BE A CREATIVE LIKE AN ACTOR – By @EvaMenovsky
By Eva Menovsky
BE A CREATIVE LIKE AN ACTOR
I recently realised that being a creative is a lot like being an actor.
When I was 18, I went to the International Academy of Film and Television in Antwerp.
The school was a lot like SCA, one year of intense studying in two directions: Film Actor and Film Director.
Famous Directors and Actors came in from all around the world to teach us. We made several short movies and entered a couple of award-winning festivals.
I had an amazing time there and learned so much.
Unfortunately, I had to quit after half a year, since the boss laundered some money and all his schools all over the world had to shut down.
But here’s what I’ve learned that could easily be passed over to creatives:
This is a common thing we have already learned in SCA, which is used in Improv. When you do improv, you must always go with the flow and never “kill” someone else’s improv.
That’s why you must always say: Yes, And. This means that you accept the following thing your actor says and that you build on that.
This is good for working in a partnership, to build on top of each others idea and give space that no idea is stupid.
You have to understand your character better than the writer himself
A director once told me: “if an actor comes to me and tells me my character wouldn’t say or do this and would do this instead, I know I have a great actor.”
In acting, you must understand every little thing of your character, what they think, how they move and how they feel.
I always found that the most interesting thing about acting, understanding all kinds of human beings.
This is same way it works with the brand you’re working on in advertising. You have to know everything about the brand. Their tone of voice, what they’ve done before, how it works and their audience.
Playing a lot of different characters also helps you, to understand different types of people and to speak in their language.
Every character moves/speaks/acts differently
The more you act, the more you realise that even when characters are very similar, they all have differences.
Just like humans, no human is completely identical to someone else.
Brands might look similar, but there is a distinction in there somewhere. You just got to find it and bring it to live.
You make the character come to live
Whether the character is interesting or boring, it’s what you do with it.
An actor said to me: “interesting characters are easier to play, it’s with the “boring ones” where you can see if someone has it or not.”
It’s true, if you have the most interesting character, with a lot of weird things about them. It’s almost easier to play and there isn’t much room to put your input in it. While if you have a less interesting character, you can make your character interesting. There is much more room for creativity.
Never turn down a “boring” brief. That’s where you can show what you really got.
Everything you do determines how the audience views the character
When you act, you sell yourself with every line you say and move you make.
You make the character come to life. And especially in film acting where people are going to see your face on a huge screen, every muscle must sell your character.
Selling an idea or product is easier after this kind of training. This also means that even if you have a brilliant idea, it’s all about how you sell it.
When you get lost in your character, you (re)act like them
At acting school, we got an assignment to study an animal to its core for a week.
I chose a tiger, I went to the zoo every day to look at how a tiger walks, sleeps, roars, moves his face and react to others. My friend chose a puppy and she did the same.
Coming back to school, I played the tiger, she played the puppy.
I, the tiger, was locked into a cage and wanted to eat the puppy. My friend, the puppy, was scared and running around.
After playing for an hour, to get in character, my teacher only told me, that he was going to open the cage.
As the cage opened, I ran to the puppy to eat it. And the funny thing was, my friend, sounded like an actual scared puppy. And I sounded like a tiger about to attack.
When you get lost in your brand, when you know the ins and outs, you know how to react when something happens, either in your brand or in the world.
This is perfect for topicals.
It also tells you something about the element of surprise, some of the best acting today has happened on accident when an actor just reacted like his character by surprise.
This is what Alex Taylor taught us as well, some of the best works in advertising were an accident and they just went it.
You give a little piece of yourself
This is true for everything in the creative field. In whatever industry you might work, give a little piece of yourself in the work you do.
Acting also helps you, to be more comfortable with public speaking and learning how to work in teams.
It’s a beautiful field, where you get satisfied in an emotional, mental, physical and spiritual way.
Although, I love being a creative. I miss the physicalness of acting.
Putting yourself out there and dealing with your fears.
Maybe in a couple of years, I will go back to acting.
For now I just got to act my way through SCA.