Actors & Acting

An actor without a part is no one, or so it has been said. It’s a good thing we always have some part to play. Actually, there’s never a time when we don’t!

What is the secret of a good actor then, especially if the medium is moving pictures? An actor’s true brilliance lies in his or her ability to be still while in motion. Those who can most successfully project the stillness of their characters within the context of movement are those who are the most gifted.

The converse is equally true. In Hollywood parlance, the isolated frames of a film are known as stills. When each still, in and of itself, conveys some inner facet of the character being depicted, it is proof of an inspired performance. Taken collectively and placed within a framework of motion, they come together to form each actor’s body of work. You have indeed gotten to the bottom of what I was all about on the screen and in my daily life. I was blessed, especially in front of the camera. I had the ability to inhabit my characters, that is to say, to imbue them with the essence of soul. That is why they seemed so real. Nevertheless, this was not an exclusive gift granted to Rudolph Valentino, not at all! Everyone can do what I used to do. We all inhabit our roles, whatever they may be. It is always preferable, however, to do so without taking ourselves too seriously. A light touch will bring you much you see.

My formula for playing any part in life is simply to feel it. Ask yourself what is really there? What essentials must your character express? Furthermore, be aware of the ‘realities’ that are to be projected on the rhetorical screen of life and how they might affect or be affected by your character.

We all are actors, yes we be, for Actors Guild members are we, always playing our respective parts. How is this so? We all have stories to tell and tell them we must ~ through the use of any and all available modalities, on screen or off. Truth be told though, we are never off-screen, even when we are supposedly alone.

‘Dancing through life’ was my strategy. However, if the idea of dancing is not to your liking, choose a different metaphor, your own carefully crafted ‘how to be.’ Then, let things flow. You’ll definitely put on a good show. There’s nothing very complicated here, dear readers.

In essence, adopt a frame of mind or an attitude towards life that works best for you.  Mine was the dance, as epitomized by the tango. But there are also any number of other readily available metaphorical constructs that can be equally as effective. Use my model, if you will, peruse those of your peers or choose one that you yourself devise. Remember, there is no one size fits all.

Which then shall be your preferred method? Which pitch to best effect your affect? Once these questions have been answered to your satisfaction, stick with it. Hang your hat on the stance you have chosen, subject, of course, to change.

As far as acting is concerned, some get paid, most do not! Structure your scenes. Light yourself well. Block your moves too, even if it’s hard to tell if you’re doing it right. Usually you are!

An actor is he or she who acts, i.e. WE. Actors literally take action and run with it. As actors, we function as catalysts and catalysts are, by their very nature, enthusiastically disposed to the task of bouncing thoughts around a set, literally our ‘field of play.’

Acting is an essential part of the art of being. In fact, they are inexorably entwined. The preferable way ‘to be’ in life is natural. Be who you truly are and you will indeed go far.

As actors we are eternally on set, cameras rolling, ever on our marks. It’s funny but we do always seem know our lines even if we never rehearsed them before. We also seem to be perpetual students, always striving to improve our skills.

Consider this: we are first and foremost actors, no matter what else we may choose to do.  To act, in fact, is to support the vital substratum of Universal Energy that nurtures us all, the ‘that which lies beneath’ of our existence. It is interesting to note also that life requires that we all become well-schooled in the fine art of expressing ourselves.

Personalities come and go bump in the night, or during the day, as the case may be. The point is that they often conflict. What is the constant in this observation?  That we lob our thoughts back and forth, again as though we were tossing a ball around on a playing field.  That’s what we’re here to do. It’s just part of the game of life, always in progress.  There is never a time-out either. Seems like it’s always our turn.

I play, you play, we play, they play – all parts and roles. Although these are literally just forms of the same verb, practically speaking they describe what we all do: act. And as we act, characters come to be, fleshed out, as they say. But in fact all characters already are. This you shall come to see more clearly as you evolve and grow into whoever it is that you are seeking to become.

Acting ~ I love it! Always have. As your consciousness joins forces with the spirit of acting, allow yourself to become part of that spirit. To do so is like eating a piece of the world’s most delicious pie. You, too, will love the experience. It’s called ‘being in the flow.’

You must first define your character. Only then can you decide how best to play your part. Next, just do it. But in order to do, as always, you must first BE.

This is the actor’s creed, simplified: BE, then do what comes naturally!” ~ R. Valentino Guglielmi