The Journal As Inner Voice

The Journal is a useful tool for actors. It gives them an added space to work in that is very private. It is where they can assess what they have just done immediately after they have done it.

When you write in your Journal right after an exercise, you have a way >S of remembering everything for later. Often when you are working, the | impressions have been so plentiful that it is difficult to remember them all. ^ It is also true that something that made no sense to you at the moment "5 becomes clearer with time, or vice versa. The Journal takes the burden off g of the memory, which allows the actor to relax more thoroughly. It serves ^ as an inner private voice. What you write after an exercise will often reveal surprising results. It unlocks the creativity in a different way, expressing ^ many things that were there lying below the surface, unable to emerge. The S

Journal has given you the opportunity to voice these things privately. You have just given reign to many impulses and images, much information has passed through you, and now, you need to make a record of it that you can go back to later.

Sometimes, the writings will say things that would be difficult for you to say out loud, even if no one else were around. It is the expression of this inner voice that the actor needs to be thinking of while he or she is saying the text of a character.


Each person develops his or her own style of Journal writing. Since it is a private space, it must make sense only to you. I teach a lot of artists and animators acting, and they often cover their books with scribbling and drawings. It works for them; no one else has to understand it. As in the Observation Exercise, the Journal work is not a literary exercise. The sentences don't have to be complete; spelling and grammar are not important. What is important is the information that you are saving for yourself.

There should be a system of question asking and answering that you set up for yourself. Ask and answer some of the following questions:

• Was I able to be aware of getting stuck in my head? If I was aware of it, how did I change it?

• Was I aware of my preconceived ideas and how they got in my way? What did I do to change my behavior, and where did it lead me?

• Could I just stop what I was doing and breathe into the moment? What happened when I did this?

• How did the breath change the moment?

• Did I learn something I didn't know about the character by allowing it to live through me? What was it?

• Did the text continually come out the same way even though I tried to change it? Why do I think I had this difficulty?

• Am I satisfied with my work, or am I dissatisfied because I < am pressured by an idea of performing for an audience in the u future?

• Was I able to stay in the moment? When I was in the moment, what did it feel like?

• What is the next thing I would like to accomplish for this character?

• Was I speaking in my own voice, or did my voice sound foreign to me?

• Did I find myself avoiding certain lines or passages in the text? Why do I think that was?

• Did I hurt my throat by speaking or yelling too loudly, or was it difficult to get the sound out at all? What were the emotions connected to these moments?

There are many questions that you can ask and answer. These are just examples. One should develop a habit of questioning and seeking answers in all acting work. The Journal is like a map that you are charting. You are wandering through new territory, and you will need more than bread crumbs to find your way back again. It charts your path. It reminds you of where you have been and helps you find out where you want to go.

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