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First Challenges

Johan Forslund presents what he is calling the "first challenges" of acting
What happens as we get ready to act? Well, the first thing usually is that we look at the script– –and we start imagining how great we would like to be. Or, and this usually follows, how much better some other person would be. Then we might look at what the character seems to be feeling– –and how that might look when performed brilliantly. In short, we start imagining a result. And a very vague result at that. We start thinking in terms of good and bad, right and wrong or emotional or empty. And the problem, or one of the problems with all this is– –that it puts our focus the one place where we never want it to be. On ourselves.
Self-consciousness is the number one enemy of our acting. Any time we get nervous in life, be it standing up in class giving a report on something– –giving a toast at a wedding or being on a date with someone– –what happens is that our focus is turned onto ourselves.
We focus on trying to be something: funny or relaxed or confident or charming. And, of course we fail. We fail because it’s impossible to order ourselves to be anything. Especially something as general as “a good actor”.
Luckily there’s a way out of this, one that basically comes down to this:– –put your focus outside of yourself. Keep your attention on your fellow actors and what they and you are doing Sounds simple enough, right? Coincidentally all of this is exactly what happened to me– –when I started writing this course. I started with a vague notion that I wanted this course to be– –the most brilliant thing ever written– –and that I would appear as a master teacher in it. And, of course, this is an impossible standard to live up to. Not least because it’s a result that can’t be measured in any objective way.
Instead of thinking about what I wanted to do– –I thought about what I wanted to be. And what this led to was the usual selfconsciousness and anxiety. Not a very creative or inspiring place to be.
What I had forgotten to think about– –were the things that might actually matter in creating this course. What am I trying to say? Who am I talking to? And am I making myself clear? And as soon as I could shift my focus to these things– –I could get on with the work and actually have some fun in the process.
In this video, Johan presents one of the first challenges we’re faced with as we get ready to act.

The first thing that happens usually is that we begin to imagine a finished result. We start thinking about what the character might be feeling or what a great performance of that emotion would look or sound like.

When we get nervous, we tend to focus on ourselves and how we would like to come across. The result of this is that we get even more nervous and self-conscious which in turn closes us down to whatever’s going on around us.

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Introduction to Acting

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