Monday, July 29, 2013


Yeah, I'm riffing, of course, on this little speech.  

But what I'm really about here tonight is something I just wrote to a former student from nearly a decade ago who's thinking of doing some acting, and apparently she hasn't done much since she was in my class.  I think I articulated a couple of points well, so I wanted to preserve it for posterity:

You as an actor, back in the day: yes, you have talent. I remember. And more importantly, you had something that a lot of actors have great difficulty getting across, authenticity and honesty. The big trap so many actors fall into, including myself, is the notion that you've always got to show the audience that you're acting. Look! I'm acting! See? This ALWAYS gets in the way of just existing in the situation, of just relating to the other people you're playing the scene with. I mean, when an actor is so busy acting, who has time or energy or enough focus to bother with simply existing in the moment?

The one thing I remember about your work is that you weren't trying to show me how good of an actor you are. You were just trying to be a person in the scene, and that's really the best way to go. Especially for film acting, but it's an absolutely necessary nucleus for stage acting, as well.

Really, once an actor has gotten into the "Look, I'm acting!" frame of mind, it's almost impossible to get out of. But I never saw that in you.

Your confidence level: this is tough even for seasoned actors. I think all actors are secretly afraid that they have no talent. Just keep in mind that everyone's afraid of being found out to be a phony, and just focus on the work. If you mispronounce, just plow through. No one will notice. It's the behavior people are watching. Unless it's Shakespeare or Shaw or something. But so what?

Memorizing lines will never stop sucking. But one gets better the more one does it.
I almost never talk about my own personal art form here at Real Art, which is a bit weird because it's what I know about more than anything else.  But I guess I'm just not particularly moved to write about it: acting is doing, not thinking.  But this little moment dropped into my lap.  Maybe I'll have more moments like these.  We'll see.  I'll try to look for them.  I really do know a lot about it.  I think.