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Precarious
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21 Jan 2015, 2:49 am

Is acting a good hobby for Aspis? I'm considering it but I fear I will not be good at it and/or it will be to stressy. Do I just want to do it to be better in the neurotypical world. I don't know. What do you think?



Felinelover
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21 Jan 2015, 3:32 am

Yes, acting is a great hobby for aspies!

Here are my observations:

1) Acting brings you out of your shell. It helps you develop your social persona and experiment with them and it also gives you the confidence to go out and socialise. Acting changed my life several times, when I was in my teens - the change was noticeable and when I had a 2 year break from acting in my mid teens I became really closed off and barely talked to anyone. Restarting acting really helped open up the world of other humans to me :)

Synchronistically, I spoke with an Aspie man two days ago who also has a history in acting. We actually had a conversation about this very topic; how essentially it has helped us both to have human relations with others.

2) Aspies are natural actors. The man I spoke with a few days ago, me, and other examples I can think of, have got a total gift for acting. I didn't realise how big my gift was in my teens, cos my self-view was that I suck at everything (oh the teenage years), but in retrospect, I did receive all sorts of special mentions and praise from my roles at theatre festivals, and my last drama teacher gave me a long worried talk when she asked if I was gonna pursue drama as a career and I said no.

I also know some very good actors and actresses who all come from one family and although I am not sure if they're on the spectrum, my inkling is that there's definitely something going on there, because they're genetically related to one another and so obviously it's something passed on in genes, and also cos I personally just don't tend to make close friends like that with people who are neurotypical. One of them, my very good female friend, actually said to me 'I never liked acting that much, I never set out to be an actress, I was just naturally good at it'. To me this sounds like an experience that would also apply to Aspies. It has been pointed out in other places that Aspies indeed develop uncanny acting skills, because acting is essentially what we do when we relate to other people in the physical world; because we lack that intuition that makes us automatically normal, or something. If that makes sense.

3) Kind of mentioned this previously but worth pointing it out in its own right: acting really builds self-esteem and confidence. I would still probably be the person who didn't look anyone in the eyes or speak to anyone, that I was for 2 years in my teens, until I went back into acting. The change was so noticeable.

4) Method Acting, Stanislavski method etc would be ways worth investigating. It's about becoming the character. So you're no longer playing the part, you are the part. Once you do this your acting is basically perfect and there's nothing more you can do. To paraphrase Stanislavski, just be truthful to the role and the context.

5) I don't actually like acting at all in everyday life and find it repulsive. What I mean is, when I act in a job interview or work meeting etc, I get very sick afterwards, even physically. It feels so manipulative. But it's a skill that's saved my ass more than a couple of times in professional situations and made a real difference to my career.


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Felinelover
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21 Jan 2015, 3:43 am

Where in the world are you based? PM me if you like. It makes a difference what kind of acting group you get into.

What I found helpful when I started acting at 14-15 was that I went to an acting group where we did plays, whilst on another week day going somewhere else to a training class that specialised in the Stanislavski method.

I actually wanted to be an actress back then - had forgotten about it, haha! Went to a top acting school and half my classmates since became famous actors/actresses in the obscure country where I'm originally from, but whoops I'm getting close to giving away too much RL info! ;) So whenever I visit that country, it's this assault of posters and media interviews and magazine covers of people I used to go to THE school with (but hardly spoke a word to cos I was so frigging shy most of the time)

In short please do take up acting. I KNOW you'd be absolutely amazing at it. It took me a year to get the hang of it, but after that I was in demand for all sorts of theatre productions (and made it into that very-difficult-to-get-into acting school). In retrospect I am confident this was due to two things: 1) I'm an Aspie, and 2) I was lucky to come across the Stanislavski method and a teacher who was very experienced in teaching it. You've got point 1) sorted so when you do 2) you'll be in so much of a demand you have no idea! :heart:


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Precarious
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23 Jan 2015, 4:59 am

How do we deal with our lack of theory of mind when acting?



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23 Jan 2015, 9:30 am

My personal experience has been bad. I joined an amateur acting class last year, but found it very uncomfortable, and I think the teacher didn't give me enough to work with in the sense that it was very much a 'just go with your own feelings' thing. There was very little in the way of instructions or theory, it was just a 'wing it' class.

I found that it was difficult to get into any characters or situations that the teacher suggested, mainly because I was unfamiliar with most of these situations and motivations from real life; I'm a social recluse, and I'm missing some of the experience that a lot of other people get either through personal experience or through interaction with friends. My frame of reference was entirely insufficient for this particular acting class.


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23 Jan 2015, 11:03 pm

Based on what you have said CyclopsSummers, that sounds more like an Improv based class than an actual method acting class. Improvisation does take time time and especially practice to get good at and be comfortable with. I am for the most part pretty good at it with my times where I absolutely knock it out of the park, but it took quite a bit of practice to get to where I am now and I am still nowhere near the level of the cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway.

To the OP, as my username suggests, I am one who thinks that acting can be a great thing for us Aspies. As was mentioned earlier, acting and theatre really did bring me out of my shell and has helped me to become the person I am today. I love theatre so much that it is my major in college and am very fortunate to be going to a great school with a well known theatre program.

