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robertogreco : acting   17

The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany - NYTimes.com
"In its subject matter, “Orphan Black” broods on the nature-nurture debate in human biology, but in its execution, the show cleverly extends the same question to matters of genre. What does the exact same woman look like if you grow her in the petri dish of “Desperate Housewives” or on a horror-film set in Eastern Europe? What about a police procedural? The result is a revelation: Instead of each archetype existing as the lone female character in her respective universe, these normally isolated tropes find one another, band together and seek to liberate themselves from the evil system that created them.

By structuring the story around the clones’ differences, “Orphan Black” seems to suggest that the dull sameness enforced by existing female archetypes needs to die. Early in the first season, there is a serial killer hunting down the clones ­— it turns out to be Helena, the Ukrainian — who ritualistically dismembers Barbie dolls after dyeing their hair to match that of her next victim. It’s a creepy touch, but one that can also be read as a metacriticism of how women are used on TV: the punishing beauty standards to which they’re held, the imposed uniformity. (Need a new sitcom wife? Grab the prototype and change the hairstyle.) Our low tolerance for difference among female characters means that they will almost always be less interesting, less memorable and less beloved than their male counterparts. In this context, Helena becomes a kind of hero, slaughtering televisual conformity and constituting, in both her savagery and her warmth, a radical expansion of what women on television can be. And each character, including the criminally insane one, gets considerable attention and respect, even when it comes to questions about butter."



"She expressed some ambivalence about the way fame produces demand, especially in an age of social media. “People just want want want want stuff,” she said. There are awards shows, red carpets; she appreciates it all, but is careful not to let it control her. “You exist without this stuff,” she said. “This stuff doesn’t define you or anything.” Maslany has pointed out that her “Orphan Black” characters, too, must deal with the discovery that they are — in some sense — property and refuse to let it define them. “That always resonated for me as a woman,” she told Vanity Fair in an interview, “this idea of our bodies not being our own. That they’re owned by someone else. That the image of them is owned by someone else.”"



"On “Orphan Black,” the clones fight constantly for control of their own lives and bodies, and Maslany obliquely linked their struggle to her own experience with the publicity machine. “This is about volition and autonomy,” she said of the show, “and that was resonating with me, being an actor who was suddenly being interviewed or being dressed.”

It was an offhand remark, but the connection she drew between self-­ownership and the alienating experience of press interviews — especially given our circumstances — was as subtle as it was smart. I thought about it that night, back at my hotel. Interviewing is a strange business, and I was impressed by the tact and frankness with which Maslany had articulated her discomfort. “Glancing blow, warmly delivered,” I scribbled in my notebook.

Weeks later, Maslany walked the red carpet at the SAG Awards, dressed and styled to the teeth. She smiled brightly. Her fans cheered her gleefully on Twitter. But when Maria Menounos invited her to use the “mani-­cam” to display her nails and jewelry (an invitation some actors walking the red carpet refused, finding it sexist), she bashfully confessed that she hadn’t gotten her nails done and then pulled off what I’ve come to think of as the ultimate Maslany maneuver: She stuck her unmanicured hand in and gave the camera a thumbs-­up, concealing her nails. A glancing blow, warmly delivered."



"“But it’s not about insanity!” Maslany exclaimed. “Her emotional life is so enormous that it can’t be contained, and I think there’s something really beautiful about that. It’s weird to call it insanity, or weird to dismiss her as a victim. I don’t see her as a victim in the slightest. She’s just off. She’s off. She’s just odd.”

I confessed that I agreed with her. Watching “A Woman Under the Influence,” I too fell for Rowlands and her fragile, nutty, compellingly huge character.

Maslany described her favorite scene in the film to me. She prefaced this by saying, “It’s not the most feminist scene on the planet.” In it, Mabel has returned from being institutionalized and manages to perform a broken kind of normalcy with some success. But her husband can’t take it; he’s devastated by what she has become — what he has done to her. He tries to slap her back to herself. “It’s just the two of them silhouetted, and he’s slapping her and going, Bah-bah! Bah-bah!” Maslany said. “And he’s telling her to do the thing that she does, which is just be herself. He can’t handle the fact that she’s been sent away to be changed and to be made homogeneous and made easy to palate.”

There are traces of Mabel in Maslany’s Helena, whom Maslany allows to become off-­putting and even genuinely frightening in ways that female characters rarely get to be. Mabel is not the safe, charming bumbler of the romantic comedy. Nor is Helena, who is erratic, hilarious and homicidal — but never predictable. As Maslany put it, “she’ll probably poop on your face or something.” Maslany cherishes roles that leave room for that kind of unlikability and risk. “The greatest gift as an actor,” she said, “is you get to go, Well, I’m doing this as a character, but really, this is me, this is me at my worst, my worst bits of me.”"



