Monday, February 4, 2013

The Art of Acting, Without Acting...

A lot of times on an acting gig, whether it's a movie, TV show, or stage play, I find that a lot of times the subject often turns to acting training and "what's your method?"

I always find that question to be amusing.  It reminds me of the scene in Bruce Lee's most famous movie "Enter The Dragon", where Australian bully Peter Archer smugly asks Bruce "What's your style?" -- as though labels and styles actually mattered.  Bruce's response of "The Art Of Fighting, Without Fighting" is a nod to an old Zen proverb that plays out almost exactly as the scene does.  If you're not familiar with this movie, then you must check it out to find out what happens!

So, going back to the idea of acting methods -- or "styles" as you could call them (using a martial arts analogy) -- It really shouldn't matter what method you use.  As an actor, I use whatever method works for me at the time.  I'm not above borrowing from whatever teachers I've read up on, or stealing a good technique.  If it helps you perform a scene effectively, you should use it.  If it instead gets you into this tangled mess of "organized despair" (to borrow another Bruce Lee phrase), you should discard it.

Acting should be invisible.  Take a look at your favorite actors in TV and film.  When you watch them perform, do you forget who you're looking at?  They don't have to completely disappear into a character -- not everyone is Daniel Day Lewis.  Even if they're playing "themselves" -- if you're totally suspending your disbelief and going on the ride with them, then that's what I call Acting Without Acting.

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