Delivering a Riveting Performance through The Process
Have you ever considered what it takes to make it or break it in acting? Well, the methods may not be conventional and are often thought of as either working really hard for it or luck. Stating the obvious – go to the experts! The most prolific creators understand the artistry behind or in front of the lens, the human emotions and expressions that move an audience. In the IFS “Best Documentary Winner,” The Process, the experts explore and share what makes a performance so riveting. This is truly a documentary that demonstrates the techniques of the highly acclaimed acting, directing coach, and author Larry Moss, who has trained Academy® Award, Golden Globe and Tony Winners, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Hilary Swank, Chris Rock, Helen Hunt, Jim Carrey and rising star Hailee Steinfeld among many others.
The film is directed by Mitzi Kapture who is admired by fans worldwide for her starring roles and also as Sgt. Lance in Silk Stalkings. In Silk Stalkings is where Mitzi Kapture found her creative direction by being behind the camera and directing several episodes.
Courtesy of Silk Stalkings
Yes, 90s Baywatch fans, she starred as Mitch Buchanan’s (David Hasselhoff) Season 9 rival, Alexis Ryker.
The interesting concept behind Mitzi Kapture’s work on both sides of the camera is ultimately why this documentary reveals more than what is on the surface. Through Kapture’s visual perception behind the lens it focuses on Moss as he works alongside a young director and his actors taking them from their primary work to a final polished performance. Through Mitzi’s observations it brings out the methods that The Process brilliantly delivers.
To dive into this documentary further, SOCIAL connects with Mitzi Kapture on the magic behind The Process.
SOCIAL: Mitzi, we are excited to have you and congratulations on receiving “Best Documentary Winner” at the IFS Film Festival! The concept of the documentary and what it was able to demonstrate was incredible. What inspired this documentary?
Mitzi Kapture: Thank you so much for having me!
The idea started during filming Silk Stalkings, watching the relationship on set between the director and actors and all the other people on set.
I was having lunch with Stephen J. Cannell (creator of and author of over 40 shows and novels), a great man who was very much ahead of his time by the way. He made every effort to treat me as an equal and to champion my work as a director as well as being open to ideas and input on my character. He made sure that my co-ostar, Rob Estes and I had equal billing and wages.
Over lunch with him one day, I brought up the concept idea of a documentary on showing the process of coaching actors, you know, that relationship and sometimes unspoken bond that develops and the magic that comes from that. The actual work that goes into getting a good performance. It wasn’t a ‘pitch’, but he liked it and was encouraging and positive about the valuable contributions it could offer. It began to simmer and develop in my mind since our lunch that day.
As an actor, I was fascinated by those magical moments that makes the story puzzle come together. I watched the dailies every day. Watched the camera department and what lenses they were using, lighting, etc. One of the Executive Producers, David Peckinpah, who wrote several episodes, was always open to my voice and story arc ideas. I began to develop an emotional point of view to storytelling, as well as a directorial eye.
SOCIAL: Larry Moss lists components of The Process, say we take away the scene, cinematography, costumes, and what you have left is the naked performance of the actor. What can make the performance so profound to evoke a sense that you know what is taking place?
Mitzi Kapture: I think you feel a profound connection as the audience when an actor is connected to the material and the character. The relationship to the writers written words, the actor’s instrument being open to the writers playground and world.
Larry said once that you know good acting when you turn off the sound and can still understand and feel what is being said.
Once I called Larry when I was working on a movie and I was struggling with dialogue that I wasn’t feeling was authentic to what my character would say. His advice was to make my actions speak louder than the words. Good performances are grounded deeply in tapping into the most basic human needs and desires. That is what people relate to.
SOCIAL: What skills have you taken from your starring roles to your work behind the lens?
Mitzi Kapture: I have great compassion towards actors. I understand that actors need to feel they trust the director and feel supported. In order to be able to be spontaneous and free in their performance there needs to be some trust. As a director, preparation is key for me so then when we get on the set, and if someone has a good idea then I can be free enough to incorporate it, if it works and makes the scene better.
The night before I directed my first show, I wanted to be inspired. “The Piano”, directed by Jane Champion was in theatres so I went to see it. It was shot so beautifully.
I really understood what I felt on set as an actor, that the camera is another character with an emotional point of view.
I incorporate that with my camera shots. The Process definitely gave me the opportunity to do that as well, with 4 cameras and filming complete spontaneity on everyone’s part. I had to feel and intuitively anticipate where everyone’s instincts were headed because there was no rehearsal and no marks on the ground. I had to basically edit as I shot.
SOCIAL: This documentary is valuable to actors, writers, and directors, but I feel the scope is much larger. Anyone considering show business should see this documentary. Is your team working on making this part of the curriculum for film academies and acting schools worldwide?
Mitzi Kapture: Thank you and yes. The goal was just to give a viewpoint of the Masters, Larry Moss and James L Brooks, I mean brilliant guys who’s actors and projects win Academy Awards and show their process and hear them talk about it. They both love actors. They truly love and honor the actors process. I planned to make more possibly. This is a look to hopefully inspire anyone that would never have access to people like this in the entertainment industry, a taste of how to approach their work.
We sell to universities, high schools and libraries directly from our website, www.theprocessstudios.com. We also have an educational distributor, www.Collective Eye.com.
The DVD’s and Blurays are sold on our site www.theprocessstudios.com, Barnes and Noble online, Amazon, Samuel French Drama Bookshop online and others.
We are releasing it as digital downloads on Amazon and Itunes this month. I am waiting to hear about an educational platform for digital this week.
I have had young people who just finished film school say I wish I had seen this before, it could have shed light on how to approach actors and pull it all together.
Barnet Kellman at USC Film school said that film students learn so much about the technical side and all about cameras but have no idea how to break a scene down and approach working with an actor.
SOCIAL: What do you want the audience to take from this documentary?
Mitzi Kapture: We hope it will inspire artists, or anyone for that matter, to fall in love with the process, to do the work and to find your passion for whatever you are creating.
I’ve had crews that inspired me as well. On most sets I feel the crew is right there when the cameras are rolling, so much support and joy for the work.
It takes a team, every job is part of the whole picture and contributes to what people eventually see in the finished film. At our Directors Guild Screening a friend brought a sports coach with him and he said wow, this is what I try to do when I coach. I wanted to encourage people that would never be able to study with a master coach like Larry Moss or writer/Director James L. Brooks, to find passion in doing their work.
As Larry Moss says in the film, “The work of The Process is joy!”
Hollywood is taking note of The Process and are praising Kapture’s documentary.
“Larry Moss picks up the mark from Stella Adler and Sandy Meisner and for a whole new generation of artists,” said writer and director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Sea Biscuit, Pleasantville).
The Process is available on DVD and Blu-Ray at www.theprocessstudios.com, select stores including Samuel French Bookstores and New York Drama Bookshop, Barnes and Noble, Amazon. The Process will be available for digital download on platforms including iTunes and Amazon in 2019.
The Process is being released on iTunes on October 5th. Read more at theprocessstudios.com.