To use your life experiences or not to use your life experiences…it’s a hot topic in acting and can spark very heated debates.
Let’s think about it like this: If you’re working on a character that has overlap with your personal life, of course stuff will come up that you can absolutely use in your work. (How could you not?)
But a word of caution here. But be careful not to try to put a square peg into a round hole: if the story’s circumstances align with your life, use that beautiful music that is so personal. But if it doesn’t align, don’t force it. Now is the time for your wonderful imagination.
CLASS CLIP TRANSCRIPTION
Sometimes, you know, it could be that you end up playing a character that’s got a story that’s really similar to yours, some of the stuff that you were sharing, that it comes really close to that, and so it’s really easy for you to use your past, your history, to use those memories to call on. They’re gonna be there for you whether you want them or not, right? They’re gonna be right there.
When you’re doing a scene about a lost love, or losing a child, or…right, those things…that’s—it’s a different scenario, it’s a different pain. And so if you use something that you kind of cut out from over here and paste it in over here, it will take you out of the circumstances of the story. So sometimes you use a flash of a trigger and it can work when you’re in trouble in a scene; I’ve seen people do it. But more…more effective is to use the circumstances of the story to affect you.
That said, sensitive people who have been through a lot can tend to access that part of themselves in a different way, and it may be—but sometimes it’s the other way, you know, sometimes people who’ve had big things happen to them, big traumas, they’ve shut themselves down emotionally completely, and they’re not able to access at all until they unravel a lot of it, and work in therapy, and talk about it, you know, share and work through it. But it is going to be…you have a lot of music in you that you can draw from.