See if this plot sounds familiar: An evil corruption has swept over the land threatening to extinguish all that was once good in the world with the future resting in the hands of a heroic force, which has lost its way, and which must learn to believe once again in magic if it is to rediscover a long lost power it must use to save humanity. If that story sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the story actors are living right now in the film industry. The evil corruption is high-concept, genre-driven, franchise-fueled, tent-pole movies. The heroic force is actors. The power actors must rediscover is the power they once had to create the kind of cinematic film performances that for a long time drove audiences to movie theaters.
Here’s what happened: The traditional “actor’s process” came into being around the same time as the formative years of narrative filmmaking, and the two were made for each other. The actor’s process allowed actors, for the first time, to create “real” performances while the studio system of Hollywood made sure actors applied cinematic thinking and techniques to their process, so that process would work on film. The combination resulted in decades of countless, brilliant film performances, in movies designed for brilliant film performances, driving audiences to movie theaters.
When the studio system collapsed, there was no longer anyone making sure actors applied cinematic thinking and techniques to their process, and so film performances quickly began losing their cinematic magic and power. Absent the magic and power of truly cinematic performances, something else was needed to drive audiences to movie theaters at the same time advancing technology was allowing for more and more dazzling special effects…
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