Be the newbie for your entire career. The beginner has a fresh perspective and to be perfectly honest has far more fun. Dame Judi Dench once said, “If I’m not having fun, I’m not rehearsing right.” And I’m sure you will agree with me – the woman knows a little bit about acting!!
When we are new to something, we have no choice but to approach it with a certain level of innocent curiosity. When we approach any learning from this space there are no limits to how much we can learn. We are like sponges soaking everything up. There is no judgment in that space only focused conscious attention. After all, when we are new to it how can we judge it, we have no reference points?
When we begin placing our expectations on the outcomes, when we start saying things like: “I should be further along than this.” “I’m never going to get this.” “Everyone else gets it and I don’t.” Or even worse “I’m so much better at this than everyone else.” our progress slows.
As soon as you start to make judgment calls about your progress you have stepped out of innocent curiosity and into judgment. Judgment kills creativity. In a state of innocent curiosity, you stop getting in your own way.
If we get too judgmental of ourselves, of others or of the process we begin to close around the subject and we stop learning, we stop creating. Learning can be thought of as creation at its purest form as we are creating new thought patterns, new understandings and schemata. We step into what Dr Carol Dwek (a leading researcher in the field of developmental psychology) calls a fixed mindset.
So, understanding the importance of remaining innocently curious and approaching the work from a “newbie’s” perspective, what are the steps that we can take to ensure we stay in this perfect state for learning, exploration and creativity?
- Constantly search for new ways of doing the same thing.
- Always challenge your research and assumptions.
- Stop believing things are either right or wrong and instead try to discover how everything right.
- Try not to repeat what you already know in rehearsals.
- Do not do things the usual way do them in an unusual way.
- Avoid becoming the “expert” at all costs.
- Rather than referring to past experience approach the work as if you had no past experience.
- Put on a “nothing can be wrong” attitude. Remember a “bad” idea often leads to the best ideas so they can’t be bad or wrong they are necessary.
As an actor you want to teach yourself how to discover every moment in a scene as if your character is discovering it for the first time every time. This work is going to help you do that. And how you approach your rehearsals will start to develop your process of creation in performance. So therefore, it is essential that you start committing to this approach, start training yourself.
To produce unique work, you need to have a unique approach. In order to have a unique approach it cannot be connected to past experience. Take the plunge. Risk not knowing. Let go and explore. Be the newbie and approach the work and every performance with refreshed innocent curiosity and allow yourself each time to discover it for the first time. This is the best state to be in for ultimate creation. It may be scary at first but once you see the results you won’t approach the work any other way.
Need help with the direction of your acting training or career? Nor sure what steps to take to explore that more?
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