Steps to Emotional Preparation Guide the Actor into Emotional Activation. Emotional Activation is the key pinch to the Actors Emotion just prior to starting their acting work. Gaining this Emotion will help realize acting you would never be able to attain without Emotional Preparation.
Understanding the steps of Emotional Preparation and the process empowers the Actors to be able to achieve results.
Steps to Emotional Preparation
Copyright 2018, Simon Blake
Emotional Preparation Technique Chapter Four
Most common steps to Emotional Preparation
‘Often’ there are steps to Emotional Preparation but sometimes there are only partial steps, or the desired emotion just starts pouring out of your being. When you have activated your emotional life, you need to focus on something other than yourself or notice whatever you notice that is not yourself and your emotions. This timing is a critical thing in the technique.
Emotions do not like to be watched and are more comfortable being left to their own faculties. Respect your emotions need for privacy and develop a better trusting relationship with them.
Relying on a process as you introduce this work to yourself is a smart idea as it can help to baseline, you’re learning and development. A Consistent way of achieving Emotional Preparation is the first goal of understanding any process that can continue to work for you as you participate with it.
The Common?/ ‘Often’ Steps to Emotionalize/Activate Emotional Preparations:
As you are learning Steps to Emotional Preparation it is better if you try to follow the steps to learn your own process as there are many different ways to gain very solid Emotional Preparations. Follow this process can gain you the experience of developing your own process after you have relied on this process long enough to be able to develop your own growth and way of doing things.
Typical Steps to Emotional Preparation – Long Form
Typically, this process is a guiding line for most to be able to gain the practice of developing their Steps to Emotional Preparation Techniques. Each Technique that will be taught later in this book can be achieved with this process as you are learning and developing the various different ways that an Actor can gain Emotional Preparation and Experience with it.
1)Stopping thought to limit what you are thinking about and to only the focused cue of what has just occurred prior to a scene is the first step in learning Emotional Ability.
2)Becoming present to silence that is within you is a process of letting go of the surrounding stimulation that may be in existence around you.
3)Reminding yourself of the Decided Range of Emotional Intent. (May require discussions about scripted materials prior).
4)Introducing Self Stimulation until you can feel an Activation (An Emotion Activate)
5)A.) Relaxing into the Activating Stimulation and intensifying it. This step explores its feeling and emotion. Staying present with that the emotion. Staying with the Feeling long enough that you know you have a real Preparation.
B.) Finding a meaning that you will stay with and focusing your Active stimulation from your emotion into the meaning
optional steps as required by scripted materials:
6)Focusing Attention Off of Self, on an outside of your self action, such as knocking on a door or focusing on your partner. If you are in an acting exercise or you will focus your attention on your acting exercise partner or something that you need to do within that exercise.
Typically, this step you will match your private meaning to the meaning in the script for continuity. If you are working on a particular scene you will match your meaning with the meaning in the script in a series of two simple steps. That would be an A, B step leading your attention to something other than yourself.
7) Allowing yourself to notice whatever you notice.
(this could be the other person or a circumstantial notice of situation)
Steps 4 and 5 are the rotating and jostling steps that may keep repeating amongst each other until the time that the Emotional Preparer is satisfied by the stimulation that Activating their emotional life has produced. In the case of layering or deepening emotional life experiences this area of stepping through Emotional Preparation is the area that will keep being the focus until the desired stimulation has been achieved within its Emotional Ballpark to whatever degree or layering degree is planned or realized. The solidification of step 5 is the confirmation to return to step 4 in many cases with a new source of stimulation to add a layer to the process.
Steps to Emotional Preparation: Step 1
1) Starting Focus
Stopping your own thoughts is a conscious choice of doing and a Sur rending of self over to allowing. The allowance of not expecting yourself to have to respond or interactive with your active thought process is the permission needed to stop thinking. Sur rending yourself over to allowance and acceptance of self is also a first step in meditation or any self-focus. Understanding that the choice of doing the stopping of thought is actually an action by you to surrender into a relaxation rather than an analytical reality.
Some find the relaxation of thought process to the point of Sur rending to allowance of the moment torturous at first as they are so used to using their mind to navigate through circumstances and situations. Analytical processes which are necessary for us to exist are already inherently within our being and learning to trust our emotionally analytical tools takes great patience. When we are stopping our own thoughts, we are not concerned about being present because we are at a resetting stage of adjustment and in fact are present to what we are doing which is resetting.
Steps to Emotional Preparation: Step 2
2) Letting go of Life Stimulation
Letting Go of the surrounding Stimulation so that it does not affect your internal emotional life is the process of not allowing the outside of yourself stimulation to bother you. The actual way you know you have achieved this is when you are not bothered by those who may be shouting back and forth at each other in a rehearsal setting or wondering if the people quietly in the corner are speaking about you. You remain present to the potential dangers of the situation, but you are not internally bothered or actively affected by the external stimulation.
You know that regardless of what is actually occurring you are at that present moment safe, and you are at that present moment unaffected emotionally by the surroundings that you are in. Letting go of the surrounding stimulation allows the time and safety to daydream in life or have your own internal thoughts.
Steps to Emotional Preparation: Step 3
3)Deciding the Range of Emotion
Often times you have already had the decision made for you of the range of emotion if you understand how to read the scene that you are preparing for. If the scripted material that you are working on leaves it unclear about your emotional range in a scene either it is not very well written, the scene is not a particularly emotional scene, or you are still learning to read scenes for Acting.
If you are doing an exercise instead than you may have more of a decision to make on the range but need to be careful. The less fooling around with your emotional life during this Emotional Process the more accurate and specific you will be the moments after the preparation. You need to give yourself the permission you need to explore with the specificity of appropriateness for the decided choice of range of emotion.
Deciding the range is often work that is partially done before the Emotional Preparation process begins. However, the final decision of Steps to Emotional Preparation range of emotional life cannot be finalized until it is Active and activated within you. The process of decision of range of emotion can be finalized only after finding the emotional range and being certain that you clearly have it in focus. This initial step of emotional decision is a step of clarity which leads into the next step of stimulation which can overlap as necessary.
Steps to Emotional Preparation: Step 4
4)Self Emotional Stimulation
Self Stimulation is the process of adding stimulants to your reality that when accurate it will stimulate the decided range of emotional life in the previous step. The overlapping of this initial activation of emotion does occur often because sometimes the mear remembrance of the topic can be its own stimulant.
