Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Self-Respect & Performers Confidence

In Development Advice on July 27, 2010 at 3:00 am

Sanford Meisner said, “It takes twenty years to become a master actor.”  Two decades of practice and experience to know yourself as an artist and how you specifically operate.  But it’s not just about repetition of using the same instinctive muscles… self respect and confidence are equally important building blocks to your development as an actor.

Sanford Meisner amuses his students in the middle of a class.

Start today to be mindful of the way you think about your own ability, talent, and performance. This is a great habit to develop; that of taking responsibility for managing the relationship you have with yourself as an artist and a creative professional.

What is performance confidence? As actors, we want to be good; to be interesting; to be talented and proficient. But often this desire can get in the way of actually creating good work and having a healthy work ethic. This means approaching rehearsal, practice sessions and then the performance with a positive but open attitude; always ready to learn more.

You are, no doubt already aware that working with actors who are arrogant, stubborn or disruptive can be annoying and unproductive. Other actors, however, who are insecure or unwilling to challenge themselves for fear of what other people think of them, or of getting it “wrong” can be equally frustrating for any production, whether it be in the theatre or for the screen.

We work together, not in isolation as actors.

The creation of theatre and screen projects is a collaborative process, which is about working as a team, being professional, prepared, punctual and supportive of each other.  It is also about understanding you have a unique gift, point of view and input to offer that team.  If you hold back on it, for fear that you or your ideas are not good enough it is a wasted opportunity, not just for you, but for the production and the team you are working with as well.

The Meisner Acting Technique was born out of the Stanislavski System.  My favourite quote of his that I repeat in my classes almost weekly is, “You are a thousand times more interesting than the idea you have of yourself.”  If through your training and experience you can get out of the way of yourself to let this person shine through in your performances you’ll be a happy actor but the real gift will be in the possession of your audience.

Barbara Woods

The Wellington Actors Studio

The Wellington Actors Studio is a professional acting studio providing classes, workshops and one-on-one coaching for actors, writers, directors and other creatives.   Visit the website for more info