Feb 14, 2007

A leap of faith...

An actor leapt out of the moving frames, and joined the audience. He examined the screen with woe and disdain. New to the world he had stepped into, all he knew was that he had tried.

The world in the frames was drafted in rules scripted by an author. The world was meant for a purpose of representing an idea that belonged to the author, and the actors were created with the sole purpose of living that script for as long as the world of the film rolled.

On every run, the actors got better acquainted with the script and internalized the character he depicted beyond separation. He assumed the identity of the character, and lived (happily) as that persona as long as the film lived.

Winston Smith could never understand why no one ever challenged the idea. After all, it seemed ridiculous to repeat the same mistakes again, commit the same crimes again, or have a heart-break the same way again!

He had, on several occasions tried to improvise on his role, to make a better persona, to influence his world to a state of greater well being, but they all had been in vain. He had been punished and penalized on every such occasion, but his determination grew stronger with every disappointment.

Many screenings and unsuccessful attempts later, he realized what the other actors were not at fault. They were simply following the mandates of the director and the script writer. They had internalized their characters too deeply to sense an identity of their own; a thought of their own, which was different from that of the character.

And with this realization, he leapt out of the frames to reach out to the director and the script writer. He knew nothing of the unknown world he had stepped into. All he knew that he had tried, and that he will keep trying till the very end.


  1. and what does he find for his lost identity? does he discover himself? is his quest for truth vindicated?

    or has he jumped from the frying pan into the fire? to discover that, honestly, there's nothing out there? that one can be either an actor and be led by others' dreams or a director, manipulating others' lives?

    perhaps, the script and make-believe world of his was his cocoon. perhaps, truth is over-rated.

  2. Shall try to contribute my 2-cents as per my understanding of the post.

    First things first- I’m sure Mr. Smith is a bad actor. For, any actor - who tries to overwrite the author’s or the director’s mandate just because he needs to find his truth - has got the concept of cinema AND the fundamentals of the art of acting- disastrously wrong. Repetition -which ends up frustrating Mr. Smith- is better know as rehearsal and its importance for an actor cannot be over-emphasized. A great moment on film can be visited 50-years down the line and its impact felt. Whereas a shoddy improvisation might not even register in the viewer’s memory. Cinema is director’s medium. His vision alone must prevail over everyone else’s. Mr. Smith should’ve taken care to understand this basic fact before choosing to practice the art of Acting. The business of Acting doesn’t exist to let ‘actors’ achieve nirvana and the art of Acting clearly emphasizes the virtue in submitting your talent and persona to the director.

    A film is about the writer’s and the director’s truth – NOT the actor’s. It’s a folly on the actor’s part to try finding himself in the character in a pursuit of self-actualization. On the contrary, the actor needs to find the character in himself in order to do justice to the director’s vision and, in turn, venture closer to the truth he seeks to find. And if an actor doesn’t see that happening, too bad. Move on. I believe this alternative approach would’ve kept Mr. Smith more in control of his inner self.

    Also, I do not agree with the writer’s (or Mr. Smith’s) statement that his efforts in “improvising on his role, to make a better persona, to influence his world to a state of greater well being” – all went in vain. If so, it just means that these efforts were not in congruence with the director’s ultimate vision of the film. Period. Move on, Mr. Smith. Talk it out. Try to convince. Brainstorm. Still the director’s not convinced? Leave him alone because you’re in the wrong film.


    1. Mr. Smith needs to get his thought-process right.
    2. Must not expect perfection in the outside as well as his inner world. ‘Cos not truth but perfection is certainly over-rated.
    3. If all fails, instead of jumping out of the frames, try jumping careers. We need better actors anyways.

    *PS - Maybe I used sort of incisive language and ended up dishing out a very technical reply. But I took exceptions with certain ideas presented by w.h.i.m about actors, directors and the nature of cinema on the whole. Just trying to puth forht my PoV on the same.