1 Thing You Can Do This Week (To Magnify Your Character)

1 Thing You Can Do This Week …

(To Magnify Your Character)

William Shakespeare contended that “all the world’s a stage and each one of us, merely players.”

So who are you?

In the world of theater, it is impossible to play too many characters without coming across anemic in the roles. Also, if you establish your character onstage and then drastically revise it, the audience doesn’t buy into your leap.

The one thing you should think about this week to magnify your character is:

Don’t let your problems give you stage directions

Unlike true theater, in everyday life we have a tendency to adjust to the settings, the surroundings, the spotlights, the poor audience reaction or the failure of others around us to remember their lines, and either attempt to revise our dialogue to fit the circumstance or freak out because our the revisions cause us to lose all credibility.

Here is this week’s question: who are you?

And don’t try to tell me that you are a multi-faceted individual with many different layers of being. That’s the best way to describe a liar. Who are you?

Once you find the answer to that, remaining faithful to the role, no matter how the play unfolds in front of you, is how you gain the reputation of being solid and trustworthy– well worth knowing by your peers.

An acquaintance recently asked me, “Who are you?”

I replied, “I am a character addicted to good cheer, so no matter what you hand me, I will do my best to give you back joy.”

The definition of immaturity is feeling the need to change the script simply because there’s been an unforeseen twist in the plot. But in doing so, we sully our character and make ourselves seem unreliable.

Who are you?

Answer that question–and then don’t let your problems or your mishaps give you stage directions.

 

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Getting in Character… August 17th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2666)

choking

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

Don’t kill off the competition.

You will be tempted to do so. The world around you encourages deception–in a passionate way–to gain a footing to win the role. And in doing so, you may be taught to be a detractor of another person’s talent.

Most plays have two main roles, and a whole bunch of character opportunities. Maybe you envision yourself to be a “lead role” type of person. But the deck is stacked against you, because once someone has been given a lead role and they’ve been successful, making money for the corporation, they will be favored for the next lead role.

You may find yourself disgruntled, on the sidelines, badmouthing the stars and insisting that you could do just as well.

No one likes that person. That person is normally written into the script of life as a villain or a pathetic loser.

To avoid the anger which leads to rage and jealousy, causing us to assassinate the character of our fellow-travelers, it is very important to learn where to go to be both happy and productive.

It’s a simple, four-step process:

1. Find a hole.

Yes, there are many things that are left undone, partially because they’re not very glamorous, or they appear to be more difficult. Find one of these–not just “the road less traveled,” but the opportunity less pursued.

2. Fill the hole.

Take that talent you’ve been reserving for the spotlight and move it stage right or stage left, and allow your best performance to shine.

3. Invite friends.

That’s right. Include other people in what you’ve discovered. There is nothing more powerful than making an obscure idea popular, and then walking away from it, so that you can…

4. Find a new hole.

The minute you discover that what you have begun has gained traction, look ahead to what humankind needs and start moving towards it.

There is no such thing as being “ahead of your time.” If you’re not ahead of your time, you’re waiting in line. Actually, being ahead of your time is just having the intelligence to know what is needed, and beating others to the market.

You will have a tendency to be a killer if you don’t learn how to be a doer.

And to become a doer, your job is not to build a super-highway, but instead… find great joy in filling in the pot holes.

 

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Getting in Character … August 3rd, 2015

 

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2651)

spice rack

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

The society of humanity offers pernicious quantities of advice while releasing miniscule portions of support.

There’s a very simple reason for this. Each one of us mortals is deeply afraid that we will fail to receive our required recognition.

So because this climate exists, caution is pushed to the forefront to protect our turf, which lends itself to a backlash, often resulting in evil.

Therefore, we are offered a banquet table with the only entrees being “dull” and “dark.” For a while “dull” is offered as normal, which is followed by a rebellion, which tries to focus on the more unseemly parts of our character. And then, when we get nervous about the world becoming too dark, we “dull out” again, to an uncomfortable level of blandness.

It happens in politics, religion and entertainment.

No one seems to be able to break the cycle. We seem to accept the fact that life in itself is pretty boring, unless you spice it up with vice, sin and bleakness, which lends itself to selfishness and evil.

Yet the people who are recalled by historians as earth-shakers always provide something bold and bright.

Without these individuals, our history would have ceased many times over and cast us into a permanent Dark Ages.

How can you offer something bold to overcome the dull?

Always remember that human beings have two basic needs: they require purpose and praisepurpose in the sense of understanding why they are doing what they are doing, and praise exemplified through enjoyment and appreciation.

So first of all, you can affect any scene in your life by bringing purpose and praise to it instead of feeding the bland and the boring.

Secondly, we need something to enlighten us. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with exposing the darker portions of the human character as long as you do it with light instead of exaggerating the depths of bleakness.

Things get dark enough without us turning off the lights. People of character always must bring some light to the darkness; otherwise, we’ll end up negative and cursing one another.

  • If the world becomes too dull, we become infatuated with the dark.
  • Once frightened of the dark, we too quickly will return to the dull.

Your job, while getting in character, is to bring the bold and the bright and become a light to the world.

 

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Getting in Character … July 6th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2625)

Gymnast with coach

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

There are those who feel they tap an insightful genius by using laborious dialogue and depravity to accentuate what they have determined to be reality. Yes, indeed–every actor is tempted to pick up a paycheck by participating in a piece of manipulated negativity.

Yet you must remember–the world evaluates what you want by what you give.

Art can journey through the tunnel but is required to find the light, thus generating the mercy we give to humanity through creativity instead of adding gloom to the doom.

