In Your Choice Lies Your Talent

Your talent is in your choice.” -Stella Adler

There are many different acting techniques out there. I chose to study the Stella Adler technique for my own personal reasons. Her technique is imagination based as opposed to Lee Strasberg’s technique which delves more into the actor’s own personal history.

My technique teacher told us always to work step by step and to work deep and specifically. He said that if we work step by step and specifically, than we would become actors. Most techniques that I know of involve the usual set of questions

Who am I?

Where am I?

What am doing? What am I fighting for? What’s my objective?

Why am I doing this? What’s my motivation?

If I’m going to play a killer I’ve got to ask myself,  “what’s my motivation?” If it’s not strong enough, the intensity is not there. But if I’ve got a compelling motive, then I can kill. I had to make a similar choice back when I was attending Cal Poly Pomona and majoring in Economics. My vision was to create a business, but my motive was lousy. Sure, I could have strong-willed my way through but after a lot of thought I found I wasn’t even doing it for myself. It wasn’t strong enough to propel me through the hard times and all the stress and challenges I would surely face.

Sure these seem like simple questions, but they’re really hard to answer. In each answer lies your talent. Each answer is what will compel you to act.

It helps to really know yourself. Know what moves you as a person. If you answer these questions in any old way you may not be doing justice to the script or character.

These questions seem so simple, yet, we can’t forget to take into account, how many people never answer these questions in real life? These questions, and others provide the technique by which some actors build their craft. Yet, these same questions go unanswered in life. Is it any wonder so many actors find it hard to make compelling choices?

Decisions

Choices are prevalent in life. They make or break us, as in acting. Do you ask yourself the tough, necessary questions that form the foundation of life? Did you or someone else answer them?

Let’s make it a habit to make our own choices and make them our best choices. In our choices lie our talent.

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2 responses to “In Your Choice Lies Your Talent

  1. You know, as much as Polonius was a bit of a goofball in Hamlet, he did say something that everyone recognizes:

    “To thine own self be true”

    I’d like to extend that to emphasize the importance:

    “To thine own self be true,
    and it must follow, as the night the day,
    thou canst not then be false to any man.”

    You’re very right, there’s no way we can create an authentic life if we do not know ourselves. It’s almost as though we’re living a lie, if you want to think of it as extreme as that.

    In the interest of survival though, is it absolutely necessary to love your main source of income?

    • Not necessarily. Sometimes you gotta do what you’ve gotta do and what you do to earn money in the interest of survival may not always be in alignment with your values. But it also depends on how you define love.

      Love to me is connecting. It’s an act, not so much of an emotion, but the emotional part of it can become a by-product of me connecting deeply and giving something my attention and focus. In this way, I love my job. Am I passionate about it? No. I do have an affection for it in that it allows me to pay the bills along this journey of mine, while others are unemployed. Beyond that, nothing more.

      I think it takes a while to earn money doing something that you love and to earn that first “love dollar.” In the mean time you might be working jobs that you don’t like as much.

      But on the other hand, it’s part of the journey, right? It’s said that it’s more about the journey than the destination itself, and that we may never get to the destination. So in the meantime, we can try to find things to love about our job. It’ll make this moment more precious for us.

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