In one example you may become angry immediately once the range of emotion is decided but don’t rest on your laurels at the first impulse. We want to be clear to stimulate the desired place of stimulation (range of emotion) and be sure that we have activated more than a whimper of stimulation. We need to remember that what we hear within ourselves may appear much quieter to what others may witness as our expression.
Understanding this part of Emotional Preparation is the understanding of intensity as well to what and how we prepare. We need to stimulate the emotional life in the range desired to the appropriate stage of expression. This is not something that is teachable per Sae but is importantly noted because whether it is teachable or not, you are your best teacher of understanding how loud your intensity is and it is best if you learn this one piece by trial and error.
You may believe you are very well prepared and have activated your emotional life and then come out expressing yourself in whispers. Yet in another area you may do a similar thing and come out yelling like a lion and ask what happened. You need to have the courage and experimentation capability and permission yourself to discover what an appropriate activation level is for each scene or exercise.
Self-Stimulation is an incredible tool and piece of the Emotional Preparation process. The level of intensity of Activation is the main learning mechanism of the entire process. It can reveal to us more about who we are and more about who we thought we are as human beings. This piece is the piece where in some Emotional Preparations that even the same person does, they will need to activate that preparation 5 times to be fully alive with it, and other times it will be only twice.
Steps to Emotional Preparation: Step 5
5)Relaxing into the Activating Stimulation
The trick of this relaxation step is that once you begin to relax into an active stimulant you will just feel more activity within the stimulant you have relaxed into. This is when you know you have discovered and have an active dynamic of meaningfulness that is personal to you and living inside of you. You now have a hold of the bag of meaning which is the dynamic.
This exact stage however you are looking to gain a stimulated Emotion in this part 5 A. The more you relax into the stimulation of your emotion the more you will feel something, then you can move forward once you are certain you had a feeling.
Pending upon the emotion it may be extremely strong to feel very specifically. Being courageous to feel the feeling directly is part of this activation process. It may be very difficult to ‘relax into’ an intense emotion so instead be absolutely direct with it. Feel how you feel in that emotion directly.
At the moment you first relax into it you will be able to learn from practice how deep that initial stimulation goes within you by the depth of relaxed breath that you are able to take into it. You can focus on the meaning but let the emotion express itself as it desires or at least until you have crafted your own approach.
When it is instructed to relax, it does not mean relax the Emotion of feeling the emotion. Relax INTO the emotion, which in most cases will be uncomfortable or give more sensation by relaxing into the nerve of the emotion. Relaxation is actually a strengthening tool to immerse yourself deeper in the emotion rather than relaxing out of the emotion.
You will know that you really have a strong emotion because you can’t relax into any longer and then you can move forward to step 5B.
The emotions respond certain ways with relaxation and to be able to test your strength of Activation you can relax. The more you relax the more intense you should feel or the more you relax the more intent you should feel. There are two main types of Emotional Preparation and responses to relaxation Emotional Preparation Stimulations. The first is an intensity of experience and the second is an intended experience. Intensifying experience is when the more that the feeling sinks deeper inside of you the more intensifying the activation becomes which may lead you to even want to throw up getting sick to your stomach.
The second is the Intent of a feeling towards another which will leave you often times tightening or tensing with rage or anger. Could also have you blushing with shame but in a way that you just can’t wait to see the person or the get into the situation. One is a flight scenario the other is a fight scenario, but because we are dealing with fair conflict, we are choosing to be courageous with both responses and agreeing to civilly deal with the situation without violence. (We are not preparing for a violent physical confrontation)
Depending upon your set up, your decision of the emotional range and the way your stimulus is activating within you the more you relax the more intense/intent the emotional preparation will become because you are relaxing into an active meaning that personally stimulates you.
Activation is a two-part step. Step 5A and 5B. The place of Activation is the place to review one last time the events that have led you to feeling the way that you do by clarifying with yourself one more time before the next step.
If you are at the point where you have done the work in these steps and you are feeling nothing than you need to go back and redo step 3, 4, and this step and see if the activation has a viseral result.
5b) You are staying with the Emotion until you can turn it into a meaning and then stay focused on the Meaning. When you stay focused on the Meaning the Emotion may flitter in and out but be present with you at its own accord. Other emotions will be varying intensities and or frequencies of when they are felt which is all normal pending upon your preparation.
The key is understanding that the emotion has not vanished and all you have is an empty meaning. This step you confirm that your meaning is not empty and that there is at least a staggard impulse of feeling that comes and goes.
Sometimes this step will leave you crippled in emotion one moment and then clear the next moment, but the meaning will still be consistent. The emotion will come in and out as it desires, and this interplay will be consistent in your acting work and with your acting partner as well. Other times the emotion and meaning will both seem more consistent. Either way the emotion happens to affect you, you will bring the emotion and the meaning into the exercise or the scene work in this step.
This entire step can occur and reoccur until you have gotten it ‘just right’. It is an adjustment step to match what the focus of reality needs to be upon to match the scripted material or the intention of the Emotional Preparation when doing exercises.
This is the step in Emotional Preparation process where you either jump into the work or take a step back into the preparation for readjustment. Your own instincts decide at this stage if this is the moment where you leap from the Emotional Preparation into the following stages or you step back to realign with a different component of the internal work.
The steps to Emotional Preparation explain the actual process. Amending this general process for your own use in acting will result in achieving Emotional Preparation.
Steps to Emotional Preparation: Step 6
Step 6 is where you change your focus and follow through into step 7.
Focusing on an outside of yourself action such as knocking, focusing on your scene partner, or in advanced ways being drawn into an imaginary circumstance.
With a clear and focused intent or intensity go up to the door of that which you are and knock without a worry in the world about what that knock sounds like. With a clear and focused intent or intensity go pick up the Doing that you are working on in a scene or exercise and put your focus on something other than yourself.
The reality to creating reality is that of which you do not focus on become real. So, you have already spent the only time needed reflecting upon yourself and the situation and now you place your attention on anything but yourself and including your scene partner or exercise partner. The concept of reality will prove that the more you take in of your partner and the situation that you are now involved in the more real you will be as long as you do this one last step to the process below.
