Why Act Intuitive?

by Jill Place, The Acting Intuitive

What’s the Best Acting Training?

Actors always ask me that. There are a million coaches out there doing a million versions of thousands of techniques. Why me?

Well, first of all, I studied with all the coaches that have set the standard for acting training in the last 100 years. Strasberg, Meisner, Hagen, Spolin, who created improvisation, Austin, who founded The Groundlings, and a protégé of Jerzy Grotowski’s. I didn’t realize until years later when I started my private classes that this was an amazing legacy I had . . . I had worked firsthand with almost all the coaches who had changed the face of world acting. Not only that, I had studied long enough with most of them to internalize their techniques so that I could teach them.

Second, I was able to synthesize the best of everything I’ve learned into my own technique. I was a Method coach for many years, and was called the best of this genre in L.A. by many students. But I found this form limited. Stanislavski himself said that training should be ever-evolving. He himself abandoned some of his earlier training beliefs later in life and tried out new ones.

I don’t believe that 100 year-old training suits the needs of modern acting. Stanislavski changed his methods many times within his own lifetime. That’s why it was time for a change. Continue reading

Focus!

FOCUS Focus!

Cultivating Focus is Absolutely Essential for Good Acting

Okay, it’s now 4:24am and I’m going to focus and write this whole article in an hour.  Aw, I did take some time the last hour looking up quotes and making coffee to coddle myself awake. But it usually takes me 4 to 8 hours of muddling over an article to get it done.  I write a line, go away and do something else, spark an idea and return to write another line.  Instead, I’m going to practice the focus, or concentration, I learned as an actor to complete this task in the allotted time.  So here goes!

If you wonder how some people write 50 books in a few short years, the answer is focus.  If you wonder how ballet dancers take class all day and perform night after night, the answer is focus.  And if you wonder how some actors, like Al Pacino, do huge bodies of disciplined work in their lifetimes, the answer is always the same . . . focus.

I knew Al slightly while an observer at the Actor’s Studio in the 1970’s.  The nicest, most generous guy you’d ever hope to meet.  But Pacino is also fiercely focused about his acting.  And figuring out how to make a part or a theatrical experience work.  If you’re interested in seeing how he does that, I urge you to see the film, Looking for Richard.  After all, he once said, “either I act or I die.” Continue reading

Little WINS Create BIG Successes

Little WINS act Little WINS Create BIG Successes

Cultivate Success with “WINS”

Part of my brand new soon-to-be-published eBook, “Gluten-Free in 5 Days”, are the things I call “WINS”.  WINS stands for “What I Now See (that I didn’t see before).  Little truths that are a compilation of every major spiritual thought and life lesson that I’ve ever read, intuited, learned from experience or education, or gleaned by traversing other diverse paths to enlightenment.  Acting also helped deeply get me in touch with myself.  As well as my many teachers including acting coaches, psychics, gurus, guides, shamans, heart-marketing experts, and random encounters with remarkable people.

So I tried to distill all that knowledge down to a few sayings . . . “WINS”.  As an attempt to uplift, inspire, empower, and provide some sort of spiritual framework for those who either had none or needed a reminder.  As I constantly do about where I fit in with regards to my own spiritual life.

The interesting thing is that many of these ideas mirror either the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve-Step program.  Or Eastern religious teachings.  After 70 years of exploration, I’m convinced Western spirituality can be limiting.  And that it works . . . according to the AA motto . . . “if you work it”.  In other words, embracing these concepts is good, but taking action upon them is even better.

So here’s a few “WINS” to ponder and act upon.  There are many more.  These are kinda big concepts but I like to think I do everything with an undercurrent of the following.  They’re the most vital mindset-change ideas I know.

You’re welcome to add your own “WINS” ideas at the end of this blog to further enlighten us all.  Here are mine: Continue reading

Poking though Clouds to See the Light, Part Seven

POKING ACT Poking though Clouds to See the Light, Part Seven

Change your Life by Breathing Color

Okay . . . we’ve talked about all sorts of ways to change your mind, including cognitive-based behavioral ones, writing and reframing, guided imagery, and tapping.  But years ago, I happened upon a little book called “Health, Youth, and Beauty though Color Breathing”.  I couldn’t find it on Amazon the other day . . . I’m sure that, by this time, it’s out of print.  But the concepts in it truly changed my life.  And it’s been a touchstone for me ever since.

