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Resistance: Risky Business…

In this Masterclass interview, we discuss how very often our resistance to our own growth is one of the biggest things standing in the way of our own forward momentum. We discuss what our training as artists is all about. Very often we can easily get caught up in the idea of having to “perform“, having to “be perfect or right“, having to be “on“,  or even having to prove “something” to our fellow ensemble members and/or the teacher. That is the exact opposite of what should be happening. The participation in any acting studio or ensemble should really focus on committed like-minded professionally-oriented actors coming together and wholeheartedly holding space to explore, discover, learn, grow, expand, share, support and cultivate the craft of acting. There should be the focus of committed like-minded professionally-oriented actors coming to work, to really do the work knowing each and everyone is there respectfully for the work. And more often than not, it is there where committed like-minded professionally-oriented actors come to find their tribe, their artistic home, their creative family, their ensemble. But that environment should not be used to contemplate our worth. We have to know we are worthy. That environment should not be used to ruminate about the respect we deserve. We have to know we are deserving of respect. That environment should not be used to ponder if we should be seen and heard. We have to know we have the right to be seen and heard.Part of being an artist in any learning environment is in the knowledge of what we are there to do and why. That does not mean we will not be challenged. Because we will. We will all the time. In fact, that is why we there. Challenges allow for growth as long as our resistance does not hold us back from our very own growth. But we cannot get that famously sought out “breakthrough” until there is an honest awareness and a profound understanding of what it is we are actually trying to overcome and learn. We have to be honest with ourselves and remain open to learning and growing.  Otherwise, we just remain on a merry-go-round of unuseful resistance and continue to have an un-evolved cyclical stagnant experience. Not ideal for an artist. We have to dive deep within ourselves and the work to discover all the treasures. And sometimes the true learning may have to come from the unlearning of what was once learned. One of the biggest obstacles we may have to face as actors is developing a tough enough skin to remain open and available to the work as the work challenges us in a myriad of ways. Very often the work is going to hold a mirror up to us and sometimes it is not going to be pleasant to face things that are stifling us or holding us back. But as actors, we have to be willing to stand up and face the music. There is no room for escapism in our kind of work. As actors, as artists, we have to be OK with allowing our instrument to experience discomfort as we grow. We cannot resist or shy away from it for it is that very discomfort that is the exact ingredient to our growth and to fulfilling the most complex realities of the most complicated circumstances. Our discomfort is pregnant with the substance needed to be utilized in our work. We have to be courageous enough to actually step out of the “safety blanket” of the ego, and into the reality of all that delicious discomfort as the artistic warriors that we are. It is through our instrument that we become the vessel to living the most complex, complicated and even inexplicable essence of the human condition in a very public way. But that kind of necessary bravery has to be consistently and safely worked on without consciously trying to run away from it. We have to confront it in the moment and work through it in the moment. It does not just magically happen when we step onto the stage. Working through it, void of resistance is how real learning begins. We have to stay the course. We cannot let what we were not able to overcome or achieve yesterday hold us back from what we may be able to overcome and achieve today. The fact that we continue to stretch our limits and openly reveal ourselves is a true testament to our inner strength, creativity, and light as artists. Do not take for granted the fearlessness that this art-form demands. As I always say in all of my classes, it is not for the faint of heart. The artist’s way is to persevere.
I hope you enjoy this interview.
With love,
Mario

#MarioCampanaro

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Life Or Death: The Human Spirit’s Fight For Survival…

