In some of the finest performances, you oftentimes forget that you are watching an actor on stage or film, instead you find yourself experiencing the life of a character. And you ask yourself, how did they do it? How did they reach that moment which was so pure, so real and so alive? Well, there is often no answer to that as the actor themselves, do not know.
Actors Are Sculptors Who Carve In Snow
There is not a specific technique which will work for every character, scene or moment. That is the mystery of acting, anything can intervene during a scene which might strike a subconscious chord of the actor and then they are flying, they have been transported into the depth of their imagination, the given circumstances and allowing something to seep through, you can call it the truth, art, creation….whatever it is, there is no specific or repeated technique that gets them there. And those who master the technique of their talent knows how to control and move under its creation.
How do you reach this level of truth if there is no specific technique to reaching it?
It stems from your talent. Talent can’t be taught. Talent can be cultivated and brought to the surface in the process of creativity, wherein it will be easier to recognize it but it can’t be taught.
How do I know if I’m talented?
Sometimes the best talent is the most hidden, it hasn’t had the chance to express, move or explore. You will know when you are working on material for a while, if it begins to elevate your senses, if it moves you emotionally, if you begin to feel great compassion for a character and the need to express their convictions, that is usually the first sign of talent. This can also take time, for the ability to access ones own talent is a process in itself.
Can I still be an actor without any talent?
Most actors have a certain capacity of talent and some have worked extremely hard to be the best actor that they can be. They have gone on to enjoy fruitful careers, not all actors are naturally gifted.
One thing to understand, it is not ideal to become an actor if you only seek fame and wealth, it will lead down an empty and unfulfilling road. Each individual has something to give in this life, finding what that gift might be and in what direction they can apply it to, will lead to satisfaction.
I am aware that I am talented but how do I reach the best of my potential?
Most of the time, it takes many years to truly reach the best of ones potential, in any art form. You might come across a great role early in your career in which you are lucky enough to become incredibly immersed by, it might challenge you in ways which will bring you closer to the best of your talent.
There is no specific journey to get there. By studying, working on your craft, working in independent films and working in the right way to discover truth and not short changing yourself, you will begin to make discoveries that will enhance your abilities.
How do I know if I am working ‘In the right way’?
When you first set eyes on a script, you want to make sure that you give it your full attention. At the end of the day, it is life that you will be bringing to the surface and life isn’t a light matter.
You want to make sure that you are allowing the material to work it’s way to you, to slowly build instead of jumping in, to indicate. Then again, if a character brings you to your feet, you don’t always have to be so patient, you can get up and explore it. Sometimes this isn’t the case, often you need to read and reread the script, to daydream and let the thoughts of the character take affect on you. This is the beginning of discovering the truth which is different to just learning lines.
It is often heartbreaking when you see directors working with actors and all they care about is whether they have learnt their lines or not, usually these are directors who are either extremely amateur or highly experienced. Those very few who are highly experienced have the ability and gift as a director to work with you once you’ve got the dialogue out of the way but it is often in volume the amateur directors who focus on line learning first because they want to ‘rush you into performance’ and have no other ideas or ways of you getting there.
What if I don’t get the chance to rehearse for a role?
You will rehearse in most theatre productions. Yet film is different, it is rare that you will get a rehearsal these days before filming begins. There might even be time constraints wherein you haven’t had the chance for any rehearsals prior to shooting. Perhaps you’ve just been given the script and you are expected on set in a few days to create an entire life.
Hopefully, you will be in the hands of a good director who will help guide your performance. If this isn’t the case and you are pretty much alone then you need to fill every available moment of your time with the behavior, words, thoughts and world of your character.
Every actor needs some time to create a character but this process isn’t always respected. On a positive note, it can be a great challenge, one that might result in truthful and thriving work.
What if I become uninspired and want to give up?
This is an interesting topic. Most artists in all fields have reached this grey area in which they no longer feel inspired. Perhaps a depression has set in, something that is making you feel unfulfilled, lacking in satisfaction? It happens and there is no real cure to it, other than to get busy living life.
Take a day off and go somewhere, to the ocean, for a drive…get connected to something. That feeling of doom and wanting to give up can sometimes be from prolonged disconnection.
If you are in the middle of a creative project and you are feeling unsatisfied and uninspired, it can be from the great pressure you are instilling upon yourself. Take a step back, breathe, this is your life, go at your own pace, your health and control comes first. You’ll thank yourself later on, for looking out for yourself and realizing that all of the excruciating pressure wasn’t worth it and perhaps you could have enjoyed the process a little more.
Will acting ever get easier?
Every journey is different, every human being is different. The real question is, how much are you willing to sacrifice for it? Being an actor is no simple road. You need to ask yourself if you will be happier doing something else. If it is the only creative art form that you feel strongly about pursuing, then go for it but don’t ever expect an easy journey, that is not to say that you can’t have fun, go through the difficulty but find the joy.