Author Topic: acting terms  (Read 2996 times)

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Rudie Obias

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acting terms
« on: January 15, 2006, 10:49:10 PM »
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i'm trying to understand acting and how actors think.  can someone help me out with some acting terms?  what the hell is a "beat" and how it is applied?
\"a pair of eyes staring at you, projected on a large screen is what cinema is truly about.\" -volker schlöndorff

Reinhold

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Re: acting terms
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2006, 10:52:03 PM »
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a beat is a pause that an actor takes while in character.

Character A slams the door. "Why did she have to leave like that?"

vs

Character A slams the door. beat. "Why did she have to leave like that?"

they can also be used for comedy or whatever else the desired effect is... beats give the audience a chance to "get" the subtext, bring attention to the mise en scene, or give the next line more weight.
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

polkablues

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Re: acting terms
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2006, 01:14:05 AM »
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When you see (beat) in a script, that is what it means.

Otherwise, the word can also refer to movements of story or character within a scene.  Example:

FRANK: The weather's nice today.
BILL: You killed him, didn't you?!??!

Frank made small-talk, and Bill sent the scene in a different direction by accusing him of murder.  That's a big broad example of a beat.  Read Robert McKee's "Story" for more information on this topic than you ever wanted to know.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

matt35mm

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Re: acting terms
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2006, 02:03:48 AM »
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When you see (beat) in a script, that is what it means.

Otherwise, the word can also refer to movements of story or character within a scene.  Example:

FRANK: The weather's nice today.
BILL: You killed him, didn't you?!??!

Frank made small-talk, and Bill sent the scene in a different direction by accusing him of murder.  That's a big broad example of a beat.  Read Robert McKee's "Story" for more information on this topic than you ever wanted to know.
I think you described a beat change.  There's a difference.

Rudie Obias

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Re: acting terms
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2006, 03:13:28 AM »
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When you see (beat) in a script, that is what it means.

Otherwise, the word can also refer to movements of story or character within a scene.  Example:

FRANK: The weather's nice today.
BILL: You killed him, didn't you?!??!

Frank made small-talk, and Bill sent the scene in a different direction by accusing him of murder.  That's a big broad example of a beat.  Read Robert McKee's "Story" for more information on this topic than you ever wanted to know.

I think you described a beat change.  There's a difference.

what's the difference?  also i'm starting to hang out with more actors instead of filmmakers because i need to learn to be a better filmmaker.
\"a pair of eyes staring at you, projected on a large screen is what cinema is truly about.\" -volker schlöndorff

matt35mm

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Re: acting terms
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2006, 03:57:08 AM »
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When you see (beat) in a script, that is what it means.

Otherwise, the word can also refer to movements of story or character within a scene.  Example:

FRANK: The weather's nice today.
BILL: You killed him, didn't you?!??!

Frank made small-talk, and Bill sent the scene in a different direction by accusing him of murder.  That's a big broad example of a beat.  Read Robert McKee's "Story" for more information on this topic than you ever wanted to know.

I think you described a beat change.  There's a difference.

what's the difference?  also i'm starting to hang out with more actors instead of filmmakers because i need to learn to be a better filmmaker.
It's a pretty good idea to hang out with the actors more.  It will help you.  Hang out with everyone that would be involved with a movie in any capacity.

The difference is that a beat change is a shift in tone.  That's what Polkablues described.  There was one tone, then it shifted.  I guess you could also call it a tone shift.  You don't write this within the text of the screenplay, generally.

"Beat," when written, was pretty much described by "permanent username."  This is direction for the actor, to take a moment before proceeding, for comic or dramatic timing.

polkablues

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Re: acting terms
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2006, 08:25:26 PM »
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The difference is that a beat change is a shift in tone.  That's what Polkablues described.  There was one tone, then it shifted.

That's not totally accurate... a beat can really be any moment or exchange that advances the story or character in any way.  A story can be broken into acts, an act can be broken into scenes, and a scene can be broken into beats.  Just a tiny little molecule of storytelling.  It's really more a screenwriting term than an acting term (where "beat" does mean nothing more than a pause).  But most serious actors I know understand the concept and use it when they're talking about a performance.

The point is, when you're talking to actors and they say something about a "beat" within a scene, they could be using either definition.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

Reinhold

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Re: acting terms
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2006, 09:09:13 PM »
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i thought that dogs layed eggs. (beat) and i learned something today.
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

pete

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Re: acting terms
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2006, 09:19:02 PM »
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have you ever smoked so much weed (beat)
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton

 

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