There’s a big misconception about acting you’ll hear non-actors throw around – you’ve probably heard this one — that actors must be good liars. I mean, isn’t it all about faking something that’s not really happening?
We know this couldn’t be further from the truth. Acting is about truth-telling — It’s being honest in imaginary circumstances. It’s us, but in a temporary situational self.
So, when actors struggle with self tapes because they’re so stressed the whole time while trying to push that stress away…I gently encourage them to lean into whatever they are experiencing.
If you’re ignoring how you’re truly feeling in the moment you’re actually telling a lie. This is when I see actors get heady, tight, and shut down.
What if you were feeling stressed so you screamed out exactly what you felt in that moment, like– “I AM STRESSED OUT AND AFRAID and in my head and feel like I’m never going to book this anyway!!”
Then you go back into the circumstances while feeling the physical stuff in your body and go after a want.
So the next obvious question here is: “What if it doesn’t make sense to be stressed, anxious, or however I’m feeling for this particular scene?” This stuff simply gives your performance nuance. You know how they say nervousness causes the same physiological response in our bodies as excitement? It gives you some extra buzz to work with.
If you get into the life of the story and connect to your hook before you begin, you’ll be great.
Check out this conversation from class about this very topic below.
And for more on how to balance your in-the-moment emotions with your work, check out this previous post.
CLASS CLIP TRANSCRIPTION
Sarah: You know, I was just working with somebody who really had a very intense self-tape experience with this audition that had a ton of sides. One of the scenes was literally five minutes long, and then the other one was three minutes long, and it was a rock star…it was so so so intense. What she realized was, I’m just not…my nervous system reacted so intensely to the pressure, and I procrastinated to the last minute because I was thinking I wasn’t even going to do it because it was too much, and then had all this stuff and was up til two in the morning.
And really the takeaway was, if you do this enough you can get comfortable with leaning in to whatever the discomfort is. I think for her she was really trying not to feel what she was feeling. There was like this panic coming up. Oh my god, I’m not gonna get this tape in, and what does that mean about me, and oh my god, I shouldn’t be doing this anyway, and what the fuck am I doing with my life, and all this stuff that comes up! And wanting to shove that away and be like, I’m never gonna get the tape, I’m never gonna get the tape if I do it from this place.
But ultimately what ended up helping her get one of the scenes and really nailing it, which she did, was by allowing herself to be in the place that she was, rather than trying to somewhere else, and really just, now it takes, let’s just do it and do it and do it and do it, and not be so precious about everything needing to be perfect.