Don’t settle for “natural!”
In my signature “Get Out of Your Head” class I talk about one of the biggest actor crutches/tricks I see standing in the way of honest, vulnerable and exciting performances And I’m willing to bet you’ve leaned on this unhelpful habit, perhaps more times that you care to admit.
I’m talking about the old “make it sound natural” trap. Eek.
If you’ve ever taken class with me you know I challenge all my students to focus on telling the story in very active ways. Instead of working in a “watching yourself” way and aiming to simply pass the “does it sound enough like life” test (so god forbid you don’t get caught pushing a little, even if in your living room), I challenge my students to make choices. To action the text. To specific and deep relationships. I push them to be big and bold and to take risks.
When you recommit to telling the story, your work is in fact more like life than that other (let’s face it) boring and just-like-everyone-else way when you throw it all away.
CLASS CLIP TRANSCRIPTION
Sarah: It’s so fun when you name it, you know, like when you find something that works for the moment. Right, because it’s so easy, you guys, it’s so easy to just settle. It’s so easy to just settle because you can make…you can make these lines, they’re written so that…it’s good writing, you can make it sound natural. Most actors will do that. Most actors will just make it sound natural and they’ll throw it all away and they’ll kind of do that thing. And it just makes it so…unfulfilling, you know? It’s like this story that never gets all the way told.
Julia: Yeah, it’s like the common misconception that it needs to sound natural, that’s the number one thing.
Sarah: That’s it, that’s the golden standard: they sound like they’re natural.
Julia: Who made that rule up?
Sarah: But the audience is falling asleep half the time! They don’t even know what the story’s about! So not settling is so…it’s so worth it. It’s so worth it.