Ninety/Ten

 

“In your very imperfections you will discover the seeds for… ‘your own way’.”

“NINETY/TEN

When I first wrote on Facebook, the heading said, What’s on your mind, so I wrote what was on my mind, Acting/Directing and writing about it, since that’s what is always on my mind. Believe me if it were any other subject, I couldn’t put a coherent sentence together, having a conversation with me on anything other than that, you’ll have a minute or two of my attention, those two, you got me for the whole night.

My wife and I watch “Jeopardy” every night, well let me put it this way, she watches it, me, I’m staring at the T.V. thinking about acting notes. It reminds me of my first day in high school and the teacher put an algebra problem on the blackboard, at that moment I knew it was all over for me, At that moment I knew “I wouldn’t be able to fake my way through this one.” I lasted a year and found my self in the Navy, shitting my pants and homesick.

Like everything else in my young life and up until I turned 28, I was “Riding the same Horse,” the last one out of the gate. One night in 1968 I walked into an acting class I realized I was on a different “Horse,” I was the first one out of the gate, looked back and saw the others wiping my dust from their eyes. I found my “Ninety Percent,” who I was and what my “True Nature” was. Up until then, it was the “Ten Percent,” the bullshit, who and what others thought I should be.

In acting it’s called ‘Ninety Percent’ yourself and ‘Ten Percent’ character. In the training of the actor, if the focus is on the ‘Ten Percent,’ the actor is destined for mediocrity, if it’s the ‘Ninety Percent,’ there is no limit to what they can achieve.

The Ninety/Ten is where most acting training falls short for the last few generations of actors, especially in Western Culture. And it especially true for the American Actor. The Ninety/Ten is also what makes “Leading Men and Leading Ladies,” and now Hollywood must go to Australia and Europe for their Leading Men and Women.

This is a two parter, tomorrow I will pass on to you my favorite, what turned it all around for me. I stumbled on to it in a book that has become MY Bible, I was in my 40’s, I wished it would have been in my teenage years, so if you have teenage children or grand children, it would behoove THEM if you pass it on to them. it should precede all training no matter what the objective may be.

It’s called “The Four Horses” (I can see my former students scrambling for their notes now, probably not having looked at in years). I feel the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother (even if divorced), the best thing parents can do for their children is to love THEIR “True Nature,” allow them to be be WHO they are and WHAT they were meant to be, I did it with my children and doing it with my grandchildren, the result, we’re friends and that is what’s most important to me.

I never let anybody tell me how to think or how to feel, so I don’t do it. Why this works for the non-actor also is, the actor must realize, the non-actor in them is more important than the actor they want to be.

So get your saddles ready, I’m going to introduce you to “Four Horses,” and THEY will choose YOU.
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