Michael Shurtleff meets the Captain

Yesterday, I told you all to read a book by Michael Shurtleff, my favorite acting coach. I find the book even more useful now that I'm a writer. One might assume a book called Audition is about neat tricks to use when you don't have time to study the freakin' lines. Yet Michael's approach is remarkably text-based – possibly the most text-based acting approach floating around our Method-loving world. And as the people writing the text... seriously, read the book.

Shurtleff tells us to imbue each character's choices with life or death importance. It was his Prime Directive, if you will. That might seem a bit extreme. Not every scene is Hamlet, surely. But here's a stunning example of how well this works, even with truly dopey material.

In a recent GQ
interview with Andrew Corsello, William Shatner explains his take on the Priceline Negotiator's unique motivation:

When they were writing it, they didn't quite know how to handle this new campaign they were doing... Then I realized: The Negotiator is insane! ... His very life depends on his ability to convince you that you ... have to get this bargain!
(my emphasis)

This is why there is and will always be, only one Captain for me.

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