Monday, May 19, 2014

Be Impressive with Your Talent!

Years ago when I taught acting in New York, I would always impress upon my students (of all ages) to impress me with their talent.

Certainly, I was not impressed with arrogant behavior, and self-centeredness in class, in general.  And I definitely was not impressed with profane language as a choice for dialogue or vulgar or violent imagery as a choice for any scene they would choose to perform.

Instead, I would say to them, "Impress me with your TALENT!"

"Anyone can use a curse word to express anger, hatred or a mistake," I would say.  "So, if your character is angry, display such anger with your TALENT!"

It was a simple rule; one of my simplest, actually.

And yet most of my students struggled with that rule.

But it's a significant creative choice; one, unfortunately, that is none too pervasive in today's TV and movie productions.

Violence, vulgarity, profanity and obscenities run wild on the big-screen and small.

It's disheartening; and yet so many creative artists believe it is the way to go.

It is one way to, that's for sure.

But not always the best way.

The best creative expression is never the easiest path.  And showcasing one's talent, as an actor or as writer, is most productively displayed by taking the road less traveled.

Common words have no frequent place in the creative field - or any field.

Certainly, a profane word here and there is acceptable within the boundaries of a particular character.  But the effect is lessened if such language appears in a script or on a screen with frequent regularity - which is the unfortunate case with most contemporary television and motion pictures.