7)Being Present in the moment, only allowing the other to affect you and staying connected to them:
Being Present means more than just placating the other to admit to what they have done or trying to find another reason to hate them. It means being willing to expand yourself for the other. Therefore, you contribute to receiving the other and expanding your heart for the other even though they may have done something to you. After all this acting thing is about artistic life. There is a reason why you are there and a meaning behind every reason.
If you do not let, go of all of the prior history of life you will never be in the moment of life. Thus, you need to give the other a chance but without holding back how you feel about what the other may have or may not have done. Being present to your partner may also lead you to believe something that is not true but if your heart is open your expression about how you feel is open and your entire emotional life including all the stimulus of your Emotional Preparation has thus then successfully been brought over into the work.
Being present is the only way to do Artistic Acting. Otherwise, you just have a story, and you don’t need real people to tell a story or to playact it out. But if you want real life in the work then you must rely on artistic ways of doing so. Emotional Preparation is an artistic craft more than any other.
Being Present in the moment means that you allow the other to affect and make changes to you, but you are completely finished making self-adjustments. The adjustments that happen and occur to you should only come from outside stimulation. Outside stimulation is normally another human being but often times can be an object or reoccurrence. As long as the stimulation initially comes from outside of yourself than it is entirely acceptable to ‘work off’ and ‘work with’. Truthful stimulation is truthful stimulation. The outside influence on you being present in the moment within a situation or circumstance can surprise you especially when immediately after Emotional Preparation. The first moments should carry over into more moments would be the norm.
8) Allow the other to dilate your internal experience and affect how much of the experience you actually experience because of your connection with them.
Any states of conflict that erupt due to the struggle of receiving the circumstantial experience of the scene and the struggle with the other within that experience to be awakened to that experience is in truthful conflict with each other that is a spontaneous conflict result. This is the conflict that occurs due to the living out of the scene together. This is a healthy conflictual cycle which allows the full expression of each present being within the scenario. The real time conflict of being with another within the scene and the differences of opinions within it is a real time experience of being with that person versus another.
Understanding the healthy expression of conflict within a scene allows the actor to know when an outside influence is actually happening versus a collective reality that has no prior arrangement except for that which has been written into the script previously and both are usually aware of.
The struggle between the actors to allow each other to influence their dilate is the truthful struggle within the scene even when the scene’s writer is missing the written conflict. The ability of the actors to achieve the intended conflict of the scene is their ability to precisely prepare on the dynamics that create the differences of opinion present. The differences of opinion need to be in present time in order for the dynamics of conflict to be present. Most times in films the dichotomy of conflict is a put-on thing where no real intercourse of conflict occurs because the creative team does not realize the ability of how to create conflict. This is usually the cause of the writer who does not delve deeply enough into their own writing to include the internal dynamics of the Actors within their script. IF the production does not add internal dynamics and the Director does not add internal dynamics, then the Actors are left as the last chance of including them without disrupting the creative team’s vision. Conflict is missing realization of most modern-day film.
Conflict is better defined as differences between Actors within the script or exercise. The differences that are not explored leaves the internal dynamics unlived. The habitual practice of Actors within exercises exploring each other differences is the ultimate result of real-life real-time expression and reality of living truthfully under the conditions of fiction. Without the exploration of conflictual differences, we have no expressed individuality within the exercises or scenes.
Two struggling actors who are doing no more than trying to compete to express what they feel is their own Steps to Emotional Preparations are not two living actors within any circumstance except for the one just mentioned. There is no life achieved in the living reality of but only a memory of what the Emotional Preparation was supposed to mean performed or pontificated. This is why the key of allowing the other to dilate what is already inside of you is the ultimate in capitalizing the exercise in a forward direction as you take in fully what is really taking place at least with the other person and trust they are doing the same to you to the effect that has been desired by the escalation of circumstance. Helping the other to achieve their abilities to connect to you will instantly result in an accumulation of experiencing happening rather than the tearing down of each other’s experience pontificating a prior emotional event such as an Emotional Preparation. If what you Emotionally Prepared on is so incredible to your internal being than it will be able to be expressed at a time where at least another is willing to listen to the importance of it.
Authors Note: There have been a lot of insights and unexpressed things that have had the opportunity to be expressed in this book. The loss of a moment in the classroom at times may have led to the ability of finding the medium of this book for its expression. The ability of this book to orchestrate the finding of finding more of the types of people that I would like to work with is a result of the patience of receiving the others experience and not pushing my own. The finding of those who want to work with you and listen to you is an event that arouses your senses and awakens things within you that you may not have realized that you knew so well. Trusting the solidity of your own work helps to find others that want to work the way you do at every level of creativity. Trusting in the ability of listening to another regardless of your own talent within is an earned element that is a respectable quality of self to achieve. Allowing yourself to have the self-respect within your work will only lead you to greater things in the future and will not embarrass yourself in the process because you tried to gain attention when another’s technique was not in order.
Do we example each step? . Great question?
This series of examples is examples of Steps to Emotional Preparation used in general acting exercises or improvisational rehearsal work. This is typical use in general classroom exercises as well as what has become known as ‘Doors/Activities’ and ‘In’s and Outs’.
Classrooms all around the world have students using Emotional Preparation on their own accord as they try to figure out how to best work in their mediums. Artists will also use forms of preparing themselves which these examples can be useful for.
These three acting students and one artist all example how they use this process to work in their general exercise work in for the classroom and for the painter when he readies himself for painting oils on canvas.
Example 1: Robert, 54 Painter readies himself for the canvas to paint oil.
Example 2: Randy, 27, Waiter/Host, Acting student Night Classes
Example 3: Megan, 38, Business Woman, Acting student Night Classes
Example 4: Jordan, 22, Female Electric Guitarist/Vocalist Musician
Example 1: Painter readies himself for the canvas to paint oil. He readies his canvas with a slick cover of sheen that allows him to paint a style called ‘wet on wet’ which allows for easy reflection work and scalpal style paint techniques.
A few last notes:
When you are Preparing you may need more than one dynamic for your Steps to Emotional Preparation. Allowing more than one element to be included could be a vital part of the life of the crafting. Don’t risk your own collective consciousness contributing to your own talents.
Just as important is to allow your highlighted components to come out and be highlighted when and if they do naturally. Both elements do work together as you learn and adjust to your own ever-growing talent.
