As an actor, it is one’s duty to serve as a storyteller, giving audiences a chance to escape inside the lives of the characters they breathe life into. In doing so, viewers are taken on an emotional journey that can result in something as simple as brightening someone’s day or even changing someone’s life. That the power and responsibility of that is held.
Being an actor is a career path many people outside of the entertainment industry look down upon and falls under the category of occupations that people say, “Get a real job!” to. Many people consider the pursuit of an acting career unrealistic and do not believe it has any real contribution to society. It is thought of as play-time, a phase even, that it is only temporary. These individuals hope said actor will wise up sooner or later to realize that they should not be chasing some silly childhood fantasy any more and face the facts that it is time to put on the monkey-suit and work for “the man”.
Beware the nay-sayers. Actors will undoubtably come across them no matter what their level of success, whether it be one’s parents, a fellow actor, a director, a teacher, or even a common passerby they come across by chance.
The nay-sayers know not of the immense impact the art of acting has on one’s everyday life. The voices that children hear in the latest Disney movie – it brings them joy. A stay-at-home mom catches a moving Hallmark commercial while folding the laundry and in between wiping the tears from her face, becomes that much more thankful for what she has in life. A traveling business man, stressed out to the max, rents a movie in his hotel room and splits his sides laughing relieving that all of that tension.
These reactions from everyday people are the result of what happens when an actor makes an emotional argument – a definitive statement of feeling. An actor has the daunting task of mastering the emotional switchboard. Becoming an emotional warrior and acquiring the power to access a weapons-grade level of emotion is incredibly difficult. In addition, to be able to switch on a dime to another emotion on the same level of intensity seems impossible to some. The quest for a mastery of emotions is never truly finished, but the journey one takes to get there is immensely rewarding.
Anger, fear, love, sadness and joy are the five basic human emotions. Every human being experiences these emotions within the first year of life. Within that first year, the feelings that are had can be considered “weapons-grade”. Overtime, society teaches everyone to suppress these emotions. Some individuals suppress more than others, some not at all, some lose complete control, and some bury them so deep that they may seem incapable of feeling. The result of this suppression is dishonesty.
It is an actor’s duty to reveal honesty – to be completely vulnerable and open to let emotions flow and take shape to tell an extraordinary story. The greatest performers in the world do just that whilst displaying the utmost honest presentation of bravery. The word “bravery” is often associated with the word “hero”. An actor must strive very diligently to become a hero, but can only do so by exuding bravery with the same level of diligence. May the next generation of actors be prime examples of these aforementioned heroes and make the world a better place for doing so.
Opinion by Cody Collier