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Posts Tagged ‘NYFA’

To be Vulnerable

In NYFA journals on January 6, 2011 at 2:31 am

Natalie Portman’s vulnerable side in Black Swan

If there is one feeling that leaves me more naked than being nude, that is the feeling of vulnerability. It’s just about the polar opposite of what I live to be, against all that I stand for. If questioned, I would lower my pitch, and deny any trace of its existence in my life, but on a bad day, I don’t make a habit of looking into mirrors, because I know I’ll see it there, staring back at me.

I used to believe that being vulnerable marked the beginning of a downward spiral that would eventually victimize me, so I used to run away from it, as fast as I could; maybe that’s why my dreams were always heavily dominated by the chase theme. However, the twenty-something me now has gotten a bit more grown since the teenage child, as I’ve learned to view vulnerability differently. I don’t run away from things now; I’m turning around and demanding to know why you’re after me.

Time is not the only factor responsible for casting the different light upon this intangible matter, it’s my training at NYFA. It is more unfair than unfortunate that the eternal blanket statement which actors fight against is their status as “professional liars”. This is because most people don’t understand just how personal their work really is. Take it from Natalie Portman, who said in a recent interview while shooting Black Swan, “As an artist, it is scary… Your work is very, very personal, and you’re putting it out there for people to see and to judge. It’s a scary thing to do.” Here, she openly admits to how vulnerable her roles make her feel, and I applaud/admire her for that. Similarly, Ryan Gosling is also praised for being fearless against being vulnerable, “Gosling is the rare Hollywood actor who isn’t afraid to play vulnerable men” (Cineplex Magazine, January 2011, p.37). You see, vulnerability is sort of a secret ingredient in acting.

{Originally written on July 22, 2010}

On Vulnerability
This is another area that echoed the material from another class – song interpretation, to be exact. We were instructed to make up the details/story for each song, and were encouraged to not be afraid to show our vulnerable side. “In fact, most actors get casted for their vulnerabilities”… our instructor told us.

It is on that note that I wonder… can vulnerability be trained? If so, is trained vulnerability almost a pretence? Or is it more vulnerable than the original vulnerability? Either way, I feel that good acting requires the letting go of insecurities, and the breaking down of walls. Perhaps insecurities will still be there, but not hiding them is already a step forward. As another acting instructor said, acting is the ability to be private in public. In my view, it takes a lot of honesty with oneself to do that.

It always comes back to honesty and truth
I suppose honesty and truth would be the two core pillars of good acting. This is because as audiences, we feel connected to what’s going on when we can relate to something that they are doing. Even though the situation is make-believe, or contrived, the acting is not.

Fast forward to now: After all this mental tug-o-war, I’m ready for bed. Perhaps next time when a bad day comes, I’ll deliberately spend some time in front of a mirror. I’m going to find that vulnerability, I’m going to study and recognize that face, and I’m going to capitalize on it…



Lost & Found in NYC

In NYFA journals on December 28, 2010 at 5:25 am



From Quotable Cards, Barnes & Noble, NY, NY.

New York’s been on my mind a lot lately, mainly because it was where I last felt (extremely) inspired. I learned so much while studying at the New York Film Academy (summer 2010), so over the next few posts, I will share some journals that were originally written for my acting technique class, taught by the wonderful Rebecca Tourino.

{ Originally written on July 20, 2010 }

Context: we each had to attempt a task that was impossible for us to do, prior to the live-attempt in class, within a given timeframe. I picked the splits. If I practiced like I tried, I’d get it back.

Journal: The second session of the class unfolded with each person’s “impossible task” performance. Even though I often tell myself, “do what’s possible, try what’s not”, I’ve never come across such an exercise before, and I’m really glad that I did. Investing belief in success is one point to keep in mind, but also having a clear goal is in and of itself a fundamental part of establishing a strong sense of self. Goals are often hindered by obstacles, but they can also be affected by distractions.

When I first arrived in New York, I was immediately overwhelmed – not because it was my first time here – it’s not, but because during those initial few days, I had a lot of time and space to myself, and not a lot going on to keep myself occupied. My goal of
being in New York this summer is to train at the NYFA, but prior to classes starting, I often found myself in a state of wander.

At the time, there was the heat wave, and without AC in my apartment, I spent a lot of time outside, in and out of air-conditioned stores, while walking lots around the city just to explore and become acquainted with the cultural richness there is. I felt a bit lost at the time, and I didn’t know why. All of a sudden, in the middle of the seminar, I came to realize that I fell victim to all the distractions in this city that never sleeps… I felt lost because I was distracted by everything else that was going on around me. However, what’s worth noting is that distractions are only recognized as such when one is clear about one’s purpose and focus. I feel that I am now… and because of this new found certainty, I am able to not be distracted.

Fast-forward to now: Words don’t do it justice, but the roller-coaster experience of being lost-and-then-found in what could be a daunting city, inspired quite the epiphany. It pushed me to dream, to dare, to risk. Alas, qui ne risque rien, n’a rien. Like the quote on the card, life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself; yet, finding yourself seems to be a pre-text. A bit of a catch-22; #DefinitelyJeNeSaisQuoi.