Acting and Emotion

Some ask why I mention not “killing yourself with the Method” in my book. I believe most actors use whatever they can– that they feel works for them. Of course, many great actors were trained in the so called “Method”, but the question remains, were they great BECAUSE of the “Method” or were they great DESPITE the Method? I tend to believe the latter.

In the approach that I explain in my humbly titled book. “The Best Book on Acting”, I emphasize a more practical approach that focuses on finding the egocentricity of the character’s “wants” and corresponding actions. Unfortunately the “Method” rightly or wrongly has been associated with a more introspective and emotional approach.

Acting obviously is not just emotion. Acting is doing and behaving in a self-interested way. People in life are not focused on their emotional states per se. They are focused on attaining their wants in their situational contexts. Therefore for the actor to try to reproduce certain emotions through the rehearsal of certain body positions from past emotional experiences (as in sense memory), or the remembrance of things past as in (affective memory), I think is counterproductive. Our desire to focus and “show” emotion many times leads to a disturbing overacting.

That’s why in my approach called LIFE ACTING, we emphasize the thoughts and intentions of the the character while they try to achieve their immediate goals. Their ideal future “pulls” them forward, and it is in this pursuit that emotions of course show themselves. It is in the high stakes of the pursuit that emotions come forth.

Therefore since emotions are responders not leaders, we do not give them the undue emphasis that they have received in the past. This is all based upon the way that people really behave, which I show in my book. I recount many psychological studies to bolster my argument.

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