Interactions between people are highly complex, and our imaginations couldn’t possibly fathom them all. The first step in understanding anything is through observation; making note of human emotions, watching reactions, recognizing cause and effect – all while being cognizant of your own actions. Just as art imitates life, emotional awareness and understanding can lead to an impressive skillset and the discovery of your inner artist.
A good performance can be identified when the audience believes the performer is actually going through whatever their character is going through. Partially the physical stuff (“She’s really getting shot!” “He’s really jumping off a moving train!”), but mostly the psychological stuff (“He really is scared!” “She really is in love!”). If it seems fake, the performer is not doing a good job. And if it doesn’t seem real, there’s no point in it. So how does one become believable? Developing a character with a convincing, yet complex backstory is what allows viewers to believe and separates the good from the great.
This may be the most important, but most difficult aspect of performing, because it requires total vulnerability. In order to create character depth, one must dig deep and share the parts of themselves that most people keep hidden. Performers everywhere have Konstantin Stanislavski, the father of modern acting (and every acting technique created in the modern era), to thank for formulating seven questions to help actors build believable characters. When time and energy are put into answering these questions, a performer will inevitably have a greater understanding of their character and their personal acting technique.
Dig deep into what you love about your subject matter and find a way to express those innermost feelings. It’s this passion that will drive you to new experiences, challenge you in discoveries, and bring the greatest joy to you and your audience.
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