Quotes

ACTING IS: the ability to live truthfully under given imaginary circumstances.
Always be specific.
Every little moment has a meaning all its own.
Stay in the moment.
Live fully – moment to moment- that is reality.
Listen, observe, Listen, really look, Listen, concentrate, Listen.
Don’t do anything until something happens to make you do it.
Act before you think – your instincts are more honest than your thoughts.
There is no such thing as genial charm.
An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words.
There is no such thing as nothing.
Silence can say a lot – it can also cover up a magnitude of sins.
Don’t take anything for granted.
-Sandy’s favorite from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “I wish the stage were as narrow as the wire of tightrope dancer, so that no incompetent would dare step upon it.”
-Sandy’s treasure from Shaw in reference to Duse: “Behind every broad stroke there was a human idea.”
FIND IN YOURSELF THOSE HUMAN THINGS WHICH ARE UNIVERSAL.

– SANFORD MEISNER


TO BE AN ACTOR
“An actor must interpret life and in order to do so he must be willing to accept all experiences that life has to offer. In fact he must seek out more of life than life puts at his feet. In the short span of his lifetime an actor must learn all there is to know, experience all there is to experience or approach that state as closely as possible. He must be super human in his efforts to store away in the warehouse of his subconscious everything that he might be called upon to use in this expression of his art. Nothing should be more important to the artist than life and the living of it, not even the ego. To grasp the full significance of life is the actor’s duty: to interpret it his problem; and to express it his dedication. Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world. You are all alone with your concentration and imagination, and that’s all you have. Being a good actor isn’t easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I’m done. ”
– James Dean


“KEEP IT SIMPLE”
“THE HEART AND THE MIND: WHAT AN ENIGMA.”
“LET THE AUDIENCE DO THE WORK FOR YOU…LESS IS MORE.”
“HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF.”
“NOTHING IS TO WONDERFUL TO LAST.”
“VISUALIZE.”
“IF YOU BELIEVE IT, CHANCES ARE YOU WILL GET IT.”
“EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED…SYNCHRONICITY.”
“ACTING IS A HOLISTIC EXPERIENCE.”
“JUST KEEP GOING AND GET OUT OF YOUR MIND.”
“BE KIND AND COMPASSIONATE TO YOURSELF.”
“IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR HANDS, PUT THEM IN YOUR POCKETS.”
“ACTING IS TAPPING INTO THE ROOTS OF A DREAM.”
“ACTING ENABLES US TO REINVENT THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.”
“LEARN YOUR LINES, SHOW UP AND DO IT!”
“RELAX”
“HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF.”
“YOU MUST EMBRACE THE DARK SHADOW.”

– ANTHONY HOPKINS


“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
– President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt


“There is only one way of surviving all the early heartbreaks in this business. You must have a sense of humor. And I think it also helps if you are a dreamer. I had my dreams all right. And that is something no one can ever take away. They cost nothing, and they can be as real as you like to make them. You own your dreams and they are priceless. I’ve been a lavatory attendant, a theatre usher, a panhandler, all for real. Now, as an actor, I can be a journalist today and a brain surgeon tomorrow. That’s the stuff my dreams are made of.”
– Al Pacino


“The truth of ourselves is the root of our acting.”
– Sanford Meisner


“Acting is not talking, it’s living off the other fellow!!!”
– Sanford Meisner


“You can’t learn to act unless you’re criticized. If you tie that criticism to your childhood insecurities you’ll have a terrible time. Instead, you must take criticism objectively, pertaining it only to the work being done.”
– Sanford Meisner


“The only way to deal with yourself as an actor is to follow the emotional truth of what you have to do under the imaginary circumstances. And as you develop you become confident. You come to believe in what you’re doing and trust it because it’s out of you.”
– Sanford Meisner


“Transfer the point of concentration to some object outside of yourself – another person, a puzzle, a broken plate that you are gluing.”
– Sanford Meisner


“If you have the emotion, it infects you and the audience. If you don’t have it don’t bother; just say your lines as truthfully as you are capable of doing. You can’t fake emotion.”
– Sanford Meisner


“Your acting will not be good until it is only yours. That’s true of music, acting, anything creative. You work until finally nobody is acting like you.”
– Sanford Meisner


“I’ve come to believe that everything worth achieving is beyond one’s capacity – or seems so at first. The thing is to persist, not back off, fight your fight, pay your dues, and carry on. Effort is all; continue and you may get there despite everything.”
– Elia Kazan


“Forget the career, do the work. If you feel what you are doing is on line and you’re going someplace and you have a vision and you stay with it, eventually things will happen.”
– Al Pacino


“The actor’s physical type isn’t and shouldn’t be the main consideration. Does the actor look the part? It is the simplest question to deal with. The director deludes himself who yields to the temptation to believe that an affirmative answer settles the matter. An actor’s looks will impress an audience initially, but after his first five minutes on stage it becomes aware of what he or she communicates (or fails to communicate) through acting!”
– Harold Clurman


