“So what is the path that actors have taken before us? What wisdom can they provide us? It’s the cliché response that is most appropriate: we must find joy in the journey. Many actors that I know, who are way beyond their sixties all continue to create on a daily basis. They continue to “show up” for their art, for their business and for their dream. That’s who they are and that’s what they do. Most importantly, their emphasis is mostly on the work. Yes the work. Not the stage, not the set, but the work. I heard an agent say just the other day, “Basketball players don’t sit around and wait for game day. They shoot, run layups and throw passes all day every day. Why should it be different for actors?” I think the only way to stay driven and inspired is by doing the work every day, something that keeps the creative juices flowing.”
Steve Richard Harris
Excerpt from “The Inspired Actor”
If you haven’t read the stories of Madam Duse yet, get on it. An Italian actress born and raised into the theater in the late 1800’s, she is known as one of the greatest actresses in the history of theater. In preparing for a role, she spent tireless hours staring out of the window crafting images and relationships in her imagination. She created specific details of the life she was about to infuse into a character. Infamous for coming to life on stage as an entirely different human being, it’s been said that she mastered the supreme art of “letting go”. Edouard Schneider said, “Her art became a clear channel of spiritual communion between her and the public”. It’s apparent to me that the path of an actor coincides with that of a spiritual aspirant. We know that in order to truly extract the most joy out of life, the best action we can take is to try to live in the moment. That timeless teaching we know to be the pinnacle of life is ironically the pinnacle of an actor’s work as well. To arrive at a place of complete relaxation and stillness, is why we continue to show up for ourselves everyday.
Acting must be a daily practice. Stay in class. Be a part of a studio or workshop and train for your craft. You have to be on the runway with your engines running if you want to bring your “A” game. Casting directors don’t have time for lazy actors. Show up for your dream or another actor will!
“I would certainly suggest that if one’s desire is to become a better actor, for lack of a better word, then understand that the imagination is a muscle that must be developed. The more developed it is, the more emotionally accessible the actor becomes.”
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Working actors don’t just dream, they train for their art daily. Career artists make a daily effort. Reading plays, doing monologue’s, play or listening to music, nature walks and especially gratitude are necessesry to keep your heart open!
“Any actor who’s watched themselves on a monitor, knows how magnified every minute gesture becomes. Ever notice how still an actor is when the camera comes in for an extreme closeup? That stillness isn’t something happening on the surface. That stillness is the result of an actor who is completely engrossed in their imagination. The camera loves to film those images of life that play across an actor’s eyes. There’s no doubt that if the actor sees it, the audience sees it. Actors tend to feel the need to somehow indicate, what they’re feeling to ensure that they’re more interesting to watch. On the contrary, it’s true that less is more. Less “showing” on the outside and more “seeing” on the inside. Actor stillness.”