Being Present in Acting

Being Present in Acting

Being present in Acting is key. Vulnerability and Openness help keep you present in acting. Being open to having experiences happen or occur in real time is an achievement. There is no point in working on your emotions without spontaneity. Planned emotions without spontaneity are boring. For acting you want to stay open and be present.

It may seem counter intuitive to train yourself to being present in acting. All types of actors need to improve the way they receive each other to achieve being present.

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It takes some hard work to learn the lessons of Emotional Preparation. Once you gain the depth of emotion being present and spontaneous can often be challenging. Having the reminder that being open and present helps you to receive moments in your acting.

The goal is to have emotional rivers flowing through you without blocks or limitations. Being able to be affected by outside influence is an artform that requires craft.

Draft Copy of Acting Book Mastering Spontaneity in Acting
Copyright 2016-2019, Simon Blake

The Goal of being open is being open to how you are stimulated even when it is inconvenient to express or receive. When the impulse of expression urges within you must be willing to openly express it as you are present to the conditions that surround you.

Is not a card or strategy game – not a holding back of experience – It is a releasing what is internal as it remains stimulated by what is external Being Present in acting means being loose enough to release emotions when they are stimulated?

Goal: Not to hold back yourself emotionally

If your happenstance to become emotional or become emotionally charged in your acting work, you release it and allow it to release as you remain stimulated by external happenings. The key is not to force or push yourself to pontificate or present an emotional state when you are not actually in an emotional state. The key is also to not disconnect from external stimuli just because you are in an emotional state.

There are two places you need to stay or be present when working with Emotional Preparation. You must first be present to self-stimulating experience from within you while doing Emotional Preparation. Secondly, you must be present to being stimulated by what is outside of yourself. If you do both you are certain to get some result. Don’t try to do both at the same time or you will find yourself in a foundry.

If you are missing the ability to be Present in your Emotional Preparation and then be present externally immediately after your Emotional Preparation, then you could be missing the entire experience. A part of Emotional Preparation is taking your focus off of yourself and letting go of your own Self Focus.

If you are not doing the second part which is taking your attention off yourself and putting your focus on something other than you than you are training yourself into conceitedness. Being conceited about life is not an acquiring asset for very long. It may get you what you think you initially want and fade rapidly after the initial gain.

Goal: Not Pushing your Emotionality

The goal is to allow exterior things pull the emotional expressions from you. This is key. If you learn to craft the exterior pulling your emotional life from you the more natural expressions will occur with the impulses that created them. This is far different than pontification, which in its own right can be a stylization in acting.

The more you are able to craft your emotionality to allow external stimulations to relate your expression, the more believable you will be as an Actor. It might take ten years to learn this sort of craft, but it is well worth it and is very different than heady work of waiting to interject at the proper time.

Being Present in Acting will gain significant attention on camera. You may not look like you know much off camera, but the film takes will proof an awareness that you have that other may not possibly have.

Big Key: Releasing Presence in Acting

The biggest misconception about Emotional Preparation is that you do it and then you stay within it. Your preparation during your acting moments in fact need to be free to express themselves and not the context of your attention. Your attention needs to be free to process the new situation you have entered.

It can be true that you stay within your Emotional Preparation range but not because you force it or ignore other things. If you stay within your Emotional Preparation range it is because the interexchange’s with your partner consistent your emotions.

Allowance of interplay with what is external to you should dictate how your Emotional Preparation becomes activated or persistent. Your ability to train yourself to enable the other to affect you gains your effectiveness as an Actor. This is the opposite of trying to conceive an ideal situation or condition.

In acting we are dealing with reality and real time stimulation which means that we will usually be taken out of what we have Emotionally Prepared on. More often we will feel that we have been taken out of our Emotional Preparation, yet the Emotional Preparation will still linger or linger and return to our work during our time in our new circumstance.

Regardless of what Emotional Preparation work we have done we need to constantly be active with what is newly stimulating us. The layered glasslike approach of transparency when many things are going on internally as new things are happening is the goal.

The moment that we start our acting moments we focus off of ourselves (and our Emotional Preparation stays wherever it was from when before we shifted our attention. Being present in Acting involves your current attention focusing on what additionally is stimulating ourselves.

