“The person you are is a hundred times more interesting than the best actor you could ever become…..” – Konstantin Stanislavski
Many actors make the mistake of believing that they have to fake a performance in order to create a character. They simply ‘become’ the character, or hide behind it and let their own true personality fade into the background.
This is not what great acting is about.
Exposing The Authentic Self
The most successful actors realise that in order to give an outstanding performance, they need to bring as much of themselves as possible to the role. Each actor comes to the profession with their own baggage full of emotions, experiences and uniqueness. This combination of attributes forms their authentic self. From the moment that we are born, we live a completely different life to anyone else on the planet. We form our own opinions and perspectives about people and situations. We experience various sets of emotions such as love, hate, sadness, anger, despair and happiness. Each person has a completely unique and individual collection of years behind them and it is this background of memories and feelings that can be tapped into to create some excellent performances.
Why Being Yourself Is A Necessity In Your Acting
“Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts, he does not hide; he exposes himself.” – Rodney Dangerfield
Being yourself and exposing your own personality when you create a character can summon up vulnerability. You might feel uncomfortable expressing your own emotions or crying in front of your fellow cast members and the audience. You may even feel a little embarrassed at first. However, revealing the vulnerable side of your personality is an enormous strength if you can bring it to your acting work. If you draw upon your own experiences and emotions when relating to other characters on stage or set, then you will be able to create some truly convincing performances. By doing so, you will also encourage your audience to dig deep and get in touch with their own emotions. Audiences understand vulnerability. If you give them something that they can relate to, then this will allow them to make an intense connection with both the character and your performance.
The Challenges Of Being Yourself
Of course, it is not an easy process to bare your authentic self during your performances. We have all been conditioned not to show vulnerability as it is a sign of weakness. Peoples past experiences will vary but generally speaking cultural or familial conditioning provides us with personal inhibitions. Being yourself is something that most of us find hard or even unacceptable when it involves freely displaying certain sets of emotions in public.
Luckily, the Method utilises a tried and tested process which removes these restrictions in behaviour and takes away an actor’s social mask. This allows the true self to shine through.
Of course, we don’t just possess one true self. In fact, we all have several versions of our character which are based on various events and experiences that we have faced. This is an asset when it comes to acting as it allows you to play around with the creation of a character until you feel that you’ve found his or her personality. If you feel that the role requires you to be jealous, then remember a time when you were overwhelmed with this unpleasant emotion. The Method will teach you to recall these feelings and sensations based on past experiences and then be able to express them without fear in your performances. However, it is important to keep an open mind when developing a character. Don’t rush in and assume that you know how they would respond in a particular situation. Instead, keep searching your own self to find new ways to play the character. This organic way of letting a character evolve both emotionally and physically from your own set of background experiences will allow you to merge seamlessly into the role.
If you’d like to learn more about how to create truly believable characters and deliver utterly compelling performances that your audience can relate to, then consider taking some Method Acting training. Our 3 day ‘Introduction to Method Acting Bootcamp’ will throw you in at the deep end. You will take part in exercises that utilise the sense in order to activate your own personal memories and connect with a character at a deep psychological level. If you’d like to learn how to create fully believable characters, then apply for our next bootcamp today.