ON ACTING: Avoiding Distractions and Maintaining Focus
I was driving along Pacific Coast Highway yesterday. There was a movie location set up in one of the parking lots off the side of the highway, replete with honey wagons, trucks, tents, sets and a large crew. I thought of the actors working in those conditions. How do they maintain focus? How do they avoid being distracted (from their reality-creating task) by all that traffic whizzing by, a crowded crew, bathing-suited lookers gawking, the sound and smell of waves beating against the shore?
As I watched the two actors shooting a scene, I thought of an interior monologue, an inner, private, focus-inducing mantra that each actor (or both) could use when standing or sitting across each other waiting for the scene to start: "Just you and me, pal (or gal)!" the actor(s) says to himself concerning the other. "Forget where we are. We've got something to settle, just you and me; and our conversation is much more important than our surroundings. I don't give a shit about the sets, the lights, the traffic. That's all extraneous bullshit; an external context totally irrelevant to me. All I care about is you. Listening to you; talking to you, probing you, trying to convince you with everything at my command, my words, my looks and my deeds to see things my way. You see, pal/gal, I need emotional satisfaction in this scene. Because we are no longer actors. The actors are dead. Just you and me, pal/gal, two (or more) human beings...with something to resolve...in my favor."