The Actor Lives In The Moment

Peter Valentino Actor Training Blog

What is the Moment? Or being in the Moment? In acting, it really means that you are behaving without reference to your fears. Your fears will always bring you back into your normative self, your named-self. All your fears are associated with performance or with being someone else other than who you are supposed to be.

Acting is very Zen. It makes you have to arrive in the moment. You can’t be acting and balancing your checkbook or worrying about where you parked your car. And above all, you have to let go of worrying what people think of you. That is something you can’t control anyway, so why worry about it? And overall, the very best solution for being in the moment is to listen to your fellow actor in the scene. Listening will put you into the now because that is the only time it can occur.

During the class, as an instructor/director, I have to be 100% in the moment as well, to see what is going on. Once an actor becomes familiar with my way of teaching, they release a lot of trepidation which actually stems from a fear of criticism. I don’t believe in criticizing actors. Everything the actor does is direct-able. There are no mistakes in acting except insincerity or coming back into your normative self. That is a situation where the person stops acting. Once the scene begins, I don’t like actors to talk to each other as their normative selves or comment on the script, saying “Oops, I made a mistake.” These are all ways to choose not to be the character in the moment. They are unconscious strategies to remain as you were named—your named-self.

Stay in it—that’s rule one.

When you step on stage or in front of a camera decide to be the character 100%. Nothing else matters. You are like a wild animal, responsive to every sight, sound and action.

Then, you are alive; you are The Actor.