Thoughts on Acting: Where I’m Coming From

Tonight I had another one of “those” nights as an actor. You know the moments I’m talking about- when you seem to be hit by some overwhelming force of inspirational desire to perform and act like never before. That force may have very different sources- a movie, quote, interview- but no matter what, it is very overwhelming and necessary. Necessary because if you want to be an actor and never have those moments then I don’t believe you posses that passion and emotional life inherent of the craft. This business is full of dark times and if you don’t have a reminder of why you do what you do, then forget about it.

Now, like you can see on my page, I am a BFA student at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Which means I am hardly in a position to preach real world lessons in “the Biz.” But I can let you know where I’m coming from in starting this blog and venturing down the actor’s path.

Currently I’m a soon-to-be Junior in the program. I’ve spent four semesters so far training my body to be the instrument it is, but alas poor Yorick, that in itself has been trying times. My first year as a BFA student was very rocky to say the least. I was coming from a high school drama club where I had had several lead roles, was president, etc. I wasn’t cocky, but I was confident that I had a strong foundation already to begin my training at the university level. I sure found out the hard way that all high school gave me was the drive to go even further (in that way I still cherish those four years), but no real foundation.

Anyways, my big classes that first year were Voice Production, Movement, and Acting I- the bare bones essentially in how to train your body to “act.” Movement was fine, acting was a whole other blog, but voice production was something I just could not surmount. For a project we were assigned scenes from A Doll’s House and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t progressing. I was told I wasn’t breathing properly. OK? How do I breath? But I thought I was doing that! And so on… and so on… needless to say, that project was a bust.

So it was the end of the semester and I had my BFA Review to assess my progress in the program and outlook for the future. I thought all my professors would be there but nope, just one and she was my voice production teacher. We sat down across from each other and she told me that I was not exhibiting “BFA standards” and she really wasn’t sure about my continuance in the program. That news hit me like a bomb- I was shocked, confused, and angry- and when she told me that even then I wasn’t exerting passion to even fight for my place in the program I let it out. I mean, I didn’t yell at her but I dropped an F-bomb. Anything to prove that I was passionate. Eventually the battle ended with my declaring that the semester wasn’t over yet and that I would prove her wrong with my Final speech (The Gettysburg Address.)

Now with that all covered I can really let you know where I’m coming from.

So I left my review feeling absolutely dismal. I mean, I felt as low as a bot fly on a heap of horseshit. And honestly, I was having doubts about even being an actor. Great way to start my summer, huh? Well, my Final speech turned out really good after all so I did spend the summer knowing I was still in the program, but that doubt was still in the back of my mind entering my sophomore year… however, despite any lingering doubts, I experienced a complete reversal in fortunes in terms of my reputation and grades. I finally “got it” and suddenly I was dropping in, using my diaphragm, and exerting that passion that had lied dormant the whole first year. But was that enough to convince me that what I was doing made sense to me? No, it actually wasn’t although it obviously helped.

At some point amid all the success I was having (and working very hard at it too, mind you) I realized how beautiful the theatre and the art of acting is. A few weeks ago I was at a restaurant with some friends and our acting teacher, Mark, went around the table and asked us why we want to be actors. When it was my turn I gave the answer from my head and ignored the one my heart was bursting to proclaim. I said, “because I wouldn’t know how to do anything else.” *fart noise* and Mark immediately called that crap so I instantly renounced that uninspired reasoning and let my heart into the ring. I said “because only through acting can I experience all that life has to offer” and wouldn’t ya know that was just about the best thing I could have ever said.

But it’s true and I admire that quality about acting. That’s what sets it about all the other art forms, as great as they are, because the only thing I love more than acting is life and the two go hand-in-hand. I can literally do anything, be anyone, experience every emotion, sing, love, mourn, kill, and ultimately play. To be able to live in an imaginary world for two hours is a very special thing that only crazy people can do. It’s not normal for humans to expose themselves the way actors do but it is with the latter that I have always identified most with. So in a way you could say that the biggest inspiration I had in clearly defining my path was by opening my eyes to a whole new appreciation for humanity and the lives we are all capable of.

That is where I am coming from, sorry it took so much exposition but I had to illustrate my darkest hole in order for the rest to make sense. My future blogs probably won’t be this long but they will all prove my passion for the art of acting though the work and humanity.


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