In this Masterclass lecture, we open class with a very raw discussion about what it means when it comes to “life or death” stakes in the work. Our very talented and brave ensemble is working on a play that demands each member to viscerally understand and endow what it means to fight for one’s survival in the name of life and love without it being diluted by “ideas” of what that fight really entails. On a personal note, and to be quite frank, this was not an easy week for me to teach. In fact, I felt quite exposed. I felt quite vulnerable. I even felt quite isolated in my experience. And because of those feelings, I knew this was exactly what my heart was asking me to reveal in the lecture. So I needed to face all that and use it as the fire to my own breakthrough as well as in service of the work. Ya gotta practice what you preach, right? Otherwise, ya got no right to ask the equivalent of others. It is not the “easy” that makes us artists. It is not the “easy” that makes the difference. It is our complexity. It is that stuff that we feel we may need to hide. It is all those things that make us feel broken. It is that deep, messy and sometimes even shattered truth within all of us that is called for in the creative process. It is all that stuff that has the ability to open hearts and transform things for the better. It is all that stuff that brings us closer and closer to the ultimate truth. In preparation for this class, I had to do a lot of soul-searching to be able to reveal what I really wanted to teach on this very human and dark subject. I also wanted to be able to teach this part of the work with the utmost integrity and respect that it deserves. In my own life, I have had to fight tooth and nail in order to stay alive from a very complicated illness that has tried to take me out on multiple occasions. And for the most part, I have had to do that alone. When all known treatments have failed me, I had to take it into my own hands to find the answers to this crazy chronic illness that we still just do not have enough research for or answers to. And to this day, I still fight with all I have to make sure that I survive. So having tasted this notion of what it means to really survive based on my own circumstances, I wanted to substitute that experience to be able to share some kind of insight in a way that it can relate somehow someway to the extreme and horrific circumstances of the piece we are working on. We hear the words “high stakes” so often in our work but rarely do we take accountability to truly define what that means in relation to the circumstances and life of the character. We tend to go to the “idea” place of what that means…and even the emotionality of those circumstances…without realizing that in such high stakes, those ideas and all that emotionality may very well be the thing that gets in the way of the character’s survival itself. We have to understand that in those circumstances where it is “life or death“, there is something primitive that kicks in with laser focus to be sure that we survive. Sometimes all that emotion is a luxury that we just do not have in such extreme circumstances. It does not mean that all that emotion and feeling is not present. Because it is. And it is there deep down. And it is complex. And it is painful. And it is scary. But do we have the time and place to reveal it? To feel it? To go through it? Or do we need to refocus that energy, conserve it, and use it as the substance, the gasoline, the useful energy for survival? You see, there is something else that takes precedence. And that is that fight or flight instinct within all of us. It is that something instinctual within that works overtime to constantly figure out what can be done to survive life-threatening circumstances even if it means taking what may be considered outlandish risks just so one can stay alive. And we, as actors, have to find a way to understand and justify such actions without judgment so we can truly live them in our work. And we have to be sure that we are not playing all that emotionality thinking that it will somehow someway gain the compassion, love or sympathy from the audience. That is not the story. That is not our job. That is not what the character has to do to stay alive. If we do that, we lose the very action necessary to fight for survival. We need to stay the course, using all that emotion and feeling as the driving motivation to the do what we have to do in the scene, based on and in line with the text, to try to get what we want based on the circumstances and elements that we are in, the relationships that surround us, the obstacles standing in the way of those needs, and all the actions (spoken or unspoken) that we are willing to risk to accomplish what we are setting out to do with the intention to survive “life or death” stakes. And so we, as actors, begin this brave journey exploring and revealing the human spirit’s fight for survival in the name of life and love. And we honor the lives and stories of those who have suffered such atrocities throughout history. And we shine the light on such darkness that is still happening today with the hope, even if as a small part, of ending such suffering.
I hope you enjoy this lecture.
Much love,
Mario

#MarioCampanaro

▫️ TAG ▫️SHARE ▫️COMMENT ⚪️For more information on Mario Campanaro For The Actor & MC²=Mario Campanaro’s Masterclass, please contact our administrative department at assistant.MC2@gmail.com or visit us at www.MarioCampanaro.com


Unapologetically Accepting & Loving Your “Brokenness”…

In this Masterclass lecture, we have a heart to heart about really understanding the Self and how certain aspects of life, relationships and circumstances can trigger the Self. These triggers can go as far as creating a lens over our eyes that color our thinking into believing that there is something innately wrong with who we are. Those unfortunate lies then out-picture and bleed into our everyday reality. We are innately loveable.Plain and simple. There, I said it! It has personally taken me all my life to know and believe that truth and something that I continuously have to work on. As a teacher, I can only teach through experience otherwise I am teaching fluff in my opinion. I don’t claim to be a Guru. And to be honest, I have no desire to be one. I’ll save that for those who want to be or claim to be. I simply claim to be human, just like you, trying to figure it all out. I just happen to be fortunate to have the the opportunity to contribute all that work into the world of acting which demands the constant examination of the human condition on all levels. No matter what your history is… No matter what you have been through…No matter what you have been told…No matter what you have been taught…And no matter what you have been brainwashed to believe…YOU ARE LOVEABLE! Just as you are. And you matter! And that voice and story inside you matters! Imperfections” and all! It is the Self, who you truly are, that is the necessarysubstance which ignites the creative force within you to create. It is the Self, that amazing soul living inside that vehicle that we all call a body, that differentiates each and every one of us from the next person and makes each and every one of us inexplicably unique and special. And it is allthose differences, “quirks” and all, that are the reason we have so many stories about people. And it is the reason why we connect to so many of those stories on so many levels. The more we understand the Self, the more we have the capability of understanding what may be hidden beneath the many layers of every character…and every person. We have to know, understand and accept that this idea of “perfection” is not the artist’s friend. First of all, there is no way of meeting that standard of perfection save the fact that you are perfect as you are…yes, even those so-called “imperfections“, “flaws“, and all. You are perfect as you are. I(‘)M-PERFECTION. There is always the ability to evolve, expand, and grow, but at the core level, you are perfect for being just you. But the “idea” of perfection does not fill the gap. It doesn’t do the job. It is some made up filter that is simply BS. This idea of “perfection” separates us from the very foundation of what art is all about. It is all that other “stuff” that does the real work! Art is alive because of the “brokenness” that humanity has and still does experience in one way or another. It is our “brokenness” that connects us all. Our “brokenness” is the language that all of our hearts can understand because we have all suffered in one way or another. All that suffering is and always has been the catalyst to create. Art is there to speak up in the face of diversity. Art is there to light the torch in the midst of darkness. Art is there to mend our broken hearts, our broken spirits, and all of our brokenness. And then to bring us all together to know that “OMG, I’ve been there too!” As actors, we have to face, come to terms, accept and love every part of who we are. All the “flaws“, the “quirks“, the “weird stuff“, the “imperfections” and all of our very human “brokenness“. It is part of lifeand it is part of our job!
I hope you enjoy this lecture!
Much love,
Mario

