I often looked at the television screen and notice how natural my favorite actors are. Right now, I’m thoroughly enamoured with “The Office” (American version), so I’m constantly observing the hilarious character Dwight K. Schrute, portrayed by the brilliant Rainn Wilson. I look at him, I look back at me, I look at him, I look back at me. When I look at him, he tells a joke, when I look back at me, I watch and laugh hysterically. I look at him, he tells another joke, back to me, I smile, I laugh, I sigh at the brilliance of it all. What is the major difference between Rainn Wilson and me? The answer is glaringly obvious, can you guess what it is?
Rainn Wilson is is constantly talking, and I’m constantly watching. Now, as actors we need to study the greats, but I believe some of us (guilty) have gotten quite passive about, “studying.” We need to get out of fan mode and step into apprentice mode by emulating what artistic geniuses do. Since I grew up very shy and insecure, I’m not naturally comfortable with attention or people looking at me. I get very sweaty and nervous. Consequently, I’m not at ease speaking because deep down I don’t think what I have to say is worthy of being heard.
You may ask, why did you venture into acting, if speaking was not your strength? Well, one of the answers is to become something greater and stronger than I think I am. I desire to evolve into the best version of myself, and that person can communicate effectively. So like Rainn Wilson, I need to speak more. I need to get comfortable with my own voice and intonations.
Unfortunately, my boyfriend doesn’t have the time to listen to me talk incessantly, so I have to think of another strategy. As an actress who reads scripts and memorizes lines when booked for other people’s projects; I can do the same for myself at any time. I can read books and articles out loud as part of my daily “actor workout program.” What will this do for me? Well, it will definitely get me completely focused on the material I’m reading. My mind won’t drift into fantasy when I’m reading material out loud. Moreover, if I use this new focused method, and read medical journals like “The American Journal of Medicine” out loud, I’ll increase my vocabulary with medical jargon, so when TV shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” or the “Good Doctor” come knocking, I can answer with a smile.
Jamie Ann Burke
New York Actress
Founder, Thespian Heart Clothing