We must pay attention to outside influence because we have entered a non-private circumstance. In most cases in class work we have entered a circumstance with another person, or a spectacular event just occurred which had not occurred to the moment prior.

We do not abandon our Emotional Preparation, but we do shift our focus from self-stimulation to external stimulation. The gift of what we have already stimulated within ourselves usually will find itself back into our work.

You work hard so that you have an Emotional Preparation and strong point of view but when you are working you focus on what is getting your attention. Whatever is presently stimulating you can become the stronger than your point of view or form a new point of view.

This is part of being present with your Emotional Preparations. It is actually letting go of trying to prove your Emotional Preparation that helps it to exist in you as you continue to receive the remainder of the situation.


What we do not do in Acting:

We do not take our Emotional Preparation for granted. This is when we become emotionally rich in it to ignore the outside environment that we enter in in our acting world. We cannot afford regardless of how rich our emotional life is internally to ignore the outside world.

If you are coming back to private place than you can be expecting to be going into what you internally feel yet when you enter your apartment to a surprise guest inside you must focus on your external stimulation immediately at that time. This way you will have whatever was going on prior to the external stimulation and the experience of the external stimulation both happening in you at the same time.

If you only focus on the past moments of Emotional Preparation, you will not be present in the scene work, and this is what not to do. Emotional Preparation is for the undercurrent of the scene, not the scenes focus. If the Emotional Preparation becomes the scene’s focus it is because it has been brought out by the external circumstances.

Being present in Acting is often more about what not to do than about what to do. It is key to understand that the gain of an experience often comes from receipt of experience rather than the creation of experience.

The key thing not to do is to try to hold on to the experience of Emotional Preparation as your living experience because even if it is still active it cannot be sacrifice what is present. If you are remaining present to what is your current external stimulation is and you have the rich inner life of your Emotional preparation moving through you than you are achieving the sweet spot of Emotional Preparation. The river of emotional life that is both alive and the fresh external experience and the river of the emotional life which is the internal life experience are coloring your behavior.

Being Present in Acting
Simon with ‘Some’ of his acting notebooks


  • Being present in your work;
    1.) Being present with knowing your opinion of what you are experiencing, all the time.
    2.) Do you know what you feel about the experience that you are in? Do you have an opinion about the other who you are with? Are you current with that opinion? 3.) Can you pinpoint specifics that you are noticing about the other actually in real time?
  • Being present in your emotional preparation.
    1.) Do you know how you feel about where you are? If you know how to be open then you can ??
    3.) Can you pinpoint how you feel about the other?
    4.) Can you pinpoint how the other feels about their self?
    A = your being present about yourself
    B = your being present about the other.

Being present with knowing your opinion of what you are experiencing, all the time:
Knowing and allowing yourself to have opinions when you do is part of being in the experience. Your vitality is connected to your ability to stay in touch with how you feel about the experience you are in. This is often automatic to many actors but as the work deepens and the Emotional Preparations deepen the reminder of staying in touch with how you feel becomes important.

Expressing that opinion honestly is the part where courage may be needed when you are in a stressed situation. This is far different than conceded applying of your opinion on others while not taking in them. It is important to know how you feel but it cannot be at the cost of not taking in the other person. Lazy Actors and students ignore the others to express themselves over the other. Actual Actors who have developed craft will actually receive the other and wait for the impulse to express themselves.

To know that you are being present in your Emotional Preparations you must get to know when you are activated, stimulated and emotionally charged and when you are not. Understanding when you are motivated and when you are just forcing yourself to commit to doing something is also a key to comprehension of your own vitality. Understanding what excites you is part of comprehending what and who you are which is entirely part of the process of learning and Emotional Preparation.

Initially working with your personal knowledge of yourself is the way to introduce yourself to Emotional Preparation authentically just as leaving your personal knowledge about yourself alone and rediscovering yourself is just as important once the work begins.

Understanding prior that new experiences within scenes and acting exercises will affect your own knowledge of who you are is the fair warning needed for an Actor to not go into complete shock while learning something new about themselves.

At a certain point in the Emotional Preparation learning experience, it may feel like the only thing that Emotional Preparation is learning about your own personality and what you really like and dislike. If you are honest the time will become a reintroduction to yourself, and the byproduct will be the technique you are building. This is a phase and a baseline to the entire approach of reality in either film or theater.

