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Why You Should Never Play It Safe as an Actor

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Why You Should Never Play It Safe as an Actor

Be really good. Be really bad. Just don’t be boring.

That really says it all. In life and in our acting — the goal is to be fully expressed. We rarely allow ourselves to do this on a moment-to-moment basis because we become prisoners of our own minds criticizing us, judging us, telling us what is appropriate and keeping us playing safe. So we end up making choices that are bland.

Forgettable. Protected. Obvious. Common.

There’s nothing memorable about being safe. Life is not only inherently risky but it also evokes risk within us. It makes us want to take leaps. It makes us want to step into the unknown. It makes us want to throw caution to the wind.

But if you listen to the left-brain’s logic of why you shouldn’t do something or why something isn’t a good idea or all the “bad” things that might happen if you decide to take the risk, you end up doing nothing.

Start being okay with making huge blunders. Failing big. Falling flat on your face. Getting uncomfortable. The more you do this, the more the creative world will open up to you and you’ll begin stepping into new domains of possibility that previously weren’t available to you.

Acting is truly the art of being comfortable being uncomfortable.

Homework: Let your choices be hugely creative or dramatically terrible. Just don’t let them be boring. I’m not asking you to do something crazy just to be crazy and get someone to notice you. What I’m talking about here is building a muscle by making authentic, bold, daring choices that are true to the moment and that you normally repress or shy away from because you let fear keep you from taking those risks.

Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and Artistic Director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) in Los Angeles, where it was voted the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles by Backstage in 2011 and 2012 (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read). AMAW is also located in New York and Australia. 

Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and the CW KTLA. He is also the author of the new best-selling book, “At Left Brain Turn Right,” which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.

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