It’s tricky to be as free and spontaneous and in the moment when a camera is pointed at you as when one isn’t, especially in an audition. I think most actors feel more freedom when they are OFF camera. I’ve noticed that even in auditions actors tend to be a little more constricted when there is a camera present. An actor has to be aware of extraneous movement that will look like swaying when viewed back and he or she has to be aware of being on their mark without feeling stuck. The only way you can express freely when you are dealing with these technical issues is to regularly practice being “out of your head” and balancing that with having to give two percent of your brain to the technical challenge.
Some of the actors in my class refer to what we do as acting yoga. Today Emilio Palame told me he could come to my class for the rest of his life because it’s like “exercise”. It’s a way of staying well-oiled and sharp. Every actor works three times per class doing the exercises with scenes I provide and then is put on camera. When you are working–practicing that much, you get really good at putting pure inspiration and freedom together with the technical concerns. What really grows is your confidence, so that you can be truly free and alive, even surprising yourself with the spontaneity, in spite of that fact that you’re in a room full of strangers with a camera pointed in your face. What a beautiful thing – to NOT care so much that it cripples you. I like to say, “Just do it badly” – or even better, “Dare to suck”.
Actors look at me like I’m crazy for a moment, then they try it – AND ARE SET FREE – to be really great. Trying too hard is an actor’s worst enemy. The actor needs to be in a place of NOT CARING TOO MUCH, but being totally professional. Easy to say, but impossible to do unless you practice regularly – AND ARE HAVING FUN DOING IT. When actors aren’t having fun doing their craft, the result is boring – and that is something no actor can afford to be. We take the torture out and bring the fun back in to acting. You might think that only translates well to comedy, but it frees up the emotions so much that TRUE EMOTION comes through powerfully and spontaneously, in the moment.