Color breathing has elements of every other type of energy healing.  First of all, all the chakras, the seven Hindu energy centers of the body, all resonate not only with specific tones on the scale but with specific colors too.

Sounds are invisible but each color has their own visible wave length or frequency.  And that light frequency, when it penetrates the body, stimulates glands and vital organs, including the skin.  Which is the reason why color breathing can reverse the signs of aging.  As well as restore health.

All this mirrors what we talked about before, especially in part five of this series.  If you haven’t already you can read about the energy bodies, which are very similar to the chakras, by going here. The whole idea is to make changes in your etheric body, the one next to the physical one you show to the world.  If you picture the etheric as perfect, it will eventually manifest in the physical, thus fulfilling the prophecy, “thoughts become things”.  And color helps stimulate this whole process. Continue reading

Connecting to Spirit

CONNECTING TO SPIRIT ACT Connecting to Spirit

A Septuagenarian’s Willy-Nilly Path to Enlightenment

Tottering on the precipice of my 70th birthday (it’s the 27th), I can’t help but dwell on how I got here.  GOD, it was lengthy, often leaden, sometimes laudatory,   But always unerringly a drawing toward the deepest chambers of my heart and soul to reveal the me that is spirit.

And . . . let’s face it . . . isn’t being dubbed a “septuagenarian” kinda cool?  Especially  when you’re healthy, active, still healing people, and teaching a very physical acting technique?  I’m also incredibly close to publishing my first eBook.  And documenting my weight loss to inspire others my age.

How DID I get here?  Beats me.  I once didn’t think I’d make it past 50.  But, now that I’m . . .  THAT word . . . I can clearly see what was vital to my path.

Surrender

Hey, it’s really hard to resist that there are things otherworldly when you see flitting forms in your room when you’re four.  And later on when you end up living in more than one haunted house.  And are close with people who go on to be mediums.  And have extraterrestrials marching in your back door. To name just a few.

I could have denied it.  But instead I allowed them all in.  Including the two alien presences that became my guidance and allowed me to work effectively as an intuitive and healer.  Surrender, which is an inherent part of spiritual disciplines, helped me grow and thrive.  So perhaps it’s always been a part of me.  I also was able to look at all these extraordinary happenings through curious instead of judgmental eyes.  That helped. Continue reading

Getting Ready for Success: Fierce Love

Getting Ready for Success Fierce Love Getting Ready for Success:  Fierce Love

I went to a seminar last week.  For three days.  And whenever I go to something like this I hear the words “fierceness” or “fierce love” often.  The presenter keeps reminding you that, in order for you to be successful too, you have to get outside your comfort zone and voraciously carve a path to wherever you want to go.

I can’t agree more.  I was also reminded that seminars, especially three-day ones, fire you up and then send you out to fend for yourself.  Of course, you’re encouraged to sign up for the next course and keep going.  These mega-millionaire marketing gurus have found the secret to making money . . . and selling to others how they did it.  Most of them have their hearts in the right place.  And somewhere, somehow, they’ve found the key to fulfilling their destinies.  We can learn a lot from them.

I’ve lived a long time, had a lot of failures . . . and some successes . . .  and have learned that you have to set an intention or goal and fiercely, single-mindedly pursue it to its conclusion to make stuff happen in your life.  Here are some ways to do that; see if, when you read them, you fiercely agree.  You’re in a fierce, fiery place when you: Continue reading

If I Knew Then . . .

IF I KNEW THEN . .  If I Knew Then . . .

7 Ways to Know Yourself Better . . . and Become a Better Actor . . . Faster

Acting forces you to explore the human condition.  And along with that, the human spirit.

Because the backbone of acting is behavior.  And it’s difficult to understand how someone else behaves without first understanding how you do.

Acting was a true life-saver for me.  Growing up in a critical, uncomfortable home for the first 18 years of my life, I had no idea who I was let alone how my behavior and my presence affected other people.  I must have unconsciously channeled all my behaviorial insights into my acting.  Because, for many years, I hadn’t a clue once I stepped off that stage.

There wasn’t a lot of help in those days.  We were just coming out of the denial of the 1950s into the fledgling self-awareness of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Then, if you went to a therapist, did meditation, or followed a guru, you were considered at the very least lunatic fringe.   And, at most, a crazy drugged-out hippie.  I relied upon my smarts to cope with acting and life then.  And being funny to get people to like me.  I also secretly relied on my shrink.  Because we didn’t openly talk about those things then either.