#MarioCampanaro

▫️ TAG ▫️SHARE ▫️COMMENT ⚪️For more information on Mario Campanaro For The Actor & MC²=Mario Campanaro’s Masterclass, please contact our administrative department at assistant.MC2@gmail.com or visit us at www.MarioCampanaro.com


A Crash Course On What It Really Means To Be Specific As An Actor…

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▫️ TAG ▫️SHARE ▫️COMMENT ⚪️For more information on Mario Campanaro For The Actor & MC²=Mario Campanaro’s Masterclass, please contact our administrative department at assistant.MC2@gmail.com or visit us at www.MarioCampanaro.com (Click link in profile)


Warning! Acting Actually Requires You Knowing What You’re Doing!

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Last week I got a call from an actress that was referred to me by a long time student and private client.

I could tell the moment we started speaking that this is one of those actors that really really has respect for this art form.

I could hear in her voice she has that burning hunger that I personally love to witness that keeps the actor going deeper and deeper into the work.

It is quite clear that along with her remarkable talent, she has amazing instincts and intuition that have carried her very far in her career.

She has had a lot of success on a number of tv shows and is now being given the rare opportunity to bring her gifts to the stage in a city that is not very forgiving when it comes to standards.

She has signed all the contracts and in a few months she will play a very complicated and layered role in a new two and a half hour drama minus a much needed fifteen-minute intermission.

And yes, she has to do eight shows a week.

There will be no “Action!”

There will be no “Cut!”

And you guessed it…

There will be no editing to pick and choose the very best takes to bring the perfect performance together!

There will just be her, the ensemble, the set, the props, the lighting, the sound, the arc as laid out by the text that she will have to live without stopping two and a half hours a show, eight shows a week, and about two thousand people in the audience who paid about $150-$300 sitting there to watch her do it.

In short, there is nowhere to hide and no one/no thing to hide behind.

There is no stopping and starting over.

It is happening right now and the stakes are as high as they can possibly be!

That’s the beautiful danger of theater Life!

It is the actor’s true home requiring and even testing our technical accountability to make it through such a deliciously challenging process.

So you can imagine the panic in her voice as she shared:

“I just don’t know what I am doing! I can’t get there on my own! I take class. I have literally taken class all over the place. I mean I get these notes and sometimes I have no idea what they mean. And then within a lot of the class setups, I am scared to actually ask what these notes mean because I don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. But shouldn’t they make sense if they are being given to an actor? Shouldn’t I know what I am doing by now? And then I feel like it is up to luck if things go well in the space or not. Sometimes I am in it and sometimes I am not. And even when my work goes well, I have no idea how I got there. Yeah, I guess it is luck. I always seem to have a breakthrough when I get these random adjustments, but then I have no idea how I can use what just happened from the adjustment without being handed the adjustment to get the breakthrough. So I leave feeling great about the breakthrough I just had from the adjustment but I always seem to have to wait for the adjustment just so I can have the breakthrough. I am literally addicted to adjustments!… to get the breakthrough to discover some kind of opening in which, at this point, I am not even sure has anything to do with the life of the actual text. It’s like I am always being directed rather than learning what the hell I am doing! And I want to know what the hell I am doing! I feel so damn stuck! And I am actually also a little angry that I am still in this position for this long. And worse, I feel absolutely lost! And so I am actually scared to do what I love doing! How the hell am I suppose to do this eight shows a week! What did I say ‘yes’ to? I am terrified!!!”

Before we hung up, we set up a meeting, and then I asked if it would be ok if I dedicated my next blog to this subject and share her story anonymously as I know all too well she is not alone in this predicament.

She agreed as long as I promised to help her “find her way out of the predicament”.

We laughed and I was honored to be brought onto her team.

Unfortunately this is not an isolated conversation.