"One of the most interesting things about the show, and its metacriticism of the genres it juggles, isn’t just how elegantly it addresses the solitude that the lone female character on many shows suffers in her particular TV universe. It’s also how resolutely the show refuses to place these genres in opposition to one another. There’s no condescension here; Alison’s suburbia gets as much visual and narrative respect as Rachel’s evil corporate empire. The characters find one another because the system that produced them and scattered them is breaking down. What emerges is a full, generative map of the possibilities that emerge when you let the Strong Female Character and her lonely sisters from other genres mix. By exploring the different directions that “genetic identicals” can take when differently nurtured, “Orphan Black” shows what a single actor can do when given the opportunity — and, by extension, reveals the interesting stories that emerge when women are afforded the chance to exist in rich narrative relation to one another.

Despite Maslany’s reluctance, I managed to steer our conversation back to her magical quick-change act. I still wanted to know how she does it. “I think there’s something about being prepared enough that you can surrender,” she said. Then she quoted to me something the dancer Martha Graham told the choreographer Agnes de Mille in 1943.

At the time, de Mille was confused and bewildered by her sudden rise to fame, and Graham offered her words of encouragement. It is a beautiful pep talk, practically written in verse. I can see why it has special meaning for Maslany as she navigates the challenges of the fishbowl herself. The part Maslany recounted to me is this: “It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”

De Mille asked Graham when she would feel satisfied, and Graham replied: “There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” I asked Maslany what her divine dissatisfaction was. “I don’t know how I would label it right now,” she said. “I think if I looked back on this time, I’d probably see where it lived.”"
2015  tatianamaslany  orphanblack  acting  television  lililoofbourow  tv  naturenurture  gender  marthagraham  agnesdemille  feminism  volition  interviews  self-ownership  identity  genre 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The sounds of The Wire
"You don't typically think of The Wire as a show that used audio to great effect, but you'd be wrong. From the show's use of music only ambient to the scene (e.g. a car radio playing), the season-end montages, and the background soundtracks that accompanied certain characters or situations, The Wire's use of music and sound was quite calculated and effective. At Reddit, a sound editor who worked on the show shared her experiences.
One of my crew's challenges, then, was to find ways to evoke mood with backgrounds. When a character is in a crowded situation he is not comfortable with, listen for background laughter. When McNulty is drunk and on the prowl, listen for dogs barking (because he's a dog - my own private commentary on his character). There was a whole world of work that went in to creating the sound of Hamsterdam and building it from an empty to thriving enterprise.

Working with Felicia Pearson was challenging:
Snoop was tricky. That DeWalt scene wasn't the first time she was in the show (she's a scout for Marlo the first time we see him in season three maybe?) but it was the most dialog she had up until then, and the HBO note was that she was completely unintelligible. I had her in the studio to do pretty much the entire scene over it felt like, and whenever I had a new actor in the studio, I would always ask (unless I recognized them from something else) if they had done ADR before because "The Wire" used so many non-actors. She said "no ma'am" so I walked her through the process and she did a great job. Stayed in sync, matched her cadence... and sounded exactly as unintelligible as she did on set!

But so was Dominic West:
McNulty (Dom West) came in often and was awesome, as well. His accent showed most often when the character was drunk or angry. Oddly, the name "Stringer Bell" tripped him up a lot. "Stringa" and then a very over-enunciated end to "Bell-eh." Also, the words "fuck" and "cunt" came out "feck" and "cahnt" and the only way to break him of it was to stand right in front of him (so he could watch the mouth shape) and say the word over and over again. So a Dom West ADR session often went like this:

Me (with Dom staring at my mouth): Cunt. Cunt. Cunt.
Dom: Cahnt. Shit, do it again, please.
Me: Cunt. Cunt. Cunt.
Dom: Cunt. Cunt. OK, let's record...
(three beeps, the line starts and):
Dom: ...cahnt. Feck! Say it again.
Me: Cunt....

There were some instances where we didn't bring Dom in for ADR because the emotion and energy of the scene would be compromised if we tinkered with his accent, and I support that decision, but it still pains me to hear those lines and feel like something slipped by me. I was like, the last checkpoint before dialog went on the air.

Which reminds me, the "Fuck" scene (McNulty/Bunk) -- when picture came to me, there were only about 30 "fucks" in it. We brought the guys in together and played the scene over and over and slammed a variation of "fuck" everywhere it would fit. I think the final mix tops off at somewhere in the 80 range? My personal contribution was Bunk's "fuck, fuck fuckitty fuck."