“Don’t throw the emotion away before the film ends” or “Don’t throw the Baby out with the bath water”. ~ (AFTER THE TECHNIQUE IS TAUGHT)
It is a balance to the Actor to understand when to release their emotional life and when to keep it. It is key to learn in the middle of a production to let your attitudes flow without releasing your bent up Emotional Preparations or emotional turmoil.
Changes in Filming schedules happen but major changes to the Actors concentrations can really affect a film. There is usually an ongoing undercurrent to all the intensities in a film that carries through naturally in the other scenes of the film not just the condensed emotional scenes.
By learning not to throw “your emotional Baby out with the bath water” you can layer and add textures to your filming environments.
Many newer Actors think that they only need emotion for one scene in the film to make their entire movie work which may be true on paper but is not practical in the real life of film making. Keeping yourself in a ballpark of consistent upset for weeks or months at a time also takes a discipline that is part of why learning Emotional Preparation Techniques can be such a benefit.
Your undercurrent life can remain a bit with the upset emotion and then when it is time to be more active with that upset element you can use Steps to Emotional Preparation to reignite the desired levels of intensities. Your film scenes can match intensities without huge variant.
Example: Jeremy is on a set of a Superhero Genre film. He is so into being a superhero he notices things around him differently. His scope of focus is part of the film. He decides that he is uptight and goes into a yoga class on his 1/2 day off which starts to loosen this focus he had in himself.
His director doesn’t notice anything which is normal in the industry and gets back to work for the few shots and thinks that everything is going fine with the filming. A single producer notices that the Actors emotional life is different than the prior 8 days of consistent filming.
The next morning a reschedule of the same scene is needed because the Actor let go of the part in him just a bit too much and instead of looking like a superhero he looked more like a debutante. With the producers not wanting him to look like a young woman entering a new social crowd the adjustment is made and the consistency is adjusted after a few hours of coaching.
The film comes out very consistent because the Actor is aware that these things are important, and he listens to the people he works with and trusts them. The single Producer was able to show everyone because they had an open mind and collective filming cooperation the differences which really will add to the film’s end product.
Acting Classroom Segment
- Flashes of what memory images occurred in Emotional Preparation occurred. (Student asks if this is normal or ok)
Teacher – it is desirable. As long as you don’t try to make it happen or intentionally try to do some heady thing to try to see those images, if you see images from your Emotional Preparation experience while you are working off your partner in a scene it is extremely healthy.
It is a significant accomplishment in fact.
- Matthew – says to teacher. – I have made a decision regarding my auditioning.
Teacher – yes.
Matthew – Unless something comes up specifically for me particularly then I am going to choose to wait to do auditioning. But I will still be practicing auditioning in classes, right?
Teacher – nods, Of course you will be. When you practice acting and gaining Emotional Preparation starts to your work you are practicing auditioning techniques. It takes practice to learn how to audition because the practice habituative you.
Matthew – all I know is that when I made the decision it was like a weight was taken off of me not to have to worry about it.
Teacher – well. This isn’t the old days, so feel free to change your mind too if you choose to.
Amateurs use Feelings, Professionals Use Emotions
? Amateurs use Feelings, Proffessional use Meaning
Move section here.
Many classes teach improvisation with the training the actors to get upset and then blaming each other for their feelings. Although this is more correct and interactive than performance techniques the meaning of the work gets lost in the structure.
You want to build your acting up consistence up with interact with meaning, not only emotion. This means that instead of working improvisations that are consistently about blaming another for the way you are feeling you work intrinsically with the other about the meaning of importance to what is important to you.
Your work will have a night and day difference when you are learning the difference between emotion and meaning.
There are many good scripts written with scenes about people who blame each other for how they feel about life, but the better scenes are about how their interaction can affect the meaning of what they hold important to themselves.
Seperate and understand the differences between Meaning and Emotion and graduate to the higher level in acting.
When an Actor or a human being marries their emotional life, they will tend towards becoming neurotic. When the Actor or human being stays consistent with their meaning, they will tend to make bigger adjustments. An emotion may limit their interaction when a meaning may experience a wider range of circumstances and experiences. Most scenes are involving the adjustments to what has value to the Actors on stage. Values that are based only upon emotion will tend to be more neurotically based. Values that are based on Meaning will have more substance. Meaning will usually offer greater abilities and range of interacting. There may be more way to skin a cat with meaning over emotion as well.
Actors only really want neurotic conditions when scripted. There is a limit to how much neurotic behavior can exist in acting. There is no limit to the depth of meaning in acting.
The Steps to Emotional Preparation includes Releasing activated Emotion
Emotional Preparation is not marrying your emotions. Sometimes the teaching of Emotional Preparation is incorrectly taught as marrying emotional life. Stimulating emotional life is accurate but the absolute need to let go of your emotion is key to having your stimulated emotions free enough to work for you in a scene or exercise.
Actors and Artists would be better off calling Feelings, Fleetings! The Feeling of their work is a come and go and not the product of their efforts. Meaning is a Product of their work if they connect with their audience of the artistry.
Key: (Experience is what does something to you while your focus is off of yourself.)
Experience is the life lived of something that activates you while your focus is off of yourself.
We have already had a discussion on the difference between Emotions and Expressions. Now we can have a discussion on the differences between Feelings and Meaning.
Feelings or Emotions will often be fleeting.
Meaning will always come back.
There are keys to understanding Acting are mastering the Steps of Emotional Preparation. The key to understanding when you are Emotionally Preparing on a Feeling or Emotion and when you are Emotionally Preparing on a Meaning is crucial.
Let’s Jump into an Example First:
John has an incredible work ethic. He is an honest guy and tries to be straight forward. Despite his great human qualities, he Emotionally Prepares, and it doesn’t work. He gets into an Emotional state and when the work starts, scene begins the only thing that happens is what is going on with the other person. The other person doesn’t observe things on John that are Emotional Aspects.
John gets stopped one day in class. The teacher asks, “What have you been doing for rehearsals?”. John tells the usual hard-working response. The teacher nods his head and speaks. “You’re not focusing on meaning in your Emotional Preparations”.
John stares at the teacher with fear and terror wondering what he is meaning. At home that night John starts to figure out the teachers comment. The teacher could see that the work during Emotional Preparation was not carrying over into the work. John starts to study what his notes have about what his Emotional Preparations have been. He is angry, or sad or other emotional states but he never has in his notes that he has come for anything with personal meaning.
