Acting, The Art Form: A Hot Take


Acting looks easy. The way an actor moves on the stage, on a set, in front of the camera, and how they convey emotions all looks fairly simple so that anyone could possibly do it. In reality, they are just pretending to approximate someone else’s everyday feelings. I could do that. Anybody could do that. But, what sets an actor apart from anybody else is the way they convey everyday feelings in such a way that the audience feels what the actor wants them to feel.

The best actors are the best manipulators.

If an actor or actress can control the way someone feels without direct contact, but still can affect a person in an emotional way to where that person is vulnerable to a feeling, then actors can do anything – figuratively, of course. Just as painters are artists with canvas, the actor paints pictures on the hearts of the audience.

”The good thing about being an actor, and the gift of being an actor, is that you are beautifully forced to see the world with different eyes.” Javier Bardem

When considering what makes an actor or actress the best, it might be “the ones who make it seem like I’m in the scene with them” or “the ones who make it seem like they actually are sad, happy, or some other emotion,” but ultimately it all comes down to making us feel like we are there with the character.

Picture me this: You’re arguing with a person you thought was the love of your life, in a moment where emotions and horrible truths meet ugly bursts of reality and appalling thoughts once scrawling at the back of your head, now at the tip of your tongue. If you can’t, picture the argument scene from Oscar nominated Marriage Story featuring Scarlet Johanson and Adam Driver. Displaying such raw and candid emotions in an unshameful manner is hard, even when it’s just in a one on one conversation. When an actor can make a scene as raw and candid in front of a camera where perhaps millions of people can see, it requires being immersed in the current moment and forgetting that there are people watching, and that’s what makes acting hard, surpassing humiliation.

In the midst of success, it takes embarrassment and failure to be considered the best. It takes being that character, rather than putting on a facade (which they technically are), it takes being able to take rejection, and most of all it takes being able to express emotion in a way that touches people’s hearts. Just like all art forms do, acting does too.