9 Responses

  1. gabrielablandy
    gabrielablandy at | | Reply

    A useful post, and can be applied to writers as well. I know when I start to get into a negative state of mind I can jeopardise my writing, injecting a sickness into the words. Yes, it’s important to take responsibility for our emotions and mental states, rather than blame others/the world!

    1. James Devereaux actor
      James Devereaux actor at | | Reply

      I suppose with writers at least it’s a solitary affair, you’re not really affecting anyone else but yourself.

      Actors work as part of a company, it’s just not acceptable to make other people pay for your lack of self-control.

  2. Talya Price (@Talya2312)
    Talya Price (@Talya2312) at | | Reply

    I completely agree with you. I think some people get in to acting just to be rich and famous. They don’t realize that the process of acting can take a lot out of you. And that can be scary. I remember during my Meisner Technique class it was all about letting go of fear, and many people in the class could not and would not do that. And they made it difficult for the other students to work with them. This is something that all actors need to take into consideration. Awesome post!

    1. James Devereaux actor
      James Devereaux actor at | | Reply

      Well, that’s exactly what I’m talking about, it messes up the other actors.

      Many thanks for your comment once again.

  3. Fen
    Fen at | | Reply

    Thanks for this article. You guys are very right in many ways and I agree a hundred percent on the impact this behaviour has on a production. However, most actors who are in such a paranoid state of mind and struggle with low self-esteem in their life and work life – for this same reason – are totally unaware of their disconnected behaviour. Dear Talya, I hope that you do not mind that I refer to what you told us in your post?: you explained that there was a moment during your studying of Meisner when you were able to step into the comfort of being you and being vulnerable and simply letting go. Excellent! Before this, however, you too may occasionally have, knowingly or un-knowlingly, been lost in that uncomfortable, more self-conscious, more insecure and possibly at times even “paranoid” way of being, which maybe didn’t always serve yourself or the others around you in the best way possible. I’m only guessing here so I do really apologise if I’m wrong!! I figure most actors have gone through this at one point in their life, including myself! I can still remember some difficult and awkward moments years ago when I was just starting out and had some huge lows and fears in my life to deal with! I’m sure it’s possible that I may at the time have been in some ways disruptive to the dynamics around acting work for someone at some point. I’m also guessing that, provided this rather lost way of being has ever occurred for you or me or anyone, being condemned by the director or co-actors would probably have made it much much worse and quite hard to turn it around!! Thankfully, I got to work with some great people who were seasoned professionals who believed in me and who were always committed to show me the way and share in their success, and so I was able to find my way and confidence as an actor. Dear James, I appreciate the intentions of this article and thank you for the point you made with it, it’s definitely a valuable statement and a really great subject to mention! But whenever someone is not feeling grounded, ‘openly condemning’ them really isn’t a solution. It certainly doesn’t help them to move out of their own way and their stuck mind, quite the contrary, nor would it be acceptable in the sacred space of a creative team if you’d ask me. No matter how seemingly disruptive people’s ways are, their behaviour is not grounded in disrespect and has everything to do with low self-esteem and not knowing a better way to be. I speak from my encounters and experiences, good and bad, not only as an actor but also as a director. In my judgement, true professionals know how to work with insecure or paranoid actors in order for them to be able to focus and deliver their work. This requires effective communication with a dose of compassion, and is a big part of what it takes to be a director, as well as being a reliable co-actor! Professional-minded workers really do not need to or want to control, and certainly not condemn, others. Doing this would truly be a disease for the workings of the team and does not help to establish great performances or productions. I feel that it is mainly the actors who are themselves still engaged in their own process of climbing out of their insecurities who feel mostly “diseased” and pestered by other actors who are more insecure than them. A part of them fears that when the co-actor is stuck in their head instead of being present, they will also get stuck themselves in the same way. The truth is that we are all equals and one and the same as long as we are part of the same team and are equally hired by the producers, and so our job is to make each other better, no matter our initial judgement of each other or of each other’s input or lack of it. If you are really interested to make a team work optimally and productively and to create a strong and joyful production together, stay grounded in yourself and professional and at all times don’t lose sight of the joyful interaction that comes with the art, support others compassionately and skill-fully to engage with you and so to ground themselves also – that’s my best advice! Good luck and keep up all the good work!

    1. James Devereaux actor
      James Devereaux actor at | | Reply

      All actors have fears, all people have fears. But actors great keeps them under control. Those who cannot control them tend be destructive individuals within the group. It’s not acceptable and damages the other actors and the production. The company should not have to tolerate it.

  4. Fen
    Fen at | | Reply

    Thanks James, I got that, and do not disagree with that. In fact I agree wholeheartedly with all you just said. I was just taking it one step further by challenging the approach a little bit.
    One way is controlling people, another is transforming them. Those who live under the illusion they can control people experience most struggles in life. Wanting to keep destructive people under control is one step into the right direction! At least you are not standing for, and as you put it, not tolerating, something destructive!!! Great. I mean that. Great! I wouldn’t want to disagree with that in any way.
    Now here’s the issue I was dealing with:
    When you have the want to control people or their behaviour, you have to ask yourself: How? Once you really explore this, and have tried out all possible ways, you find that the best way to “control” someone’s behaviour is not to put them down or their behaviour down or to dismiss them or dismiss their behaviour, in fact to let go of trying to control them altogether, and instead, to contribute to who they could be! Think about it and try it out if you like or dare to take this risk. You will find that you get much better results, both in what you wanted from them and in what you did NOT at all want or tolerate from them. That’s what the best of directors, or leaders of any kind, do. Either that, or just decide to fire them from the beginning!

    1. James Devereaux actor
      James Devereaux actor at | | Reply

      There’s a play to do, a movie to make. People work hard. There is no time or energy to try and change people, that doesn’t come into the equation If an actor can’t conduct himself in a professional manner, then he should get out of the way and let and an actor who can take his place.

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