I am disheartened as I am introduced to more and more actors revealing to me how distraught they are by not getting this “thing” that they seem to knowingly or unknowingly be looking for.

Despite reading numerous acting books, scrutinizing award-winning performances, participating in numerous workshops, and jumping from this studio to the next, there still seems to be something missing that is leaving the actor with a very large question mark about this “thing” they so inexplicably love.

So what’s missing?

Well…

I can tell you, without hesitation, what is missing.

Craft!

No matter what day and age we are in, though “styles” may have changed throughout the ages, the basis of all acting has not:

PLain and simple:

Life, circumstances, relationships, needs within those circumstances and relationships, obstacles to overcome in order to improve circumstances and relationships, and doing all we can that is in line with the text to achieve those needs with the hope of living in one way or another some kind of  peaceful, happy, successful, loving life as indicated by the givens of the text.
Basically what you would know in life, so would the character!

Because all that makes the unknown of the moment possible.

Without it, you are telling your own story and swimming in your own pool of who knows what.

We need tools that will help us physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually do the work.

Just as a ballet dancer needs to know all the technicalities to do a thousand faute turns, the actor also needs to have a set of tools supporting him or her to do the work.

If you want to live in the chaos of the unknown or moment, you have to be aware of what is known to do just that!

And of course, the perfect test of action is can you, the actor, do a play that is two and a half hours, eight shows a week, and still have a consistent, alive, uninhibited, organic and visceral performance as well as the vocal and physical stamina to do your job and tell the story truthfully using the full spectrum your instrument?

And let’s be honest, this is not just reserved for the theater.

Any actor that has the talent, sophistication, know-how, and ability to be dependable and accountable is an actor that has a long life in this business whether it be stage or screen.

I always say at nauseum to my students and clients:

“An actor that is always working…
is an actor that has always done the work!”

So here is my short answer to this unfortunate dilemma.

How do you live moment to moment in relation to the circumstances of the text?

Craft!

How do you live in the unknown of the moment?

Craft!

How do you use your listening in relationship to filter wants and needs that drive your character’s story forward?

Craft!

How do you emotionally live the arc of your character?

Craft!

How do you get to where the text indicates?

Craft!

How do you have a clear relationship with others including your environment and objects that still tell the story?

Craft!

How do you discover the physical or vocal attributes of your character?

Craft!

How do you make sense of your lines so they are not something you are just saying but they have an intention to improve your character’s circumstances moment to moment?

Craft!

How do you organically give birth to the lines you are saying?

Craft!

How do you viscerally understand what is happening between the lines?

Craft!

How do you completely bring your character to life using the accumulation of your life experiences as the instrument to the world of your character?

Craft!

How do you live in the chaos of the life of unknown?

Craft!

How do you do a two and a half hour show eight shows a week?

By being supported by craft!

If you are seeking answers to these issues and are still saying to yourself:

“I still do not know what the F*$# I am doing!”

It is time for you to take a stand and speak up for yourself because you deserve what you are seeking not only as an actor, but as an artist!

And quite frankly, as a consumer!

There is always something invauable to learn from everyone, but you have to be sure you are learning and can use what you are learning for your career as actor to be active and alive and truthful in the work in relationship to the story!

The fact of the matter is you have the right and obligation as an actor, as an artist, to have a set of tools, a craft, that will always have your back supporting you in any and all of your creative endeavors.

And there is not the way to get there!

But there is a way.

And that way is the way that resonates and stimulates with your instrument to do honest, truthful, exciting, sophisticated, and unpredictable work in relation to the circumstances at hand and that always allows for the quality of your work to be consistent and not dependent on luck!

It supports you in your knowing and therefore in your freedom within the unknown of the moment.

That is the craft that you want to cultivate.

That is the craft you want to continue to work with!

This is a craft that never fails you.

It always has your back.

That is the craft that you can always put to the test, refine, mix and match, while always knowing that you are supported and can find your way!

That is the craft that allows you to throw caution to the wind, dissolve fear, and fall back in love with the process of acting once again!


Your Worth As An Artist…

Transcript Of Video:

“It is never going to be enough…

As long as you continue to allow the external world to be the determining factor of what validates you as an artist…

You are always going to feel that sense of lack…

You are always going to have the hole in your heart that is desperately searching for something out there to give you a sense of Self that says…

‘Yes! You should be doing what you are doing!’

Now I am not saying that applause…

And success…

And jobs…

And awards…

Are not worthy of being celebrated…

Because they are…

They are lovely…

But they are fleeting…

You have to know in your heart your worth…

You have to know that what you are doing…

What your are saying…

What you are revealing…

Is worthy of being witnessed…

You have to know that your talents alone are validation enough for you to be pursuing the journey that you are pursuing…

But that has got to come from the Self.”