And Michael K. Williams cannot whistle:
Michael K Williams cannot whistle! It's totally true. We brought him in and he tried but it just wasn't happening. Omar's whistle is provided by a lovely and talented loop group member named Susan, who is an actor and John Waters' personal assistant.

To which another Redditor replied, "Susan's coming yo!" The whole thread is great, read it."
thewire  audio  televiion  tv  process  2015  acting  film  language  sound 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Inner Voices - Radiolab
"From the silent words of a child forming her first thought, to the inner heckler that taunts you when the pressure's on, a look at how the voices in our heads shape us -- for better and for worse."

"Where would we be without the voices in our heads? To get at this question, Charles Fernyhough raises another: can children think before they have words? According to Fernyhough, a Russian psychologist named Lev Vygotsky developed a theory about how the words and voices we hear as kids turn from speech outside our heads, to speech inside our heads... and help steer our reasoning and decision-making.

But, of course, not all the voices echoing inside our skulls are friendly helpers. Claude Steele describes how big an impact negative inner voices can have when we're stressed, and just how powerful words and stereotypes can be."



"Mel Blanc was known as "the man of 1,000 voices," but the actual number may have been closer to 1,500. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Tweety, Barney Rubble -- all Mel. His characters made him one of the most beloved men in America, and they may have also saved his life.



Producer Sean Cole heads to the Blanc family house outside LA to ask Mel's son Noel Blanc about the night when Mel nearly died in a car crash on Dead Man's Curve, and the moment two weeks later when Bugs Bunny emerged from Mel's coma before Mel did. Neurosurgeon Louis Conway, who attended to Mel at the time, and NYU brain scientist Orrin Devinsky help Sean and Noel weigh what it might mean to be rescued by a figment of your own imagination, and whether one self can win out over another in a moment of crisis."



Bob Milne is one of the best ragtime piano players in the world, and a preternaturally talented musician -- he can play technically challenging pieces of music on demand while carrying on a conversation and cracking jokes. But according to Penn State neuroscientist Kerstin Betterman, our brains just aren't wired to do that. So she decided to investigate Bob's brain, and when she did, she discovered that Bob has an even more amazing ability... one that we can hardly believe, and science can't explain. Reporter Jessica Benko helps us get inside Bob's remarkably musical mind."
radiolab  melblanc  brain  thinking  neuroscience  bugsbunny  music  voices  vygotsky  charlesfernyhough  language  claudesteele  education  iq  codeswitching  personalities  acting  bobmilne  jessicabenko  kerstinbetterman  piano  ragtime  schizophrenia  2013 
june 2013 by robertogreco
HammerOn Press - The Para-Academic Handbook
"There is a name for those under-and precariously employed, but actively working, academics in today's society: the para-academic.

Para-academics mimic academic practices so they are liberated from the confines of the university. Our work, and our lives, reflect how the idea of a university as a place for knowledge production, discussion and learning, has become distorted by neo-liberal market forces. We create alternative, genuinely open access, learning-thinking-making-acting spaces on the internet, in publications, in exhibitions, discussion groups or other mediums that seem appropriate to the situation. We don't sit back and worry about our career developments paths. We write for the love of it, we think because we have to, we do it because we care.

We take the prefix para- to illustrate how we work alongside, beside, next to, and rub up against, the all too proper location of the Academy, making the work of higher education a little more irregular, a little more perverse, a little more improper. Our work takes up the potential of the multiple and contradictory resonances of para- as decisive location for change, within the university as much as beyond it.

Specialists in all manner of things, from the humanities to the social and biological sciences, the para-academic works alongside the traditional university, sometimes by necessity, sometimes by choice, usually a mixture of both. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities to research, create learning experiences or make a basic living within the university on our own terms, para-academics don't seek out alternative careers in the face of an evaporated future, we just continue to do what we've always done: write, research, learn, think, and facilitate that process for others.

We do this without prior legitimisation from any one institution. Para-academics do not need to churn out endless 'outputs' because of the pressures of a heavily assessed research environment. We work towards making ideas because learning, sharing, thinking and creating matter beyond easily quantifiable 'products'. And we know that this is possible, that we are possible, without the constraints of an increasingly hierarchical academy.

As the para-academic community grows there is a real need to build supportive networks, share knowledge, ideas and strategies that can allow these types of interventions to become sustainable and flourish. There is a very real need to create spaces of solace, action and creativity.

