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STATUS pt I – leading from authenticity

In my acting classes this week we’re talking about status.  For an actor, status isn’t about the social or economic hierarchy; it’s about who’s in charge, who’s calling the shots and who’s wearing the bossy pants.  Actors are encouraged to find the status battles in their scenes, most characters will at some point fight for status, unless of course you’re a Hobbit who just wants to be left alone, then you’re fighting against status.

Every character has a level of status where they are comfortable – so does every person.  Some of us are leaders; some of us support great leaders.  The secret in life is to know where your real status lies and live authentically there.  This is not a limiting idea.  Don’t think for a minute that lower status characters are the drudges or losers of our world.  Some of my greatest heroes are low status individuals.

Take for example, two of my greatest heroes: Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi.  Here are two men with a very similar message, but with very different levels of energy, or status.  Both were astoundingly focused and true to their authentic selves. Can you imagine Gandhi with a blow horn, shouting out his message of equality and justice?  Can you see King working patiently, gently and quietly for years on end?  King certainly had his gentle side, and Gandhi had NO problems speaking his mind, but they were both strongest and had the greatest impact on our world when they moved with the status level that was most authentic to them.

Status is neither a good nor a bad thing, finding the energy level that works for you, finding your true voice is a VERY good thing.

Check out my next blog when I look at the stunning things that can happen when a high status individual chooses to take on a supporting role.  http://animatingyourlife.com/2013/01/22/status-pt-2-sparking-a-dream/


I’ve been talking in class all week about Motivation.  It’s one of those concepts actors can get totally hyped about, but I like to keep it simple.

For me, motivation is as simple as asking WHY? Why does a character do something and what do they want?

I really am a nerd, I like to start with a quote from Sir Isaac Newton, one of the world’s great Smarty Pants.

Newton’s first law of motion

states that…

 “An object at rest tends to stay at rest and

an object in motion tends to stay in motion

with the same speed and in the same direction

unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

In simple terms* Newton is telling us that NOTHING moves without a reason.  We scratch, sneeze, fall asleep and fall in love for reasons.

As an acting teacher, I know it’s one of the most important things I have to teach (maybe even the most important); as a person, I know it’s one of the most important things I have to learn.  Everything I do, I do for a reason whether I’m aware of the reason or not.  When I dig into myself, I can always find out why, even if I don’t like what I find.  Once I know something, I can change it.

More importantly, if I want to change anything in my life, I know I need to create or discover a big enough “Why?” With a strong enough reason (Motivation) the “How?” becomes clear.  If there’s something in your life you need to change, dig around for a strong enough why.  The rest will be a LOT easier.

* Did I mention that I liked to keep things.

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