Acting is a great platform for self-awareness.  Along with therapy, it enabled me to become intensely self-connected.  And then to consider other forms of consciousness such as yoga and encounter groups.  It’s amusing to note that these once suspect practices are now mainstream.  At least in Los Angeles. Continue reading

I’m a Soul . . . Man?

IM A SOUL MAN I’m a Soul . . . Man?

A Practical . . . and Spiritual . . . Success Guide for Actors

by Acting Intuitive Jill Place

I just don’t get it!  Or, as Howard Beale shouts from the rooftops in the movie, Network, “I’m mad as h^ll and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

Two actors showed up for back-to-back branding sessions at my house one recent Sunday.  One had co-starred in a much-lauded HBO movie. And the other was a regular recurring character on a prime-time kid’s show.  I guess I’m mad as h^ll because both actors were divinely well-equipped in craft and type to do big roles right now.  But neither had much clue about who they were on a deep soul level.  Both appeared steeped in the “Please-Want-Me” syndrome.  Y’know, that place where you forget about who you are and try and figure out what everyone else in ShowBiz wants.

ER$#%@*+*!  WRONG ANSWER! Both these actors have good credits on their IMDB pages.  And brushes with near-fame more than once.  Yet one of them just can’t get it together to finish a screenplay which is a shoo-in for him to sell.  It is THE vehicle . . . THE project that could make him both a working writer AND a star. The main character also happens to resonate deeply with him.   And yet he is “procrastinating”.

I’ve helped a lot of actors brand themselves over the years.  And was flabbergasted to find that many are terrified of the process. It’s a given that the clearer you are about your acting, not only in craft but in essence and purpose, the better chance you have of being successful.   But many actors aren’t any of that.  And  . . .  even though it makes me mad as h^ll . . . I think I know why.  Many actors are terrified of once and for all tapping into and exposing their souls.  In other words, they’re terrified of finding out that that’s what acting’s really all about. Continue reading

Poking Through Clouds to See the Light, Part Six

SEE THE LIGHT SIX ACT Poking Through Clouds to See the Light, Part Six

Tap your Troubles Away with Emotional Freedom Technique

I must admit that I don’t practice Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) on a regular basis.  And I should.  Because it’s a terrific way to quickly penetrate through all those energy bodies I talked about in the last article of this series.  And begin some sort of a desired healing.  If you haven’t already, you can read about energy bodies here.

EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture by the Chinese for over five thousand years, to treat physical and emotional ailments. Instead of needles, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to stimulate. energy into specific places on the body while you ponder your problem . . . a traumatic event, an addiction, an emotional  barrier or the like . . . and simultaneously repeat phrases to accept and assimilate it.

Not only that, according to Gary Craig, one of the founders of the technique, the whole process can be summed up in one “discovery statement” . . . “The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system . . .  This includes fears, phobias, anger, grief, anxiety, depression, traumatic memories, PTSD, worry, guilt and all limiting emotions (thoughts) in sports, business and the performing arts. That’s a comprehensive list and covers just about every restrictive emotion we can experience.”  According to Craig, we don’t have to relive painful memories and traumas to relieve ourselves of them.  We simply have to tap in the right places. Continue reading

Headshots from a Soul View

HEADSHOTS Headshots from a Soul View

Actors are always asking me to critique their headshots.  And I don’t know why.  Because I just want to tear most of them up, throw them on the floor and stomp on them.

I know that sounds harsh!  But I’ve seen tens of thousands of headshots from my days working at the Strasberg Institute through my many years as an acting and branding coach.  And I know the headshot drill quite well.  You hunt and hunt for the right photog.  You spend anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars to get your shots.

Then, hoping and praying that they’re the best pictures you’ve ever had done, you proudly distribute the proofs (or the URL) to all your friends.  You expect us to “OOOHH” and “AHHH” all over them.  You then gingerly ask us to help you pick the best ones.  Friends know how much time, effort, money . . . and emotional energy . . .  you’ve invested.  So even if we think so, we just hate to tell you we don’t like any of them.  Instead we diplomats say, “these’ll do” or something to that effect.

John Barrymore had a convenient way of dealing with actor friends whose performances he didn’t like.  He’d say to them, “you just don’t know what you did out there . . . you just don’t know!”  Barrymore was being kind.  But I’m going to be bold, be a real friend to you and name the big pink suede elephant in the room! I don’t like many headshots.  Continue reading