When you are an actor, you have a difficult job. You need to be able to best serve the story of the production you are in. You also have the director to think about; directors have a very specific idea of what they want, so you need to make sure that your acting fits into that vision. Finally, you have a job to best serve the character you are playing. That is where subjectivity and objectivity come in. This article is going to take a closer look at these concepts so you can better understand what kind of acting your job requires.
WHAT ARE OBJECTIVITY AND SUBJECTIVITY?
When it comes to acting, objectivity is essentially the ability to take a step back and look at things from an unemotional perspective. Your feelings don’t really come into it; you are simply observing things and remaining open to critique or advice for the greater good of the production.
Subjectivity in acting is when you are able to inject your performance with personal feelings, opinion, etc. (typically those of the character you are playing) and create your own interpretations of the role. There is a time and place for this, however, which we will explain a little later.
WHEN TO BE OBJECTIVE
If you receive feedback or direction from someone like a casting director, a director on set, or your agent, this is when to be objective. If you become too subjective about receiving critiques and are upset by being told that you are not perfect at what you are doing, it might be time to take a look at your professionalism and maturity on set. Critique is not meant to hurt your feelings. It is simply being given with the goal of telling the production’s story as effectively as possible.
By not accepting feedback or following the lead of the director, it is possible for you to derail the production and gain a reputation for yourself as someone who is difficult to work with or doesn’t have the best interests of the production in mind. Take a look at your work in an objective way. Can you be honest about what you did well and what you might need to improve on? If you seek or receive feedback from someone, can you dissect and understand that feedback in a positive way, then apply it to your craft without your feelings being hurt? This is how to be an objective actor.
WHEN TO BE SUBJECTIVE
The time for being subjective is when you are actually acting within the scene. Another way to look at it is that subjectivity is useful when you need to be in the character. The time for objectivity and honest review of your work in the role is when the cameras stop rolling and you need to analyze what you have done.
While the scene is being filmed, make sure you are focusing on things like your character’s motivations, blocking, and personalization. Then it will be time to step out of that role and look at things from the perspective of an actor who wants to learn more and do their best for the production.
There is a need for both objective and subjective acting on the job, but there are times when one is better than the other. Always remember that your priority should be ensuring you are doing what is best for the production. Good luck in your acting!