I like to think of film acting as an art form because it lets me examine creating. That’s my understanding of what art is: creation. We have the opportunity each time we work to express our experience of the moment through our individual unique self, by allowing the truth of how we feel about it to be seen. You may have seen how important this is in other things I’ve written about, and in creation it is paramount to me. The camera does not let us get away with pretending, it can see and show us whether we are having an experience or just pretending. Charles Conrad said “There is a visible difference in a “breakdown” which is planned and one which surfaces when you are not planning .”
Since this is our fate as film and television actors. We have the opportunity, and I think the responsibility to create from the truth of our experience of the moment; at the exact same time this experience is captured on film. Silent Film Star Louise says it precisely, “The actor’s sole hope is to set free his honest spontaneity.”
We are certainly blessed by the necessity of looking at, and studying creation. For me, it takes me to witness from a source of beauty and awe for how nature and life do this naturally. And yet all life, plants and animals, change upon becoming aware of being observed. It alters our behavior. We have the challenge of knowing we are being watched, and still, we have to express the truth of our experience. For a lie is never as good.
Looking at the source of creation reveals to me a master artist that can not be described. The brilliance and perfection of each and every moment, and thing, is undeniable. This same creative mind is within us all. Realizing this sets me free to use my imagination to discover, and create my character in the role I am playing. I get to find my personal motivation for how I get to respond to every person, place, and thing my character comes in contact with in the storyline. We call this preparation. We prepare by stretching our imagination all the possible and impossible ways we feel the script, the director, the DP, and all the other co-operative artists in the production could take you. Then we must drop all that and be totally truthful in the moment of shooting. It’s one of life’s greatest games. In preparation the imagination will educate us in some possibilities of the experience to come when shooting. However, we must be able to let go of any set results or else we become stuck in past ideas, and miss the truth of the moment.