Originality as an Actor

There is only one “you”.  You do not have to be funny, or sorrowful, or angry, or mean, ecstatic, content, delighted or joyful—to be you.  You must, however, be truthful.  Be truthful to your tastes, prejudices, loves, culture, and temperament.  Be truthful to your particular perceptions, opinions and understanding of any given situation, relationship or moment.  This is how you are when you live your life; therefore, this is how you must be when “living” your character’s life.  Be a specific person, in a specific place.  Not an actor on a stage.  Be the person you are.  You are an original.

Your Point Of View on life and the human experience, is the very core, of the very thing that will make you an Artist.  It is your unique process of “living” all the small details of life for a period of time (2 hours in a play; 2 minutes in a film take) that is original and compelling.

Don’t be afraid of your natural responses.  Sometimes they’re ugly.  But some of life, some part of every single one of us, is ugly.  Beat the very powerful instinct of denial.  Admit, acknowledge and celebrate the wide range of human feelings that we all experience.  Never say, “I could never do that” or, “He would never do that” or, “She would never do that.”  In a given situation, anybody might do anything.  At the very least, we think about doing the things we might never really do.  Then we choose not to act on our thoughts, either for good reasons or bad.  If we think and fantasize about doing something, we can’t rightfully say that we “would never do that thing.”

Your CHOICES must be “HOT”.  They must “fire you up”.  They must be PERSONAL and make YOU feel alive, activated and “full”.  The more you really and truly examine yourself, your actions, your personal tastes, the more you will understand what really makes you “tick”.  Don’t be shy with yourself.  Really tempt your most altruistic, “corny”, sentimental self and your most malevolent, vicious, cold-hearted self.  They probably can both exist in almost any part.  Your genius is in your choices.

It is more provocative for the actor to make “hot choices” instead of “cool choices”.  “Hot” is more exciting.  “Hot” is more dramatic, more unusual, more dynamic, more surprising, and funnier.  People go to the theater to be titillated, shocked, moved, illuminated, inspired, impassioned, expanded.  Do these things to yourself and your scene partner.  BE BOLD.  If you are doing a scene where you order a cup of coffee—want the coffee bad.  If you are doing a scene where you meet your “love interest”—be floored, knocked out, blown away by her (or him).  Don’t just be interested.  “Interested” is “cool”.  Choose “Inspired”.  Be CRAZY for them right away, and then give yourself the obstacles of fear and denial.  Be afraid of her beauty, her strength.  Deny to yourself how “right” he is for you—find all his flaws.  Then battle through these obstacles during the course of the story, and eventually find the truth.

Writers don’t write stories about average days and normal nights.  They write about the unusual night, the night where something happens—the night where something extraordinary happens.  You do not have to always “Act” the way the character would “normally” behave.  Let this be the night that the character acts differently, goes against the norm, shocks himself or herself, and all those around.  Contradictory behavior under the stress of the situations presented by a good writer is truthful to life, it is interesting, and, most importantly: it is revealing.

Be brave enough to open all the possibilities of human emotion and motivation to you and to your character.  They are in you, an original human being, the original Artist.

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Adam Lazarre-White Adam Lazarre-White grew up in NYC, graduated from Harvard University with Honors, started at QB for the “Crimson” and played in the Harvard Jazz Band. He is known for roles on Scandal, Heroes, Ocean’s 13, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, The Temptations, Living Single, The Parkers, and starring on The Young & The Restless. Adam’s writing and directing have become equal pursuit in recent years; and he has owned his acting school in Hollywood, ALW Acting Studios since 2000. For info on Adam's classes, acting, writing & directing visit his website at www.adamlazarre-white.com