Never forget, there are only three things that human beings require: mercy, opportunity and honesty.

Take any of these away and we starve in agony.

But in each case, we cannot continue to acquire our “food for heart” without first obviously providing it to those around us.

  • Therefore to obtain mercy, you must grant mercy–from your forgiveness through your performance.
  • Opportunity is granted to those who are already providing such a benefit to others.
  • And honesty is the air we breathe, which keeps us from choking to death.

If you’re going to get in character, you must understand that the review left behind for your stage appearance will not only be collected on your professional resume … but will become the heritage of your legacy.

 

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Getting in Character … June 29th, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2618)

Eating contest

From Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

It’s a common mistake.

Often in an attempt to seemingly simplify a job, we end up breaking it down into its external parts, while completely abandoning the passion that really makes it work.

The same is true for the actor.

When he or she first begins to view the world as a stage, many think the completion of the adventure settles in on three steps:

  1. Memorize your lines.
  2. Discover your entrance and exit.
  3. Learn where to stand.

The truth of the matter is, these three are merely the beginning, which often is abandoned to produce an adequate end.

That’s right. Memorizing your lines is not special, so it’s essential that once you retain them you forget that you ever had lines in the first place, but instead, realize that you are producing natural reactions to the unfolding plot.

As far as discovering an entrance and an exit, you will have to understand that this will expand as you gain further insight into the nature of the role you play in any given situation. It may require you to threaten an exit or instigate a surprise entrance.

And knowing where to stand makes you a fixture instead of part of the flow. Life rarely lets you perch, but instead, demands you keep moving in the right direction.

The missing ingredient for young thespians who are trying to get in character is, and always will be, passion. We’ve equated the word “passion” with romance, or sexuality, when actually it is the fuel of all human emotions, and propels us towards excitement.

So once you memorize your lines, discover your entrance or exit and learn where to stand, then the next thing you can do is forget it and set it to the side.

Instead, a hunger and a thirst must enter your soul for new commands:

1. Get hungry for your character.

  • Do I have limitations?
  • Is there a secret my character holds that needs to be revealed or healed?

2. Get thirsty to discover the elasticity of your character.

  • Limitations are always self-imposed. Lift them.

3. Keep looking for new angles.

  • Your character will never look stupid if he or she is willing to realize that everything written in stone crumbles.
  • There is much to learn, therefore there is much to seek.

If you lose your passion, you lose your character–so it’s more than memorizing lines, discovering your entrance and exit and learning where to stand.

Getting in character is walking away from the hard, fast rules … to find one’s true worth and ever-expanding mission.

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Getting in Character…June 22nd, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2611)

Chalk art 2

From Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

Let the scene speak for itself.

The problem in the world of theater is that we often spend too much time on costuming, scenery and promotion.

If the quality is not present in the writing and the characterization, it will soon become evident that we’re just trying to tie a ribbon on a mutt.

Such is life.

Yet if you are determined to get in character you have to decide what you’re going to pursue.

Is it excellence or is it merely acceptance you’re seeking?

Excellence is finding what you want to communicate and then practicing it until you’re completely satisfied with your take.

Acceptance, on the other hand, is hoping to be received well without actually doing well.

In a generation which screams for “unconditional love,” we end up with a phony representation of the sentiment without the transforming power of the true emotion.

Excellence is a quiet determination. Acceptance tends to sport some arrogance: 

  1. Accept me.
  2. I’m fine.
  3. What’s your problem?
  4. People are stupid and don’t get it.

Excellence stands and faces the world without fear proclaiming, “I am satisfied and overjoyed with my profile. Come and see.”

Acceptance, on the other hand, is only fulfilled when praised.

There’s a gentle meekness in the pursuit of excellence which allows the scene to play out while we faithfully insert our portion, inheriting the stage.

And souls who pursue excellence end up getting what they want because the work itself is the blessing instead of a flaccid universal acceptance.

 

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Getting in Character … June 15th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2613)

cryingFrom Act II: Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage,” and all the men and women, “merely players.”

Scribbled in the margin of the script was a note from the director: “This scene requires real tears.”

The actor stared at the instruction and was immediately struck by two words: “requires” and “real.”

In other words, this was a non-negotiable situation. It was required.

The director had already decided that based upon the construction of the scene and the characters involved, that the emotion would demand some weeping.

Then there was the word “real.”

For after all, nothing is more displeasing to an audience than someone sprouting crocodile tears which obviously are being dribbled by force.

So what to do? How does one tap the real heart of the matter, and find the deep-down growlings that generate the kind of energy that fosters tears?

The actor thought for a long time and finally came to a conclusion.

Tears are the release of our fears.

Our apprehensions lie within us, trying to hide in corners and disguise themselves as temporary apparitions until we finally break down and admit that we’re scared to death, and allow the tears to flow freely.

Matter of fact, it’s impossible to get in character without tapping the sadness of your role. Every human has fears. Masking them turns us into chilly lumps of flesh or causes us to concede that belief is a joke and never really offers any lasting solution.

After all, most people do not become atheists because they don’t believe there’s a God. They become atheists because they hurt and don’t believe that God gives a damn.

Without tears our fears remain.

And when our fears remain, we are defensive to the world around us rather than optimistic about the possibility of relationship.

We all need comfort. But there’s no comfort given to us unless we mourn.

How would anyone know? Are they supposed to read our minds? Should they anticipate that merely because we wear human flesh, there’s some devastation within?

Without the comfort, the fears remain, taunting our talent and making us believe that our ability is never enough. But when real tears are required and we feel the freedom to weep … we are suddenly afforded the healing of comfort.

 

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