The keys to the kingdom of the Actor are inside the Actor. There is no way for Emotions to consistently be let go of and then return in the work during a scene. There are all sorts of ways for Meanings that are personal to return into the work during the scene.
This is a game changer of concepts that few have ever even considered. What is key is the personal meaning. Crucial elements of personal meaning, actually from the Actors own life. Made up acting scenarios that imitate a real-life story with Steps to Emotional Preparation that adds emotion is not enough. Sincere personal meaning cultivates a rich acting experience.
Amateurs often play made up stories in their minds during Emotional Preparation rather than relying on fully immersive experiences or personal sincere meaning. If you are going to make up a story about something fictitious that is a technique but make sure that it is tied to personal meaning and not just an emotion.
When you focus on meaning and personal meanings in your Emotional Preparation you not only open up the world of your acting work, but you also open up the world of yourself in your acting work.
Example 2: Sarah is on set and doing a scene. She knows how to get herself upset because she used that tactic to get what she wanted all the time as a child. The Director is seeing through Sarah’s acting. She is coming across fake and insincere. There are few moments in the work so far that are worth editing room time.
The Directors tells Sarah to fix it. Sarah knows something is not working. After a phone call to her acting coach, she does what they advise. She takes it to a place of Meaning. She takes her Emotional Preparation to a place of meaning. The next take is different and there are a couple adjustments. The second time through after the change the context of Sarah’s acting is clear and concise.
With meaning she had motive, without meaning she only had emotion. The life of all scenes rest upon their meaning and the question of why always rests upon it.
The main difference between Meaning and Emotion is the added intension. You can sit in a feeling, or you can become active with a meaning. Which type of Emotional Preparations do you want to become involved in. It’s your choice.
Emotionalizing yourself is great and has a purpose but activating your emotional state with meaning brings it to a whole new level.
Question: Are you willing to be in an Active Meaningful Emotional Preparation?
. If you have an emotional life, you have two choices, use it or lose it. If you sit and watch your emotional life you will only be indulging in it unless you are deepening it for a reason. The key to craft is the key to allowing your emotional life to become active with a person, circumstance, or thing.
~ Turning an Active Emotion into an Interactive emotion is part of the Steps of Emotional Preparation.~
1st Turning an Active Emotion into and interactive emotion is the action that it takes to build craft in acting and in artistry. Depth is important but if it is stagnant, it can become a useless quantity rather than an interactive quality.
2nd Utilizing something other than yourself to change the emotion into an interactive emotion is key.
Amateurs marry their feelings and attempt to alone bring a performance without interactive components to their acting. The emotion is stagnant and only self-activated until it becomes interactive and really in play with someone, something or a circumstance.
The Death Of Discipline
The Death of Discipline and The Discipline Death Wish
(Can be the Death to Emotional Preparation)
The Difference between Discipline and Patience is a fine line in the artistic sand that is worth the Actor learning. Most people will not be able to learn acting without first learning patience.
The gifting of the proper time to discover something can be both an action of Discipline and an action of patience. To Pressure yourself with Discipline means that you are not adjusting your time with your difficulty.
You are new to acting or you are wanting to expand your acting as a student. You are asking yourself to rediscover you’re meaning in order to find depth. If you discipline your artistic endeavors, you will master only frustration, anger and hatred in your craft of acting.
Many Actors who over discipline struggle with any simple emotional states such as simple give and take between themselves and other Actors. If you include discipline with patience, you will develop all types of emotional conditions.
Allowing the Emotions to Master themselves
- Allowing your emotions to master themselves is the technique of the disciplined actor. Understanding the presence of something rather than straight outcome from disciplining emotions will amplify your experiences.
We are building up our healthy discipline with patience to allow our own emotional lives to familiarize within us. We are not expecting through discipline a routine route directly to the emotion without first familiarity.
In fact, the emotions master themselves and develop themselves if we allow them to work and adjust. If we stop our own adjustments and intellectually result the conditions of the emotions, we will enter into performing the emotion rather than feeling it. Actual real discipline is accepting ourselves adjusting, even when logically we would rather rush.
Most often self-disciplining emotional work will kill off the emotions we are expecting ourselves to live within. We must have culture to experience fullness without forcing ourselves into being in state that we are not. If we don’t allow our emotions to master themselves and we try to master them we are likely to kill the essences of what we are trying to grow into as actors.
We do not want to kill the layers of the work that we actually need to develop our desired expansive emotional abilities. Familiarity in a ballpark of an emotional life will lead to further developments and further familiarity. Getting that train started takes patience and the knowledge of knowing the emotions will beget emotions.
Not interfering with the building up of your emotional life result in mastering the familiarity needed to work within yourself. The forced outcome of mentally telling yourself to perform on cue is not the allowance of emotional awareness.
Disciplining Self can be Death to Steps to Emotional Preparation
Disciplining can be death to Emotional Preparation and during the Emotional Preparation process. Expecting ourselves to output a result of an emotional state because we tell ourselves with our mind, we need to be in a certain emotional state is ludicrous.
Emotional life wants to expand consistently. There is a relaxed quality to discovery that must be part of the Emotional Preparation process.
Emotions want movement and interaction. Specific outcomes or emotional notes take years to be able to achieve because it takes the familiarity of self to be able to accomplish gently. In most cases Emotions want to expand themselves. Instructions to yourself or to your emotions to express only certain areas is often futile unless you gain familiarity with how your emotions tend to want to expand. Being willing to adjust during your efforts is how you develop craft and sincerity in your Acting.
You cannot learn about certain emotions existing and then tell yourself that it needs to produce results as if it was feeling those things. Authentic conditions are needed, not discipline when dealing with acting. The discipline of patience will assist in your learning.
Determination is the consistent effort of being that does not require the disciplining of self to occur. Determination is usually the exploration process that allows and permissions a greater exploration of self, which is not a limiting process but an expanding process.
Discipline is the cutting off of parts of yourself at the expense of other components that are also trying to grow and expand within you. Discipline can kill the Emotional Preparation effort by being too tough on the emotional life that is constantly working to take in experiences.
Discipline and Focus are two different things that often are said to be more similar than they are to the willing actor who is working hard to achieve the fullest experience possible. Focusing is an achievement in an expansion, where the results can allow you to expand the region of focus. It does take discipline to stay on topic of the focus but the focusing is never to cut out other parts of desire or of life that exists.
