Let me preface by saying commitment is not dedication. There is a clear distinction between the two. Commitment is about the role you take on as an actor and the journey undertaken in giving yourself over to that role. Dedication is a matter of application – i.e. learning lines or rehearsing.
I’m one of those people who likes to be in control of what’s happening. I need that little voice in my head over-analyzing everything but as an actor, that doesn’t really work. I’m learning that if you can’t get out of your own head, you’re not engaged in your character. Consequently the audience isn’t going to be engaged either.
In a world governed by impulse, emotion and free falling, there isn’t much room to over-analyze. It took me a while (and I’m still working on it) to learn to just take a deep breath, let go and commit to the moment. Sure it can be scary sometimes, getting out of your own head. But when you do, those occasions are the ones that give way to our most sincere and compelling performances.
Why is that? A compelling performance is the sum of its parts. To hold one’s audience transfixed through to the culmination of one’s performance, you must, as the actor, make the conscious decision to commit yourself wholeheartedly and without reservation to the role that you are portraying.
It is in those moments of surrender that we are able to bridge the divide between acting and true life experiences. The most gripping stories, the most memorable performances, are the ones that connect to the audience. And isn’t that what we all strive for as actors – to affect our audience, to move them emotionally, even if just for the briefest moment in time.
Commitment requires us, as the actor to take the words on the page or the dialogue the characters say, and embody the pure uninhibited essence of what those words and actions represent. When making character choices, we must always make bold choices – even if they take us out of our everyday selves. It is of importance that whatever choice we make, if it lacks conviction, our audiences will find the performance inauthentic. Therefore it is incumbent that through each performance shines the desire to take bold risks. To do this, oftentimes we have to give in to looking a little absurd to get the big payoff.
As such, it is our responsibility as actors to commit ourselves to also embodying the mannerisms of what the role requires. By this regard we can possess the innate power to mesmerize and ensnare the minds and imaginations of our viewers. At the end of the day, you either go BIG or go home.