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The Science and Art of Acting for the Camera by John Howard Swain

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Chapter 4

Ten Positive Attributes

In the previous chapter, The Bones, the goal was to create fully realized characters—warts and all. This chapter, “Ten Positive Attributes,” serves as a safety valve for that process.

As actors we’re often guilty of wearing blinders. Because a good deal of our work revolves around conflict (both drama and comedy depend on it), we often, in our desire to generate that conflict, tend to accentuate the negative and create an artificial “darkness” for our characters. This “darkness” can inhibit our work and we frequently find ourselves focusing too much on the negative aspects of the character’s persona. When we do this, we run the risk of handicapping our characters, locking them forever in one dimension. ...

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