I finished Act or Die today and the biggest lesson I learned (aside from great tips and exercises that I’m willing to put to use to get to know *myself* not just for acting) was don’t act, BE. Be present in the moment, as the character – feel, act on your internal impulses – listen to yourself and yourself as the character. Never stop thinking and feeling, allow yourself to be and access all parts of you and don’t judge. Listening isn’t about waiting for cues and springing into action, it’s about feeling and thinking as the character and being present in that moment, and the moments before and after your lines.
At the end, the author closed with this thought:
“As civilians we choose to function the best way we can within society’s ground-rules. As an actor we unprotect and reveal to the extremities of a character’s potential (positive or negative). As an actor we must live dangerously in our own work, be naked inside, be willing to leap off a cliff and build our wings on the way down.”
It kind of aptly sums up everything he wrote in his perfectly sized 149 page book (awesome, because thick books are daunting and take too long to read. Half the reason I never finished LOTR). I’d definitely suggest it to anyone looking to act, write, or direct – I definitely have a lot to think about with writing characters and my own (lacking) acting skills.