Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Stillness

Sometimes "nothing" is the right thing to do as an actor, acting needs silences. Like a piece of music, with rests, our work is not all big apparent and obvious behavior. Life needs stillness too. Can you be still.

Speech matters, lines are important as is what we do. But also lines are not the be all end all of our work as actors; acting is not recitation and behavior alone. Who we are, our "being" is involved.

Sometimes the right move is not to move. I don't mean just freeze, but on camera just thinking a thought, or feeling a feeling, can be captured by the mics and lenses; the impassive machines will see and hear the things in front of them dispassionately, and we can trust that. We don't always have to feed them; we as actors don't have to exert effort to make ourselves be witnessed between action and cut, to make glass and diaphragms do their task.

I coach actors (please let me know if I can help you) and sometimes our task includes finding how to help the actor let all the externals, the extrinsic motivation (I want the part, I want my work to be well received, I want them to like me, etc.) go, and simply focus. Not always easy to do this, and even more challenging depending how your day/week/month is going. Faith that it will be ok can help. Sometimes it is breathing. Sometimes something else. And sometimes there is not a special tactic, or secret move to make. Sometimes existing is the right thing, the only thing, the main thing.

So breathe, relax, and let a moment happen. Not every instant works because we exert our will on it. In life and work, being engaged with right now, and open to the world, is often the best course to follow.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Acting with Uncertainty

Feeling that we know exactly what is perfect to do as an actor may be a first clue we are missing the mark.

It is worth noting: our work as actors is always meant to have an infusion of doubt, or uncertainty. Those aren't the right words for it, but total control and design is not quite what we're ever meant to do; facing uncertainty with courage has even been called our main task, and with good technique brought to bear we do have more options. That good technique can mean greater mastery of our instrument, but it shoudn't be a substitute for the immediacy of the moment. Work well, have fun; good luck.

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