The revelation of self is the awards of the artist within the Actor presented. There may be times where the revelation of self is contested by yourself both internally and maybe makes you want to quit acting. If this is the reason you want to quit and don’t know it realize that most Actors go through some sort of phase of their own revelations of who they are in a way that humbles them and sometimes humiliates their own ego of self which is the representation of themselves that they present on a daily basis to the world.

It may be difficult not to be upset by doing this work because it bruises what you think you believe you are, and you find out that you have many difference sides in your acting work that you do not have in your life. This too is the growth that the actor takes on when they take on the honest workings of acting and understanding what really actually motivates and activates them internally. The hard truth is that many people live entire lives without actually knowing what activates their inward selves.

Being present in acting requires the dark secrets of self are the building blocks to greater things artistically and discoveries which can achieve wonders within the industry are gifts obtained to the struggling Actor that is trying to accept what they have learned about themselves. This discovery of self is the reality of being present in your work. Many producers are terrible Actors because they are full of dark secrets that release when they do acting making them very uncomfortable.

The approach of Emotional Preparation at first only a few dared to teach because of the inner personal discovery of self that it consistently uncovers. It is a daunting irregular consistency when you do your acting work and continue to discover parts of yourself that you never knew existed in you.

Being present with another while inner personal revelations are occurring within is a struggle that all go through if they are honest with themselves. The discoveries are not only felt by the actor going through them but also witnessed by whomever they are with requiring additional courage.

The immobilizing effect of self-realization can often happen within the scene work without notice that it will occur. The Actor can self-judge themselves which may be part of their present awareness of self that is appropriate, or it may be self grandizing. These are the moments of master strokes in acting and are the highlights of self-expression which often cause ends of careers to happen or lapses in attendance within classrooms because the honesty that these moments present is way more interesting than argumental conflict.

If you are lucky to achieve realization of self within the workings of a scene do not expect the occurrence to consistently happen to the scale of wanting to quit acting or wanting the scene to end because of the emotional feeling or intensity it may present. Instead, be courageous and grateful that it was captured on tape, film or in a manner that can help others to achieve realizations of humanity.

The result of an unfiltered self is an achievement of hard work that has been done by you and is an illustration to others about themselves. Your unfiltered self is a reflection of your own inner life and also a reflection to those who are witness to it.

These are the moments that are rarely ever caught on film because of the processes that films use in modern era. Actors are so used to the superficialities of modern scenes that the feeling of actual inner realization in front of others or in a film scene becomes a nearly too overwhelming of a thing to digest. But these were the moments of the great stage Actors who would go out and experience these types of self-expressions on stages on a nightly basis as other Actors sat back wondering about the processes that they were using to achieve such realities.

The Techniques of Emotional Preparation and the knowledge of abilities are scarcely written about and often only inputted one sentence at a time or small paragraphs of explanation. The ability to emerge yourself into written discussions and explorations of thousands or tens of thousands who have practiced Emotional Preparation and be able to learn from their experiences is the collected value of this book and these readings.

Remember if you do something too often then you will lose your appetite for it. If you discover another layer of yourself, you will gain appetite because the scent of what you have uncovered will revitalize you. So, when you are working the techniques of Emotional Preparation to find what works for you achieve your realities by allowing and permission yourself to appetite your learning desires rather than forcing the actions that will keep you in the same layer of self that you have entered into your work with.

Trusting that interest will follow appetite after discovery won’t take long if you are willing to find what layers are deeper within you. Simply not resisting what else may be part of your being will be an asset to uncovering what your truthful responses are.

This incredible information will take some process and practice to achieve the realizing of difference between your appetite and your external wants trying to force their will on you. External wants will likely try to dictation your internal dialogue with self rather than explore the reality you find yourself in. If you can aware yourself to the difference than you will find that you will peak your interests because you will rid yourself of forced doings of discipline.

Forced disciplines often involve time aspects that need to achieve something within a certain amount of time when the truth is that when you are in the moment there is no time, only the timing of momentum jumps of reality that shift and adjust to each other.

Real achievement is the ability to purpose yourself in a way towards effortlessness not forced creation or intellectual timing. Convincing yourself of your progress instead of actually achieving it is the minds ideal but not the actuality of self or your state of your being.

