Actor’s Language or Director’s Jargon?

– Posted in: Directing Performance

[bctt tweet=”What is an actor’s language, and what is a director’s jargon?”]


How do I create a structure that makes a performance repeatable while preserving “moment by moment” emotional truth?


Develop tools and work with actors to confirm or uncover meaningful, energetic choices that support the emotional life of their characters.

Directors often set out with the desire to learn the “actor’s language” but often adopt “director’s jargon”, leaving them with very limited and misguided communication tools. Human behavior cannot be reduced to jargon.  It is a language we must understand and speak with confidence.

In the late 1890’s, Constantine Stanislavski charged that the established training and directing methods prepared actors to stereotype and “pose.” He claimed this did not represent human behavior. He believed, and many others later confirmed, that if an actor commits to a character’s spine and a playable choice rather than a particular voice inflection or “line-timed facial gesture”, the actor’s performance – and ultimately the movie, would be better.

Sanford Meisner put it this way:

[bctt tweet=”“Acting is the ability to live truthfully under the given imaginary circumstances.””]

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