Posted in:One Less Bitter Actor
When ever my students use “like” every other word I call it out and have them repeat their sentence with the word removed. I’m sure you’re not shocked to learn that many have no idea how unconscious their use of “like” is. It’s only after struggling to form a sentence without “like” do they admit “gosh, this is hard…” Yup. It’s hard making your words matter, but that’s what artists do, and, we are supposed to do it better than everyone else. Being specific is what distances art from general dialog. Not only are specifics the cornerstone of the Meisner technique but they are the cornerstone of your point of view. Trying to create something artistic that speaks to people cannot be achieved with general, vague meanings.
Telling a story or making an impact with your art will never be achieved by sorta writing a play, or, like acting in like a play. You have to be very clear about what you’re doing because your audience really wants to know what it is you are doing that’s different from what they can do by never leaving their house.
I call them qualifiers. Those phrases that keep you from criticism because you don’t take ownership of your point of view by saying things like; “I, like, kind of want to do this play.” You protect yourself from not getting the role. Some of you might be saying “Yes, but that’s a bit touchy, you know what I meant.” Well, , but the audience will get what I mean.” Yes, they don’t always succeed when they write something, but they sure tried to make their point clearly.
Don’t hide from your point of view and I mean you should practice this all day. Choose your words, don’t use cliches, and say what you want, all day. Practice owning your words and point of view all day. Distance yourself from the common level of communication that is based on filtering out a great deal of what is said because it’s, like, filler. It’s empty of meaning and connection. You as an artist have to hold yourself to this higher standard because, well, to be an artist you have to be braver, risking more, and do the harder thing. Owning your point of view and not sounding like everyone and anyone when you represent yourself isn’t harder, it’s a simple want to go from sorta to absolutely.