Kirsten Dunst With the Presentation Tip of the Day – Prepare!

I haven’t yet seen Melancholia.  I intend to.  It is clearly a provocative film.

Kirsten Dunst, who has been acting since she was 12 (actually, since she was about 3 or 4), has apparently given the performance of her life.  She won the Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her role.  Here’s a paragraph from the article Kirsten Dunst on ‘Melancholia’ and Lars von Trier:  Dunst gives the performance of a lifetime in the bleak new film by Richard Rushfield (from The Daily Beast)

Before arriving on the set—an estate in a remote Danish village where she and the crew would camp out for a month and a half—Dunst took several weeks preparing to confront the morose character she was to play. She trained for Justine like a prizefighter trains for an opponent, studying her every decision from inside out. “I work with somebody, and we do extensive preparations. I went on vacation and she came with me. We spent day after day on it. It feels like I’m going to therapy. Sometimes we deal with imagery. Sometimes I work with my dreams as well. What it does for me is it really creates an inner life for the character that I really understand and that I know better than anyone else. My script pages are covered with notes. I created an emotional bible for myself. It gives me confidence when I go to the set. I refer to it before I do every scene. And then when you film out of order, it makes my performance make sense.”

Notice this especially:  “My script pages are covered with notes. I created an emotional bible for myself. It gives me confidence when I go to the set. I refer to it before I do every scene. And then when you film out of order, it makes my performance make sense.”

In other words, she prepares thoroughly, and then refers to her written preparation note reminders before every “scene,” every part of her “presentation.”

We really should have learned this by now.  In the acting arena, the great actors prepare, and prepare some more, and then prepare some more.  Daniel Day Lewis, for just one other example, is beyond legendary with his preparation habits/rituals.

In the field of great presenters, the great ones rehearse, and then rehearse some more, and then rehearse even more.  Steve Jobs, the presenter, was a legendary preparer.

As I have written earlier, all good presentations boil down to this:  have something to say, and then say it very well.  Preparation is key for each of these two parts of a successful presentation.

So, here’s the presentation tip of the day – be thorough in preparation, and then, “refer to your carefully prepared notes” before every “scene” – every “presentation.”

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