Sunday, July 11, 2010

Creating an Illusion

The other night I came across an old interview with two actors from a show I used to watch. I wondered if I still had it captured somewhere on a reel of tape and decided to find out. Once in awhile I like to pull out my stored away "time capsules" just to see what the heck's on them. It can be amusing to revisit what your teenage self thought was so earth-shattering at the time. It can also bring about a series of eye-opening moments of realization when the light bulb suddenly turns on behind your "now that I'm really an adult" lens.

Acting is an interesting process that creates a very thin illusion of who is the character and who is the person interpreting that fictional being. Some think that their audience can't differentiate between the two when they're watching the finished product on screen. I'd have to agree somewhat. A lot can't. They see the character, even when they might see or read an interview, see the actor in person or see their performance in a different creative piece. Especially those crazed daytime fans who insist on always referring to the actors by their characters' names, even when they're talking about the person. It annoys me so I always correct them and they give me a strange bewildered look from their eyes as if I'm from another planet. I'm one of the few who watched the credits roll, even at thirteen. I was always interested in what went on behind the scenes and into creating the finished product.

Sometimes I see comments made by others on YouTube message boards about how you can't really tell what an actor would be like in person or that it's hard to tell. It makes me smile because I think to myself, "well sure you can. It's not that hard." All you really have to do is observe how they interpret their character(s). One of the blessings of sensitivity, insight or intuition, I suppose. Although, I still think that it takes pieces of reality to create a successful illusion. The illusion just uses them as a springboard to seemingly come to life.

I suppose if you've never done it, you don't realize that playing someone else (ironically) gives you the freedom to expose hidden portions of your own being. Perhaps hidden portions that you weren't fully aware of until you explored what someone else might do in a given situation. It's the same way with writing. You get inspired by pieces of reality and incorporate pieces of your own life into your creation. That's what makes a relatable character, performance or storyline. You have to reflect humanity; life.

Reflecting what's real doesn't involve sugar coating or a certain technique you can study from a book. It doesn't involve having the intent of showing someone else how to do something. The only thing it requires is listening to what you feel. Exploring what you feel and being open to where it might take you is the "big secret" to being able to create an illusion that'll resonate with somebody. Life certainly isn't linear, a garden made up of only flowers or a story that we're certain we know the ending to. Obstacles, darkness, despair and every possible "evil force" is what makes living possible. "A sign of life," as one insightful songwriter states, is when "you fight for your last breath."

Perhaps it is those who have known that fight well, sometimes repeatedly, that make the most believable creators. Their intensity, their depth, and willingness to make themselves vulnerable, allows us to experience our own realities within the reflection of theirs.

1 comment:

  1. Great insight!

    This sentence is like the book I'm currently reading.

    "Obstacles, darkness, despair and every possible "evil force" is what makes living possible."
    The book is "The World Behind the World" by Michael Meade
    Check it's an amazing ride through myth and the modern age.