The craft of staggering repetition rather than timing of an interval is the discovery of reality rather than the dictating of it. Regulating effort towards something is another piece of the key to this element but being free to allow it to decide the rhythm of its own expression.

Allowing the actual real-time reality of your existence to craft its own unique timing of being allows you to step back into the reality of the moment rather than having to conduct that reality. You turn from an orchestra conductor to a participant of the experience.

Your abilities will tend to stay with your appetite for self-realization more than you expect that it will. Your mind may try to convince you of a set pattern of being when your human growth is actually asking for a something else. When it finds its own rhythm, it will be as if time itself has stopped but you will feel the centrifugal force of your synchronicity.

The artistic approach is far grander than the technical achievement of getting through a scene which is inevitable anyways after effort has been committed to and released to do the scene or exercise.

The sense of losing timing while doing this work is a good indicator that you are not trying to focus on an achievement of perfecting a reality of either your own perception or someone else’s. The emersion into reality that you have not yet learned how to do or wish to expand will continue as you permission yourself to grow in this work.

In many cases the slower you go into this work the more you are able to slowly acclimate yourself to realizing its potential and adjusting your real self by finding your real desires instead of goals into the processes.
To find your appetite towards something spontaneously stagger your approach or timing to it until it seems to have a movement all by itself.

This is an emotional process that you allow internally to occur rather than performing and inward conjuring and work on what you think moves you ahead. This way you will approach the craft of acting that fits your own appetite rather than following someone else’s realization of self within this work, including your teachers.

Teachers allow your students to develop their own interests within the general framework which each step allows the ability of. The order of learning is important for the teacher to be able to pass as much of themselves over to the students which is the reason why the students need to respect the choices of the teacher.

There is no need to disrespect a teacher’s efforts to pass information onto the students. Most times a teacher’s insights will benefit the student in some way or another. Being present in Acting takes patience and time to learn. It is not a thing to just pick up on without practice even with natural talent.

The process of self-discovery and the element of appetite is included and palatable within each step of Acting processes that encourages real actuality within the work. This palatability is the sense of being present to things that may not yet be formed until the experience has gotten midway.

There is no reason to concern yourself with being critical of the order that the teacher selects for the classroom as there is enough learning for an individual student present within each step of the process that remains in a very free form of expressing. The palatability of learning is the tangibility of the students individual learning processes and the core of their individual expression which could change over time of being exposed to the work.

The allowance of the student’s observation of others and things outside of themselves within the classroom work is evidence of proper function within the classroom and the reason why improvisational approaches are necessary. Improvisational approaches grant freedoms for the Actors development of self to occur while their own focus is on something else which allows for a dichotomy of positioning to be a reality and relationship forming. Actual expression and relationship with each other are why improvisation classrooms are so popular.

The ability and freedom to both be stimulated and expressive at the same time is the improvisational technique that the actor learns more about as they learn acting. The flex that the training works to teach and relax in the student is their abilities in a direct link to both the reality of their outward stimuli and their inward stimuli.

Being Present in Acting External Awareness

It is essential to have the building process be both external awareness and internal growth. This is another reason why intellect needs to take a back seat to the process of learning and experiencing. If the Actor can stay relaxed and keep their attention and focus on another instead of themselves their goals in acting will materialize.

Being present in acting includes what they may have internally building up is allowed and encouraged. This is part of the ebb and flow that is desired while acting that most never feel in their careers accept during occasional acting exercises.

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Overthinking in Acting

The major elements of acting that stand in the way are usually connected to the person’s intellect. Usually, the obstacles that come up that make them quit their participation in acting or the artistic fields are intellectually based. Being present in acting cannot occur as easily if overthinking occurs in your acting work.

You are not a bad person if you over think situations. Over involvements with your mind and thinking is a very common early on problem and it is becoming a larger problem within the artistic society. Trends sometimes form because of idealism and trends sometimes form to break through societal idealisms. It is constructive to think about concepts in acting then release the mind from those so those ideas can work for you.

Your gut instincts are the center of the core of your being and not your intellect. You want to intellectually understand your materials in acting but not at the cost of not being involved in your art. If there are too many rules going on in your head, you will suffer your own experience from actually happening.

