The Actor And Their System

Peter Valentino Actor Training Blog

What stresses people more than anything else is trying to fit in with a system. But, when we look at it deeply, we see that we each have our own system, which has reference to a number of other people’s systems. Still as systemized as things are becoming in this brave new world post-9/11, the individual still has the ability to create their own system. You must start to see it as an inalienable right that you can invent your own system. In fact, the psychological and proven reality is that people work better when they are more independent and have the ability to develop their own system.

I find this to be true always, and whenever I work with another individual, we come up with a system, mutually.  It’s very important for the actor to explore the boundaries of the system, as it has been given him—even the system of actor training that he has used to understand the Art. It’s essential to always look for that better way, and a better way than that.

The actor must be a conscious creator, this is where self-discipline comes into play. The actor must discipline himself and have a well-worked out system, with a main intention of having it so together that he can relax.

It’s a very strange truth of Yin and Yang, that the more of one, let’s say yang, you have more of the other, yin, will come as a balance. So, you have the act of cleaning up, being a yangification and then the balance comes that you can relax, which is a more of a yin concept. The more austere your space, the more open your mind. This is the concept of the Zen Garden: everything is in its place and everything is perfect…and you can relax and open up in the space.  It’s here where Americans can learn a lot from Asian cultures, which tend towards more sparsity and artistic quality of the material objects which do exist within the space. All of this can be a part of creating the Actor’s neutrality. Thus, the Actor gains the ability to pivot, to turn, in whatever direction a given character dictates. Whatever you can let go of, in terms of knee-jerk personality affects and imposed systems, the better you will be as an Actor. You are a blank canvas, or a piece of moldable clay. Look around at systems that you now have, and question them; see if there is a better level to get to. Because each time you tighten up your system, you free yourself. And the life of the Actor must be one of conscious freedom.