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What motivates you to be an actor?

June 24, 2012

What motivates you to be an actor? Is it a need for approval, recognition, and love? Is it a need to express, feel and move? Is it a need for personal growth and a deeper self awareness? a need to give? to take? a need to communicate and be heard? to be rich? famous? powerful?

To be a great actor, one must understand motivation or intention: what drives a character to do what they do. An acting artist is a an archaeologist of the human psyche. He or she must dig deep into a character’s psyche to understand what drives them. How does an artist do that? First, you must understand what drives you. You cannot be self-delusional or unconscious. You must have the courage to dive deep into your psyche and uncover what lives and breathes you.

Essentially people’s drives can be divided into 3 categories: a need for approval, a need for security and a need for power. Into which category do you fall? Of course, most of us are motivated by all three to some degree, but one need will invariably stand out the most.

Without a doubt, I have a need for approval. My need for approval has motivated me (driven me) to pursue acting and to train extensively to be the best artist possible so that people would accept, approve of and admire me. Ironically my need approval has also prevented me from being the best artist possible because I have aimed for perfection, which is a man-made ambition, not a natural experience from which an artist creates. Therefore, my need for approval has both energized me and depleted me.

That is why it is so important to understand oneself as an artist.

Finally, a great actor is self-aware so that he or she can create characters of depth who accurately represent the writer’s intentions. We serve the writer and his or her creation of character, plot and conflict. Actors create characters whose the point of view have been created by the writer. Point of view is determined by desire. Desire is born out of need: the seeking of approval, the hunger for security, and the lust for power.

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