The degree of intensity a film actor can generate in his art is due largely to the level of energy he is able and willing to work with. Master teacher Charles Conrad said “The importance of energy is paramount. Most vital and of chief concern is this question of energy. When you are acting, you are on a very high level of energy. Energy is necessary to release the creative unconscious so it may work for you. You must be like the racer at the starting gate; poised and ready to spring. Seek out the experience with great energy and yet, even with this vitality you will have to run your ass off every game.”

This energy is self generated. It comes from inside the actor, from the source of all life, whatever that is. And as such it can be turned up or down. Up is more interesting and unpredictable, as the impulses are followed and given expression more freely. Free your instrument with high energy and complete commitment to responding truthfully to the given circumstances. When you can be in control of being out of control, totally free to allow impulse to determine your responses and behavior, you have a magnificent skill. When the only rule or restriction is that nobody gets hurt, including yourself, and nothing gets broken unintentionally you have great freedom. You can learn how to generate great energy with practice at using a little more each time you work. It is important to have a safe environment like an acting class, workshop, or group where you are encouraged to experiment with higher energy levels, and have a trusted supervisor or teacher who can stop the work if it becomes dangerous. You need not be alarmed, in 41yrs. of working with this high energy, I have never seen any negative results. Creative energy tends to be constructive, and not destructive.

This level of energy is often called Fight, or Flee energy. The energy created when we believe we are in situations where we are going to have to fight or run to protect ourselves. The energy created by fear and anger is very strong, and can be valuable in generating high energy. Remember this is all a game, playing with imaginary given circumstances, no one gets hurt, nothing gets broken.

Practice and experimentation can be used to reach this high excitation. Once you are able to generate high energy you then can learn to let it flow through a relaxed body, your instrument, and let the music play you. This can be achieved using the basics of good art; Focus and Attention away from self; accept and commit fully to the premise; remove all judgment; respond truthfully in the moment; and play! Play is always more creative than work! Film Acting and a career in it can be extremely challenging. You are best served to love it all, the art, the craft, and certainly the business. Remember it is show business, and like it or not necessary if you want to make any money in this industry. We can learn to love selling, after all you’ve got the finest product there is, Yourself. So take a good honest look at yourself and fall in love with what you see.
Peter Looney

Professional union (SAG;AFTRA;AEA) actor for 40yrs. Professional film acting teacher in Los Angeles for 28yrs.