“How can you change who you are and learn what it takes to get up, over and over, if you can’t allow yourself to feel how much it hurts to be knocked down?…To be excellent at anything, it must cost you something.”” -Sally Field
Actors are like firefighters in that they must do the exact opposite of what most people do. The firefighter rushes IN to a burning building while everyone rushes OUT. The actor must have emotions at their fingertips while most people wish to avoid feeling vulnerable. To accomplish this, to be in the right state prior to a scene, the actor must raw herself up.
Sally Field (whom I just learned was the thirteenth choice for “Norma Rae”…Thirteenth?!…she ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for that performance…that’s another blog post someday about never giving up) would imagine taking razor blades to her skin before she stepped into a scene. That blood outpouring image helped her be emotionally available.
Whatever it takes, you gotta go there. That’s part of our job as actors.