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    #16
    Well sorry you come across so many actors with so little talent. I would imagine it be hard on a fella. But it sounds like you've made peace with it.
    Last edited by kevin baggott; 12-02-2016, 02:49 PM.

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      #17
      Originally posted by rsbush View Post
      This is hardly a big insight. We all know that.
      When y'all say "talent," are you talking about something inborn, that you can't change? If so, I actually disagree. I'm a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hour rule.

      Please note that to keep posts from looking like End User License Agreements, they should be interpreted for gist, for what is true 80% of the time. In this case, for example, yes, I agree that there is such a thing as talent, that some people seem to have more innate ability for certain specific things. But I think it is, to steal from Edison, 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

      Bad acting I tend to blame on the director. Most of the cringe-worthy scenes I've seen appear to me to be over-directed.
      • If you have a decent script, a director can end up with a passable scene by just getting out of the way. Run through the scene and let the actors find an interpretation that feels natural, maybe encouraging them in what is good. They might not take chances, they might not be brilliant, but I don't think they would be remarkably bad. You shoot it with straightforward, simple, non-fancy camera coverage, and edit it together in a simple, obvious way. The audience might think this movie is kind of boring, but I don't think they will say, "Ugh, that is bad acting." Two quotes come to mind: Howard Hawks defined a good director as "someone who doesn't annoy you," and then someone else who said something like, "This script is so good it could only be ruined by a 'talented' director."*

      • Again, the movies where the acting is so bad that the movie's not just kind of boring but that even nontechnical audience members say, "That was bad acting," I think are usually actually overwrought directing. Like the director has clearly told the actors to really ham it up, probably doing several takes to get them there, "No, I mean really, really, really be an annoying nerd. Okay, take 47...." Or where the director is highly visual, doing all these different, ornate shots, but he chopped it up so much that the actors act unnaturally. He had them say just a line or two per camera angle, so the acting doesn't flow together.

      • If you're talking about a brilliant movie with outstanding acting, then yes, I think that can only come when you have talented actors.


      But I think most of the indie movies with bad acting you talk about are bad because: (a) chaotic sets, because one guy is doing everything; (b) bad production design [see (a)], (c) bad script with lines so bad that even Sir Laurence Olivier couldn't wrap his tongue around them, (d) bad directing, where the director is trying to be artistic and is forcing the actors to jump through hoops for some emotional or visual result in his mind, and (e) non-actors: there's a difference between a disciplined and experienced but unexceptional actor, and your mom (unless your mom is an experienced actor).

      * That's not to say that you can't be a good director if you go for fancy camera moves or over-the-top acting. See the Coen Brothers, Robert Zemeckis, Peter Jackson, and others.

      ---

      After reading the thread more closely, I wonder if the disagreement is partly from bisecting instead of trisecting. If, like OldCorpse, you're talking about "amazing" acting, then yes, this is the exclusive realm of talented talent. I think Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, and other international stars are rare, and that if they weren't actors they would still strike me in some way as exceptional personalities. Tom Cruise, at least, is very physically striking, no matter what you say about his acting.

      And if you're talking about "bad" acting, then I stand by my assertion that if acting that is so bad that it catches the attention of general audiences, then the script and director are mostly to blame. However, I think there is a middle ground where everything is "fine." In fact if the script and director are both superb then audiences will love the movie, even if the actors are just average (but still professional, disciplined and have a decent amount of experience).

      So, if we're talking about three levels --- bad, fine, and amazing --- then maybe we can find common ground. If we're only going to say an actor is "bad" or "amazing" then it's going to be hard.
      Last edited by combatentropy; 12-02-2016, 09:29 PM.

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        #18
        Originally posted by combatentropy View Post
        When y'all say "talent," are you talking about something inborn, that you can't change? If so, I actually disagree. I'm a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-hour rule.
        Yeah, I believe we are born with innate abilities. If you don't have "it" (whatever it is) no amount of work will get "it" for you. That being said, I also believe you need to be a fanatic about the work to reach your potential. Gladwell's 10,000 hours is just scratching the surface. In the acting world there's the saying, "It takes 20 years to become a good actor."

        But other than that, in spirit, I pretty much agree with everything you're saying. I would add that a lot of sub-par acting comes from actors trying too hard.

        Like Kevin Baggott, I'm of the opinion that there is a lot of talent out there. You just need to know where and how to look for it. It seems to me that Old Corpse is only willing to call the exceptionally talented, talented.
        Last edited by rsbush; 12-03-2016, 06:29 AM.

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          #19
          'I'm of the opinion that there is a lot of talent out there. You just need to know where and how to look for it. It seems to me that Old Corpse is only willing to call the exceptionally talented, talented.'

          aaahhhhhhhh - like water those three sentences. Applause!

