Friday, July 15, 2011

10 Things That Acting Has Taught Me About Life. (Pt. I)














If I had to choose the one thing that has affected me most profoundly in my life, it would be my two-year actors' training program at The Meisner Center.  I learned a lot about the importance of being honest, and to be truthful without allowing ego to direct traffic.  Am I perfect at it?  Um... NO!  But now I am actually aware of the motivations behind various actions or words, so I know when I'm going off the rails, and how to get back to "honest."  It's also easier for me to see when other people have fallen off the track, and either pass without judgement (I'm still working on that part), or help them get back on.

Acting requires honesty.  It's not about putting on, it's about stripping down.  It's about asking "What is the truth of THIS moment?" moment-by-moment, and reacting to that truth without filter or censor.  Once I learned that, it made me ask why we don't live this way ALL the time?  Telling the truth from the heart, and not from ego - using "keepin' it real,"  as an excuse to say ugly things about one another.  Why don't we live this way?

I think fear keeps us bound.  Fear that someone else's freedom is going to make our freedom less valuable.  Fear of 'not having enough' (scarcity thinking) keeps us competing against one another instead of cooperating.  Fear that growth will require too much change from us keeps us curled up in the corner of our lives, not daring to venture into the wide open spaces not yet examined.

Yeah, I learned all of that from acting class.

There were students as young as 19, and as old as 64 in my class.  I thought it was pretty cool that the young'uns were open to receive that type of instruction (my ego wouldn't have allowed it at 19), and the older people (well, person) was still open to instruction.  We all wanted to learn to be better actors, and in the process, I believe we all became better people.  Meisner's premise?

"Acting is the ability to live truthfully under the given imaginary circumstances."

If you don't know how to live truthfully in your off-camera (or offstage) life, how are you going to be able to find it when the spotlight is on?  You can fake it, and  might even build a high-profile, lucrative career on faking it, but is that what you want?  Are you an artist or an aspiring celebrity?

Alrighty, then.  I thought I was going to post the top 10 things and keep it moving.  Had no idea that my intro would become its own blog post, but here we are, so...

I'll be posting my top 10 things separately.  May let this post settle in for a day or two first, though. ;o)

Happy Friday!


Updated 7/18/11 - Part II of this post (the LIST) can be found here:


  1. UGHH, beautifully written Ms. Butler BEAUTIFUL! So true and i can totally relate.. I joke with my BF all the time because I'm a basket full of emotions constantly. He doesn't even get surprised when I cry now, he expects it and is already in motion to check on me,lol.. Scary but also extremely freeing. There is NO way to study this craft w/out removing your public persona and thats what makes acting so beautiful, just as you are.. Kudos on all that you do

    Nikiva Dionne

  2. Thanks for such kind words, Nikiva (I'm blushing)! It's true, though - if we allow ourselves to experience all of the colors in the emotional rainbow available to all human beings, then we have more depth to our art. If we limit ourselves due to fear, our work will be limited.

    It's not always easy, but its simple, isn't it?


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