A lot of actors start to act because it’s fun. But for some of you, as you get further into your careers, there are moments—or even long stretches of time—when you aren’t connecting to that fun anymore.
At those often painful moments, it’s critical to ask yourself: Why do I act? You have a deeper reason or purpose for acting, whether this has occurred to you or not.
When you feel challenged by roles that ask a lot of you (or frustrated by roles that don’t), it is imperative to come back to your “why” as a place to get grounded. I love to encourage actors to create a personal manifesto or a mission statement around your purpose that you can come back to to get back on course or to help you stay there.
CLASS CLIP TRANSCRIPTION
And about sometimes going back to the reason why you act–what is this about for you? Why do you do this? And in the beginning I think for a lot of people it feels really fun and free, and then at some point along the way sometimes that fun gets a little bit lost, especially when you’re working on painful material or when you’re working on dark material and you’re working on these deep dark roles.
You know, I don’t believe in the tortured actor, I don’t believe you have to live a miserable, tortured life to play deep dark roles, but I do think that they require something, an opening up of you. So when you can really ask yourself what your purpose for acting is, and connect to that again, you’ll remember why it’s important for you to tell these stories. So it’s not about you. It’s about our shared experiences, it’s about connecting with an audience and stirring something up in them so that they see themselves in you. It’s about really really creating a personal manifesto, a personal mission for why you do this. Because otherwise it’s really easy to lose touch and say I just want to work on light, funny, sketchy stuff. Which is okay, too! You can go just do light, funny, sketchy stuff.
But I have a feeling that for a lot of you, and a lot of actors I know, get drawn to acting for a reason, and part of that is that want to go there, to be able to use yourself in the most full way. So even when you’re working on dramatic darker sadder angrier material and asking yourself what is this about for me? Why am I having a block here and where do I need to work? Do I need to work with a therapist? Do I need to do some journaling? Do I want to do some of these exercises? Do I need to punch and scream and take martial arts class? Do I need to go boxing every day and punch and work some stuff out?