Film & TV

Introduction

Helen Mirren

Lesson time 3:37 min

To start her MasterClass, Helen demonstrates a simple act that’s one of the hardest things for an actor to do: walking naturally. She then introduces you to the world of acting and the empty space that will be your classroom.

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Helen Mirren
Teaches Acting
In 28 lessons, the Oscar, Golden Globe, Tony, and Emmy winner teaches her process for acting on the stage and screen.
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So I just did what I consider to be one of the most difficult things to do in my profession of acting, which is to walk as yourself. Just to be yourself walking, is peculiarly difficult. I don't know how well I did it just now. Certainly off stage, before I walked on, first of all, I had my hands in my pocket. And then I thought, no that's fake. You're just trying to be casual. Take your hands out of your pocket. So I did. And then I thought, how do I do this? How do I be as real and as natural as possible? All of this stuff goes through your mind really fast. And then I thought, the only way to do it is simply, in my mind, to have the intention-- and this sounds so silly-- to walk to the chair. That's your whole intention. You just think, I got to get to that chair, and I've got to sit down. And that was all I did. But you know what? That was acting. Because here we have an empty space. I very much wanted to start my Masterclass in an empty space. As you will see later on, this space will become filled with elements, with costumes, with props, with all sorts of different things. All the tools of the acting trade. But basically, at its heart, our world of acting is an empty space. It's an empty space that we fill with our imagination, with our technique, with our philosophy, with our poetry, with our passion, with our fears, with our insecurity. It's funny about walking, you know. I was watching a young actor the other day on television. And this thing of walking naturally is peculiarly difficult. And I'm going to show you what he did to try and look natural. And I'm going to do it for you. What he did was sort of this. He had his hands in his pocket, and everything about him was trying to look natural. So when he walked, he kind of kicked his feet like this. And when he turned he kind of turned like this. And then if he did a gesture, it was kind of, oh, I'm so relaxed. I'm so natural. It communicated just unnaturalness. In our world of acting, we are constantly seeking for nature. Nature and art, and nature in art. So I wanted to start this in this open, empty space. An empty space into which we put our fears, our terrors, our imagination-- above all our imagination-- our poetry, our philosophy, our storytelling. Because that's what we are. We're storytellers. I'm Helen Mirren. And this is my Masterclass.


Find freedom in your roles

In her first-ever online acting class, Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren shares the techniques she has learned through the course of her international career that has spanned stage, screen, and television. Her powerful and versatile performances have earned her numerous awards, including the Academy Award in 2007 for her performance in The Queen, a Tony Award in 2015 for her performance in The Audience, and four Emmy Awards.



Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I am taking Afro Theatre! This is really aiding me be a better Young Actor! Thank You Helen Mirren! :D #GirlWomenPower

It was wonderful to hear a successful actor talk about the craft of acting. I am an older person coming to acting later in life, so it would have been nice for Helen Mirren to acknowledge that she might not be talking just to young actors. But I still loved the class and many things that I am hearing in my weekly classes were reiterated in this masterclass.

I improve very much in acting I know the technique now . In early stage iam confused about what is mean by acting and how iam going to act in front of camera. Thanks to Helen mirren .Giving details to very little thing in acting

I have a BFA in Acting and have work in all facets of the entertainment Industry, from stage to screen to television. It's so interesting hearing such an accomplished actress such as Helen Mirren talk about the Industry having never taken an acting class. Simply amazing.


Comments

Atanas V.

I'm personally taking acting lesson for two months now and at first I thought that it is important to look the part. For example to look sad when you play a sad character or when you are in a sad situation. But I guess the real acting is just to not think about those things and put yourself as if you are living in this character and just do the things as you would normally do them... Great intro!

A fellow student

This is so interesting. I have terrible posture and scoliosis- always anxious about that and how I look when I walk. Hadn’t thought of it in this light before

A fellow student

I love this line, so meaningful: "In our world of acting, we are constantly seeking for nature; nature and art and nature in art."

Rebecca

I enjoyed this intro as well. I have noticed that gesturing can be difficult. We do it every day and you don’t want to cross the line and do acting with your hands or that type of thing, but sometimes the simplest gesture can be the hardest thing to portray honestly.

Joyce S. R.

For actors it's so important to be present. It's is so important to be, more that pretending to be.

EK T.

This was my college major. I graduated from the program, but I never got good at it.

Sophia T.

Amazed by how she pointed to one of the most powerful aspects of acting and... life, really: Intention. So beautifully embedded then into the idea of an empty space that starts gaining direction with a focused intention and draws to it the imagination, thoughts, ideas, also reflecting the current & desired emotional states of Beingness. What an honor of her allowing us to dive into her brilliant mind. Thank you! Thank this entire Platform of Mastery & Masters.

Lynne E.

Simplicity is so deceptively complicated. Regarding the young actor trying to look casual: this is why I spend the first 20 mins or so of a Shakespearean play cringing at the false casualness of most of the cast.

Jesse E.

I loved how she ended the piece with saying how "we are storytellers." It is something absolutely true. We are the catalyst on which the story is told.

A fellow student

SO much insight just in that intro. The idea of simply walking to the chair is so good! My greatest challenge in acting is the overthinking. So excited and happy she started how she did! BRILLIANT