Dance Monkey Dance! (Or: How To Stop Worrying As An #Actor)

This will be a short one, but I need to put it out there, because the more I feel I’ve repeated myself, the more I meet people who don’t seem to understand this concept at all.

In your defense, actors of the world, you’ve been fed lies since you started watching behind the scenes documentaries, or interviews with cast & crew. Rarely, if ever, do you truly appreciate the concept of teamwork that is integral to making movies, the spontaneity of it all, the joy, the importance of every team member, and most importantly, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Yes, even greater than you.

Because despite what the world wants us to believe, despite every instagram account you see, despite every glowing review of a star’s abilities, you too are merely a cog in the machine. An Assistant Story Teller. A Dancing Monkey.

This isn’t a bad thing, though, when you come to terms with it. You’re there to play pretend, and make it seem real. Realizing that you cannot possibly hope to do this without the help of every single member of the team teaches us humility, grace, and an ability and willingness to collaborate.

Far too often, I see actors responding to the DIRECTOR OF THE FILM’s directions with “Nah, I don’t think my character would do that.”

On behalf of everyone: Please drop this line of thinking immediately. Shut your mouth, and realize what you’re saying.

You are saying “I know this character than you, boss, and you are wrong and you should change your vision because I say so.”

Even if the director lets that go, rest assured, they think you’re an asshole.

The thing about collaboration is that you “should” speak your mind when you have concerns- because your job is to be intimate with the character. If you’re doing it well, your gut should tell you when something doesn’t feel right.

But never, ever again should you be saying “My character wouldn’t do that.” Ever again. Because your job is to find a reason for your character to do that.

Get it?

Look at it this way: You’re playing a character who’s intrinsically shy, but then gets into a fight. Why? Why would they suddenly fight? This makes no sense! Guess what, mate: It’s your job to make it make sense. State your concerns, talk to the director, find a way to compromise.

Do not be so arrogant as to stick to your preconceived notions of character. That fundamentally denies what we as actors are supposed to be- empathetic. We need to understand our characters so well, that we can justify anything, with help.

You are not better than your director, your sound guy, your make up artist, or your First AD. Your ideas are welcome, but a part of a collaboration. You, like the rest of them, are here to create a vision together.

Do not get lost in the fantasy that Hollywood feeds you, that the actor creates these characters completely on their own, without help and without compromise. It is tripe, and it makes you a less versatile person, and a less empathetic human. You can do better.

Remember, monkey. Now Dance!

I’m a 2000 man

Because when I was 15 I would name my livejournal blogs with song titles stuck in my head at the time.

As Wil Wheaton tends to do, he has inspired me to let loose a little bit with the structure I’ve given myself for this blog. Because the thing is, this is still a blog. A diary. A journal. It doesn’t have to be anymore serious than I want it to be.

I want to be open, I want to be honest, and I want to try and share my journey more.

So! With that in my mind: Let’s look at my December, pros and cons.

Pros:

I have money in my account, and that’s just swell. Supanova paid me (I’m an MC now!), work is coming along nicely in the childcare realm, and I’m excited for the future of not depending on my government for handouts.

I have a callback tonight! It’s for a feature film where I play a man with slight autism. That ought to be really interesting to play. I’m very excited.

Feature film script is coming along nicely. I’m 45 pages in which means I’m officially halfway to the minimum amount of pages. I think I’ll surpass that easily. That said there’s a lot of revision to do, and I’m gonna utilise every writer friend I know to make the polish I need.

My personal life is calm. I can be lazy and uninspired, unlike my focused partner, who has a full time job and a straightforward career. I take that in my stride though. I know the path I chose, and I know that I can make things happen. I just have to make things happen. No one can do it for me.

Christmas is here. I personally don’t give a shit but Issy likes it and Shez my cat like to try to eat the christmas tree. Plus, I get gifts for the first time since forever now that I’m with her. It’s nice to be appreciated.

And finally! I’ve joined a gym. Overall I’d give my attendance a C, especially since when I go there I tend to overwork myself and need to recover and then get lazy, but I’m going of my free will and not for some stupid new years resolution, so that’s something.

Overwatch. I’m having so much fun having something to focus on. It’s like sport but less filled with mysogyny. Funfunfunfun.

Cons

All those dead people. You know who they are. I don’t need or want to get into it. But everyone, please, keep Patrick Stewart safe.

I have RAW Comedy Competition in January and I’m scared as fuck. I’m a much more experienced actor and comedy is still very new. Every time I step on stage it’s like learning to walk. But this is for new performers and I certainly fit the bill.

My theatre restaurant show got cancelled. Temporarily, but still, a bummer. It always is when a paid gig gets put off. Daddy needs his honey!

I got a haircut and they cut too much and I kinda hate it. I want my viking braids back. 😥

Certain workplaces are less than awesome. Won’t name names. But I will tell you that one team leader munches on food in the backroom like the rest of them but I’m not allowed to. So that’s super fun.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with myself, and I’m gonna try and write some jokes out for January 21 Raw comp. AHHHHHHHHHH.

Take care home slices!

-Jack
http://www.jackinaction.com