This is a collection of quotes that resonate with me- not only about acting and being an artist but also about life. I think it’s important to always forage for energizing insights from those who are smarter, deeper and better spoken. When you find it, you not only take it in but you put it back out into the world.
An artist must continually reach out from their familiar self to sample and savor other lives, other experiences and other worlds.
Here are some voices that speak to me…
“You have to have the talent for the art–the music, the acting, the writing, the art–but you also have to have the talent for being in the right place at the right time with the right people with the right approach. I had to become a certain physical person and I had to place myself in certain places in front of, beneath, and around the right people. It’s an art to be noticed; to be necessary; to be needed and desired. Develop it, if you can. If you can’t, then I don’t think any amount of talent will be of any use to you. Talent has to move. Talent has to walk up to people and ask to sit down and talk a bit. Most talent stays at home, and it remains a gift, but it doesn’t get out enough. Someone has to see it in the right context. The context is entirely your job.”
Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on… So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything… The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all… We do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES. But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors…but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal… Beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life.
~Hunter S. Thompson
(Book: Letters of Note https://amzn.to/400AX1W)
“The best education in film is to make one.”
— Stanley Kubrick
Always, always, always believe in yourself. Because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie?
– Marilyn Monroe
“When I ask if you’re talented, you’d better say yes. Not in a boasting sort of way, just a quiet confidence: ‘Yes, I’m talented. I know I am.’ You need that. And you need persistence and you need patience, and that’s not contradictory.”
“It takes too much energy to feel sorry for yourself; to regret things. I like movement. So does the earth; so does God; so do all the smart people. I want to be on good terms with the earth and God and the smart people, so I keep moving and changing. Whatever you don’t like about the life you’re living, you can change. And you should. And if you don’t want to change things–if you haven’t the guts to change things–then get comfortable with things as they are, and move in your own way. But don’t complain. There is no reason, ever, to complain. You can stand up for something or someone, and you can demand things be made right for someone or something, but you can never complain. The soul dies when you complain.”
“Don’t be mean.”
“Learn to live your life—there’s no recipe for it. You can’t go to acting school to learn to be a deep person with a lot of experience to draw from; you can only become that person by feeling, by getting hurt, by feeling incredibly happy, by seeing the world; those are the things that make you richer as a person and give you a much bigger bank to draw from when you bring characters to life.”
“Out of joy comes comedy.”
I hear of somebody who is going to settle down and
do their work,
painting or writing or whatever,
as soon as they get a better light
or as soon as they move to a new city,
or as soon as they come back from the trip they have been planning,
or as soon as…
it’s simple: they just don’t want to do it,
or they can’t do it,
otherwise they’d feel a burning itch from hell
they could not ignore and “soon”
would turn quickly into “now.”
(Book: Sifting Through the Madness for the Word https://amzn.to/3IKgfxi)
If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.
– Geena Davis
Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. That is why man is even ready to suffer, on the condition, to be sure, that his suffering has a meaning.
(Book: Man’s Search for Meaning https://amzn.to/3P9P6bf)
You’re not going there to get a job. You’re going there to present what you do.
– Bryan Cranston
Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.
It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.
(Book: Fahrenheit 451 https://amzn.to/3D90htm)
“I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you’re prepared for it.”
– Denzel Washington
“Be so good they can’t ignore you”
– Steve Martin
I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here. I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.
~Richard P. Feynman
(Book: The Pleasure of Finding Things Out https://amzn.to/3XSR5TC)
I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.
If all the circumstances of acting are made too easy, then there’s no grain of sand to make the pearl.
Some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow.
(Book: Letters from a Stoic https://amzn.to/3Ok8Fvw)
“I know that I have less to live than I have lived. I feel like a child who was given a box of chocolates. He enjoys eating it, and when he sees that there is not much left, he starts to eat them with a special taste.
I have no time for endless lectures on public laws – nothing will change. And there is no desire to argue with fools who do not act according to their age. And there’s no time to battle the gray. I don’t attend meetings where egos are inflated and I can’t stand manipulators.
I am disturbed by envious people who try to vilify the most capable to grab their positions, talents and achievements.
I have too little time to discuss headlines – my soul is in a hurry.
Too few candies left in the box.
I’m interested in human people. People who laugh at their mistakes are those who are successful, who understand their calling and don’t hide from responsibility.
Who defends human dignity and wants to be on the side of truth, justice, righteousness. This is what living is for.
I want to surround myself with people who know how to touch the hearts of others. Who, through the blows of fate, was able to rise and maintain the softness of the soul.
Yes, I hustle, I hustle to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I’ll eat all the candy I have left – they’ll taste better than the ones I already ate.
My goal is to reach the end in harmony with myself, my loved ones and my conscience.
I thought I had two lives, but it turned out to be only one, and it needs to be lived with dignity.”
— Anthony Hopkins
You only speak because you wish to respond to something you’ve heard. So the notion of an actor going away and looking at a speech they have in their bedroom alone at night is a complete nonsense to me. What you have to say is completely incidental. All I want to see from an actor is the intensity and accuracy of their listening. And then what you have to say will become automatic.
Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.
” I used to be baffled about why I had to endure so much abuse, because I hadn’t done anything to deserve it. After I began practicing Buddhism, I realized that my hardships could give me a mission—a purpose. I saw that by overcoming my obstacles, I could build indestructible happiness and inspire others to do the same. Then I could see everything that came my way, both the highs and the lows, as an opportunity for self-improvement and for sparking hope in others. “
I never considered giving up on my dreams. You could say I had an invincible optimism. And I always knew that the “what” was more important than the “how.” In other words, although I had a hard time seeing how I could make my dreams come true, I focused more on what I wanted to achieve in my life, personally and professionally. I took actions day by day, often outside my comfort zone, to better myself and bring me closer to those goals. In Buddhism we call this inner process of transformation “human revolution.”
Improvise, Adapt and Overcome!
— Clint Eastwood
What is success?
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!
~Ralph Waldo Emerson