Being in action is at the heart of the matter in the craft of acting. “The actor is the doer,” my teacher Herbert Berghof used to always say. Good acting is good doing. Doing something physical to oneself, someone or something (objects/ environment) is the only way the actor gains trust, confidence and faith in his/her imaginary portrayal and so, consequently, does the audience. A complete involvement physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually is an absolute condition for practicing the art of acting. What isn’t expressed physically has no substance and isn’t happening. Even a thought has its external, physical expression. This alone is one of the most commonly misunderstood distinction about acting. Acting is a craft, it is executed, performed step by step, not just felt by actors. Acting is and has a language. Very often, beginning actors are foolish enough to think that acting is just reading lines and walking around with a sense of confidence and looking as though you know what’s happening, reading lines with feeling. It is as hopeless and helpless as someone who is aspiring to dance ballet putting on a leotard and a pair of dance shoes in the hope of coming across as a confident and competent dancer. Respect acting and it’ll earn you respect.
Feeling something on stage or in front of the camera (no matter how intense and true it might be) does not automatically mean that your “feeling” is being communicated to the audience. As a matter of fact, and to be exact, communication (connection) with your audience(camera) happens as a consequence of what the actor does in the specific situation. Moreover, people feel as a consequence of what they do. It is the doing that brings the feelings, not the other way around. You look at someone and then and only then (as a consequence) do you first feel and then say, “Gosh, what a good looking person!” Getting caught up working on the feeling of a moment is a hopeless approach and always results in untruthful acting. The joy in acting as well as the reward comes from the doing, not the rendition or imitations of feelings. Your acting, therefore, is as genuine as you commit to the doing. If you do the doing, the acting will be real and you never have to concern yourself with feelings or emotions. Have you ever been pulled over by a cop on the freeway or a street? It is the seeing of the lights flashing right behind you and the hearing of the voice of the cop saying “Pull over” in the loud speaker that makes you feel all sorts of unpleasant emotions and makes your heart beat faster. At that moment you don’t ask yourself, “What am I going to feel…let me see..what about fear or panic?” No! It happens as a natural consequence of what you just saw and heard and as a response to the situation you’re in at that moment.