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            #20
            There are two quotes that come to mind in regards to this discussion;
            "Don't understand me too quickly." Andre Gide
            "It's as hard to read a good book as it is to write one." Cocteau.

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              #21
              I find it very strange that my very ordinary observations should engender any controversy. I thought most people who have been around filmmaking would agree with my assessment of the scarcity of talent, and I'm shocked to see any pushback here. I flatter myself in thinking that I'm an open-minded person and I certainly am happy to see talent in evidence when it's there. I don't think that I try to make it hard on myself by refusing to acknowledge talent - when I look for a talented actor, why wouldn't I wish to grab one as soon as I can, instead of searching and searching and searching. Doesn't make sense. I guess the idea is that I'm just no good at spotting talent and/or bringing it out.

              Malcolm Gladwell's observation about training needs to be seen in context though. Unless you have the inborn potential, no amount of training is going to get you there - don't take my word for it, look at the science:

              It takes more than practice to excel

              "Psychologists have overturned a 20-year-old theory that people who excel in their fields are those who practiced the most."

              "Author Malcolm Gladwell [..] proposing the 10,000-hour rule -- the notion that with 10,000 hours of practice one becomes an expert.

              But Macnamara and her colleagues found that practice explained 12 percent in mastering skills in various fields, from music, sports and games to education and professions. The importance of practice in various areas was: 26 percent for games, 21 percent for music, 18 percent for sports, 4 percent for education and less than 1 percent for other professions."

              I don't believe that I'm only calling the very top actors "talented". Yes, there are star peformers, extraordinarly talents, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about perfomance levels that are serviceable - that don't actively destroy the scenes they are in. Think of it as in an orchestra - almost every Sunday, I go to classical concert performances at LACMA here in LA (they're free). I get to hear the top students from the conservatory perform, as well as established professional stars. Clearly, the stars are outstanding - that's why they are world famous. But the top students often give respectable performances. Now, if you are picking players for a philharmonic orchestra, if you find someone fresh from the conservatory, it will usually be the top performers. The vast majority of music students at the consevatory are not going to cut it - they don't have it in them to perform at the professional level. The majority of the players in the orchestra are not *stars* - there's usually one or two stars, the rest are professionals who are serviceable. Yet even those are the cream of the crop - and rare.

              Same is true for any field. If you want to assemble a basketball - or any sports - team that can compete out there and get the networks to carry their games, you are going to have a bunch of pros who are serviceable and one or two stars at best. LeBron, Kobe, Durant - those are stars, but the rest of the team are not, they are just serviceable players. All I'm saying is that even so, NOT COUNTING THE STARS, talent is rare - it is very, very hard to get into the leagues, and very, very hard to turn pro and get drafted. The numbers of those who try, even training very hard, and those who reach that level - again NOT counting the stars - is very, very small. They are cream of the crop. Talent is rare. Extraordinary talent - the stars - is super rare.

              If you want to compete in the leagues, you cannot come up with a team you grabbed from a random pickup game downtown under the theory that talent is everywhere, you just need to know where and how to look for it. It's not everywhere. It's super rare. The pickup game guys you grabbed are not going to get shown on TV. The pros you assemble - even without the stars - are very rare, that's why it's hard and expensive to put together a major league team. Or an orchestra that can score record contracts and performance venues. Or actors who can work in your film and have that film be something that's marketable quality.

              Is the director important to the performance of an actor? Sure. But the best director is not going to get a performance out of someone who doesn't have a performance in them. A team needs a coach - sure, but even the greatest coach is not going to get a pro level performance out of a subpar player. An orchestra needs a conductor, but even the greatest conductor is not going to coax a serviceable performance out of a player who doesn't have the requisite talent. Talent is rare, and odds of finding it in a random acting, music, painting, writing, whatnot class or even the whole school - are remote... and I'm NOT talking about super rare star level talent. I'm talking about a writer who can get published and get returns for the publishing house, musician who can get recording contracts and get returns for the record company, an actor who can give a performance that allows the film to have market viability, a player who can be in a team that has commercial potential. NOT stars, just serviceable. Rare.

              If you don't agree, and think that talent is plentiful - again, I'm NOT talking about top stars, I'm talking about merely serviceable actors - and you think it's up to the director/producer to mould the talent, then I've got fantastic news for you! You can become a gigantic success in staffing pro sports leagues, orchestras, publishing houses - all can overflow with plentiful talent ready for the picking! We can dispense with drafts and all those painful winnowing processes that go through tens of thousands to pick just a few who can reach pro level (again, I'm NOT talking about stars!), and we'll just grab random kids in whatever class (music, acting, sports club etc.) and MOULD their talent into pro level performances! Whee! What a marvellous world - all our staffing problems everywhere solved!

