Are You Afraid To Act?

byCharlie Sandlan

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Meisner Technique Maggie Flanigan Studio (917) 789-1599

(updated 05/02/2018) I find many young actors to be very cautious and afraid to create vibrant, vivid behavior. One of the bigger reasons for this is a lack of craft, no way of working that will support instincts and talent. Most untrained actors get material for an audition and just wing it. They memorize their lines, trying many different ways to say them, coming up with line readings and going in the room and just winging it. Sometimes they get lucky, but mostly they leave and wonder why they never get the part. What they lack is consistency, and that only happens through solid technique. The untrained actor doesn’t know how to work, they walk into a room either ignorant of how bad they are or too scared or nervous to actually function from any choices they actually have made. Really good, successful actors have a process, a clear approach to a script whenever it’s put before them. They know how to break down and interpret material quickly with clear, vivid, specific choices.

Charlie Sandlan - Acting Coach NYC - Acting Coach in NYCActing is the only art form where people think you can just wing it- just memorize lines and say the words. Of course, when you have someone like David Mamet propagating that ignorant belief, it somehow adds weight to the idea. I find it appalling. What craft does is breed confidence in the artist. Even so, I find many trained actors afraid to commit to the choices they have made. You must be willing to fall flat on your face and make an enormous fool of yourself. Risk is a vital component of an actor’s talent. Without a willingness to risk, to jump off the cliff, an actor will never find anything spontaneous or unique in their work. Great roles require dimension and size. At the end of the day, it’s about behavior. Good actors create it organically, from authentic experience, and they do it consistently. That’s the job of the actor; its what they are paid to do.

Without the courage to play full out with themselves, an actor will never really illuminate anything. That script is just dead words on a page. As Stella Adler said, “those words must be filled, not emptied.” You better be able to make strong choices and commit to them, or those words will stay dead. And consequently, the audience will experience nothing. However, every time you commit to your choices, an actor adds resiliency to their artistic backbone. But, without craft, it’s just a crapshoot.

Charlie Sandlan is a well known and respected acting coach in NYC. For more info about the acting studio in NYC, call (917) 789-1599.

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