The Para-Academic Handbook: A Toolkit for making-learning-creating-acting, edited by Alex Wardrop and Deborah Withers, calls for articles (between 1,000-6,000 words), cartoons, photographs, illustrations, inspirations and other forms of text/graphic communication exploring para-academic practice, and its place within active intellectual cultures of the early 21st century."
academics  books  para-academics  alexwardrop  deborahwithers  specialists  research  learning  thinking  making  acting  internet  web  online  markets  economics  knowledgeproduction  networks  networkedlearning  2014 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Donald Glover on Q | Q with Jian Ghomeshi | CBC Radio
From the audio:

"It's the time of the multi-hyphenist."

"I need people."

"I've never gotten a job that wasn't really meant for a white guy."

"The thing that makes Dan Harmon a genius and the writing staff… is that they watch us."

"Everyone is [super interesting]. If you knew everything about them… there's too much. You couldn't know everything. The show is about people forced to be together even though they have nothing in common."

"I am walking a line… You're not doing anything special if you're not scared."

"'Street cred' is code for real… means that you're not lying." [also in the video]

"People want the truth and that's the through-line in everything I do." [also in the video]

"The freedom, that's all I ever wanted… I'm in it for the power… which makes you less black because you can do whatever you want." [also in the video]
donalglover  generalists  underdogs  2011  jianghomeshi  interviews  community  communities  tv  television  acting  creativity  danharmon 
march 2013 by robertogreco
The power to be who we want to be
"The actor & impresario Joseph Gordon-Levitt is really frighteningly omni-talented &, on top of everything else, rather wise:

"On some level, we as human beings can be who we want to be. Our identity & our nature can be in our control. I don’t just mean the presentation of our identity. Look at Gary Oldman—look at his characters in ‘True Romance’ or the Harry Potter films or in the Batman movies—you can’t be as good as he is by doing it just on the surface. We have the power to be who we want to be, whoever that is."

That’s from an interview w/ Geoff Boucher. It’s true, & it’s scary that it’s true, because it means if we aren’t who we want to be, we have no one to blame… but ourselves.

It reminds me of something I heard a long time ago. I’m paraphrasing from musty memory here… it went something like this:

"I have good news & bad news. Bad news first: if you’re not happy right now, at this moment in your life, you will never be happy. Now, the good news: you can be happy right now."
geoffboucher  being  psychology  mind  garyoldman  acting  josephgordon-levitt  positivepsychology  willpower  power  human  identity  happiness  2012  robinsloan 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Realizing Empathy: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Making by Slim — Kickstarter
"At the heart of it is an inquiry into the meaning of making. I am deeply interested in how making works (as a process), what it means (to make something), and why it matters (to our lives).

One of the central theme is the relationship between the act of empathizing with the act of making…

The second theme is exploring how we can design a space that facilitates the act of making, especially in the digital space…

The book is structured around a number of stories that talk about the humbling experiences I've had in art school. These are experiences that have lead to epiphanies, which changed my understanding of what it means to make something.

In response to these experiences are conversations I've had with an interdisciplinary group of friends (an animator, a programmer, a neuroscientist, a human-computer interaction researcher, and a theologian) about these epiphanies.

Weaving together the stories and conversations are both reflective and analytic essays that model…"
integrity  honesty  acting  knowledge  workspace  space  metaphors  trust  courage  comfort  computers  computing  safety  technology  seungchanlim  perspective  risktaking  risk  dignity  humility  meaningmaking  meaning  scale_slim  tools  howwework  openstudioproject  making  empathy  design  2012  language  workspaces 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Draft of a manifesto written in defense of a group of people that did not ask for my defense, using words they would not use and engaging people they ignore. « Lebenskünstler
"While you wring hands over what it all means, we are trying to change the world, build relationships and communities. Are we naive? Possibly. We prefer a world of naive dreamers to cynical observers. Keep your beloved “criticality.” Hold it close to your heart and tell us what you feel. We are friends, not “colleagues” and we choose to embrace humane values and each other. We offer a different vision. Against the professional hegemony of academic intellectualism we offer – trust, love, sentiment, passion, egalitarianism and sincerity…

