Personalize! Personalize! Personalize!

“I’m probably more personal when I’m acting than at any other time. More open, more direct. Because it allows me to be something that I can’t always feel comfortable with when I’m living my own life, you know? Because it’s make-believe.” -Phillip Seymour Hoffman

I’m not exactly sure why this is, but the more personal you make your art, the more universal it becomes.

Perhaps it’s because the audience can feel the investment of self, the authenticity of the work and the risk that was taken. The more the artist risks, the more the audience (and they do so subconsciously) opens their hearts, minds and souls to the art. That goes for the writer as well as the actor.

A friend relayed this story to me about the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman…

One night after a performance Mr. Hoffman was asked by some students his “secret” to acting. His response:

“Personalize! Personalize! Personalize!” And then (I’m paraphrasing this next part)…”You have to find a way to take everything personally.”

In every beat, every possible moment, make it personal. Take it personally! Act as if it’s happening to YOU now. It is. Risk! Let us in. We so badly want to go with you on the ride.

P.S. – I was inspired to write this post after a beautiful, magical Vs. Tuesday Night Reading of Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned To Drive.” Everyone from playwright to sponsor to director to cast made it personal. Bravo, Bravissimo! to all involved.

2 thoughts on “Personalize! Personalize! Personalize!

  1. Dearest Johnny- Thank you so much for a most profound and personal Tuesday night reading. I had no idea what this play meant to me until I began reading it and had a gut- response of “Uh oh…I think I NEED to do this play, I must go on this journey and discover and uncover what has been hidden..” Because you have created such a safe space for all of us artists to shine and be bold, open and honest, I felt safe and energized before, during and especially after the reading. So, thank YOU and all of the Vs people who went on this journey with me and an amazing cast. I am forever changed by this experience. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

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