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Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Thread of Connection

I'm going to talk about the thorn in the side of every acting teacher.  We all know what we want from our students.  We try a million different ways to describe it.  We rant and rave trying to get them to achieve it.

And it's simple.

You may have noticed that I didn't say it was easy or without any sort of discomfort, but it is simple. 

Really simple.

Simple enough...and uncomfortable enough...that most teachers don't address it directly.

What I'm talking about is connection.  That wonderful energy that happens between two people when they drop their barriers and reach out to the other person.

And it's the key to truly moving performances.

There's no easy way to teach it, which is why most of us that work with students are loathe to try.  There's no A + B = C kind of formula, the way that there is when we talk about objectives and tactics and internal obstacles.  All of those things help with clarity, but without the connection, they're just so much empty technique.

But don't despair.  The reason it's not easy to teach is because it isn't necessary to teach it.  We all know how to do it.  We were born knowing how to do it.  The real reason it's uncomfortable isn't because we don't know how.  It's because we've spent a lifetime learning how to keep from doing it.

Because connecting exposes us.  It makes us feel weak.  Vulnerable.  An easy target for getting hurt.  Thing is, when we raise our defenses, we're actually more at risk.  That wall is like a target, asking for all the pain we're looking to deflect.  Like the person who's overweight, hiding behind baggy clothes, we're only making it worse.

So, what actually works is being in a safe environment, with someone who cares enough to say, "That didn't feel connected.  Reach out more."  Someone not afraid to call you on your stuff.  Someone that is more interested in you succeeding than in you being "comfortable".

If that's what you're looking for, join me for my next radio show this Thursday at 8 pm, Pacific Standard Time, right here.  You can follow me there, set a reminder for the show, "favorite" me, leave a comment, etc., etc. :)   Also, you can call or Skype in (the number's on the show page, and there's a Skype "button" on the page during the show) with any questions whether or not they're related to the topic.  I know you all are listening, but having your input during the show would be AWESOME! :)

And, as always, if you're interested in getting training from me directly, you should try out my online acting classes or one-on-one instruction.  Go to the top of the blog to fill out the application form, or email me at actingwithoutthedrama (at) gmail (dot) com.  Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. Even though I'm not an actor, this post is really helpful. As a writer, there are certain times I need to connect in person to help promote my writing. I'm much more afraid of this than other fears connected with my writing career. In fact, it almost stopped me from going ahead as a screenwriter.

    I've got a reminder set up for your blogtalk radio show on actors connecting. Depending on what time zone the 11 PM show is in, I'll be there. And will Skype in with any questions or comments I have.

    Thank you! I already feel renewed hope for something I felt intimidated about.