I've been pulling sand pebbles out of my ear for almost two weeks now, after BlueFace Design's The Waterfall's last shoot in the sandy shores of El Viejo San Juan, and yesterday I was sent back into the sea to film a continuation of the same beach scene. As they finished wrapping some takes that only required my fellow actor, I looked at the water and, feeling the already existent heaviness of my shoes and cargo pants, I mentally prepared for what I thought would be a mostly uncomfortable experience... As it turns out, when "Action!" was screamed, surrendering myself to the waves came so naturally and felt so good that I wondered why I'd wasted so much time pondering on it.
Maybe the soul that left its mark on the dock might just be onto something: As long as we're not putting our lives/health/dignity/self-respect or those of others in danger, we should make our thinking direct us towards doing things, not running away from them. Fear, especially of discomfort, is not only paralyzing; it's unoriginal.
And talking about mini-life lessons, let me not digress too much from this tid bit: Fellow actors, here's something I learned that might be useful to you. As a very young girl, I'd been constantly commended for my sharp memory. I could recite an entire paragraph after reading it only once or twice, and I prided myself on being one of the only kids in my classroom to learn texts verbatim, but then... I went to college. Let's just say those Freshman year parties and sleepless nights threw my biological clock into a frenzy, and with it many of my sharp attributes, memory being the most prominent. As a result, I've spent my last few years memorizing through pure diligence, focus, and repetition. It hasn't come easily, which I know is the norm for most of us, which brings me to what happened yesterday afternoon: As we rode to the film site, my very kind co-actor put his headphones on my ears to the sound of classical instrumental music. "Recite your lines to yourself now," he said. And as I looked out the window to the ground moving underneath us and disappearing into the distance to every peak and trough of each song, I was taken on a journey with the things I was going to say. By the time the car came to a stop a few minutes later, my lines and I knew each other very well.
Try it. Maybe those of us who get carsick when we read can still find some time for action in the passenger seat. Put those headphones on, take your lines by the hand, and enjoy the ride.