As Casting Frontier’s YouTube channel now features weekly content designed to empower talent by providing valuable insider knowledge, we are excited to share the second episode of our Bring It! video series.

Action Casting’s James Levine and session director Charles Carpenter break down four distinct elements that take place when an actor is acting. And they discuss the kinds of creative choices actors can make about their characters that will enrich their performances.

“What’s happening when you’re acting?”

Levine breaks down the process actors experience while they’re acting into four steps. They are absorbed in:

  1. What the character is thinking,
  2. What the character is feeling in the present circumstance,
  3. The actual words the character is saying,
  4. The physical action the character is performing and experiencing.

Delving deeper into step one, Levine defines it as “Thinking in character; thinking as this character right now.” When an actor takes on the mindset of his or her character in the midst of a scene and experiences it in the present moment and circumstance, what the viewer sees is an actor who has presence. In addition, Levine advises actors to use techniques learned in class with caution. Sometimes “too much technique” can interfere with an actor’s performance. “Really, it’s about simplifying everything you’re doing and understanding that if you’re thinking on camera, I can read your mind; I can see it. You don’t have to work that hard,” he says. And thinking does not mean critiquing your own performance in the middle of a scene. That thought process is not originating from the character—it’s coming from the actor personally.

Actors who make creative choices about who their character is in general will be able to naturally apply the steps above. Some personality choices an actor might make about a character include having a tendency to be competitive or being an introvert.

Determined to help actors cut through the mystery associated with the casting process, Levine authored an enlightening book entitled Bring It, along with Carpenter and Jim Martyka, which will be released in the near future. In it, Levine shares helpful audition information from the vantage point of a casting director as it relates to commercial, film and television acting. The book’s chapters correspond to the Bring It! YouTube series.

Casting Frontier’s YouTube channel publishes weekly video tips, tricks, best practices, interviews with industry professionals and more. Stay tuned next week to watch the third of nine episodes of the Bring It! series with James Levine and Charles Carpenter. Or better yet, subscribe to the channel so you know as soon as the next episode it out!

JAMES LEVINE is an entertainment industry professional serving as writer, director, producer and casting director. He is the owner of Action Content and Action Casting. After 20 years of experience as a successful actor, Levine began a career in casting. As a casting director for over 25 years, he has cast commercials and theatrical projects for countless notable clients. James is currently in development with NNN Live, a news satire which he created, directed, and is producing in association with Propagate Content. Utilizing his experience both in front of and behind the camera, Levine has taught classes in LA and internationally with Stella Adler Academy and TVI Studios. He is a member of the Commercial Casting Director Association (CCDA).

CHARLES D. CARPENTER is a working actor with recurring roles in such shows as Brooklyn 9-9, Animal Kingdom, Bones, General Hospital, and Port Charles, along with multiple roles on various other television shows and movies. He also has over 100 national commercials to his credit. Charles has his hand in the casting world, having amassed 18 years of experience as a session director for both commercial and theatrical castings. Charles’ has thus far written three novels in the Shield of Destiny series (shieldofdestiny.com) and is currently working on the fourth. He taught improv and scene study for several years under the watchful eye of Ernie Lively and currently teaches his own on-camera scene study and audition technique class (shaansharma.com).

 

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