I have always been afraid of talking about acting. Terrified that what ever works within me would disappear if I gave voice to it. Yet when I have real discussions with colleagues, I walk away feeling elevated and understood. As if I have just had a conversation in my native tongue from someone who grew up in my home town.
Actors are a breed unto themselves. And what makes up a REAL actor? In the old days a real actor meant that you worked only on the stage. A reminder to me that when Rembrandt was asked how he recognized a true “artist”, he replied, “the artist is in the line.” Which I take to mean that with the simplicity of a pen or pencil, you cannot mask your abilities. What you are, shows up on the page revealing your true ability. I have watched on sets and in a class room where the ability of the actor was amplified and enhanced by a camera angle and realized that a good film director could get an amazing performance out of a non-actor. Does that make the viewing of that film performance less valuable?
There are more “actors” out there than ever before and the amount of product being made is astounding. Yet the competition for the jobs and opportunities create the fiercest competition I have eve seen. And at the end of the spectrum, very few spectators understand actors or the actors life. Especially in the Unites States. If you are not on a TV series or a famous movie star, you are a nobody.
Then WHY do we do this?
I have to mention someone that I have been in the trenches with who made the news recently. He is on my mind and may not be alive when this blog is launched. Daniel von Bargen. How on earth did TMZ get the 911 tape so quickly. How much did they pay for it. On the MSNBC site it was categorized under ENTERTAINMENT. The privacy and pain of a fine non-celebrity actor is out there for anyone with an internet connection to listen to, and privy to possibly the last moments of his life. The resonance of all of this has not clarified itself in my mind, so I cannot speak to it yet. Or come to a conclusion.
Obviously the line has blurred in Daniels case. What he is going through is affecting me so deeply on so many levels that it will be a long time before I understand why. To me, he epitomized the success of the actor under the radar. Someone who is really good at what he does and goes home and has his life. That changed yesterday for him.
Taking on the mantle of Actor ain’t for sissies.By that remark, I cast no aspersions. The amount of courage and fortitude and concerted effort to be at the top of the class AND have a private life is a colossal undertaking. To leave something behind for the ages that is of worth, even more so.
So, if you have chosen or are choosing to take the title Actor and live with it. My hat is off to you. You have my deepest respect and I look forward to seeing and hearing what you have to say about this little life.