A little while ago I was working with a colleague, a fellow actor who is a veteran to the craft, on a project in pre production. What I didn't know when we began working was that he'd serve as my teacher as we navigated the latest scripted material.
The lesson began once we reached the editing room - I headed there to see the work that had been done for the day and to learn how to do my job better. I also went over there, and I'm going to be completely honest, for some of that praise we so often hope for after 'a job well done'. Ha! Was I in for a surprise.
So I get to the editing room and there is my teacher (and here I was forgetting that in life class is ALWAYS in session), as I entered the room the smile on my face - you know the one you flash when someone tells you that you've done great work? Yeah that smile quickly left me. "You need to keep that cup away from your face - there's no sequence to it" was how our conversation began. "See there? That was a great moment, but You followed it up with overt celebration of that moment - go after it right there and you really win that scene." If I told You that I wasn't a bit deflated I'd be lying. I was getting a lesson in acting and I wasn't quite ready for it. My initial response was a prideful defense. Thankfully I opted to shut my mouth and shut down my defensive walls. Instead I listened as I watched. He peppered me with some more lessons - and some praise but by the end of the session I was a better actor.
Sometimes what we need to hear isn't what we want to hear but that doesn't mean we don't need to hear it. Having the right people around us - people that are better at what we do than we are in some way - is a great way to become better ourselves. And it is through open & honest dialogue that these 'chance' encounters to learn become life long lessons. But that is always up to us.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some pointers to go and annotate my script with.
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