Category: Acting / Performing

> Also see The Inner Actor

Marilyn Monroe: Her complex Inner Life

Marilyn Monroe: Her complex Inner Life

“I never wanted to be Marilyn – it just happened. Marilyn’s like a veil I wear over Norma Jeane.” “I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night, ‘There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me dreaming of being a movie star.’ But I’m not going to worry about them. […]

Norah Jones on sensitivity and criticism

Norah Jones on sensitivity and criticism

In addition to helping fuel creativity and a richer experience of life, being highly sensitive can make us more vulnerable to self-criticism (and other issues). Elaine Aron, PhD writes about one source or form of this, and how it impacts self-esteem: “Are you often stuck in ranking? Then you are often undervaluing yourself. It’s natural.” […]

Mia Wasikowska on teen anxiety and energy

Mia Wasikowska on teen anxiety and energy

Mia Wasikowska portrayed troubled, suicidal teen gymnast Sophie in the outstanding HBO psychotherapy drama series “In Treatment.” Her work made Sophie one of the most powerful, conflicted and emotionally complex teen characters I have seen. She was both fascinating and wrenching in her distraught intensity. In a magazine interview about her lead role in Tim […]

Stephen Dorff on working in "Somewhere"

Stephen Dorff on working in “Somewhere”

“I find mimicking and accents and makeup the easiest kind of acting to do… “You can turn me into a woman, give me some heels, I can do that. I can find the voice, etc. “But just sit me on the sofa? If I’m acting at all in those scenes, it unravels the movie that […]

Performing without too much perfection - or anxiety

Performing without too much perfection – or anxiety

Many talented actors and other performers experience “jitters” – which can be helpful up to a point – or outright anxiety such as stage fright – which is not so helpful. Both Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth of “The King’s Speech” have talked about suffering from it (see the article Celebrities with anxiety and […]

Self esteem and actors - low self confidence

Self esteem and actors – low self confidence

Many creative people report feeling incompetent, inadequate and having low self esteem at times. But there are ways to shift those feelings. A number of film actors report they don’t watch their own movies. When you can be seen in close-ups on twenty foot high theater screens, it may be especially hard not to criticize […]

Getting Over Stage Fright

Getting Over Stage Fright

By Janet Esposito, MSW It seems like quite a stretch to think that our fear of public speaking and performing can actually be a blessing in our lives. That sounds like a big dose of positive thinking—an attempt to be the eternal optimist trying to find the silver lining in a difficult and often painful […]

Bryce Dallas Howard on learning more fearlessness

Bryce Dallas Howard on learning more fearlessness

Bryce Dallas Howard portrays the “unapologetic” Fisher Willow in The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond. “I learned some interesting things about myself. Fisher is unapologetic about anything she does or says, and I am not; in fact I am apologizing all the time. “I liked that she was almost hedonistic in her approach to life, […]

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe

Her portrayal of the icon is earning praise from many reviewers. Claudia Puig writes in USA TODAY about Williams’ “bravura performance.” Roger Ebert thinks “What happens during the famous week [in the movie] hardly matters. What matters is the performance by Michelle Williams.” A number of those reviewers refer to her exceptional performance as “channeling […]

Anger and creativity

Anger and creativity

Actor and Singer/songwriter Melora Hardin said in our interview: “Anger is the best propeller for any kind of action, it really gets you moving. It’s a good thing. A healthy thing. “But I also think a lot of people — like some songwriters I interact with — get really caught in the trap of feeling […]

Stage Fright and Fear of Public Speaking

Stage Fright and Fear of Public Speaking

Many actors, musicians and other entertainers report they experience stage fright. But making a speech or public presentation can also produce so much performance anxiety you aren’t able to express your personality and creative ideas as well as you could without the fear, in more control of your emotions. Or you don’t even attempt something […]

