What My First Acting Class Taught Me About Writing

This past week I had the awesome experience of acting for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect, but the first class was free. I figured all I had to lose was time and gas.

When I got there, I was given a simple script to read. I was told the session would be filmed (yikes!) because once a month they did mock auditions on camera (lucky me!)

The atmosphere was very warm and inviting as people studied their scripts and rehearsed outside. As my time approached to walk out on that stage, look into that camera, and “act” for the first time, I longed to run away. But, run away where? I had to suck it up.

They told us to ask ourselves what the character WANTS.  Okay! This sounded familiar! Whenever I’m writing, that’s the most important question I have to ask myself about my characters. What do they want? So, as I rehearsed, and ignored my heart, which was trying to escape my rib cage with a hammer,  I thought about what this girl “Alex” wanted. Well, she wanted to escape her loneliness with some meaningless sex. She wanted the attention of this man as validation. She wanted to avoid commitment because she doesn’t trust men. And she wanted to be wanted.

Although I was beyond nervous, I tried to keep these thoughts in my head when my turn came up. Somehow I managed not to sweat or shake, so that was a victory. The teacher said I did well in responding to my partner, especially considering that it was my first time. I noticed that I look older than I hoped I looked, but that my face lights up like a Christmas tree when I smile. Seeing photographs is different from seeing myself in motion! It was awkward but SO MUCH FUN!!

One day I’ll have the money to go back and take the lessons for real. In the meantime, acting has taught me even more how to appreciate good dialogue in a story; it has taught me to have empathy for the fictional characters and the actors that have to play them; and it has taught me to smile more!

Below is the group picture they took of us afterwards. If you’re in the Hollywood area, check out Hollywood Playhouse!

First acting class at Hollywood Playhouse
First acting class at Hollywood Playhouse
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