Recently, I had the privilege of coaching on set with Owen Wilson, and this is what we did NOT work on:
try to make the right choice & be good
be prepared enough to feel confident with the outcome of the performance
get rid of fear
Interesting, isn't it? You show up on set, and you make sure you DO NOT KNOW OR CONTROL what is going to happen in any way... That is actually very difficult to do because we have all been wired to know, control, avoid failure and look for validation at all cost. So HOW and WHY would you wanna show up on set with the willingness to be in the void, and therefore risk falling flat on your face?! Well, let me address the WHY first:
Because acting is the art of being alive. Read this again: ACTing is the art of BEing ALIVE. To ACT is to BE. So here is the paradox: if you try to ACT well, you cannot BE. If you want to be fully alive, present and unpredictable on set, you have to get rid of all acting. And the path to that is to clear & boost your BEing so that what we commonly call your “ACTing” is enhanced. Ok, so for those who think this was just a bunch of Swahili, let me address the HOW: As some of you may know, my approach to acting is TO NOT ACT but to rather BE instead ( hint, hint: check out my uber on the point logo below “to BE or not to act” ;-) )
So, in order to completely BE your character and BE completely ALIVE when you are going about their life, you have to reproduce how we - humans- go about life:
We do not know what is going to happen in any moment.
We do not enter situations or discussions with any control over how they are going to go.
We do not control the emotions that affect us when we are challenged.
So there you have it…
In order TO BE fully alive, rather than to just ACT when you approach your character, you need to make sure that you create conditions that will enable you to BE completely ALIVE (just as you would be in your life), and there is no way you can do that when you are trying to CONTROL your performance. So you might ask: But what do you mean, JO?! We can’t just like go naked on set, completely unprepared and hope for the best without a safety net!!! And I would reply: That is correct, you cannot.
Professional and working actors always train their instrument diligently by working through their blocks & stretching their instinct in order to make sure that when they cast, shoot or play, they have a reliable and responsive instrument to surf on, and that is their safety net. Back to Owen.
By not controlling and getting comfortable in the unknown with his very well-trained instrument, Owen was able to fully show up when the director called ACTION: he was open, vulnerable, alive, reactive, touched, confronted, scared, brilliant… and you get the picture... every other color of the rainbow of what it feels like to BE ALIVE. If you want to know more about how to train yourself that way, don’t forget to check out the free training webinar here.
You will understand how to work through your resistance and how to muscle up your freedom. All right, thanx for tuning in and see you next week!