The key here is to understand that Discipline can really take out a lot of emotional life as in order for Emotional Life to live and exist in you, freedom needs to be given to the emotional life. Once freedom is an ingredient that is inherit and consistent you will achieve greater Emotional Preparations because the emotion always has the freedom to expand in whatever area of focus it desires or attention is put within.
The key to allowance of growth is the acceptance and inclusion of the emotional experience of life itself and the freedom that the emotions have to freely express themselves inwardly until an outward creation interacts with them.
Often times an Actor will try to force an interaction with self in order to express an emotional life that they figure that they should have within themselves. Forcing is a disciplinary action that will inhibit the expression as well as mess up the expression when the natural timing of the expression wants to occur. Allowing the inward expression to exist and not come into focus until the outward stimulation from another pulls it from them is a maturity of self that takes practicing allowance. The Steps of Emotional Preparation can help determine your discipline.
The richness of the emotional life within the Actor does not come from the disciplinary approach the Actor takes on to themselves but rather from the allowance of free will of the emotional life that the actor has going on within themselves. The trust of the Actor to allow another Actor to see the emotional life that they have going on is a trust they must have to truthfully allow a real moment to occur both within exercises as well as within scene work. Freedom is more than a vital component of Acting, is it a necessary ingredient that must be in existence in order to achieve any truthful results at all. We must comprehend that truthfulness does not come from limiting yourself or disciplining yourself into an existence but rather it is instead a freedom of allowance of an existence that builds upon another’s allowance of existence so a natural and truthful reality can really be present in the work that the Actors do together.
Discipline is the death of emotional life in most cases within any artform not just acting. Our humanity is the reality of interplay with others that must have freedom in order to achieve ability of accumulation. Any scene or exercise that does not accumulate a larger experience falls on its face as being one that ‘did not work’ or ‘was not let go of’. The importance of letting go into an experience even without the Emotional Preparation experience is critical but with Emotional Preparation in existence it is absolutely necessary to take a ‘let’s see how this goes’ approach to the work in every single take of every single scene and every single exercise within the learning phases of the approach to learning acting. Perfecting emotion may kill the emotional life with the discipline of trying to be good or working to the level of killing the art that you are trying to allow the creation of.
Further notation: Every time you create something you must let go of it to have a realization of it. Therefore, if you do not let go of whatever you had just before entering the scene or exercise you will never be really in the exercise or the experience and thus the exercise or scene will never actually be realized or real. Editors will have to piece a reality together as they often do when there is no real life in the production footage. Piecing together an editing of footage leads to trying to match action rather than emotional life which the majority of filming productions do on a daily basis because the Actors who are acting are not trusting that a reality needs to exist in order for the editor to be able to follow the intercourse of something that is real.
Sharing a scene within a film is the act of selflessness and selflessly giving of yourself which also contributes to creating a reality. A contribution is an addition. The addition of both accumulation of sharing the experience is the only realization that can exist. Without a realization of what is occurring there is no real existence occurring that is compoundable. Every scene and exercise are a compounding event or at least should be. Emotional Preparation is an assurance of an offering to the film or theater partner that you are giving them something real of value by starting with the personalized emotion of self that an Activated Emotional Preparation offers in every scene.
Question: How long do you need to learn Steps to Emotional Preparation?
Answer: You can get started within a few weeks to a couple months. It doesn’t take much if you are working with others who know how to utilize it. To really learn it well it will take a couple of years to ‘discover’ it within you and have it actually happening in.
Consider likely 2 examples:
Of Over disciplining self during this much instruction in the Steps of Emotional Preparation:
1 the entire topic over all would have emotionalized them but not when they were being too specific.
2: not close enough to personal life so they decide not to allow the other stronger emotion in them to be used. They judge the use of their more personalized emotion would be a stronger emotion, but actually what they saw on tv brought out a stronger reaction about people being shipped in containers.
Example: This French sculpture is enthralled in making a masterpiece. His sculpture block is 5 feet tall, and he gets out his tools with great ambition. 1 Month later a friend comes to visit him and says “Wow, I see what you have done here.” The sculpture stops his friend and speaks. “Just wait, I’m still working on it”. 2 more months pass and the sculptures friend come and sees a 4-foot sculpture noticing its details and comments again. “Wow, I see what you have done here!”. The French sculpture yells aloud. “Wait! it’s not done yet. I’m still working on it.”
A total of 4 months has passed, and the sculpture’s friend arrives once again and sees a 3-foot sculpted block which has incredible detail in parts and says “Wow, I see what you have done here.” The French sculpture says “Wait. I am still not done this here.”
By the time the French sculpture finishes to his discipline the sculpted work of the stone block it is 2 feet 1/2 feet. It went through many layers of changes. What could have been the work of many pieces were only the work of one piece because of the perfection that the sculpture expected of themselves.
Discipline killed this French Sculptures own efforts of expression with carving tools. Many Actors over do. They get the idea that doing is creating. Doing is the biproduct of creation after an internal process. Redoing emotional preparations with a single effort at Acting wastes the talent that you never allow to be interactive or allow another person to see. Rather than discipline yourself out of your own talent, keep working in exercises and materials that create different variations as you are discovering yourself.
When you are stimulated and activated allow yourself to courage forward and into the exercise or scene with that life that has been stirred up. Don’t second guess something that is alive within you.
Discipline can be the great hinderance to life lived in art. Finding discoveries often start with elements that you are not sure of, yet you know that are active within you. Having courage to find out what that activated inner life will never be realized unless it is used in the acting work. In many cases you have awoken more than you realize intellectually, and you nervously hold back because you think you need the assurance of discipline. The discipline that is intended in acting is meant to be sure that you have stimulated something within you. The discipline is not to control what gets stimulated in you. Preciseness comes with time cured.
Example: The Baker is making donuts and breads. They initially made the mistake of taking the bread out of the oven, putting it back in the oven, taking it out of the oven, then reputing it back in. Until the Baker learned the technique of not taking the bread in and out of the oven, did the bread cook well and taste acceptably.
This is the same process that Actors use when using Emotional Preparation techniques. The technique of baking is learning the craft of being able to tell when the bread is activated or ‘baked’, without overbaking the bread which is overdoing or self-engulfing in one’s own emotional life past activation.