In some of my classes, there were adult students who have said that they thought about theatre in their college years but decided to go with what 'was safe' and scrapped the idea of working in the theatre for a living. Fast forward to today and they said that they regretted not pursuing it when they did.

Once a theatre person, always a theatre person.



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25 Jan 2015, 5:45 pm

AspergersActor8693 wrote:
Based on what you have said CyclopsSummers, that sounds more like an Improv based class than an actual method acting class. Improvisation does take time time and especially practice to get good at and be comfortable with. I am for the most part pretty good at it with my times where I absolutely knock it out of the park, but it took quite a bit of practice to get to where I am now and I am still nowhere near the level of the cast of Whose Line Is It Anyway.

Yes, it was, and improvisation is one of my weaker points. I'd honestly have been happier if they had given me scripts to rehearse, that's a lot closer to what I was doing in school plays, and that's what I would enjoy. It's sad that the class information on the website didn't say anything about the contents of the course.


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30 Jan 2015, 4:15 pm

Quote:
I found that it was difficult to get into any characters or situations that the teacher suggested, mainly because I was unfamiliar with most of these situations and motivations from real life

I don't think this should be a problem. If it was there wouldn't be any actors who could play fantastical characters in blockbuster movies. You may not have been in a certain situation, but you can extrapolate what you know to the situation. As an example; you may have never lost a family member, but maybe one of your pets died and you can remember how that felt.

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I think the teacher didn't give me enough to work with in the sense that it was very much a 'just go with your own feelings' thing. There was very little in the way of instructions or theory, it was just a 'wing it' class.

I hate this too. How are you supposed to know what a character should do without analysing him/her and the situation first, i don't like impov either.

My main problem is that although I write screenplay as a hobby (which you can do alone) I have no acting experience and don't know where to start. I guess i should join some kind of club or something but all the social stuff around it make me very anxious. I am curious to read how the aspie actors here got into acting.


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01 Feb 2015, 10:11 am

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I am curious to read how the aspie actors here got into acting.

Well, that is a completely different (and somewhat long) topic that would have to be created and posted for me, but in a nutshell, I was showed that performing was the path I should take. I followed this crazy idea that the year before I thought would be something I could never do and now in 2015 I am going to a great school with a renowned theatre program for a BA in theatre.


With improv all you really need are who your character is, who the other characters are, what the setting is, and what the primary motivation and/or conflict is. Relationships to other characters and how you get to the overall goal, weather it be saying a particular line or getting something your character really wants, is created along the way. That is what improv is, to create a whole performance based on little tidbits of information.

I understand that it can be difficult sometimes. Improv is a give and take style of performance. If one of the two performers is not giving enough of anything for the other to go on, the whole momentum of the scene falls on what that one performer can come up with and what they are able to do with what the other says.

It takes practice and a lot of it to just get comfortable with the idea of creating on the fly dialogue. Don't feel bad if the first few attempts didn't go perfectly.



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01 Feb 2015, 5:13 pm

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Well, that is a completely different (and somewhat long) topic that would have to be created and posted for me

It's a good idea to make another thread on the subject, I will do that later. I just thought it would be relevant to the question asked in the original post.

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That is what improv is, to create a whole performance based on little tidbits of information.

You explained it clearly, but the point of the excercise eludes me somewhat. Doesn't an actor usually have a script to follow? I personally like to think about every action and line for awhile based on as much info on the characters and world as possible.


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01 Feb 2015, 5:24 pm

Precarious wrote:
How do we deal with our lack of theory of mind when acting?
I think it was George Burns who gave this advice: "To be a good actor, all you have to do is hit your mark and say your line without tripping over the scenery. Doing it when you're supposed to also helps."

Fairly simple, right?

I took acting lessons to learn how to behave in certain situations. One bit of advice that Gordon Jump once gave was: "Think of how your favorite actor might handle the scene." So, when I have to give a presentation to a roomful of engineers, I think of how Walter Cronkite might deliver it as a newscast.

And that's the way it is, Sunday, February First, Two-Thousand Fifteen ...


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01 Feb 2015, 11:43 pm

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It's a good idea to make another thread on the subject, I will do that later. I just thought it would be relevant to the question asked in the original post.

What I meant was that the full story of my choice to chose performing as a career is long and detailed to the point that it would be better as a standalone topic. Sorry if I wasn't clear about that.
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the point of the excercise eludes me somewhat. Doesn't an actor usually have a script to follow?

Yes having a script is much better than having to come up with it on the fly because you have time to analize it, understand it, and really master it. But take my word for it, when something doesn't go as planed in a play, and it does happen (I know all to well), having some skills in improvisation go a long way, because you can't just stop and restart at a certain point in the show. You have to keep the momentum of the scene going and get it back on track.

The point of improv is to create something from nothing. Improv can actually be good basic training not necessarily for acting, but for understanding the flow, meaning, and interactions of a scene and its characters. You learn how to manipulate a scene to get to a specific objective and how to go along with what the others do and say. It also helps you to learn to work with others on stage, which is important.

Hope that clears things up a bit.