I tried to answer intelligently and keep it brief, but since it takes me 200 words to say hello to someone, it shouldn't be a big surprise that I ended up sending Otis a little over 2800 words about acting, poker, and Almost Famous. I was so long-winded, in fact, that Otis ended up using the power of the fully-operational PokerStars blog to handle the Alderaan-destroying mountain of words I sent.
If you're interested in the poker stuff, or want to know how I've been able to combine my acting experience with my poker game, you can read the whole thing at the PokerStars blog.
For the rest of you, here's a little bit about acting that you don't have to be a poker geek to follow:
As an actor:
1) I have to be completely connected to the other actors in the scene, so my character understands what the other characters are doing, why they are doing it, and I (as the actor) can allow my character to react naturally and realistically. rather than "acting."
2) I have to completely commit to everything that my character does, and allow my character's memories, beliefs, and prior experiences (that I have made up) to truly _live_ in me, like they are real, so that all the unconscious physical signals that come with different emotions happen naturally, rather than as a result of "acting."
For an actor, getting caught "acting" is worse than a poker player getting caught bluffing; it's more like getting caught cheating. So we actors work very hard to make sure it never happens.
[. . .]
One of my favorite examples of this is from Almost Famous. Kate Hudson, as Penny Lane, asks Patrick Fugit, as William Miller, if he'll go with her to Morocco.
When she asks him, they've been running around a park together, and it's clear to the audience that they're falling in love. It's really charming to watch, and unless you're deeply cynical, it's tough to not smile with them, recalling the first time you fell in love.
"I've made a decision, I'm gonna live in Morocco for one year. I need a new crowd. Do you wanna come?" She says.
"Yes!" He says.
"Are you sure?" She says.
He looks at her, like he was completely lost in her, and says, "Ask me again."
She flushes, and she says, more intently, "Do you want to come?"
"Yes! Yes!" He says, as some seventies power ballad starts to play.
According to director Cameron Crowe, Patrick asked Kate to ask him again, because he'd been staring at her, and just got lost in that moment, so he missed his line. But he was still in the scene, so he asked her exactly the way he would have if it had been real. Kate stayed focused on him, stayed in the scene, and asked him again, so we have this incredibly wonderful moment of two people falling in love that probably has many of you running to Netflix to queue it up right now. If either one of them hadn't been completely focused on each other, that moment (which would have been impossible to script) never would have happened. If we'd caught them "acting," it would have ruined that moment, and the whole movie would have suffered as a result.
Did I pique your interest? Heh. So go on, read the whole thing. You know you want to.