The Actor’s Perspective – Fine Tuning – By Jonathon Pernisek

 There is a major problem sweeping through the world of acting right now, at least from my viewpoint. It’s the general acceptance of laziness, the ability of many to outright put off hard work in favor of mediocre preparation and, in turn, a mediocre product. I am consistently baffled by this attitude, which allows someone to ignore their responsibilities with nothing more than a shoulder shrug and a sigh as their excuse. I’ve heard of summer bringing on feelings of restlessness, but I can certainly sense more than a mere itch to play in the sun and take some time off. This is outright creative suffocation.

This is not a call for actors to abandon all of their other needs and wants in order to strive for some sort of unattainable perfection. Lord knows we probably spend more time than what’s necessary punishing ourselves for “ruining” an audition or “horribly” playing a role. However, when it comes to academic training, my generation honestly needs to reestablish their focus. They should be preparing for the future by diving head first into the nuts and bolts of acting, so that when they enter the professional world it won’t be such a shocking transition. As one of my professors put it, we alone collect the tools needed to survive.

Keeping this in mind, what happens when people see the tools laid before them by their educators and simply decide to not pick them up? Do they better themselves? Going in another direction, do they think they’ve already perfected each and every one of their skills? I can’t answer for anyone, but I find their muteness, their reluctance to volunteer and take a chance to be frightening. Life may be short, but there’s no need to become so jaded so very, very quickly.

Of course I only mention this problem because it affects me as well. I go to class and rehearsal on such a regular basis that I cannot help but feel apathy, along with regret, during times of stress. On the other hand, my tendency to over analyze and push myself to physical and mental limits is just as big an issue, so I suppose going too far in either direction can result in a weaker performer. Still, I feel it’s incredibly important to take stock every day and figure out what must be done in order to advance oneself. Keep reading, writing, singing, memorizing, and performing, if only for the sake of staying sharp and on task. It will help in the long run, even if others feel like you’re wasting your time.