“At the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre, Sanford Meisner said, ‘When you go into the professional world, at a stock theatre somewhere, backstage, you will meet an older actor, someone who has been around awhile. He will tell you tales and anecdotes, about life in the theatre. He will speak to you about your performance and the performances of others, and he will generalize to you, based on his experience and his intuitions, about the laws of the stage. Ignore this man!'”
– David Mamet


“If you get an impulse in a scene, no matter how wrong it seems, follow the impulse.
-Jack Nicholson


The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation. The theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time. The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation.”
– Stella Adler


“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
– Oscar Wilde


“Study, find all the good teachers and study with them, get involved in acting to act, not to be famous or for the money. Do plays. It’s not worth it if you are just in it for the money. You have to love it.”
– Philip Seymour Hoffman


“Find in yourself those human things which are universal.”
– Sanford Meisner


“If you really do want to be an actor who can satisfy himself and his audience, you need to be vulnerable. [You must] reach the emotional and intellectual level of ability where you can go out stark naked, emotionally, in front of an audience.”
– Jack Lemon


“You have to get beyond your own precious inner experiences. The actor cannot afford to look only to his own life for all his material nor pull strictly from his own experience to find his acting choices and feelings. The ideas of the great playwrights are almost always larger than the experiences of even the best actors.”
– Stella Adler


“An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words.”
– Sanford Meisner


“One way we can enliven the imagination is to push it toward the illogical. We’re not scientists. We don’t always have to make the logical, reasonable leap.”
– Stella Adler


“Acting is a question of absorbing other people’s personalities and adding some of your own experience.”
– Paul Newman


“Talent is an amalgam of high sensitivity; easy vulnerability; high sensory equipment (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting intensely); a vivid imagination as well as a grip on reality; the desire to communicate one’s own experience and sensations, to make one’s self heard and seen.”
– Uta Hagen


“Honesty isn’t enough for me. That becomes very boring. If you can convince people what you’re doing is real and it’s also bigger than life — that’s exciting.”
– Gene Hackman


“More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic.”
– Uta Hagen


“Every little moment has a meaning all its own.”
– Sanford Meisner


“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way. You become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.”
– Aristotle


“When student-actors see people and the way they behave when together, see the color of the sky, hear the sounds in the air, feel the ground beneath them and the wind on their faces, they get a wider view of their personal world and development in the theater is quickened. The world provides the material for the theater and artistic growth develops hand-in-hand with one’s recognition of it and one’s self within it.”
– Viola Spolin


“When you stand on the stage you must have a sense that you are addressing the whole world, and that what you say is so important the whole world must listen.”
– Stella Adler


“The audience is the most revered member of the theater. Without an audience, there is no theater. Everything done is ultimately for the enjoyment of the audience. They are our guests, fellow players, and the last spoke in the wheel which can then begin to roll. They make the performance meaningful.”
– Viola Spolin


“To be an actor you have to be a child.”
– Paul Newman


“It’s not enough to have talent. You have to have a talent for your talent.”
– Stella Adler


“I do not regret one professional enemy I have made. Any actor who doesn’t dare to make an enemy should get out of the business.”
– Bette Davis


“Unchosen tension is one of the actor’s greatest enemies. It must be released. Tension is the physical manifestation of blocked impulses: emotions, thoughts, physical responses. And if you don’t have access to your impulses, you’re a zombie, not a master actor. And one day you might explode and kill a bunch of people, but you’ll never be a master actor.”


“The play’s the thing, Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”
– William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark


“It is highly possible that what is called ‘talented behavior’ is simply a greater individual capacity for experiencing. From this point of view, it is in the increasing of the individual capacity for experiencing that the untold potentiality of a personality can be evoked.”
– Viola Spolin


“In ‘real life’ the mother begging for her child’s life, the criminal begging for a pardon, the atoning lover pleading for one last chance — these people give no attention whatever to their own state, and all attention to the state of that person from whom they require their object. This outward-directedness brings the actor in ‘real life’ to a state of magnificent responsiveness and makes his/her progress thrilling to watch. On the stage, similarly, it is the progress of the outward-directed Actor, who behaves with no regards to his/her personal state, but with all regard for the responses of his antagonists, which thrills the viewers.”
– David Mamet


“The actor has to develop his body. The actor has to work on his voice. But the most important thing the actor has to work on is his mind.”
– Stella Adler


“In life, as on the stage, it’s not who I am but what I do that’s the measure of my worth and the secret of my success. All the rest is showiness, arrogance and conceit.”
– Stella Adler


“For fast acting relief, try slowing down.”
– Lily Tomlin


“Goethe said, ‘Talent is developed in privacy,’ you know? And it’s really true. There is a need for aloneness which I don’t think most people realize for an actor. It’s almost having certain kinds of secrets for yourself that you’ll let the whole world in on only for a moment, when you’re acting.”
– Marilyn Monroe


“You must have a twinkle in your eye, a naughtiness — and the audience must realize your mind is working faster than your words.”
– Jeremy Brett


“True power is an individual’s ability to move from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill