The Process

The “A” Word... acting.

I think the best way to explain what acting is; is to first explain what it isn't.

Acting is not make believe… It is not pretending… It is not faking or making stuff up.

Acting is being truthful as a person or a character in a real or a created situation.

The word "acting" is directly related to the word "action"; we take an action on something. In a play the actor studies the script, listens to the director’s vision and then within that context, creates a character as real and true as possible. That's why no one ever walks out of a theater saying, "Gee, I thought O'Toole or DeNiro etc. was faking really well tonight." The point is... you believed him because he went after the truth.

And believe it or not, for us, the process is the same. We study the situation, consider the audience, factor in anything else that’s relevant and then strive to be as authentic and as truthful as possible. It is this process that is the key to success on any stage.

And that's what this is all about... finding the best way for you to deliver truthfully.

Don't ever let anyone tell you you're not an actor. In the purest sense of the word, we all are. Here’s an example. Suppose you were introduced to the President or the British Prime Minister or the Pope or whomever. I’m reasonably sure you’d speak to that person with a healthy degree of deference and respect. There would be a certain appropriate quality and tone to your conversation.

Now let’s say you leave that meeting and you run into a friend who’s pushing along his or her two year old toddler. When you speak to the child, there would also be a certain, appropriate quality and tone to your conversation. But my suspicion is the quality and tone would be vastly different. But… both conversations would be truly and genuinely you. That’s acting!

(Incidentally, in the theater, the word, “acting” is always spelled with a small “a”, except in the case of bad acting. For bad acting, all the letters are capitalized and then followed by three exclamation points.)