Normal People's Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones Share Acting Experience, With 200 Students

The actors came together to share their acting experiences, virtually, with students at MetFilm School

The stars from BBC3’s hugely successful drama Normal People took part in an hour-long Masterclass followed by Q&A, which inspired, motivated and reassured the next generation of actors, screenwriters, directors and filmmakers who are studying at the Film School

Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, who played Marianne and Connell in the Irish drama, took questions from students, described their own professional journeys and offered valuable tips and advice

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Paul, who did a three-year drama degree explained that he didn’t really get into acting growing up, but when he was 16, he auditioned for the school musical and ended up getting a big part in the show, he said: “I fell brutally in love with the kind of adrenaline of being on stage.”

At that point, Paul still didn’t see it as a viable career he said: “I didn’t have a reference point or people in my life who were professional actors.

“So, when it came to applying for colleges, and I quickly, kind of resolved the thing that I would happily spend my time doing… I think I went into auditioning for drama school with a kind of blissful ignorance.

“I hadn’t ever been in a play, I hadn’t read a huge amount of plays, I didn’t have any kind of preconceived ideas of who I thought were amazing actors or bad actors, I just had a good instinct about what I enjoyed doing and what acting made me feel.”

Daisy spoke about the importance of being familiar with the technical side of productions - aspects other the acting, which she learnt on the show. “I’d never been involved with discussions as to why a certain camera had been chosen but I really enjoyed listening to Suzie Lavelle our Director Of Photography talk to Lenny Abrahamson, the director of the first six episodes, about why for example, we were choosing negative framing to tell this moment. I find it fascinating what a camera can do to tell a story.”

As the pair continued on to discuss the processes they use to get into character, Daisy explained that she loves working in accents, she said: “For Normal People… I had a lucky thing really, Marianne’s voice is so different to mine, I had an accent and I think as soon as I then said lines in her voice, that really dictated for me her rhythm, and her character really, I feel I was really aided by that. For me that was enough to get me there, into who she was.”

Paul admitted that one of an actor’s greatest cheats is music, he said: “There’s real security in having a playlist, I think music is kind of the greatest cheat for an actor ever, because it gets you straight to an emotion very quickly.”

On discussing their next projects and the sorts of roles they’re looking for, Daisy explained that she enjoys the challenge of playing complex and flawed characters and working with directors who have a very real, specific vision.

For Paul, it’s the writing, he said: “If the writing isn’t there, it can’t support a story, therefore it can’t support a filmmaker no matter how good they are… For me, it’s about being selective I feel, in terms of trusting the writing.”

MetFilm School Director, Jonny Persey, agrees that the coronavirus pandemic has emphasised how much we still need storytellers. "This was a really valuable experience for our students, both Daisy and Paul were so generous with their time and their advice and, so honest about their experiences, hundreds of our students tuned in for this session.

“The unfamiliar territory that we find ourselves in has heightened our use of technology which the students are already familiar with, but it’s not just about the technical craft of making films, it’s the ability to tell a story. And right now we need those stories to help us make sense of what’s happening in the world."

The world-famous film school, which has campuses in London and Berlin, has been hosting remote masterclasses and exclusive interviews with screen professionals for its students during the pandemic. Other guests have included The Two Popes and Game of Thrones actor Jonathan Pryce, double-Oscar and five time Bafta winning Cinematographer, Roger Deakins, and Last Tango in Halifax and Gentleman Jack screenwriter, Sally Wainwright.

About

MetFilm School is a leading film, television, and online media school offering undergraduate, postgraduate and short courses across various craft areas. The school has campuses in London and Berlin.

July 2, 2020 11:06am ET by MetFilm School  

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