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From A Rat to Top Dog | 4 Lessons Learned And Changed Self

 Nawazuddin Siddiqui
From a struggler to Bollywood star- Nawazuddin Siddiqi 

How Was I A Stupid Actor?

5 years of struggle, rejections, depleted finances, mounting credits, criticism, mockery... it was everything terrible which compelled me to chicken out from my dream to be a great actor. Then I met an actor cum an acting coach and that changed my life. I pondered, analyzed my 5 years of struggle, practiced and changed.
Here  are my observations and tips to all actors

The day I was struck by how similar the rules to acting are to the rules of success in life.
After being labeled as a "Struggler" for long, the day had come when either I find the reason and change myself or quit acting. After analyzing my past of 5 years, asking close ADs and my acting coach,  I found that much like attaining success,  good acting is far from easy. The brighter side is, with the power of imagination, observation and regular practice, any one can be an excellent actor and be a believable on camera.

1. Forget Self And  Self-Consciousness by Concentrating On "The Other”

Here what I mean by "The Other" is reacting to your experience at the "moment" either in real in life or in a "imaginary moment" in a film scene or on stage. This is by reacting truthfully to what you have sensed through your 5 senses(see, smell, taste, listen and by touching)

  • To varying degrees, humans are all the same. We are preoccupied with ourselves and what others think of us can lead to occasional irritating thoughts to crippling anxiety 
  • In acting, the number one rule is to lose self-consciousness, your "self", Archetype. Bad acting is often the result of self-awareness. It’s easy to tell when the actor is concerned with how they look, enjoying the sound of their voice or how they are performing. These thoughts take the actor way from the audience, and the actor loses being in a character and his credibility
  • Actors can avoid this pitfall by shifting their concerns on some object on the set, or on watching and really listening to co actor. By responding to what they see and focusing on their partner’s reactions, actors may forget that they are "acting".  By placing   focus on the other person could be the best way to achieve goal on-stage or for the camera-by responding to the people. Listen and I mean really listen and respond naturally. 

2. Focus On Controlling What You Can Control

 Not everything.  That may look fake

  • Once, when I was attending class by Scott Zigler.  I noticed he always emphasizes that “ deliberate indication” is a sign of bad acting. When an audience watches a performance, it is easy to feel and tell if the actor is truly angry or just trying to act angry (hence “indicating” anger). 
  • To avoid this, actors need to STOP thinking that they need to "act".   For example to “feel” angry,  some will be trying desperately to "act" and the viewers will immediately feel them as "artificial". However, these actors can take at least "actions" which are within their control. For example, It is not my "attempt" to appear angry, but with my action like body language and gestures generated truthfully when you listen carefully and focusing on what and how my character will react may cause me to be angry.

3. It's Not What You Say But How You Say

I used to become frustrated during rehearsal when I felt that the lines in the script were awkward or out of character.
However, good actors do not need to rely on the words of the script. The lines are simply the means to the character’s goal, and the actual words are not nearly as important as the tone of voice, inflection, body language and emotions behind them. For example, the words “I love you” can be used to really tell someone: “I care about you”. The audience is humans and can detect the slightest emotional signs — from the worry in someone’s voice to anxiety from somebody’s breathing patterns. We need not be constrained by the script that we are assigned, but we should be conscious of the messages -hidden or not — behind the actual words.

4. Good Actor? Ha...ha...ha!

Acting isn't all about feeling the character and being in the moment. If you can't get a job, it's not about much at all. Acting is only possible if somebody's prepared to sit and watch you do it. To survive emotionally and professionally, the trick, therefore, is to be in the top 8%. I recollected my auditions and long queues for the same role. I realized that though the acting is an art, it’s also a business Which means that as an actor, you should view yourself as a businessman who is working hard at operating your business, organizing and creating its direction and success on a daily basis
~ The author

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