Fiona Apple: I have to give everything

Fiona Apple: I have to give everything

“I have to give everything, my everything, and that’s exhausting…But I’m going to have to figure out how.” Fiona Apple Intensity and passionate commitment are part of why we enjoy the performances and creative work of talented actors, musicians, and many other artists. It is a central personality quality of many gifted and talented, creative […]

Virginia Madsen on intention, health and longevity

Virginia Madsen on intention, health and longevity

Actor Virginia Madsen talks about her experience in ski school [Yes, Virginia, by Karen Breslau, More Magazine]: Her third day on skis [Breslau writes], she persuaded her instructor to take her to the top of a black-diamond run — the kind inevitably named Devil’s Gulch or Dead Man’s Curve. She wanted to test herself. “I […]

Jesse Eisenberg on exactitude and too much attention

Jesse Eisenberg on exactitude and too much attention

Many talented artists share traits such as perfectionism and a need to “get it right” – and also high sensitivity, which can make fame and attention very stressful, even overwhelming. See the post Kristen Stewart and shyness and sensitivity for one example. In her article “Jesse Eisenberg on playing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in ‘The […]

Alanis Morissette: Channeling rage and finding joy in creativity

Alanis Morissette: Channeling rage and finding joy in creativity

“I have full PTSD that I’m still working on. I’ve done hours of therapy to process everything.” – Alanis Morissette, about dealing with the fame and responses to her album Jagged Little Pill. She comments in the same article about some of the themes of her new album, Havoc and Bright Lights: “There are many […]

Scarlett Johansson and Eric Maisel on stage fright

Scarlett Johansson and Eric Maisel on stage fright

Scarlett Johansson says she feels panic when she thinks about performing her songs live. The actress and singer collaborated with Pete Yorn for their ‘Break Up‘ album. In an interview, she responds to a question about performing as a singer: [How does the pressure of live musical performance compare to appearances in front of the […]

Highly Sensitive People: Preparation, Performing, Perfectionism

Highly Sensitive People: Preparation, Performing, Perfectionism

With something like twenty percent of us being highly sensitive, that means there are many performers with the trait – musicians, actors, public speakers. In her book The Highly Sensitive Person, psychologist Elaine Aron, PhD writes that public speaking or performing is “a natural for HSPs – yes, it is. (I leave you to think about […]

Felicia Day on developing multiple talents

Felicia Day on developing multiple talents

Actor, writer, producer Felicia Day is another example of a multitalented creator. She “studied operatic singing and ballet professionally, performing at concerts and competitions nationwide. Home-schooled throughout much of her childhood, she began college at the age of 16. “A National Merit Scholar (1995), she graduated as valedictorian of her class. An accomplished violinist, Day […]

Ciarán Hinds on egos and acting

Ciarán Hinds on egos and acting

Ciarán Hinds refers to working with another actor in the past: “This actress was very good, very young, but totally demanding. It was all about ‘me, me, me’. “When you find somebody who doesn’t give and take, you go, ‘Remind me never to work with you again.’” ‘Hinds prefers the unimpressed attitude of an armourer […]

Jennifer Lawrence: Staying Sane

Jennifer Lawrence: Staying Sane

“I don’t take any of my characters’ pain home with me… I’ve never been through anything that my characters have been through. “And I can’t go around looking for roles that are exactly like my life. So I just use my imagination. “If it ever came down to the point where, to make a part […]

Jessica Chastain on being sensitive and a loner

Jessica Chastain on being sensitive and a loner

Acclaimed for her performance in “Zero Dark Thirty” (she garnered an Academy Award nomination) as a CIA analyst named Maya who untiringly pursues Osama bin Laden, Jessica Chastain has talked about some aspects of her personal life that may have helped her create such powerful characters. In an interview on the Charley Rose Show, Jessica […]

Marilyn Monroe: Her complex Inner Life - Part 2

Marilyn Monroe: Her complex Inner Life – Part 2

> Continued from Part 1 ~~~   This poster is for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. An image of Marilyn Monroe with a birthday cake was selected to help mark the festival’s 65th birthday. Cannes released a statement about the choice: ”Fifty years after her death, Marilyn is still a major figure in world cinema, […]

