Guys…acting classes are crazy. I think that it’s something you have to take a step back from every once in awhile and realize that if anybody else–Psych Majors, History Majors, whatever–came into an acting class, they would think we were all insane. And you could never, in a million years, get them to do what we do. This used to make me kind of self conscious in high school. How weird were we, that we were willing to run around and make weird noises at people, shout in their faces, and learn from it? Now that I’m in a safe space at an incredible acting program, however, it doesn’t phase me much. I willingly do all the craziness that’s asked of me, and usually I am making so many discoveries that I could care less how psycho I look. Yesterday was one of those reminders, though, of how different we can be from the “real” majors here at my school (by the way, I hate that that’s a stereotype. Grr.)
I have to perform a service learning requirement in one of my classes, which basically means that we help out another school on campus by acting for them. Often, it’s performing as a patient in the nursing school or as a therapy patient for the psychology students; but I jumped at the chance to help out the Mass Comm kids. I won’t lie, mostly because it was the shortest length of time of any of the projects yet. Sorry, guys. But the description of the service was a little bit intimidating: “You and two other students will be putting on 3-4 seven minute talk shows in which one of you is the host and one is the talent. Their content is up to you. The class will be filming you.” Ah, film. I hate seeing myself on it. I’m not sure why; maybe I just judge myself to much to enjoy it? The funny thing is, I really like the whole process of creating film–how real everything is, how tense the world can get with the direction and technology all syncing up…it’s invigorating. But when I walked into the studio and saw three cameras, all pointed on my face…a little bit of the Self Conscious Bubbles popped up (you know how when you get nervous your stomach is bubbly and your face gets red and you start wondering if your hair really looks like that and oh my God, is that really how my voice sounds? It’s like that. But worse.)
The project itself was easy. My friend Dallas and I played the stars of new blockbuster films on our friend Liza’s talk show. It was so fun thinking up the most random ideas and costars for these movies–my personal favorite was a low budget gritty indie film in which I played a drug addicted girlfriend to Johnny Depp’s cold hearted drug dealer, imaginatively entitled “Stone”. Dream come true. Anyway, what really got me thinking was how fascinated all the mass comm students were that we were just making this stuff up on the spot. Our first “movie” was a civil war romance in which we said we worked with Meryl Streep. After we had done our second show, two of the students said, “We were actually completely convinced that you had worked with Meryl Streep, and we were like freaking out that two of the kids at our school got to meet her! How do you guys do that?! We thought you were telling the truth like both times!” I mean first of all…that obviously made our actors egos feel great. But second, what makes us so different from all these other majors, that we can just make stuff up and fly by the seat of our pants to create magic up on a stage? It truly gave me such an appreciation for what we do. We make worlds where there once was nothing…how incredible is that?