Thursday, February 23, 2012

the reason i want to act (part 3)

"we wasted all our free time alone..." - owl city

i had a conversation recently with a friend of mine about who was the more intriguing character, batman or spiderman.  he did have some good points about batman and how the joker was the perfect foil character, engaging in constant psychological warfare that transcended just pure violence, and how batman struggled with redemption and guilt during his superhero career.  while this is all good and dandy, how many people can really relate to that kind of trauma?  spiderman was designed by stan lee to have problems more similar to what ordinary people face.  it felt more like if a normal person were granted super powers, how would they integrate it into their normal lives?  it was more of a reflection of trying to find the type of hero within ourselves, whereas characters like batman have a more inner struggle.

and don't even start with superman, his character might've worked in the all american ages of the post world war ii/cold war era, but nowadays his story just really sucks.

there's a few scenes in my life that stick out in my mind that highlight what i struggled with most growing up, similar to spidey's struggles of rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness.  i remember a time coming back home from school in 5th grade and sharing the revelation to my mother that i "had no friends".  i don't even remember how exactly i felt during that time (and it probably was an exaggeration of some sort, or caused by some event that happened at school), but looking back, i kind of just feel bad for my mom, she put a lot of effort into making me feel accepted, but at the same time she knew intuitively that being overbearing in terms of my social skills could be counterproductive, and sometimes let me learn things on my own.

i didn't have spider powers to help break out of this flux however (though i definitely pretended that i did, many a times), so during my childhood i had a lot of time to myself in my more formative years, creating an environment where my mind was in constant thought and imagination.  i remember instances that are a bit too embarrassing to share where i would immerse myself in pretend situations that really didn't exist, i suppose it was very calvin and hobbes-esque the way i imagined things for myself.  it was partly a coping mechanism, escaping reality, but i think part of me just enjoyed being in that state of mind.

this was the reason i loved watching movies whenever i could.  my favorite movie, the matrix, was just amazing because it combined the elements where you could totally buy into it, yet still retaining a fantastical nature about it.  i watched the movie probably around 100 times, read philosophical articles on it, looked for to no avail for the slick nokia handphone they used, and obsessed until i remembered not only the entire script, but memorized all of the choreographed fight scenes and replicated the dodging bullets maneuver as i could.

i think a part of me always wanted to be an actor because it affords you the opportunity to be someone else or something significant.  but the first time this desire became really visceral was when i was in college, when i saw the movie, Moulin Rouge!.  i remember just watching ewan mcgregor belting out to nicole kidman, and thinking to myself, "that'd be an awesome part to play."  it was the first time i wanted to be in a movie, but not how people think of being in a movie, like being in a movie for the sake of being in a movie, but like being IN the movie, where the characters and the experiences would be marvelously and wonderfully real, where one could be a hero, super or not.

i feel that if i could have that kind of acting experience, day in and day out, i will have "made it" in my mind, no matter what the circumstance.  there's an "acting high" that we talked about at the studio i trained at, and that's the essence of what i think all serious actors want to capture, to really be in the moment of the scene and the story.

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