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Presence makes an Actors craft substantial!

When an Actor enters an audition room, he is certain to spurt into the presence of his mind!


The entire base of training in refining the actor’s craft is hooked to the presence. So, to exude the presence of a character, an actor he has to be aware of his thoughts, actions, emotions, and himself. One cannot be present on the stage front facing the casting directors and wandering, embodying the life of a man outside the audition room. One has to be mindful that his thoughts are coinciding with that of the character. And to do that, there are tools and ecosystems which can delve out the performance one aspires to deliver — in which presence stays constant. Though, we will get back to that shortly.

To begin with, what goes or should go inside an actor’s mind while performing? Canada’s McMaster’s University conducted an experiment, wonderfully named — The Neuroscience of Romeo and Juliet. They monitored the brain activity of the actors with the help of an MRI scan, asking them to first play themselves and then their friend. The results appeared to a conclusion, as marked by Shakespeare — “loss of self”. An actor has to lose himself to enter inside the character’s brain. However, one common thing method actors retained, as analysed by the scan, was being in the moment — aware of their mental presence.

Now, Recalling the question with a subsequent answer: character’s expressions, geographical dialects, eye movements, body language, thinking process, the cognitive appearance of thoughts and the embodiment of one’s life goes inside the mind of an actor. And all of these things collectively is presence, presence of mind and presence of the moment. Furthermore, what are the tools and an ecosystem to follow? The primary objective of acting is to live the sensations of the character and not just be presentational. And whether you live the sensations or be presentational with your greet, it all starts as and how you enter the audition room. A greet entails the first impression of a ‘Hey/Hi/Hello’. It surfaces how enthusiastic you are for performing and finding the right balance between too little & too much. Losing that hook of greet is losing the fish: performance and your chance. Then what do you actually do to be in the present moment, in the presence of your mind?

Before entering the audition room, practice an 8-minute exercise of deep breathing. It has the prowess to pluck you out of the characters you played throughout the day, and permeate you into the character you’ll be playing. It connects your subconscious to your presence which thereon speaks itself. Your subconscious starts to paint the belief of the character, making the audience enter the mind of the writer. As you walk into the room, let your shoulders relax. The nervousness of skipping and forgetting lines leads to either slumping of shoulders or make them stiff. This transmits a message to the brain to be in two states: fight or flight. And neither of them is going to contribute to your performance. Rather it makes your performance have a fistfight with you yourself or run away as you confront it. So, when you walk in, be aware of the presence and let your shoulders rest in a natural state.

The third thing to ace the attention of casting directors is to maintain eye contact as you greet them. Juggling eyeballs depicts an unfocused mind that can affect your performance while showing expressions. To make them still, and evoke your presence, close your eyes once and gradually open the lids. You’ll be enthused with the calibre to deliver the best. To create an ecosystem for the presence of your mind, an essential entity is: telling your story. The tools aforementioned help you to stand inside the circle with grit, but what driving force is your expression of storytelling. The quintessence you put into the movement of eyeballs, eyebrows, mouth, and neck muscles along with body coordination, turns that presence into a substantial craft no one can imitate — thus transcending a virtuosic connoisseur. Finally, where do you use this presence, tools, and ecosystem of acting? To answer that: Unconventional spaces, conversations, and meetings are the places to be specific — at least in India. Unlike foreign states, that have methodical means of approaching auditions with the assistance of the Internet, the Indian Film Industry follows the old-boy network approach. To make a career in acting in India, one has to be conscious of mindful presence as well as showing physical presence in ubiquitous invisible audition rooms. Appearing at different places, mining information, building networks, and leaving your impression is how an actor in India can actually be called an Actor. In retrospect, to be comfortable in the profession of acting, at least in our country, you must manifest your presence everywhere — both mentally and physically. Because that is the avenue you will follow to make your Actor’s Craft, substantial!

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