This baking is the Steps to Emotional Preparation process to the Actor. When you leave the oven, leaving your emotional preparation you know you have activated yourself or have cooked bread. Regardless of timing if you can just catch the whiff of smell knowing that the bread is actively cooked it will not caramelize with burning.
The timing element is a single cooking process. Gain the activated inner life of the emotional undercurrent then trust that your bread has been cooked. Then you will have to rely on another to interact with you to know the result.
Humanly interacting is the identifying with another passions and interests rather than judging them. If you experience based off interreacting with their passions or interest than you are working from the gut level of yourself, and your experience will actually be a reaction rather than judgmental interaction.
The Human Interaction that we are working towards achieving is a connection of depth that is beyond superficial judgement. Imagine the surprise when two people who on the surface don’t seem to relate to each other start to build a relationship with each other with an interaction that is friendly or trust building.
Every single exercise in every single classroom aims to build on the premise of human interaction and honest undercurrent interaction. This means that the deeper aspects of humanity connects to the deeper aspects of another’s humanity regardless of the conditions of the circumstances.
Steps to Emotional Preparation is the added self-stimulation that prepares you internally before the scene is actually happening. The goal is to bring to the scene work or classroom exercise the emotional preparations experience so it can have an initial and interactive experience with your scene or scene partner. You do not bring the Emotional Preparation experience to the scene work to control the experience but rather to color and allow it to have a life of its own because its spark ignites a grander experience based on the human interaction.
The moment that another interest other than what the stimulations of your Steps to Emotional Preparations starts to affect you, you need to receive it. Don’t waste your energy filtering judgements about what is already affecting you. If you are repulsed by what you are experiencing than you will experience the repulsion. If you judge something before you experience it, you will never feel the repulsion. The moments of the exercise will never build up if you do not live within them. What you consciously deny you will never experience.
The intrigue beyond the shock of differences is the humanity connection. The acceptance of the difference of circumstance is an early on breakthrough that many Actors have within the boutique learning environments that train in instinctual training.
Instinctual training takes you beyond the written words of thought. Preplanned interactions often don’t interact. The mere point of instinctual training is to get over your own judgements and mentality so to learn to trust that internally you will reflect automatically as you receive another’s point of view.
Your point of view will actually uniquely be expressed because your focus was receiving the others behavior. If you focus on your own behavior, you will lose the connection in receiving the others behavior which will lessen your interaction with your environment and take you out of the circumstances that you are within.
Human Interactions are involved living things, not dead spaced.
The buildup of humanity is what builds existence. The only difference between something happening anew and something that already has history is the buildup of humanity that comes from the actual work of the relationship between the two Actors. Steps to Emotional Preparation when used specifically can add dimensions to the work to start the buildup of the first moment of interaction within a specific range or at a specific moment.
If you extract the building up of relating to one another and lesson the connection of receiving what you have is a person who is only focused on themselves and their own actions. The identification of the others point of view is the connection to the human interaction.
We will explore how to both have a fullness of Steps to Emotional Preparation but also have a looseness about your preparation in a way to not self-indulge in your preparation. This way the work that you have done will actually merge with the interacting that you do in your scenes and the experience of living will actually occur in real time within your scenes. There will be no faking it because the Actor will have the craft of real experience and the knowledge with practice to actually be living an experience.
Student – I understand what relaxation is but knowing the actual steps upon Emotional Preparation is different.
Teacher – you’re current thing to work on is not doing your preparation in your scene work. Even when you were doing relaxation before your work, you ended up doing relaxation during the work. Instead, you could take the other more seriously and achieve the other’s reality.
Student. – Yeah, I know what you mean. It is like there is a switch I just haven’t figured out yet.
Teacher – you want to practice focusing on yourself with these emotional Preparation steps then focusing on the other person. This is the inside outside dichotomy that is what you really are referring to as the switch. It is the switching of self-attention to attention outside yourself.
Student – so. I am understanding, I need to do the steps to Emotional Preparation with self-focus and then put all my attention on the other person.
Teacher – yes. And eventually, in even a short time, you will learn when your Emotional Preparation catches that emotional wave of an internal experience. It will happen and it may surprise you. Then switch your attention to there other person, just receiving the other person.
- Add example – of students not activated. Then has to adjust to make them their personal involvement. Beyond their idea of being upset. , Actually into their upsettness.
Changes the work completely.
Teacher – My magic wand was changing you from impersonal connection to personal connection with your material. That’s it. You will learn how to do this to yourself with time.
You just have not figured out what makes you tic quite yet.
Emelia example of not needing to Emotionally Prepare. – Important.
To add an example of this.
All she does is remember that phone call with her mother and she is ready. She doesn’t do anything deep at all.
- This is an important one.
Teacher – If you had have disciplined yourself to try to dig deeper do you understand that may not have worked out as well then if you just did what you did?
Emelia – Yeah.
Teacher – When you hit a Guiser, it will gush out of you. You do not need to keep drilling it when the oil is gushing 100 feet up in the air. You need to pull your equipment out of the hole and let the oil rush out, otherwise you break your own equipment. Your simple stimulation caused a gusher, didn’t it? Don’t risk personal injury by trying to work something that is already in motion inside yourself. Let it work. Let it be. It is working.
Emelia – Yeah. I guess it is that simple isn’t it.
Teacher – and it may only take some time to learn to trust that simplicity.
- Examples at home and rehearsing – stepping through the steps of emotional Preparation.
-Stuck in the steps of emotional preparation. Can’t seem to find an exit point during emotional preparation.
Teacher – says “that, sometimes that happens.” If your emotional preparation is not pinching you than it may not be activating life inside of you. If your emotional preparation brings you into a depth of emotion it may take some time before something will awaken in, you because the emotional experience is deep. Both are ok. If you are patient, you will get the impulse of the pinch that will cause you to want to do an action instead of sitting on the emotional experience. That pinch is the internal timing of the Emotional Preparation.
That pinch is your pure instinct talking to you. Universal language is timing not intellectual thoughts. Don’t wait for the thought ‘I have to do something now’, wait for the urge ‘I have to do something now. Sometimes the urge will happen with the thought, often it will happen in its own timing. Wait for the pinch to happen, it likely will in the first 5 minutes.