Before you work as an Actor decide and understand all the mental work first. Then when you do your work forget about all of it and just be present in the situation of the scene or the exercise. There is no reason to carry around mentality that is not interwoven with reality during acting. This is very different than judging the upcoming experience or over thinking.

If you have not yet learned to materialize feeling into a tangible felt sense than you are not yet fully Being present in acting. Having the understanding that you are meant to be affected during acting while you act is going to help your acting. Trust this.

There are series of exercises that you will learn as you learn acting. Some exercises teach exactly how to integrate ideals that the writer in the script have highlighted are important to have the scene function the way that it was written. These acting exercises will work element by element on integrating the instinctual habit of those ideals. This way you won’t need to be up in your head thinking about them when you are in amidst a scene.

The rehearsals of the Emotional Preparation processes go through your abilities to layer your techniques to integrate inside of your talent the components of the work. This means that if an element of the work is missing you work on adding that element and rehearse the inclusion of it by your own hard work on preparational exercises for the scene. During the scene you need to be free and clear of the logic of the scene so you will experience the scene and take in your partner.

Trusting that the techniques and practice will integrate is part of the learning process. Also, part of the learning process is doing enough work to let go of any tendencies to think during your work. It takes time to build the trust up that your instinct is enough of a responder and listener that you do not need stray thoughts during in your own working conditions.

If your teacher in your classroom tells you that you are not encapsulating a certain thing in your work, you can take in their critique and work on that isolated element. When you work on that element you will habitually learn the work by hard work rather than faking the ideal to yourself or others. Trying to convince your teacher that they are not seeing the work correctly is a result of your overthinking.

Many Actors try to convince the audience while acting. This is coming from their logic and need for a sense of belonging. No one cares if you belong when you are acting, they want to see if you are living fully within the circumstances so they can relate their own senses because you are involved in your own senses so clearly. Connection to others does not get built by mental agreements, they get built by emotional connection, emotional clarity and openness.

The instinct shuts down its openness to experiencing when intellect starts to cipher opinion and make decisions. The freedom to allow others to think the way that they do is the start to being opened to experiencing the work that you are capable of, rather than calculating and executing the work that you do.

Being present in acting means that you must give into to how you respond with honesty rather than insight. This is giving over to the experience rather than attempting to become something.

Being Open and Being Open to Feeling
1) Be open and feel what are your sensations during Self Stimulating time of Emotional Preparation.
2)Be open, feel and express what your sensations and observations are during class exercises and scenes.
The inkling, or feeling cannot resonate within you unless you are relaxed enough and open enough to it. If you look at trauma victims often, they are releasing emotional expressions well after the traumatic experience. This is because they were not relaxed during their traumatic experience.

Sometimes experiences even in acting can borderline traumatic experiences but most of the time the goal of the acting work is to stay relaxed enough so that both the actor and audience can resonate and feel the experience being undergone. It is difficult being present in acting when also involved in conflict, but this is part of the training of acting.

You will have less feelings going on if you are not open. This is where a very difficult lesson gets learned in acting by some. In life they have had to survive by cutting off the effect of their experiences to limit the feelings of what they are going through because they are in survival modes.

In art and craft, we stay relaxed enough to experience the emotions and the feelings felt during the experience which is not the survival method. In the artistic method of training, we have the experience of being in the existence of doing. In life of survival, we have the existence of doing with a limited experience in being.

Being present in acting, open and feeling is the artistic plight. You will not get the flight of having an experience without both being open and feeling your way through your scenes. The Discipline of being open to the others emotional life having consideration for it will go a long way in extending the validity of your own circumstances even when you are directly in opposite contrary.

Draft Copy of acting book “Mastering Spontaneity in Acting
Copyright 2016-2019, Simon Blake

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About Simon Blake

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Simon Blake has studied OVER 30 000 – 40,000 acting exercises and studied over 8-10++ thousand acting students work in acting. Studying their Emotional Preparation to their Spoon River Work. Studying every area of Meisner training work with well over 30 Teachers including himself.

“Meisner In and Out Exercise, which was later known as Doors and Activities give a basic building blocks to modern day acting”

Simon Blake runs and operates the website which teaches Actors how to add Emotion to their acting using improved acting techniques.

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