I always come across this roadblock when I am acting. There are days when I just feel nothing. I am on top of the text and the real emotions don’t feel anywhere within reach.
What do you do?
The top number one thing to ALWAYS do in that situation is first of all relax and breathe. Which can be difficult when your insides are panicking thinking you are gonna suck. But realistically nothing will come through at all unless you stay open.
So first breathe, then shake it out, dance around like a maniac, do push-ups, start singing…whatever loosens you up in the moment.
The second thing to do is close your eyes and do an inventory of how you feel, right now. Do you have a headache? Did someone tick you off today and that is still in your bones? Do you have tension in your body? Where? Locate it. By trying to bypass what you feel in the moment? It’s denying reality. I always say if you walk in with a hangover? Your character that day is gonna have a hangover. What you are actually feeling is gonna color what you do. So use it.
Third- take in what is around you. If you are nervous, most likely your senses are being blocked by tension. Look at what is around you. Really look. What do you smell? What can you touch? If you are working with another actor? Take them in. What color are their eyes? What do you find pleasing about them? Simple questions will start grounding you.
Last- what is the emotion that the scene asks of you? You have felt that emotion before. Where does it live in your body? What did it feel like? Put your hand there. Breathe into it.
Now you are ready to begin. As long as you are open the feeling will be there. Perhaps not as you would’ve PLANNED it to be, but in a more truthful way. Make it all about your partner, and don’t worry about what you’re doing or how it looks.
I am always amazed at the days when I feel completely shut down and yet magic can happen.
You just have to allow it.
If you're looking for a place to deepen your craft, liberate your impulses, and let go of fear - Join Lauren Letherer at Actors Space. Sign up for a free 15-minute zoom to chat about any of your acting questions. Free audits available whenever class is in session. And reach out for any other questions or concerns - Lauren loves to help actors at any level get themselves unstuck.