to define our own meaning through our aspirations and our creations, whatever they are.

Group mentality has to disappear. For as long as it exists someone can be included and someone can be excluded. It’s like a tipping point. The world cannot become a better place until the number of people whose ambitions are positive and powerful, thus which can create a change, is greater than the number of lazy uneducated people who do not realize that just by not doing anything else than surviving they are enabling the status quo to continue to exist. And that is the problem.

Just existing might feel good for an individual but it is not enough for the civilization. Not only is not good for the civilization, it is destructive. But our society is designed so that it is possible to continue to exist without ever realizing that the very inconsequential nature of our existence is what is contributing to the destruction of our planet. One cannot see or perceive this until one has elevated her or his mind above his current levels of thinking. But why should one ever feel the need to lift his thinking above the comfortable daily existence and its many meaningless, trivial tasks. No one feels a natural inclination to do so. It is up to the people of intellect who do know of this problem to force our governments to demand more of its young people. It must not force them but teach them how to see this as a natural extension of their being’s abilities and privileges.

The need to better our society should be a natural intellectual tendency instilled in all students’ mind. It should not be promoted as a special talent or a gift or hard work or a privilege of any kind. It should be an expectation. No more demanding and no more unnatural than eating or laughing. For what else is the purpose of education. What is the purpose of parenthood. I think, and I believe it is not too much to ask, to better the world, by bringing into the world a child. Yes to better the world. To better the universe. And no it is not a task, it is not a burden, it is not a privilege for it is life itself. Life itself has to be lived thus by bringing life into the world one is bringing about a responsibility and a possibility to create pain for others. Is there a truer or higher or better meaning to life than to create and aid all other life. And that is exactly what we have to strive to do, with every thought, with every action. And when we do strive in that way, we will separate inaction and trivial from the true action and true thinking. And there can be no change until most people accept this as a regular daily thinking and acting. A natural expectation to expect more from ourselves and others.

Imagining the nonexistent

I think that a definitive definition of our reality cannot exist. Or perhaps one could consider saying that no being will ever be able to perceive all aspects of reality, no matter how old it is or how advanced it is. But then again this depends on the nature of the universe. If the universe is infinite then this would hold true. But if the universe is finite but say infinite in size because its finite system repeats over and over infinitely then one could evolve to the point where one would be able to perceive all dimension of space and time.

 Our perception of reality is defined by the nature of our senses. Our range of perception is very limited. We are perceiving a small group of elements and our intelligence constructs our definition of the universe based on the elements whose existence we perceive. If our senses evolve our perception of the universe will change. It is impossible for us to claim that a god is the ultimate being. Many different types of universes, dimensions and time exist. We do not know what the universe is because we cannot see all of It. For us to claim that we know how it works or who created it and why is ridiculous.

Our god may apply to our particular perception and our particular location as defined by our ability to define our position in space. But this is what we have to acknowledge. Our rules apply to what we can perceive but they cannot apply everywhere because we don’t what everywhere looks like or where everywhere is.

We have to improve our imagination so that we can imagine new dimensions of existence, new ways of existing. But this is the biggest scientific problem and the ultimate limit of our mind. You cannot imagine or measure something you have never seen. All our thinking is influenced by what we perceive and our perception is limited so how do we expand our mind. How do we imagine dimensions, and physical properties and chemical reactions which do not exist and which do not obey the laws of physics.

Why is it important to be important

It is not possible to be an important individual because all people are equally important so there are no people who are less important or more important. However, there are many disturbed and unhappy individuals who have trouble accepting this simple fact because they have not been taught how to value human life above everything else and that’s why they are capable of making other people suffer in order for them to feel important.

