Emotional Acting?

I’ve heard that actors act using their own emotions from life. How can I do this when I have just a normal ordinary life with nothing exciting about it?

All you have are your own emotions. That is all you need and I can assure you that you and your life are full, emotional, and real.

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You are always feeling, otherwise you wouldn’t be alive. The strength of those emotions or the manifestations of those emotions are based on the circumstances that you find yourself in. Once you start studying acting, you will find that some of your favorite experiences and most emotional experiences will be used over and over again in your scene work. Mostly because it will give you the correct result over and over again, whether in a movie or on stage. The great thing about acting is that you will build an array of real life experiences and memories to use in your work. Don’t worry if it’s the right choice, just give it a try. Usually it is the right choice. I’ve had a 9 year old kid use their dead gold fish as a substitute for a loss of his Mother in a film script and it brought tears to his eyes necessary to do the part.

If you are having trouble finding real life memories to use in your work, try reminiscing. These memories can be ….your first pet, the day your best friend moved away, the time a pet or person died, the first time you went to Disneyland, the first time you saw the Grand Canyon, etc. Ask yourself when were you the most happy, sad, afraid, lonely, silly?

You can use these experiences in many numerous ways. For example, if, let’s say you are working on a film where you have to be afraid. So, you reminisce and think, “When was I afraid?” You remember the first day of school in first grade. You do an acting exercise about this. See the place you went to school. The hallway you walked down, the color of walls, the texture , the sounds of the other kids, etc. Then, try it in the scene. Let’s suppose that in the scene, the character is on trial for stealing. You are just arriving in the courtroom. The camera is on you. Rather than trying to see a courtroom in the close up you can simply see the hallway from 1st grade as a substitute. It just might work! In fact, it probably will.

Once you discover the many memories from your life they will color your acting work in a variety of ways that you never knew before.

Remember this, You are human. You are not ordinary. You just haven’t touched all the uniqueness that you have yet. You will.

Jeff