Acting is Channeling

Peter Valentino Actor Training Blog

It’s interesting to me that certain religious conservatives ascribe demonic associations to Acting. This is due to numerous unfounded fears, but primarily rests upon a negative attitude towards channeling. Acting is channeling. This means that you are consciously taking another personality into your body. You are, in essence, possessed by another human being.

Importantly, this comes with caveats. You want to be careful what personalities you allow into your body; certain personalities can leave scars on the actor, unless the actor is very well grounded in their personal life. I would recommend to any actor to seek a neutrality in their personal life of people who really know them. Every actor needs to have a strong normative personality from which they can branch out and safely play a great range of characters.

Part of channeling a character can be instantaneous, and then, many aspects of that character need to be rehearsed again and again. You are integrating the hands, you’re integrating the feet, the shoes, the style, the posture, various tensions, or relaxed conditions in various parts of the body. Then, this becomes a gestalt through great amounts of practice, so that you live in that space of the character as an integrated and whole human being. This person is not you.

That’s why channeling is such an important part of Acting: if you start to think that the character is yourself, you’re no longer acting, by definition.