Acting Is Like… Sneezing?

Or, maybe I should say it “can be.”

Check back soon. I'm currently rebuilding the site and adding my various blog posts one or two at a time.

It's a personal collection of my opinions, discoveries, and lessons on acting.

More to come…

“Acting Is Like Sneezing” is the title of a talk I give at the beginning of the Acting classes and Directing lectures I teach at Motion Picture Institute (MPI).

The purpose of the talk is to introduce beginning actors and directors to the kind of work that actors must do to give a naturalistic and believable performance on camera.

“Acting is Like Sneezing” is a concept, or a philosophy about acting, not a method or a system.

I believe that when you understand this concept, you will get a better understanding of why certain acting methods and systems actually work so well to produce believable performances.

I don't know if anyone else in the world, or in history, has ever compared acting to sneezing.

I came up with the idea on my own, after reading about a Buddhist theory that orgasms and sneezes provide a glimpse into enlightenment: You can't experience either without being fully present in the allowing of those processes to take over the moment.

Being a student at the time, I immediately made the correlation to what I was learning in my classes.

“That's just like Acting!”

Many of you will read that and get it immediately. You won't have to read any further. Except, maybe to see how it relates to acting methodologies.

But, those unconvinced should read on. The explanation and walkthrough of my lecture may just make believers out of you.

So, I held onto that idea throughout my acting experience—

I came up with the idea on my own, based on my unorthodox training as an actor, and on years of experience working as a professional actor and an acting coach.

It has been a personal mantra that has bolstered my understanding…

Only a few years ago, after making the transition to teaching, did I finally decide to share the understanding with anyone.

I guess I could have called this “Acting is like Orgasms.” But, I think too many people already believe that about Acting, and for entirely different reasons.

It certainly doesn't cover every approach to acting, nor every aspect of acting. But, the talk usually shakes beginners out of their misconceptions about what acting is and how to approach it.

~ Scott Norman