As an actor you need to start living in the here and now

As an actor you need to start living in the here and now_550
Photo Credit: Nicola since 1972 via cc

The greatest acting skill is to be completely in the moment

We’ve fallen into a trap of ever-widening orbits of contact, and there is a total disregard for the present moment.
Jerry Seinfeld
How often do you sit at a table with your loved one and then check your phone to see if someone has texted you?
How often do you speak to someone on the phone whilst checking your emails
How often are you at the pub with friends and you check your phone to see if someone has ‘liked’ one of you statuses on Facebook?
How often have you been at a family meal and found yourself checking to see if anyone has retweeted one of your tweets?
I bet the answer is more often than you would care to admit!
Smart phones are stopping us from living in the moment and experiencing life and each other.
Being in the moment is one of the greatest skills you need as an actor and it will make a huge amount of difference to your screen acting.
Living in the moment and being in the here and now will also make a massive difference to your quality of life when you start applying it everyday in your experiences and relationships.
An actor who simply knows their lines but is just reciting them is not in the moment, they are not present. If you are just waiting for your cues then you are not truly living in the moment of the scene and you are not honestly listening to what is being said to you. This is all too apparent in screen work. For examples of this in action just watch any episode of Towie!

Be in the moment in your everyday life

We have to get back to the beauty of just being alive in this present moment.
Mary McDonnell
It is something which happens all the time in real life too – we don’t have a conversation so much as we wait for the gaps so we can say what we want to say – people have stopped communicating. We have all become selfish.
A great actor needs to be selfless and you need to start practising it in everyday life as well as in your acting.
Give the person you are talking with the time and attention they deserve, really try and listen to what they are saying – a good technique is to allow yourself a couple of seconds before you respond.
Practise being totally aware and in the moment.
Go for an ‘awareness’ walk. The sole purpose of this exercise is to be in the here and now. Take a walk around the block and try and notice things you haven’t noticed before. What does your block smell like? What does it sound like? How does it feel underfoot? Really listen to the sounds of the street?
Have an ‘awareness’ meal – don’t just shovel down your food like fuel, savour every mouthful. How does it taste? How does it feel in your mouth? Where do you look as you eat?
Practise being in the moment in contrived exercises like this, so that it becomes a skill you can easily turn on in your acting.
Just knowing that you need to be more aware is half the battle, once you start to notice the times when you are not living in the moment you can completely turn your awareness on and focus on what is important. This is true in both acting and in real life.
One thing my friends and I have started doing when we go out for a drink is we place our phones in the centre of the table face down. The first person to check their phone has to buy the next round! If it is naturally your round then you get a chance to check!?! It brings us all back to the here and now and the importance of connection and being present with each other.
Make a choice to not be preoccupied with the past or the future and start living in the now. You will feel the difference.
Similar Posts from Actor Hub