Nothing but peace itself can bring peace

I wonder how anyone can not want peace. I think that the people who do not want peace are the people who have not experienced peace. They do not know that not everyone wants to hurt them. They cannot begin to conceive total peace because they have not experienced it. If they could take or have enough time to imagine what it would feel like to experience peace then they would know that peace is the most important element anywhere in anything. No foreign policy or weapon is more important than peace. This should be clear. All weapons and policies and politics are designed to maintain peace and create peace yet we are giving them so much of our attention and so many of our resources that no time and no resources are left to create peace. The misunderstanding is that we think that we need weapons or tools, physical tools or ideological tools, to create or maintain peace. But by doing this we are enabling them to come between us and peace. What we need to do is to develop a clear desire or a wish to abandon all tools or actions or ideas which are not peace itself. It is not enough to say that we need to abandon actions which are not peaceful because the problem is that we have become so deluded that we think that weapons can be used for peaceful purposes, we are not capable of making logical decisions because we have become so accustomed to violence and lack of peace. There is no other way for us to create peace except by eliminating any and all elements from our society which are not peace itself.

The problem that we have to solve is that we have become accustomed to non peaceful existence to the point where we are no longer able to perceive the value of peace and therefore we are not capable of giving much value to any actions which bring peace. We know each other and that’s why we know that if one of us puts their weapons aside there is no guarantee that the other will not try to kill us just because they can and not because we are a threat. It is because we know each other that we know what we are capable of doing and that we know that as much as we want peace it is better to hold onto our weapons. If we don’t dispose of our weapons we are guaranteed some kind of safety but if we do put them aside then there is no guarantee of our safety. Therefore no one wants to put their weapons aside and expose themselves to peace. I guess there would have to be the same number of people on each side, wherever there are conflicts, which would be ready to drop their weapons and embrace each other.

How do we accomplish this. It is impossible to do this right now because the number of people with weapons is far greater than the number of people who wish to experience peace and ‘the people with the weapons’ are not ready to allow ‘the people of peace’ to embrace each other.

A meaningful science fiction creation

If the artist’s content is not original enough to create a new form of expression then it is not strong enough to generate audiences and change their perception of the world. The originality of the story must force the artist to look for new means and forms of expression. Artists cannot look for a new way of expression and then try to create a content for it because it is the content that has to be original and demand a new form of expression. In other words, the artist should not attempt to use new technologies to give a deeper meaning to his idea. The idea itself has to be beyond current technologies. The artist should use his idea and current technologies to refer to new states which are beyond current predictable technologies. Matrix and A Space Odyssey are a great example. The originality of the story is the result of the artist’s unique ability to imagine how current technologies could shape our society. It is not a simple use of the current technologies. For example, a story about exploding cars, no matter how beautiful and detailed the cars are, is just that, a story about exploding cars or exploding robots or exploding spaceships. The writer has not given us an insight into what it means to the characters to be able to drive good cars which can dangerous or safe. But a story, like Matrix, in which the writer creates an idea so great that no current technology can express it, is the place where the writer has to invent new levels of reality and new technologies in order to be able to communicate his or her idea. The idea is so great that the writer has to find a plausible link which links the current world with his imaginary world and in the process the writers comments on our desires and how we deal with the results of our actions. The writer guesses at what might become of us if we continue in a particular direction. The originality of the vision has caused the artist to invent a new way to tell a story, a new way of communication. He has designed new elements within his narrative world. Thus he needs new words to describe his creation. A new language. The idea is so fresh and the artist so aware of the current world and of what it is likely to become that he’s created a new state of being, a new world and has consequently had to create a new language, and he had to make us understand the new language through his film so that we can visit his new place and understand it and as a result of ability to understand the new laws of the new place we can learn about what future holds for us.

He has forced us to create a link with a new place in a new time and to imagine ourselves and our actions in a new place and a new time.

 

We are not seeing this today because the artists do not create a new imaginary place because they are afraid that no one will like their ideas and that no one will understand their ideas and that’s why they stop earlier. They don’t go far enough. So because they don’t go far enough they settle for clichés. And that’s why all we see is recycled clichés.