The secret power of watching bad acting—how much can you learn?
The best actors are always learning and training – and I promise I’m not being a hater when I encourage you to watch “bad” acting.
If you’re in an acting class and a peer is struggling, you have two choices:
- Give your friend the “help me” eyes and slump down in your chair, bracing yourself for the assault on your (superior) talent and look at it like a waste of time…
- OR. Learn from it. What exactly isn’t working? Is it vocal? Are they listening? Are they nervous? What’s happening in their body? If you were in their shoes, what adjustments would you make? If they start to improve, what do you think got them there? As an actor, it can be hard to turn an objective eye on yourself so observing others is a powerful tool.
I mention this in the clip and it’s 100% true. I always always always learned more in Larry Moss’ class watching green actors because Larry got to get into technique more. I learned more about the script analysis of the plays, I learned the difference between being off rhythm and on it, I learned exercises I could take myself through (and eventually my students) to help me ground myself, get out of my head, free my voice, connect with a scene partner, be active….
Work from a beginner’s mindset and never stop growing.
Check out this clip to see another way you can learn from bad acting. (No haters, please.) 🙂
CLASS CLIP TRANSCRIPTION
Sarah: I know it’s not fun to be a hater, but it is valuable. I really believe that, you know, I really, really believe it. I have learned more sitting in acting classes with actors who were just having a really really hard time and struggling, watching what works and what doesn’t work, and figuring out how to make that adjustment to what does work.
Student: Yeah, definitely.
Sarah: And, every once in a while, I know we’re slightly off-topic but not really – There are actors on shows where it’s kind of fascinating to watch what the really good ones do on bad shows.
Student: Yes, it’s very interesting.
Sarah: Cuz there are those actors, and they will stand out so much, and to watch what they do to make it work and to make it better is also an interesting experience.