Speaking of Influence

There’s a lot said and written about how to influence people. If influence is not to be confused with control or “speaking your mind”, which implies aggression, then perhaps the best way to influence people is to choose to say what you think and mean, follow through with actions and stick around long enough for people to know you mean it.
Saying what you think is when the energy of the thought is transferred with your meaning  into words.  At the theatre and in film, the actors breathe life into what the writer thinks, means and says.  Murakami gives us an example of the transcending power of story-telling in his book IQ84:
“Fuki –Eri’s normal style of speaking was extremely flat, lacking almost all accent and intonation, but when she launched into her tale, her voice became startlingly strong, rich and colourful, as if something had taken possession of her”.
How enjoyable it is to be really listened to ….and how necessary when you have something that needs to be said and you wish to influence people with your voice and words.  Think about it:
“Thought into Breath into Voice into Word.”  This shortened version of an explanation of the speech process, is part of the Max Your Voice coaching in voice and speech.  Helping you to get your meaning across.
Max Your Voice – helping people to become better communicators.

Haruki Murakami


Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock

Anthony Hopkins’ performance as Alfred Hitchcock  in Hitchcock  has met with some derision.  A few reviewers said that his performance was “mannered” and “false”.  Some seemed to think that it was a caricature of Alfred Hitchcock rather than a portrait of a real man.

Every film and every character in every film is open to interpretation.  Sacha Gervasi chose some unusual camera angles from which to shoot the character of Alfred Hitchcock but he also shot the character Wilt from similar angles.  It gave the perspective of looking inside the person.
Just a short excursion into Alfred Hitchcock’s life and work reveals that he was formidable at self-promotion.  He knew the impact of image.  Perhaps this is how he was in real life?  Looking at footage of the late Alfred Hitchcock, it does seem that the only exercise he ever got was when he spoke.  Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of him emphasised his use of lips, this relishing of the spoken word, this need for people to listen and understand him.  According to what we saw in Hitchcock, this need to be appreciated and this need to be heard were not generally given to him.   His outbursts of rage and uncontrolled eating illustrated this brilliantly.  I thought it was a great story.

Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins in Hitchcock


Comedy as Commentary

Spent an evening at the Sheik Zayed Theatre for the “Comedy as Commentary” part of the LSE’s Litfest with Gareth Edwards, John Finnemore, John Morton and Joanna Scanlan.  We were shown a clip of John Morton’s Twenty Twelve (I’d forgotten how funny it was), as a demonstration of John Morton’s take on comedy, which in this instance was the difference between expectation and reality.  Watching the Olympics organising team with days to go before the opening ceremony, escape from the reality of not knowing or caring what the f*** was going on, by ordering double shot skinny lattes,  tweaked a few memories of meetings gone by with me and many others in the audience.  John Morton gave a real example of what can happen as a result of not knowing what you’re supposed to be doing,  in an anecdote of how the director Stephen Daldry, had to supply the Queen who had caught his attention by waving, with a microphone – just minutes to go before the opening Olympics Ceremony.  No one in the organising Olympics committee had thought about a microphone for the Queen.  He also talked about the Thick of It and how people carrying on in disastrous circumstances can be funny – as with the comedy of the hilarious Laurel and Hardy and Groucho brothers.  John Finnemore and Joanna Scanlon agreed with this.  They were also clear on the “rules”.  They never make the “victim” the object of humour.  Joanna Scanlon said that in Getting On the patients are never the butt of the jokes.  They did submit that a couple of comedy writers do like to victimise people for fun, but they found the results mostly cringe worthy.  It was accepted though that making fun of the more vulnerable is how children can and often do, bully other children in the playground.  Gareth Edwards and Joanna Scanlon said that a lot of their comedy comes from anger and hatred – as with the classic Faulty Towers.  Extremes of emotion feed into the inspiration to create farce.  It was an informative and relaxed evening and the panel were very entertaining.  Afterwards there was a bar and some free food.
The evening had a surreal edge right from the start.  As we approached the theatre we saw a crowd of about 130 people milling about outside in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.  I thought it was a queue waiting to go inside the theatre, but there were 2 queues – for free hot drinks and sandwiches, being given to the homeless.

John Morton