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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Balancing Act(ing)

Talent.  Training.

You will hear actors (and artists in general) argue passionately about these two words.  Talent is innate.  Talent can be taught.  Talent should be kept pure.  Training is essential.  Training is limiting.  Training is for those that aren't born with talent.

Here's my take on it.  Are there individuals who are born with extraordinary gifts?  Sure.  Do they amaze and astound us?  Indubitably.  Are they exempt from the need to train?  Weeellllll.....

My belief is that talent and technique (or training) should be balanced.  Talent without training has a tendency to be erratic or unstable.  It's exciting, but it's really chaotic.  It may be stunning for one performance and miserable the next.

That said, training without talent gives us precision without life.  We get performances that are impressive in their detail and almost overwhelming with their accuracy, but leave us feeling...cold.  Not exactly what we're looking for, right?

Maybe we should stop for a second for me to tell you what I think talent is.  Talent is that spark that lives inside us.  It's our voice.  It's what makes us individual and unique.  It's a combination of everything that's beautiful and also flawed and broken in our souls.

Some people are born with an ability to immediately access that without walls or defenses.  Others have to learn to drop those barriers, and that can take time.  In other words, I don't believe that talent can be taught, but I do believe that accessing our talent can be.

Training is a way to focus and crystallize our talent.  Not only can training help us access our talent more readily (if it's good training), it can refine our expression of it.  On the other hand, training or technique can be a mask that we hide behind so that our souls don't feel so exposed.

One is not a substitute for the other.  They are the Yin and Yang of the Tao of acting.  The talent is the feminine...mysterious, dark, unknowable (ooooh...deep, right?).  Training is the masculine...ordered, precise, active.

A good teacher is one that uses the training process to better access the soul of a performer and magnify that energy through the focusing lens of technique.  In other, more simple words, they get you to stop hiding and to be specific and active.

If you're looking for that kind of instruction, do yourself a favor and sign up for my online acting classes.  If you have a computer, a webcam and internet connection, it doesn't matter where in the world you are, you can take classes with an amazing instructor...me!  Look at the top of my blog page for rates and the sign up.  If you want to take class at a time that's not listed, contact me at actingwithoutthedrama (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll see what we can work out.

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