The Actor Must Be Surfing

Peter Valentino Actor Training Blog

The most important thing in life is surfing! Yes you heard it right folks. The ability to surf is a critical reality in Acting. I am speaking figuratively in this moment. Stanislavski describes acting as chasing a mouse with a stick. In surfing we are doing a similar thing, but we are using our entire body to follow this naturally occurring event. Whether it be chasing a mouse with a stick or surfing, these are both the ultimate “yes and” connection with Nature itself. Why is this important in Acting? It is because of Human Nature…just as wild and unpredictable as anything that exists in Mother Nature.

Even though we keep ourselves under tight constraints, often not allowing ourselves to be true to our Natures, a character will have spontaneous natural and wild, untamed things that occur at times. The actor must be aware—noticing the moment and surfing the waves of the scene, watching its ebbs and flows, being aware of the objective, staying on the wave and riding it with your total focus. This, more than anything requires watching, feeling and listening.

Strangely enough, in acting class I also do a physical exercise called Surfing. This is very simple. You simply stand on the floor as if you’re surfing on a surfboard and you move yourself accordingly to an imaginary wave. The more you can imagine the wave below you and the ocean and beach, the more connected you will be to the experience. I do not recommend this for people with a bad back, but if you were to do this lightly at first, it can free you up in a physical way more strongly than any other exercise I know.

Happy surfing!