I’ve been doing some thinking about that place where art happens. Some call it magic, some room for the divine. Room to play, being present, paying attention. We’ve all heard about it right? I mean from every acting coach and every acting book out there.
But, why is no one telling us how to get there? It’s left for artists to feel like if they were TRUE artists, they’d just KNOW how to get there. But what if that’s not true? What if it’s the kind of thing that happens accidentally sometimes but can be generated with work to happen at your will? The problem is those times when it is accidental leave actors feeling uncertain and concerned. It feels great in the moment when it happens but when the actor begins to piece together how it happened, why it happened and more importantly, how to make it happen again… well, that’s when the doubt creeps in. What if it’s not recreate-able?
I spent some time talking about how to let it go and let your work find its wings. Now I want to talk about how.
Here’s where it’s AT: preparation. You learn the lines so that they require no thought. You do your script analysis so that there’s no part of the character or story that is outside you any more. You take that stuff CELLULAR. You sit in it (character, story) for so long that it is in your skin. Now you see where we’re going? We’re headed to that land where the work itself requires no thought other than the thoughts that are happening in the moment. To that space where the work takes flight.
And here are the real goods: once you figure out how far you have to go in your preparation to get to the open space I’m talking about, then you know. You know exactly how to get back. Like riding a bike. Like beginning to dream in that language you’ve been working on acquiring. Like learning algebra for a mathematician. Once you know where your personal point of immersion in preparation is, then why the heck wouldn’t you be able to do that every time? There is no reason. But too many actors don’t work that hard. Not because they are lazy (well, okay, some are, but every field has its super lame slackers, right?) but because no one has ever told them that they should. This area of the art has been shrouded in mystery for too long (remember the whole TRUE artist thing?). Let’s cast some light on this here LOCATION, so that all actors may find it.
Love the actors in your life more. That’s what I’m trying to do here.