Yes, I said it. I also meant it. Acting is a lot like great sex and vice versa. I guess I could have said it’s also like being in the zone or having a runners high. I don’t think that headline would have gotten as much attention though. Regardless, all three are very similar when you’re “On”. It’s a complete feeling of freedom and yet an awareness. Time seems to fly by so quickly you may not even remember it. Most importantly, you’re completely immersed in the moment.
Since people seem to struggle more with acting than sex, let me explain it from the later point of view. It’s my belief that great sex happens when there’s very little thought. It could last for hours but you may barely remember it when it’s over. It’s not because it was forgettable, but because you weren’t thinking about it. You were in the moment. It’s like those moments when we’re enjoying something so much that time seems to fly by.
While great sex does involve a lack of thought or analyzing, there’s also an awareness that comes with it. We’re so in the moment that we may notice how a certain touch makes the other’s body quiver, or a kiss placed in a peculiar area draws a gasp of breath. We may play to that, tease and move away, only to come back to that spot later on. The catch is, it’s not preplanned. There’s no thought other than pleasuring the other person. Thinking about it too much only makes it unnatural and boring.
There’s no fear when you’re in that frame of mind. It’s merely playing and finding out what makes each other tick. It could be said that there’s a childlike curiosity to it. Fear, like thinking, causes an odd feeling that something’s off. You take yourself out of that moment and place yourself in your head. It’s a terrible state to be in for sex, just as it’s a terrible state to be in when performing on stage or in front of a camera. It could be said that great sex is about making yourself completely vulnerable to the other person, and them making themselves completely vulnerable to you. It’s a state of complete trust and playing off of one another.
Great acting is exactly the same. It deals with being aware of the person you’re on stage with. You breath in their words as they breath in yours. You both must be completely vulnerable to each other and trust each other as the scene plays out. Pre-planning how to say a line, or how to react, creates this odd feeling. It feels fake and off. It’s like watching someone fake an orgasm. You just know something’s not right, even if you’re not sure what it is. If this happens it means you didn’t prepare properly. It also means you’ve taken yourself out of the moment. You’re not allowing the other actor to affect you, and you’ve likely made it that much more difficult for yourself to affect them. It causes in instant wall to grow between the two actors.
Acting should be almost completely about the other person. How are you trying to affect the other person? During sex we may touch a certain spot to get a gasp. We don’t pre-plan it during great sex, we just get a feeling at some point that it feels right. We go with an urge. In acting we are trying to do the same thing. We are saying a line to get a reaction. We’re aware and studying how the other person reacts to that, and as they react back we allow that to affect us before returning it again. There is no point in time though that we pre-plan this. We are merely in the moment reacting and acting based off of what we are seeing and receiving. Acting is like a dance. In this case, it’s like a horizontal dance.
If you want to take your acting to another level then think of it like great sex. There’s no thought but there is an awareness. You should be lost in the moment. Play with the other person and try to get a reaction based off of how they’re responding to you. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, and trust that they too will do the same. Go with your urges without fear. Never, ever pre-plan how to say or do something unless you want to come across as a badly faked orgasm. When one learns to do this with their acting, I can almost guarantee they’ll reach a new level of truthfulness and realism to their performance. And if it doesn’t there’s always porn…