              This reminds me of the time when I lived in France and used to go mushroom picking with friends. You have to have an instinct and experience to find the mushrooms in a forest, but just as importantly, you must be able to tell apart the edible mushrooms from the poisonous. Particularly prized is the bronze bolete, which is delicious, but hard to find - worse, it has an extremely poisonous cousing that looks virtually identical, and you have to have a good eye to tell them apart. Anyhow, after a full day of walking the forest we'd come back, each of us having just a few - sometimes none of the bronze bolete - except for one of our dear friends, a sunny fellow and an all around great guy. He had, unfortunately, no eye for mushrooms at all - no matter how much he was instructed and how often he accompanied us. He in contrast would come back with a basket full of "bolete" mushrooms. Except, they were all the poisonous cousins. We'd all have a good laugh, discard his huge haul of poisonous mushrooms and have a nice dinner with fresh mushrooms from our baskets. Fortunately, he never insisted that he can coax a delicious meal out of his poisonous mushrooms, because it's all down to the cook. If you can't tell a good performance by an actor, you may think you find talent everywhere. I find talent rare, but when it's there, I find it jumps out at you - it's hard to miss! But you have to have the eye. Some people can't peg a pitch in music, sing off key and can't tell, miss notes and can't tell. Some people can't tell good lighting from bad lighting. A good composition from a poor one. Poisonous mushrooms from edible ones. And so on. In compenstation, they live in a world where talent is everywhere for the picking and great music, food, writing, art, film, a cinch to make, and never a problem with scarcity. I envy them. I'm not so lucky.

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                #22
                "Brevity is the soul of wit" - William Shakespeare

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                  #23
                  Hey, OldCorpse. You have been on this forum for several years. By your username and other posts, I am led to believe that you are "old." I like to hear from people over 50 (I'm in my 30s, so no bias). I would just encourage you, please start more threads.

                  You've spoken a little about your industry experience: why not devote a thread to your biography? I would also be interested in a thread about your favorite films, and what you like about them.

                  I'm not saying I would agree with everything you say, but don't worry about defending yourself. Just put what you've seen out there. See what replies you get (bear in mind, this is the Internet, so don't get your hopes up too high). I think your perspective, and the perspective of others with some experience, is valuable. Thank you for sharing what you know.
                  Last edited by combatentropy; 12-04-2016, 01:16 AM.

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                    #24
                    Originally posted by combatentropy View Post
                    [LIST][*]If you have a decent script, a director can end up with a passable scene by just getting out of the way. Run through the scene and let the actors find an interpretation that feels natural, maybe encouraging them in what is good. They might not take chances, they might not be brilliant, but I don't think they would be remarkably bad. You shoot it with straightforward, simple, non-fancy camera coverage, and edit it together in a simple, obvious way. The audience might think this movie is kind of boring, but I don't think they will say, "Ugh, that is bad acting." Two quotes come to mind: Howard Hawks defined a good director as "someone who doesn't annoy you," and then someone else who said something like, "This script is so good it could only be ruined by a 'talented' director."*

                    .
                    If anyone was a fan of "Married w/Children" and/or "Seinfeld" when they were originals, one can spot a huge difference in the both shows actor performances throughout the years. As many of the top writers left those sitcoms (a lot of the UTA clients on both) for big, big money, their replacements weren't as nearly as good. Actors were then placed under pressure to deliver a similar level of laughs as before and began to play more for the live rather than the TV audience (there's a long standing debate on that as well). In short, they began to overact like crazy, more in tune with live theater than with far more understated TV acting. I found those episodes worthless.

                    Off my general observation, acting and directing are much easier than writing, especially writing comedy. These days, one can find plenty of "old" reruns on the various digital TV channels (I love the 1970's "Newhart") and see actors of that era without even knowing their names. Yet most performances are thoroughly professional and completely suitable for the Emmy winning productions.

                    As to 'who can carry a film", the answer is anyone - depending on circumstances. I recall in the 1970's and 80's, Julie Kavner doing occasional guest spots on various sitcoms, with me thinking of her as a fairly annoying, albeit uniquely so, actress. Then she got a small voiceover part role on the Tracy Ullman Show and is still doing it thirty years later. As a star.

                    PS. One can't compare sports, which are adversarial, with acting, which is collaborative. As a fun history trip, go look up some soaps from the 70's or 80's. Most of the actors from those years are no longer in the biz but there were a lot of them and most of them - especially, those who came off live theater in New York - were very good.

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                      #25
                      This has become so silly - if i took any of it seriously i couldn't take myself seriously.

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