Why Some Of The Best Performances Come With A Price

As creatives we often have a system in place or some way to get ourselves ‘In the zone’ when we create, especially as actors preparing for a performance.

I recently came across a Looper video essay titled Times Method Actors Took Things Way Too Far. I was blown away by what some famous actors have done to themselves in order to get the performance they’re happy with.

Granted, some of these performances earned academy awards, but at what cost?

For decades, method acting has been a common practice used by actors to get into character. Essentially they become the character they’re portraying, not just on camera, but before and after the camera rolls, resulting in the line between reality and make-believe becoming blurred.

There’s quite a stir of controversy on the damages method acting can do to one’s mental health. I’ve always been taught it isn’t healthy and if there is another technique you have learnt, then go with that.

It’s incredibly interesting how far some actors will go for their role, sometimes even at the expense of others and at the same time permanently damaging their own physical and/or mental health.

Something tells me a method actor’s justification for this technique goes deeper than simply wanting to get the best performance. I often wonder if maybe they use it as an escape from themselves, creating the illusion of being free to explore a new world from another perspective without consequence.

I also wonder if to them, it isn’t entertainment, but rather seeing it as their duty to tell a story no matter what the cost.

My message to actors out there is a word of caution; watch this video, and as entertaining as it may be, use it as a reason not to practice the method acting technique, rather utilise one of the many other, healthy techniques out there.

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  • Jay Evans

    Editor

    Jay Evans has spent the last 8 years working as a film editor, 4 of which have been with The Initiative Production Company. In his spare time he enjoys music, comedy, experimental cooking and getting lost in the woods.

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