I Interviewed Some of the Best Actors. Here’s What I Learned.

What actors taught me about creativity

You might as well just be yourself

Might sound strange coming from professional pretenders, but what I’ve really picked up from working with actors is the power of what you, as an individual, can authentically bring to the fore.

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Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

Keep on offering

Being a creative and being a perfectionist often seem to go hand in hand. But most the time, generosity is way more important than being ‘good’. A commonly recurring theme, particularly from directors, is that they want to work with people who are open and giving — who keep on offering something to work with. I think this applies across many creative spheres.

Work first, criticise later

Actors are told to prepare something usually at short notice, workshop it into oblivion by themselves, then come in and face their harshest critics (literally, face to face). But what they have to learn quickly is the importance of just going with your gut. This is a lesson for all of us wannabe creatives: come up with your approach, your plan, and just do it.

Discipline is everything and hustling is the norm

The thing most people may not realise about actors is that, once they leave training (or if they don’t professionally train), they’re very much on their own to keep up the craft. Much like writing, and many other creative pursuits, discipline is everything, because there’s probably nobody over your shoulder setting a deadline for what you do. The work any individual actor puts into their profession comes back to them — but they absolutely have to hustle.

You can finesse forever, but at some point you have to let go

Actors are often given very little notice about an audition, but still have to do as much preparation as they can before they have to do their best to nail a potential job. It’s time constrained, and high pressure. Regardless of how much time they are given, though, one of the most powerful pieces of advice given by directors and casting directors alike is this: you can prepare as much as you like, but eventually you do just have to let go.

Give it all you got — in the right moment

One thing that really strikes me about actors is their energy. I am not a high energy person — I am just not interested in throwing myself about, and I tire quickly from social contact, introvert that I am. But soon I learned that what I perceived from actors to be constant high energy wasn’t always the truth.

Written by

Trying to live better. Writing on Mental Health, Relationships, and Living Ethically. Editor/Podcaster.

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