Vanessa Hudgens on personal development

Vanessa Hudgens on personal development

Like many actors who want to develop their talents, Vanessa Hudgens observes other people, and uses the experience for personal growth as well. She also develops her awareness through reading, such as the book The Four Agreements. Hudgens sometimes visits Venice Beach: “I love going to the drum circle down there. Every now and then […]

Nicole Kidman on being highly sensitive

Nicole Kidman on being highly sensitive

“It was almost like I needed to have a day job, because this [acting] was too much fun. “But I was a highly sensitive child, and the last thing my parents wanted was for their child to go in and get hurt… “Most actors are highly sensitive people, but you have this incredible scrutiny. You […]

Mental illness and creativity: singer songwriter Meg Hutchinson on bipolar disorder and medications

Mental illness and creativity: singer songwriter Meg Hutchinson on bipolar disorder and medications

Many creative and gifted people have been diagnosed at some point in their lives with a mental illness. A diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, for instance, can deeply affect our sense of identity and change the course of our life. The decision to take medications to treat a mental illness may also have a […]

Acting, emotion and personal growth

Acting, emotion and personal growth

“Guest author Carmen Lynne writes : “After spending the greater part of my life as an actress and performer, I became a therapist in early 2007. “While I still do a little bit of acting when I have a chance, I now mainly spend my time helping other people to fulfill their creative ambitions or […]

Ethan Hawke - multiple talents, and striving for best

Ethan Hawke – multiple talents, and striving for best

“If you’re going to spend a life in the arts, you need to be infused with a sense of gratitude and a sense of wonder. It’s a privilege to do this profession. “But there is a payment you have to make for that privilege, which is to do your best all the time. “To challenge […]

DanielDay-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis: staying in character, being in flow

“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Daniel Day-Lewis describes being intensely immersed in his character when he is working on a movie. He was asked in an interview what he loves about […]

High aptitude achievement: Is entertainment a worthy endeavor?

High aptitude achievement: Is entertainment a worthy endeavor?

A critic once described the mind of Jonathan Miller as “a turmoil of sizzling wires, connecting drama with anthropology, literature with quantum physics, linguistics with genetic theory.” From the PBS site of Bill Moyers Journal / Jonathan Miller What caught my attention to write this post was the discord Dr. Miller has expressed about his […]

Hilary Swank and Emotional Excitability

Hilary Swank and Emotional Excitability

Most people experience strong feelings occasionally, unless they are depressed. But for some, their emotional reactions are especially intense. Psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski (1902 – 1980) developed a theory of personality that is often used to understand gifted children and adults. One of his ideas is Emotional Overexcitability (or Excitability), which can include intense feelings, extremes […]

Maggie Gyllenhaal on the emotional challenges of acting

Maggie Gyllenhaal on the emotional challenges of acting

Maggie Gyllenhaal: [about her film SherryBaby] Obviously, I understood that all the things that happened in the movie were painful for her, but I didn’t let that into the work. Then all the terrible things I’ve had to go through surfaced after we’d finished shooting. And I got over it. I don’t think I could […]

Hoon Lee: One form of creative expression informs the other

Hoon Lee plays David Henry Hwang’s alter ego in the play “Yellow Face.” He graduated with a degree in visual and environmental studies and English literature from Harvard University, is the son of two molecular biologists; his brother is a postdoctoral candidate in gene expression research at MIT. “There was a lot of academia floating […]

Two child screwups: Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling

Two child screwups: Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling

Robert Kiyosaki [author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad] and psychologist Kenneth W. Christian [author of Your Own Worst Enemy] note in my post Schooling can leave us with limitations that the standard educational system can have negative impacts on gifted and talented people. And many rebel at it. The image is a poster for Fracture, […]