Deadly Acting Sin #3

Which is…

…not being able to trigger emotion on demand.

Many (probably most) actors have no plan for how emotion can be authentically triggered at will. They will say that they will just imagine the characters’ circumstances and BOOM, an avalanche of emotion.

Well, that could be the case if you have a tried and tested technique that you have worked on for years, and you practice daily. This would make your acting instrument (you) more sensitive and experiential.

The fact is, most go to acting school and learn Stanislavski’s approach (which doesn’t work by the way, but more on that another day) and then only put it into action ONLY when they get a role.

This is the equivalent of putting your bike in your dusty old garage and bringing it out occasionally for a spin. Over time the bike becomes rusty, and difficult to ride but you put up with it and try your best to make it work.

So, you see, for most actors, there is no progression and development of the instrument. In fact, it doesn’t work very well in the first place, but it definitely doesn’t work well if there is no solid practice on a technique that works.

Musicians practice scales EVERY DAY. Why? Because it improves their ability to play the instrument. Why, then do so many actors, aspiring and professional, not have acting scales they do every day?

Well, who knows but the end result is bad or mediocre acting, which I find unnecessary and lazy. Yes, you read that right LAZY. If there is a way available to the actor that enables them to play their acting instrument like a virtuoso, but they ignore it, then yes, they are either not that interested in the process of acting or lazy, either way, it offends me.

Anyway, where was I?

Emotion on demand.

Yes, so it is possible to trigger emotion by imagination, but you need to be working your instrument, in the correct way, not just random exercises you thought up, daily. Plus, there is also another, more reliable way of generating emotion on demand which is through the use of what we call in The Method, affective memory. This is using your own personal experiences to trigger emotion. It’s not as simple as just thinking about something from your life; many people make that mistake when they look into The Method. It’s more complicated than that, which needs to be taught to you in the flesh.

The long and short of it is, the deadly sin is that many actors can’t produce the appropriate emotion at will, which means that when they have to, they fake it.

No one likes a fake.

Especially audiences, casting directors and agents who give out the jobs.

If you want to go hungry as an actor have no plan on how to generate emotion on demand. If you want to move and touch an audience deeply, then you have to have a rock-solid technique to produce emotion, that you practice daily.

Which reminds me, if you want to learn this then the Ultimate Acting Programme awaits.

Brian Timoney
The Master Of The Method