What else is there?
Why are we here? Why do we feel compelled to tell stories and reflect back to humanity what it means to be human? Why do we sit in dark theaters with strangers and watch performances that are specific and individual, yet universal at the same time?
Well, if it’s not love, then what is it?
It’s not only the driving force behind our expression as artists but ultimately it’s also a powerful, expanding energy that can renew, inspire, and regenerate our enthusiasm for life and for creating.
And love comes in so many forms: Eros, Agape, brotherly, friendship, family.
We look for it generally in one way—the kind that’s romanticized in movies and “Fifty Shades of Grey” novels—when we don’t realize that real, authentic connection is what we’re after. That’s love—connection with others, connection with self, connection with the moment and all it has to offer, connection with the words we get to say as actors and the stories we are blessed to tell.
Filmmaker, John Cassavetes said, “To have a philosophy is to know how to love and to know where to put it.”
A philosophy in creating and how to create, then, is love.
Similarly, Ingmar Bergman (who directed over 60 films) said, “Films aren’t important but people are.” Meaning, when we come together with people who inspire us and encourage us to become all we can be, that’s love. Creating with fellow artists to tell stories we must tell. That’s love. That’s the real reason why we’re doing it.
Sure, success is great—booking jobs, making money, fame. But what if we started to let acting be an expression of our saying to ourselves and to the world, “How can I love?” “Where can I love?” “Whom can I love?”
To be optimally expressed—to be free—requires us to shift the paradigms we hold around love. And mostly, the limitations we place around it.
Often we hold onto it, saving it for that “special someone,” scared that if we give it away too soon we won’t have anything left when that perfect time arrives.
The perfect time is always now. Love is the greatest renewable resource on the planet. It will fill you right back up once you start giving it away. To all people. So why do we hold onto it?
Start sharing it. Everywhere.
In an audition room? Learn how to love the opportunity you’ve been given and the chance to show people how much you love to create by doing so. That shift alone will change your work from fear—“Am I doing this right?” to “This is how I choose to do it.”
In your creative work? Be brave to go to the places that counter-intuitively seem to evoke feelings contrary to love. Only by expressing them do we learn how to stop judging ourselves and accept and love all parts.
In your day to day life? Start putting down the phone and look people in the eye. Smile. Share a moment—no matter how brief.
When you begin to realize that acting ultimately is about the exploration of self—and therefore the acceptance of self—you’ll fall in love with acting (and perhaps yourself) all over again.
What can be more exciting than telling someone, “Yeah, I’m off to self-study class.”
“You mean scene-study?”
“Nope. Self-study. And what can be greater than that?”
Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!