The art of Acting has always evoked a sense of mystery in its execution -- —as if to understand how it works will somehow spoil an actor’s ability to create spontaneously and truthfully. Yet time and time again actors find themselves “lost” or “blocked” and frustrated with unfulfilled performances because they chose not to acknowledge the creative freedom that comes with strong technique. The foundation of my philosophy is built on removing the common misconceptions about technique and instilling faith in a healthy creative process. Since each and every actor is unique in your own right, it is unrealistic to make universal generalizations about the art of acting. However, I believe you can and should start with one universality -- —who and what an actor is— -- your artistic identity. Acting is an art form and actors should see ourselves as artists— -- CREATORS. I know this is not a revolutionary idea but I believe when actors have a greater sense of purpose for WHY you perform, then the result is you also have a greater sense of confidence in your abilities TO perform. An actor’s identity takes consistent knocks throughout your career and it is essential to encourage an honest identification of your purpose for the long haul. For me, this is the first fundamental of acting— -- understanding the importance and artistic responsibilities that come with being an actor— -- what I call “The Actor’s Purpose.” By first nurturing this philosophy, it will strengthen your artistic courage and aesthetics for future creation.
The technique I teach originates in the belief that actors should be intelligent “investigators of truth” who are in charge of their process. Creators who use the text as a road map for their performance while at the same time are emotionally present and alive in the moment— -- TRUE. Therefore, my goals are to help you discover bold characters by strengthening your imaginations, combat fear and doubt by developing a technique that demystifies acting, and encourage textual investigation for consistent and fulfilling performances. As a result, the theme
of PURPOSE runs throughout my technique. Just as an actor needs purpose for creation— -- your characters need purpose for existence. In a story everything happens for a reason. Everything has its purpose. Every word spoken. Every word NOT spoken. Every action taken. Every move made. Everything a character does and doesn’t do is in the service of the story— -- to the PURPOSE of the story. And without purpose acting is empty and fake. Purpose gives truth to performance. And I believe purpose is discovered in the text. Our road map. The canvas our performance hangs upon. By using the text as our guide we find answers to all the driving questions every one of us inevitably finds ourselves asking: Who am I? Where am I? What do I want? What do I do to get what I want? The text's purpose is to inform. That information is designed to drive the character from one end of the story to the other and all you need to do is trust that information. Once the map has been revealed, then you will always have something tangible to return to when you feel lost.
As soon as this work begins, we start to exercise our imagination muscle daily. The text informs the "Who Am I" and then your imagination develops and deepens it within your subconscious collection -- the image of where you places your creative ideas to be nurtured. This work informs and inspires the choices you will discover in the studio and the rehearsal hall. As the imagination grows, so do your choices. This creates confidence and emboldens you to take greater and greater risks. You will discover freedom in the work and ultimately the joy that comes from a detailed process and faith in a consistent technique. As a result, your own unique qualities are contributing to the character and are brought forth to give an original performance that you can be proud of.
Another overall contribution to my philosophy is my aesthetics, and my belief in transformational acting. As mentioned above from the words of Stanislavsky, we always go to the character—we never bring the character to us. A key element to these aesthetics is using, my teacher and mentor, Earle Gister’s concept of “Action.” To me Action is the inner energy which actors send and receive. I define it with the phrase: "How do I want to make you feel?" At first, this may appear like a very foreign idea for actors but this idea of action is found in everyday real life. I introduce this concept to my students by asking them to reflect on their past and present observations. For instance, while driving someone might cut them off. Maybe they shout and scream obscenities, but they aren’t just expressing anger about being cut off; they also want to make the other driver FEEL like an idiot. This is only one example but we all use Action every day. The key to this concept—and what MAKES it active—is that Action is sent to help us get what we want and need. All Action is used in service of fulfilling a task. By making a character feel a certain way, we can persuade a response that is advantageous to our character’s needs. Asking "how do I want to make you feel?" drives the character's internal purpose and at the same time is active outwardly to our scene partners and audience. Action places an actor’s focus away from and off of themselves—which is truly one of the key philosophies of EVERY training system or method.
Acting is a craft and like every other discipline, it takes years to master. However, like every other craft, once the technique is established the level of fulfillment in the work will only grow as a result. It's to that growth that the Actor's Proletariat is committed.
Analysis dissects, discovers, examines, studies, weighs, recognizes, rejects, confirms; it uncovers the basic direction and thought of a play and part, the superobjective and the through line of action. This is the material it feeds to imagination, feelings, thoughts and will.
We use our mind first so that it will, like a scout, go out and reconnoiter. Reason begins by studying all planes, all directions, all component parts of a play and individual roles. Like an advance guard it blazes new trails for prospecting on the part of our feelings.
C. Stanislavski/Creating A Role