The importance of being excellent (extremely good; outstanding) is ingrained in society and plays an important role in behavior, manners, education, trade, sport. Pretty much all facets of life.
I would never be one to dismiss or discredit the tremendous feeling that goes along with performing a task in an excellent manner. I for one enjoy knowing that I did an outstanding job in completing a specific task at hand. Heck, I even like the way the word sounds coming out of someone’s mouth; “That was excellent, Guy!”
And therein lies the rub. Sometimes, aiming for excellence can be misinterpreted as shooting for a gold star and wanting to please others. This act of wanting to please can result in the slow creative death of an artist even if at times pleasing others for the sake of pleasing does feel pretty darn good!
In my experience, the times I want to please the casting director, the director, or other actors, I feel I’m doing it for the wrong reasons and that it lacks authenticity.
On the flip side, I feel most authentic when I follow through with an honest choice, give the fullest interpretation of the audition material (sides) and allow myself to respond to what’s really happening to me and around me in the casting office. Those are the times I leave the room sensing I just left it all behind me.
As an actor and acting coach, I encourage artists to strive for a sense of personal excellence in their acting, writing, and directing and avoid playing for an end result.
As good as it is to have an end game in mind, I think the best and most joyful way to explore acting is to give up any attachments and work moment to moment. Then, when you hear the phrase “That was excellent!” it will resonate in a new fashion because it’s no longer the only thing you are chasing after.
Next issue, I will write about the act of being UNDENIABLE.
Guy Camilleri is a Venice-based actor and acting coach. He teaches regular classes on Wednesday nights at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. For details email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Guy on Instagram @guycamilleri.