What’s up everybody?
Regular readers know I like to engage in what is known as knowledge redeployment, that is taking ideas from one body of knowledge and applying it to another. Today I’m going to perform a little knowledge redeployment to the late great martial arts star Bruce Lee.
Using knowledge redeployment to relate Bruce Lee to acting is not much of a stretch, since Lee got his start as a child actor in Hong Kong, working with his father, who was an actor. In my martial arts, acting and singing classes I’ve been told about how Lee’s philosophy could be used to improve my craft.
The main idea I want you to redeploy from Bruce Lee is the idea that there is no one way to do something. Whether it’s an audition, a rehearsal or improv, don’t be afraid to find a specific solution that meets the situation. Don’t believe that Meisner’s or Strassberg’s way is the gospel truth. Great actors, indeed those who are great in any field, use the most effective method in a given situation. As Lee would say, “Be flexible, like water.”
Another idea I want you to redeploy is innovation. Lee invented his own martial art, Jeet Kune Do, taking the totality of what he had learned and honing it into a singular style. Many of history’s great men were innovators. Innovate methods and techniques for yourself as an actor.
There are many good books by and about Lee, who was a prolific writer. Check out “The Warrior Within”, “Jeet Kune Do: Bruce Lee’s Commentaries on the Martial Way” and “Bruce Lee: The Celebrated Life of the Golden Dragon”.
I’ll leave you with some insightful Bruce Lee quotes:
“An actor has to be real in expressing himself as he would honestly in a given situation.”
“An actor is a dedicated being who works very hard–so damn hard–that his level of understanding makes him a qualified artist in self-expression, physically, psychologically, as well as spiritually.”
“A really trained, good actor is a rarity nowadays–that demands the actor to be real, to be himself. The audiences are not dumb today, an actor is not simply demonstrating what one wants others to believe he is expressing. That is mere imitation or illustration–but it is not creating.”
“There are more people who want to become ‘movie stars’ than actors. To me, an actor is the sum total of all that he is–his high level of understanding of life, his appropriate good taste, his experience of happiness and adversity, his intensity, his educational background and much, much more.”
“Visualize success rather than failure, believing ‘I can do it’ rather than ‘I can’t.”
“In every big thing or achievement there are always obstacles, big or small, and the reaction one shows to such obstacles is what counts.”
“There is no such thing as defeat until you admit so yourself.”
“Put ‘going the extra mile’ to work as part of one’s daily habit.
“There are two ways of making a good living. One is the result of hard work, and the other the result of the imagination (requires work, too, of course).”
“If you don’t aim at an object, how the heck on earth do you think you can get it?”
“Thoughts backed by faith will overcome all problems.”
“Thoughts are things.”
“Every man today is the result of his thoughts yesterday.”
“Habits are due to repetition.”
“All riches begin as a state of mind.”
“Recognizing the influence of my subconscious mind over my power of will, I shall take care to submit to it a clear and definite picture of my major purpose in life.”
“Make a least one definite move daily toward your goal.”
That last quote says what I always tell my readers: Do something for your career every day and break a leg!