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how hard is acting?

seriously. we all have a love/hate relationship with actors and actresses - so what makes a good actor great and how hard do you think it is as an artform? I feel that truly great actors are few and far between. not that I have any acting experience but I like Harrison Ford's method of acting which he calls, "fake it till you make it". what is acting if not being a good liar? discuss.

For years and years I had more of a "hate" relationship with my actors than a "love" one. I just never understood why actors should dominate the priorities of my films (and to a large degree I still don't). That being said, I've spent the last three months living with a new sub-letter in my apartment, one who happens to be a professional actor. We've had many, many, many conversations about film in general and acting in specifc. I've been amazed by how much work he puts into his craft (we're talking hours and hours and hours rehearsing, running lines and delving into the depths of the characters psyche). It's not something I really understand, and it's not something I'd ever want to do, but it's impressive and I respect him for it...

Maybe some people can just read the lines and make it believable, but most actors put in a lot of work, whether it's figuring out all the externals (how a character talks, walks, eats, etc.), working out the internals (how the character became who s/he is), or a combination of the two.

While I think some grade-A actors are so self-absorbed, it's tough pretending to be someone else and nailing it. I mean really nailing it like doing the research and getting all of the little things like mannerisms, how you hold a cigarette, facial reactions, body language, a certain walk, a laugh, dialects, etc. Memorizing your lines, taking direction, feeding off of the other actor(s) and so much more make acting far more layered than just speaking the lines. Good actors make directors look better - and the other way around. 8)

i act, im also beginning to become a filmmaker. I've always found it easy. I figure though the only way (I'm 16 by the way) I'll get into the industry as an actor is to make my own films and produce myself. Then I'll get up there.

ACTING... that is the problem. Most people want to "ACT". This is why they come off (on camera) fake, shallow, winging it, superficial, ect...
Very few people put the hard work needed to transmit a "true breath of life" into that character. They say, "That part is so me, it was written for me....Bulls!@#. It's a paper-character...it come to life what you breath into it. BE a deep mix of yourself and the character. Most bad actors fail to prepare and cram (like a college final) before stepping on set. Acting take constant studying and process improvement, just like a doctor, lawyer, or any other professional. Would you want your doctor to wing it just before your operation? Then I present this to Actor want-a-bee's, practice, practice, study and practice. To director and casting agents...BE nice. Self-indulgence's and holyer-then-thou (old school directors and casting agents) attitude is the spring board the younger generation is capitalize on. Technology and an eagerness to work (to put the over-time in, not relay on their name only) is going to send the old bulls out to the pasture. In short... "Don't act... just BE."

ACTING... that is the problem. Most people want to "ACT". This is why they come off (on camera) fake, shallow, winging it, superficial, ect...
Very few people put the hard work needed to transmit a "true breath of life" into that character. They say, "That part is so me, it was written for me....Bulls!@#. It's a paper-character...it come to life what you breath into it. BE a deep mix of yourself and the character. Most bad actors fail to prepare and cram (like a college final) before stepping on set. Acting take constant studying and process improvement, just like a doctor, lawyer, or any other professional. Would you want your doctor to wing it just before your operation? Then I present this to Actor want-a-bee's, practice, practice, study and practice. To director and casting agents...BE nice. Self-indulgence's and holyer-then-thou (old school directors and casting agents) attitude is the spring board the younger generation is capitalize on. Technology and an eagerness to work (to put the over-time in, not relay on their name only) is going to send the old bulls out to the pasture. In short... "Don't act... just BE."

I have two minds about this question.. Is acting hard? I'd like ot say no, it is not hard, but that is in a best case scenario. the process of pulling off a character is really easy, given the right circumstances, which are; a good director who knows how to communicate his vision, a good space of time to do the preparation and freedom from distractions.

Without these things acting can become extremely difficult and in this profession especially, difficulties are almost impossible to overcome. Why? Because the nature of acting means you have to let go of yourself to make room for the character you have created. If there are distractions or stresses that prevent you from staying in the context this becomes very hard to do making you work harder. If you think working harder is a good solution in any profession think again. the harder you work, the more of your mental resources go into overcoming the difficulties. this might be fine in many jobs, but in acting, you need your mental resources to be free for the character to inhabit.
This is why many feel that the treatment actors receive on a set can be compared to "pampering" but trust me, this pampering is needed. If the actor has to occupy his mind with things outside of the context of the scene the acting will not be as good. different actors handle this problem with varying efficiency but any actor will tell you that the less distractions and stresses, the better the acting.

So, if you as a director want a film with good acting, go the extra mile to help create a distraction-free environment for the actors.

Real acting involves a lot of work, hours upon hours of preparation that most people don't see but is it hard?
As long as the circumstances are right and the preparations are done the acting itself isn't hard.. It is just a matter of letting go and letting the character take over.

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The Science of Acting www.asad.org.uk (The next step?)