Partial preparations are a real element that you want to avoid and solve before the acting work starts. This comes from the patience to allow the feeling to stimulate you into action rather than thought. This element is artistic action versus the will power of your emotional preparations experience. Will power change entirely to be ineffective or put you in competition mode. Artistic action is an inclusion element which will impulse into the timing of the scene with everything that is going on. Steps to Emotional Preparation can help build reality.
- Seperate example – will powering. Finding mental will power to do is not the function of emotional preparation.
(Another Example of ridding yourself of logic.)
-Example – confusion over too many elements .
Student gets confused by trying to include the details of the history of the prior event. Lesson is need and require the emotional elements activated. You truthfully do not need the logic of the prior experience. Most intense experiences you may not recall logically accurately. You need the activated experience.
Goes back and does it again. Forgetting about the details of logic and as soon as they get the impulse in their emotional preparation things turn around.
The student comes back with full experience with their logic and attention focused on the other actor instead of the confusion of the past.
- If your activated dont worry about completing the steps.
- Student: question: So you are saying that we need to do the emotional Preparation and at the end of the Preparation wait for an impulse of wanting to do something about your feeling?
Teacher. Yes. Gain the experience and liveliness of your emotional stimulation, continue to experience it until you feel an impulse to want to do something with it. When you feel the impulse to want to do something with it, awaken yourself from your emotional preparation and immediately commit yourself into an action towards the work. That way you carry the inner life with you and what you activated will start to work internally in the scene.
Student: But why on the impulse? , Why don’t you just pick a time to end it and then go into the scene.
Teacher. The impulse will gift to you a timing element with the emotion. If you logically end your emotional preparation you add to your experience logic. If you go on an impulse than you can make it into the work without activating your own logic. We need to know the Steps to Emotional Preparation.
If you don’t feel an impulse and it has been over 5 minutes than just pick yourself up and take yourself over into the work. Eventually you will gain the ability to pick up on some desire to do an action most of the time you Emotionally Prepare. If you get a feeling immediately that you want to do something to the person you may work off that initial impulse or wait for a deeper impulse. Choosing a timing based on intellect will weaken the emotional carry over.
Steps to Emotional Preparation, Conversation between students:
- Are you finding that you are missing catching your activation? Does that make sense?
- I think I know what you mean. Do you mean missing getting that impulse he keeps talking about??
- Your just talking about catching the impulse after you’re already upset about something, right?
- Ok, Yeah. I find that I get more than one impulse constantly. That feeling to go do something with that wanting to do something with the emotion.
- I wouldn’t worry about that, because it is getting easier for me the more I do it. There are different impulses. He doesn’t go into that. There are initial impulses and then after about a couple minutes there are deeper impulses.
- Oh, Yeah. I know what you mean. So, are you saying wait a couple minutes and then just go off an impulse after then that seems to be real to me, right?
- Yeah, exactly. Cause the reality is that there is more than one impulse to work off during Emotional Preparation and it seems like there always will be more than one impulse.
- I was worried about overstimulating myself by getting the deeper impulse.
- Yeah, I know, but it is a balance you have to find. Sometimes the earlier impulses just don’t grip me, its not a strong enough sense of wanting to do something. So I let them pass by going underneath their emotional wave like in surfing. Then I catch the bigger wave behind it.
- So when I am already upset and I get an impulse to do something, I can wait for a larger impulse and you are saying that will carry over more into the work?
- Exactly. Just don’t restimulate your upsetness and wait for a stronger impulse to do something about your predicament.
- That totally makes sense., thanks.
Sarah and Sally? Conversation about their processes are helpful and considerate to their acting training. They can realize that they having pinging impulses during their emotional preparations and they don’t have to react to all of them. Reacting to the deeper ones a couple minutes after seems to work for them. This is great self-experimentations without overstimulation. They know they are not overstimulating because they are capable of keeping their attention on the other person in their work during the scene.
Lesson: You need to catch as deep of an impulse as the emotional weight of the Emotional Preparation. This means that if you are bringing in a devastation you will need a stronger impulse than if you are bringing over a simple need for a cup of sugar. You learn to match the impulse with the emotional weight so the work carries with the impulse and comes into the shores of your acting circumstances.
If you don’t catch a big enough impulse, you will not carry all of your emotional life into the scene. This is the direct relation to what you will have underneath the scene emotionally.
Journal: I am so logical sometimes when I am Emotionally Preparing. My mind keeps thinking about things and then at the very end I get a bit upset. It is getting better because I feel more upset sooner, but I can’t seem to turn off my thinking about it like it is a problem.
I wish I could just learn more about losing my logic and being in the work deeper. Amanda seems to be emotional every single time she works yet the teacher still says that I am doing good work and improving. Maybe I shouldn’t compare myself to others as much.
- Classwork –
Teacher – We need to see the Collision. The differencing of opinion needs to be collided upon each other. What we saw here is one actor with Emotional Preparation activated and the other actor without Emotional Preparation activated.
Student – That was me.
Teacher – nods saying Yes. You want to the reality that your experience did not have its own lifeforce as an acting lesson and learn from it. What did happen is that you responded and worked from your partner’s lifeforce, which made the scene at least interesting to watch.
Teacher – I want you to realize that because you went along with the life that your partner had inside of them that your work was good still. Good, not great, but good is better than dead of emotional life.
Teacher – This balancing of Emotional Preparation depths is an element that you continue to adjust. Sometimes the emotional Preparation seems active but in relationship to the other person it is not as strong. Explore that reality and continue to adjust to each other.
Great Directors, only great ones will help you to adjust your depth in your Emotional Preparation. Good Directors will know the Steps to Emotional Preparation, but it is rare to find ones that good enough knowing the work well enough to be able to do that. You must learn in your training to adjust your own Emotional Preparation frequencies and depths.
Simon Blake has studied over 30 000 – 40 000 acting exercises and studied over 8-10++ thousand acting students and professionals. Studying over 1000+ famous names in the industry learning techniques that are keys to unlocking their talents.
“Meisner In and Out Exercise, which was later known as Doors and Activities give a basic building block to modern day acting” Simon Blake’s training includes every aspect of Meisner Training.
After being assaulted by an industry student associated with the school Simon moved on to finish his acting books and start teaching acting online. Studying every area of Meisner Training with well over 30 Teachers including himself.
Simon Blake runs and operates the website EmotionalPreparation.com which teaches Actors how to add Emotion to their acting using improved acting techniques.
Copyright 2018, Simon Blake
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