Acting- not just great acting- should be, 1)TRANSFORMATIONAL, 2) REVELATORY and 3) COSTLY.
Okay, so let’s really look at this. The idea of “transformational” is exactly as the word suggests. Change must take place when the actor traverses the distance between actor and character. This, of course, on it’s face sounds basic, but it’s rare that we pleasure of seeing that distance traveled. The question of “why” is manifold and too extensive for me to address in this one blog, but I will- God willing- get to it later. I do, however, offer this:
Aside from the general devaluation of all art in this country- including acting- for the sake of impostor “art” that can be easily summed up, apprehended and consumed at a healthy profit, and aside from the general dilution of the amount of people with artistic, discerning eyes when it comes to perceiving quality acting, the actor- at the end of the day- has no one to blame but himself (which, of course, includes me). There is an arrogance, based in fear, that must be confronted within the actor himself before transformation can take place. All to often, we as actors are more comfortable approaching a role with the idea of finding common ground with the character. “How is the character like me,” we might ask, or how can I make this character “my own.” In effect, we bring the character down to ourselves where we feel comfortable and safe instead of risking discomfort and failure by daring to leave the comfort zone, let go of ourselves and embrace who the character is, allowing it to make us its own.
Aside from a zillion other people who have read a lot of great Fantasy, my only frame of reference for diving into the novel writing world has been that of a Screenwriter, which is no small thing. Screenwriting takes a great deal of craft. Many have tried to say that a screenplay is simply a set of directions for how a film or TV show is to be shot. A recipe, if you will. I think they’re wrong. A person having read a well crafted script should come away feeling the same sense of story emersion as they would having read a well crafted novel. I say this fully aware that there is a dimension of story that a screenwriter can’t convey with the same depth as a Novelist. The dimension of the mind and its thought processes. On the other hand, I believe the well crafted screenplay can go visually where the novel cannot, but that’s a different subject. Anyway, this entry isn’t about the advantage of one over the other but, rather, the learning curve and the lessons it demands in order to transition from script writing (screenwriting in particular) to writing a novel. Full disclaimer, all the observation apply to me and none may apply to you. I’m simply sharing what my personal thought processes have been, and in no way am I claiming these are the challenges/processes all will face. If they are, I hope sharing my experience will help you.