Did you know that the way stand, breathe, move, and talk throughout the day can affect the energy and presence of the people around you? That's because of a small thing known as mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are "special neurons that show activity both when a subject performs an action and when it observes the same action performed by another. Some scientists consider mirror neurons one of the most important findings in neuroscience in the last decade, in part because they are thought to be responsible for the empathic response in humans." (Philoctetes).
So what does this have to do with presence? Well, if we are in 2nd circle (AKA, present) with the people around us, then who is to say that those around us won't start mirroring that presence? After all, presence is energy that is combination of how we are standing, talking, moving, speaking, and breathing, so if our friends and family are mirroring those actions, then their presence is affected as well.
This is why there are certain people who, when we hang out with them, make us feel lighter, happier, more relaxed, and more present. We are mirroring their energy!
Here are two fabulous resources that offer up more information regarding mirror neurons. The first is an episode from the podcast Invisibilia. The second is a scientific lecture regarding the connection between mirror neurons and acting. Make sure to check out the PDF transcript of their roundtable discussion.
Enjoy, and happy creating :)
Mirror neurons and acting link
One of my favorite things to discuss/research/ponder/reflect upon is presence. I firmly believe that learning how to be present and practicing presence is one of the best ways you can improve your acting, your artistry, and your life. The next few posts will be geared at this concept, so make sure you come by again; but, in the meantime, I wanted to share three of my favorite videos about presence.
The first two videos are Patsy Rodenburg, a voice and speech teacher instructor; the last video is Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist.
Enjoy, and happy creating :)
As an actor, your job is to audition. Every now and then, you get to act.
With all of those auditions comes a lot of rejection. I once had a teacher tell our class that 10 callbacks for every 100 auditions, and 1 booking for every 10 callbacks, was the norm in the business. That's rough. That means you face rejection 99% of the time.
What's even worse is that 93% of the time, talent doesn't win the job. A group of casting directors were once asked what percentage talent plays in casting. Their answer? 7%. SO many other factors weigh in to whether or not an actor books a part, and most of those factors are completely outside the control of the actor.
In my opinion, the only way to not go crazy in this career is to focus on the why you decided to be an actor in the first place. Hopefully, it is because you love it; hopefully, it is because you can't imagine yourself doing anything else; hopefully, it is because acting and creating and experiencing and breathing and moving and imagining helps you feel alive and connected to something bigger than yourself. If that is why you chose this career, then each audition is a chance to experience all that beauty. It's a chance to create, even if it's for only 5 minutes in a tiny room with only one other person watching.
I found this article very helpful when it comes to thinking about and dealing with rejection. It's written from the viewpoint of a writer, but I think anyone can find these points useful. Happy creating :)
THE ACTIVE ACTOR
What is this thing?