“Create your own method. Don’t depend slavishly on mine. Make up something that will work for you! But keep breaking traditions, I beg you”
Without a doubt, the absolute best acting method, is the one that produces the results that the director needs. A hybrid approach is probably the one that is most likely to serve your needs. However, it’s important that this hybrid method is not just a hodge-podge pick’n’mix of random techniques that you like, it’s things that are tried and tested ‘in battle’ and deliver tremendous results. As the actor Bruce Lee once said “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless.”
I have pretty strong beliefs on acting. I think I teach a technique that works incredibly well. But I cannot change the fact that different methods suit different personalities. And if you can’t get out of your own way, then no acting method can help, and you’ll just go on an endless tour of acting classes looking for the answer to a problem that as it turns out, is inside you.
But it’s not enough to say “Here’s a few different ideas now away and find your own way.” That’s lazy. That has no through-line.
Equally strict mindless adherence to one method can as Bruce Lee said“become a disease when the mind is obsessed with it.”
I believe any technique that gives you access to unbridled creativity, that raises your self awareness, that helps you build confidence and trust yourself works. And these are such personal, individual things – and that’s why different acting techniques and methods suit different people.
What is technique? It’s something to help you move between where you are and where you want to be. Acting technique is something to employ when your current skills and abilities can’t get you there. The absolute best acting method is the one that does just that – it shortens the gap between your goal and where you are now. Between the Performance you’re giving, and the performance you want.
The Method, Meisner Technique, Viewpoints, LeCoq, Grotowski, PEM, Practical Aesthetics, Suzuki, Mindset Acting Technique – it really doesn’t matter what you call it. It has to bring you the results you need.
Use anything that works, but do not hold it so tight that you would lose your flexibility, nor too loose that it would fly from your hand when tested.
To You, The Best
Mark Westbrook is the Head Coach at Acting Coach Scotland and the Course Leader of their awesome 1-Year Full Time Professional Diploma in Stage and Screen Performance.