Why am I an Actor?

Posted on April 6, 2010

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Why did I choose such a crazy and unpredictable path?

Because I saw La Bamba when I was 5 years old. Because I am a fan of the movies. I am a fan of the marvelous things we can do with our Voice, Imagination, our Bodies, our Emotions and the External Elements that surround us. I think of Charlie Chaplin and Sanford Meisner right off the bat!

Chaplin as the Tramp

The Great Teacher

Perhaps the greatest intrigue—to know myself more. To continuously look within to create, to discover how to better myself for the sake of others, first for my family, then my friends and finally for my audience. A consistent awareness of who I am will help serve this purpose of being…

An Actor; he affects people to an almost infinite degree. Does he make himself vulnerable just for the sake of entertainment alone? No. He creates—I create because in creating I am closer to my Creator. This insight comes from Julia Cameron, author of the Artist Way, introduced by my lovely Acting teacher Yvonne Suhor from Art’s Sake Acting Studio in Winter Park, FL.

Because of her I know and use a technique inspired by Meisner and keeps my focus on being free and organic. She has set the foundation for me to continue my studies and  increase my knowledge. The techniques of Uta Hagen and Ivana Chubbuck call my attention right now: maybe they spun off Meisner?  I know one essential of the Chubbuck technique is the element of being dynamic beyond what I can identify as the basics of what Meisner teaches. I still have much to learn about that one though…

For now, I know these things make life as an Actor exciting and dynamic:

ACTORS are consistently called to ACTION:


The potential for selflessness is almost religious. Everything from being on a set to a class setting calls for an actor to stop thinking about himself. In fact to stop thinking altogether.

In class and onset: It’s not about about “me”, its about what I can do for the other person; how can I make sure I am there for them unconditionally at “this very moment”. What I love most about this Acting philosophy is that when handled carefully it can be translated and used in our real life relationships.

Constant career development make this vocation worthwhile. Much like other professions you must stay fresh on your skills and knowledge if you want to succeed.

My call to action: Master these three vital skills:

Social Networking,  because I cannot build this dream alone. Plus, my intention to help others must take shape in my dependability and good communication.

Time Management, because its so easy to not use it wisely. The time available to create and build is astounding, but the triumph would be in making the most of that time.

Organization, because having my updated headshot and resume ready for an audition speaks loudly about my preparation. It’s the little things that make the process run more smoothly.

ACTORS must understand people, WE MUST LISTEN AND PAY ATTENTION!

Like the aborigine that must nurture his ability to survive in the Australian Outback, I must nurture the instinct to understand people with compassion and empathy before passing judgment.  I aim to not relinquish my moral values in this process but to truly consider the path a person walked to end up in the circumstance they find themselves in.

This requires I pay attention to the details of everyday people. To listen beyond their “I’m fine and you?” for tones of disillusion, apprehension and excitement.  To watch the way they laugh to hide their tears, the way they elude eye contact because of recurring memories of when things went awry.  To look at my life’s circumstance and find how it relates and differs from this person/character only to discover we are not that different after all.

The instinct to stay alert and be aware of the vital people in our lives sets in early. I think of my kids–as babies they watched my silly faces, “what is daddy doing”, as toddlers they laughed with me or questioned, “why are you sad daddy?”

I want to pay attention like a child does. They don’t miss a beat. They don’t waste time thinking about what they look like, they turn the intricate details of life into pleasant simple moments of joy and wonder that humble the most mature of grown ups.

That’s why actors have such universal appeal. If we live life dynamically and share it with our audience, engage you in our struggle and our resilience to achieve the impossible then we’ve connected with you. Like children, we humble you, inspire you, irritate you and overall entertain you.

“An Actor’s PERSONAL GROWTH”- A constant option for self reflection.

Who am I now that I am older?

 

Staying connected to people, learning and practicing the craft of acting is just the beginning. One day the theater lights will fade and the last credit will roll. Who I am on that final day depends on how many times I chose to grow. How many times I decided to look into the mirror without reservation- acknowledging the naked feeling of my shortcomings and mistakes–to learn from these falls and tribulations in order to clothe myself a better man, to wear new shoes to walk in.

Growth must not stop. A sincere heart can live longer and happier if it forgives. I appreciate those teaching me the ability to forgive myself for not getting cast, for not completing my work on time and for giving in to bitterness when the family was ready for fun.  I set a high standard and coming short of it hurts–this pain, this wound will only sever my soul if I allow it. This pain is a force that thrusts me backwards and I learn to thrust back like a dance, a rhythm, with such a flow that now the initial blow has sent me further in flight. I gather my strength from those around me, their support fuels my pushing back…

A good friend of mine, Richard Gaiser, a writer, gave me this insight, this gift of “rhythm and flow”, words from David Mamet inspired him, you can read his comment on my previous post.

There is no way to sum up my answer in this one post. It may take me a lifetime to answer the “why” question. I love that challenge though!  I also anticipate sharing it with my family, friends and audience.  After all, the ultimate goal is to affect you to action; to live life dynamically much like an Actor.

Godspeed.

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Posted in: Acting