"Why should there be a shortcut in learning how to act? How about just letting it take the time that it takes?" - Kathryn Bild, Acting From A Spiritual Perspective
Even with a job you LOVE to do, there may be certain aspects of it that you aren't particularly fond of. You muscle through the not-so-pleasant parts to get to the parts that you really, really enjoy because it's worth the effort.
As you all know... I love acting. It is my dream job. However, I don't love EVERYTHING about acting. There are certain requirements of the job that I find...challenging...and have some resistance to mastering.
One aspect in particular that I'm struggling with today is...MEMORIZATION.
I allllllways want to fast-forward to the part where I already know the lines. That part feels great!!! I love already having the lines memorized...It's the process of memorization that I often find slooooow and tedious.
I know that memorization is super important for quality acting. And I'm not the only one who thinks so, here's some solid advice from a pro:
"Know your damn lines. Know your lines inside and out, to the point at which they become secondhand...there's a certain ease that you have with your dialogue where you can play around. And the ability to play around comes with being prepared and knowing who your character is and what they're going to say. Then you can improv and do other things, because you have the roots and you can create the branches and leaves. But you have to know the fundamentals, and the most important fundamental is: Know what you're going to say." - Leonardo DiCaprio, Backstage, November 23, 2011, Interview with Jenelle RileyI mean...I have to heartily agree with Mr. DiCaprio. Gotta know them lines!
Since I don't have a photographic memory and I'm not someone who can just glance at a script a couple times and miraculously know the words...I have to take lots of TIME to memorize. There's really no way around this.
I just have to stop spending my precious time WISHING I could memorize faster and start ACTUALLY reading the script out loud.
I am an auditory learner. So it helps for me to record myself saying the lines and listen to it while I'm walking or doing some kind of secondary activity. That helps it sink in to my brain.
Speaking the words is the best. The more I SAY them and actually feel them in my mouth...the better.
One thing that always worries me...Is that I'll get into a certain PATTERN in the way the words are spoken. But I have learned over the years that I actually use this "worry" as an excuse to procrastinate memorizing. And it's not really an issue for me at all...Just a fear.
I know that I am capable of breaking an ingrained vocal pattern...For example, I know one of Emily's monologues from Our Town better than anything (because I've been doing it since I was 13 years old)... and I have complete control in giving variety to the way I say that monologue... and for the very reasons that Mr. DiCaprio mentions above...I know EXACTLY what Emily is going to say...so I can feel 100% free to PLAY with it and I am NEVER concerned about losing my place or forgetting what comes next. Not to say that I'm anticipating what's coming next...NO. I am perfectly free knowing that I can fully live in the moment and feel good knowing that the line for the next moment will be there for me when I need to access it in my brain. I could do that monologue while standing on my head and being pummeled with cream pies. Now THAT's a good feeling.
So...gotta get on this memorization thing for my monologues for grad school auditions...One's already memorized. I've got three more to go.
Sometimes writing it over and over again helps too. I do like writing.
Memorizing just takes so much TIIIIIIIME. I wish there was a computer chip I could insert into my brain with all of the info loaded onto it.
"There aren't shortcuts. Merely direct paths. Most people don't take them, because they frighten us. Things that look like shortcuts are usually detours disguised as less work." - Seth Godin
Stop whining, Wilcox! You're wasting your energy. The more you DO it the better you will get at it. So smile and do what you know will help you get the words in your head!
Allow yourself to enjoy the process.
It could be worse...you could be memorizing the periodic table of elements. Bleh!
...Where's my script!?
"I don't find acting very easy. It's a lot of hard work for me. But I love it. I love the homework, the research, and the solitude that goes into a part." - Bob Hoskins