We are gamblers, believing in the value of risking everything for the sake of our “foolish” dreams and schemes."
randallszott  doing  livign  acting  cynicism  2010  manifestos  art  theory  practice  glvo  lcproject  tcsnmy  intellectualism  humanity  passion  egalitarianism  sincerity  trust  love  sentiment  worldchanging  dreamers  academia  risk  risktaking  amateurism  unschooling  deschooling  understanding  cv  leisure  tinkering  wittgenstein  johndewey  philosophy  isolation  shopclassassoulcraft  authenticity  rigor  Rancière  agamben  brucewilshire  richardshusterman  robertsolomon  booklist  nicolasbourriaud  radicalphilosophy  antonionegri  naïvité  everyday  amateurs  jacquesrancière 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Bill Murray on Ghostbusters 3, Get Low, Ron Howard, and Kung Fu Hustle: Celebrities: GQ
“I hate trying to re-create a tone or a pitch. Saying, “I want to make it sound like I made it sound the last time”? That’s insane, because the last time doesn’t exist. It’s only this time. And everything is going to be different this time. There’s only now. And I don’t think a director, as often as not, knows what is going to play funny anyway. As often as not, the right one is the one that they’re surprised by, so I don’t think that they have the right tone in their head. And I think that good actors always—or if you’re being good, anyway—you’re making it better than the script. That’s your fucking job. It’s like, Okay, the script says this? Well, watch this. Let’s just roar a little bit. Let’s see how high we can go.”
billmurray  comedy  acting  now  thehereandnow  authenticity  surprise  interviews 
july 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: what I meant to say at lift - part two - big red buttons and sliding into glass
"Touch & screens...if it's all we do...we're going to be missing most of our bodies & senses. Presentations/PowerPoint are an example. Conference organisers & software/hardware makers seem determined to promote fantasy that slides control themselves...computer off stage, hidden, controller as small as possible...seem to be working towards an ideal state where slides are advanced by an inflection in speaker's mind. ...reinforces & is reinforced by, a particular school of talks which imagines them as exchange of minds facilitated by language, occasionally supported by imagery...such a waste, like taking talking head off telly & going to see it live... We should be thinking of all the things we can to make ourselves more watchable...one...is to engage physically w/ our materials - our presentation, our slides. We should be performing PowerPoint not just showing it. You ought to be able to buy a PowerPoint Hero controller that gets you engaged the way Guitar Hero controller does."
performance  powerpoint  slides  senses  acting  engagement  speaking  talks  keynote  lift  russelldavies  howto  physicality  guitarhero  controllers  spectacle  tcsnmy  classideas  natal  presentations 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Chameleon, Frederic Bourdain [New Yorker story is here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/08/11/080811fa_fact_grann?currentPage=all]
"Frédéric Bourdain is a Frenchman in his early thirties who has spent much of his life impersonating kidnapped or runaway teens....That's an interesting story by itself but just the tip of the iceberg. At some point, Bourdain's story gets intertwined with that of Nicholas Barclay, a teen who went missing in Texas in 1994. After that, the story proceeds like the craziest episode of Law and Order you've ever seen."
crime  france  youtube  newyorker  identity  reclaimingadolescence  adolescence  conmen  impostors  chameleons  acting  obsession 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Matt Webb on movement as a metaphor for the web (Webb 2.0?) (kottke.org)
""resistance in contemp society to trying out ideas...New ideas...accepted or rejected...choices vigorously defended. If it's going to help figure something out, why not look at problem from every possible angle? kottke.org = big part of my process of idea scaffolding. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with everything I link to1 but reading articles and then describing them to others is a good way to continually wonder, "Gosh, isn't it interesting to think about the world this way?"
kottke  design  mattwebb  ideas  ideascaffolding  analogy  metaphor  cv  howwework  thinking  generalists  translation  gamechanging  acting  faking  fraud  science  society  risk  failure  experimentation  approach  openminded  perspective 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Slide 1 of 41 (Movement, S&W)
"more I work with designers who have been through design school – trained particular way of thinking – more I know I’m not one...have to fake being designer quite a lot...how to articulate approaches designers take for granted...constantly make myself idea scaffolding.

Fortunately what I do have is a background in science, so I’m good at watching, hypothesising, and trying stuff out. That helps a lot.

It’s some of that idea scaffolding I want to talk about today, a particular way of thinking about the Web. And what that way of thinking is going to lead to is a proof of concept application, and a design method of how to put it all into practice."
design  mattwebb  ideas  ideascaffolding  analogy  metaphor  cv  howwework  thinking  generalists  translation  gamechanging  acting  faking  fraud  science  society  risk  failure  experimentation  approach  openminded  perspective 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Cate Blanchett's relaxed concentration (kottke.org)
"To me, the battle with the self is one of the most interesting aspects of watching performance, whether it's sports, ballet, live music, movies, or someone giving a talk at a conference."
acting  anthropology  productivity  performance  psychology  society  success  concentration  filmmaking  focus 
september 2007 by robertogreco
YouTube - The State of Accents
commentary on brits and Americans imitating each other
language  accents  linguistics  acting  impersonations  dialect  uk  us  english 
october 2006 by robertogreco

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