Professional Acting Tips – Doing Instead of Being

by on December 17th, 2010
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When I first started off as an actor, I thought I knew everything. I thought I understood how to perform a scene, become a character and relay emotions in a natural manner. However, my “knowing” of my talent was quickly stripped away after my first lesson with an acting coach. While I could deliver lines in a somewhat believable manner, my method of performing was not sincere nor filled with true conviction.

As actors, we must understand the key difference between doing and being, which is something that the majority of actors fail to realize. Upon understanding the difference between “doing” and “being” you can then deliver a performance that is vivid, thick with raw emotions and truly believable.

What is Doing?

In the realm of acting, “doing” is one of the most important tips you can comprehend. The term “doing” refers to not simply engaging in tasks, actions or dialogue, but understanding the emotions behind the aforementioned. New actors typically don’t understand the act of “doing,” thus their performance is stilted and predisposed to flat and stereotypical emotions.

What is Being?

Far too many times, actors focus on “being” the emotion a scene requires. They believe that by “being” they “are.” This couldn’t be the furthest from the truth. If you attempt on “being” angry, “being” drunk or “being” in love, your performance will look extremely scripted and predictable. Think about, in your daily life you don’t concentrate of “being” anything. Rather, you simple are, you simply “do.” It is this state of “doing” that we as actors must strive to reach.

Incorporating Doing into Your Acting

While there are some acting coaches who like to elaborate on this aspect of acting, I have found incorporating “doing” into your acting does not require a vast knowledge of acting and character study, but rather, it only involves connecting with your interior self. Putting yourself in your character shoes, and “doing” what you (i.e., the character) would do within every situation. Do not focus on how you would personally feel or how you would personally be, but rather, incorporate the emotions and personality of your character into your performance.


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