Ariadne’s Notes: Calling into an earlier World Poetry Café Radio Show, (http://worldpoetry.ca/?) CFRO, 100.5 FM at 1:25 PM PST, was young Jamaican , German actor Sebastien Heins stars in the Tempest opening across Canada on the big screen (Cineplex) on April 13th. Heins is now back with more advice for young actors which will be published in the Afro News. See link: http://worldpoetry.ca/?p=14263
Due to a strong response from around the world , Sebastien kindly sent additional answers to young actors, generously sharing his method and ideas below:
“The best advice I can think of is to consider three different fronts on which you’re fighting, as an artist. Then quietly obsess over all the ways you can improve on these three fronts.
– Your Input
– Your Output
– Your Community.
Your Input is what you take in, whether you read, see plays, take classes/workshops, watch quality films, read the news, work on new skills, educate yourself, and experience life through travelling, seeing friends and family, and just living. It’s feeding the flames of your imagination, and literally nourishing the quality of the work you hope to express in your art. What you put in is what comes out…
Your Output is what you give to the world, in terms of the artistic service you provide to writers, directors, your audience, and whoever else you seek to affect with your creative energy. It’s not how good you look, or how flashy you can act. It’s how you change other people’s lives. It’s the first table read for your new cast, it’s the 45 second commercial audition for the client, it’s the script draft for your dramaturg, it’s the performance you’ve built for your opening night audience (and the performance you’ve built for your rainy Sunday matinee audience). It’s what you give that fulfills others in their lives…
Your Community is the relationship you build with all the people who make up your network. No network, no work. Your network is likely made up of people on all sides of the equation — audience members, reporters, directors, writers, other actors (lots of other actors…). When you’re down and out, your network is there for you, and when you’re riding high, you’re there for your network. The work you put into your community includes scheduling coffee dates with mentors, mentoring less experienced artists, passing along contact details to other people, going to festivals, awards shows, openings, memorials, birthdays, announcements, and basically everything that ties you to a group of people. Everything that shows them, with actions, that you’re not just in it for the money or the status, but that you’ve invested in being a part of the fabric that holds your industry together. Community is deeply important, and helps guide you to build better input and output habits.
Master one, and you’ll have something good going on. Master two, and you’ll find some real success. Master all three and you’ll find a deep trifecta that provides for you and everyone around you as you grow your career and reach for your potential in life.
2. Fresh after each performance?
This is something I’m working on, personally. So far, I’ve discovered that finishing your days at 11pm on-stage in front of a thousand people isn’t the best way to get consistent sleep at night and wake up fresh the next day. It’s challenging because I think that much of our best work is done when we first wake up, and even better so when no one else is up (so, between 5am-8am). But you’ll burn out if you’re only getting 5 hours a night.
So try this.
If you’re doing a show, and it’s taking a lot out of you, and you aren’t getting enough sleep, try thinking of your sleep quota on a weekly basis, vs on a daily basis. If you aim to get 52 hours of sleep a week (about 7.5 hours per night), then take the hours of rest where you can get them — build in a 90 minute siesta, or take a 90 minute nap after dinner before your show.
You can also use your dark day (usually Monday) to sleep in, and top up on your weekly sleep quota, as well as grabbing 30 minute cat naps around the day. Cat naps can also be useful opportunities to meditate, rest your mind, and consolidate your learning over the course of a day (I find this especially useful when I’m doing a lot of rehearsing during the day and want the work to sink in).
3. Creativity to each performance?
Every show I do demands a different pre-show ritual. Most recently on “Wedding at Aulis” in Toronto, my best pre-show habits were these:
– Work out for 1hr at the YMCA
– Shower in my dressing room
– Show up for fight call
– Get into costume
– Run all my lines, focusing on diaphragm support, and addressing self notes I’d made from the show before
Your role, your rehearsal, and your previews will best reveal what it is that you need to do your best work with your cast and crew. Sometimes what you need is to just chat, be silly, or bounce a ball with a partner. Sometimes you need to go to a dark place and prime the images that you’ll have to summon later in the show. Sometimes you need to do push ups and listen to R&B. But it’s your practice, and you’ll develop what’s best for your artistic output that day.”