Film Courage: So it’s almost like this character has a mini-court trial going on and they’re on the witness stand. And they’ve got this trial attorney that is just grilling them. But it’s really their own voice…from the past (whatever) that is just relentless. Do this [interrogation] break them down? You’ve seen the films where someone will have a meltdown on the witness stand. Is it almost like that, they’re having this mini-meltdown inside themselves?
Mark W. Travis: As the character? Oh yeah, I mean there have been breakdowns, there have been some extraordinary things that have happened, even to the point to where it has frightened other people in the room with the power of what’s happening. I could tell you about one story which is interesting where I drove a character to the point of suicide and she was ready to kill herself and where the other people in the room kept begging me to stop because they were so frightened what she was going to do it, so finally I did stop.
The actresses name was Kathy and I was talking to the character (I don’t remember the character’s name). So they wanted me to stop and the way to stop is to address the actor by her real name and I said “Kathy, okay we are going to stop.” And she like “Oh, okay, why?” And I said “Well there are people here who are scared.” I said “Are you okay?” And Kathy says “I’m fine. Why did we stop?”
In other words, this separation between character and actor is really profound that the character can be going through the most extraordinary emotional experiences and the actor is fine. The actor is protected from that. The actor is experiencing it obviously because it is happening within the actor, but once it stops, they’re done, over!
So it’s running very deep inside the character and getting back to a moment about Stanislavski and all of that and going back there is a whole history and The Group Theatre and Strasberg and Meisner. The way I see the work that they were doing…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
The Director’s Director Mark W. Travis on Creating Authentic
Acting Performances [FULL INTERVIEW]
MARK W. TRAVIS is regarded by Hollywood and independent film professionals internationally as the world’s leading teacher and consultant on the art and craft of film directing. He is known as “the director’s director.”
Fueled by the desire to generate organic and authentic performances in an instant, Mark developed his revolutionary Travis Technique™ over a span of 40 years. Not limited to filmmakers, The Travis Technique™ has proven to be an essential set of tools for all storytellers, writers, directors and actors.
Mark Travis has taught at many internationally acclaimed film schools and institutions, including Pixar University, American Film Institute, UCLA Film School, FAS Screen Training Ireland, NISS – Nordisk Institutt for Scene og Studio (Norway), Odessa International Film Festival (Ukraine), CILECT – The International Association of Film and Television Schools, and the Asia Pacific Screen Lab (hosted by Griffith University Film School, Brisbane, Australia).
Productions directed by Mark W. Travis have garnered over 30 major awards, including: an Emmy, Drama-Logue, L.A. Weekly, Drama Critics’ Circle, A.D.A, and Ovation awards.
His film and television directing credits include: The Facts of Life, Family Ties, Capitol, Hillers, and the Emmy Award-winning PBS dramatic special, Blind Tom: The Thomas Bethune Story. Also the feature films Going Under (for Warner Bros. starring Bill Pullman and Ned Beatty), Earlet (documentary), The Baritones, and The 636.
On-stage, over the past 20 years, Mark has directed over 60 theatre productions in Los Angeles and New York, including: A Bronx Tale, Verdigris, The Lion in Winter, Mornings At Seven, Equus, Café 50s, And A Nightingale Sang, Wings, Linke vs. Redfield, The Coming of Stork and others.
Mark is the author of the Number-One Best Seller (L.A. Times), THE DIRECTOR’S JOURNEY: the Creative Collaboration between Directors, Writers and Actors. His second book on directing,
DIRECTING FEATURE FILMS (published in April of 2002) is currently used as required text in film schools worldwide. His third book, THE FILM DIRECTOR’S BAG OF TRICKS: Get What You Want from Writers and Actors was published in 2011. Mark’s popular DVD, HOLLYWOOD FILM DIRECTING, is available now.
MARK TRAVIS and ELSHA BOHNERT offer workshops and consultations on all aspects of storytelling for writers, directors and actors.
MARK TRAVIS and ELSHA BOHNERT offer workshops and consultations on all aspects of storytelling for writers, directors and actors. ELSHA BOHNERT is Chief of Staff of Boyden Road Productions and the director of The Travis Story Center in Los Angeles, California. She is the author of DON’T TRIP OVER THE GARDEN HOSE (Deuxmers 2013). Her stories and poems have been published in literary journals and she is an award-winning visual artist as well, with works in public and private collections throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. Elsha teaches workshops in “Art & Writing for Healing” and is the only teacher authorized by Mark W. Travis to teach the “Write Your Life” Travis Technique™.