METHOD ACTING 1 & 2 with Daniel Dresner and Ariella Eshed

What is Method Acting?

There are many, many any ideas tying in to the idea.

One idea might be:

Experiencing an emotion rather than representing

So, you’re actually really happy or really sad rather than just showing it

Taking things from your own experiences to inform that

Something that you do when training, don’t really use it on set unless you’re desperate.

You want to feel inspired but after fifty takes you might not be feeling it.

Need a technique to make you feel sad, happy, warm cold, etc.

The goal is to be talented and feel it every shot. However, this is not realistic so you might use a technique. This technique might be THE METHOD.

In a way, it’s about creating an Acting tool kit.

You can’t come back tomorrow when the scene needs to be shot. So, your last resort is to fake it!


Daniel gave us a brief history of Method Acting: Stanislavsky from Russia, coming to America in early 20th century.

Inspiring Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner

Started The Actors Studio in New York


We’ll focus mainly on Strasberg’s Method today

3 sections:

Sense memory

Effective memory, emotional recall (Pacino in Godfather 3)

Character work, substitutions, animal work


Words are like a boat on a river, what’s going on underneath is the river (words bouncing along on top, what is beneath will affect what comes out of you)


We used some sense memories: warm sun on face

Stormy, windy weather, driving rain

Using a conscious trigger to awaken an unconscious reaction

Azhar: thought of his climbing of Mt Kilimanjaro and actually felt he was there.

We used monologues the actors had learnt and the words came out differently depending on what triggers we’re using


The breakfast drink exercise: feel the weight if the cup, slowly, slowly study the cup.

Put it aside and imagine it’s still there in your hand as if it is still there

Taste the cup, smell the cup

Then imagine the cup is full, then imagine it’s empty

You believe the cup is there

(Watch TV and you’ll see there is never anything in the coffee cups in the TV show

You can change that by using The Method well.)

Many uses for this especially in commercials

Use this exercise drinking whiskey, sensorially you’ll get drunk!

Use the hot, cold bath exercise, with creepy crawlies

Great for playing an addict in withdrawal, if you feel it you don’t need to show it

Explore sense of place


The we moved on to ‘animal’ work using characteristics of the animals to create characters

Used our monologues and under Daniel’s guidance we brought in our animal

Fascinating exercise!


What thoughts did the actors have today?

Azhar: using experience from your past and bring into the characters & be flexible within that

Nikki: emotional recall, lots of emotions easy for me to draw upon

Adriana: learn the monologue better and search for an animal that doesn’t distract me but that actually helps me, suit the animal to the character, make it relevant

Nila: I reacted to the animal very well, can fit it into the monologue easily

Vlad: don’t push it, let it happen – great insight!

Ellen: layering on things, emotions, animal stuff – great!

Caroline: I’m a big thinker, using animal allows me to forget that and bring spontaneity and emotions

John: don’t overthink things, being a bear made me spontaneous and free. In this way, the exercise got me out of my head

Max: astrology idea and complimentary emotions. Gives us a good blueprint for the character

Niketa: the animal work really helps find the character

Jasmine: great character work, just do it

Erin:   Animal work! What animal can I use for this piece?

Alice: feeling things intensely is requisite, essential

James: the 3 steps really help you embody the character

Tom: you can become the energy of the animal from your own interpretation and vison of what the animal is

Anna: the discipline of visualising the place. We need to put in the hours, must practise!

Katie: the journey to a scene is great, walking into the place where the scene occurs, stripping off layers and putting more on

Florence: the animal is awesome, I was very sceptical when we started but now let’s try it, it might work, might not, worth trying!

Grace: smell, texture, be alive to these things, there is more to explore!

Mariana: essential to trick your brain into speaking English (as it’s my second language) Working with the Wolf helped me pull it all together

Karen: be more cat!

Michel: animal helped me feel my way through the piece, how I’m speaking rather than what I was saying

Gergo: animal, tricky to interpret but very interesting work

Agustin: great consistency of 3 steps into Method Acting. There is a method to applying the method. Loved the animal exercise, helps change your performance.

Great class, Daniel, thanks!