Acting can be a challenging space for someone to be in. It requires extensive character acting or method acting training and exercises. Many people often perceive acting to be easy, as they think all one has to do is look good on camera.
However, that’s farther from the truth. Looking good on camera is the last of worries an actor is concerned with. Comprehending the complexities of the character, embodying the body language, and living truthfully in an imaginative space are a few of the many things that burden the actor. That said, there are two approaches to acting – character acting and method acting.
Let’s see what each one involves.
A character actor simply trains to mirror the character that they’re given. They study the character thoroughly, observe people in the real world with similar character traits, and embark on “mirroring” them. Character actors are usually considered “formal actors.” Not because they don’t work hard enough, but because they’re attempting to just be the character, not live it.
Most actors are character actors, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with it. It’s an approach adopted by many, as sometimes there isn’t much time to live the character’s life. Hence, actors do the best they can to deliver a particular scene to the best of their ability. Most work today people see on camera is character acting. Character acting is often seen as “commercial acting” – loud acting to look bigger on camera.
On the other hand, method actors are actors who take on the responsibility of literally becoming the character. Whatever personality traits the character has, the situations they’re in, the relationships they have, are all accepted by method actors. A method actor would believe that all of those things are happening with them in real life as well.
This is how they start living truthfully on camera. All they have to do is breathe life into the character by simply becoming them. The advantage of method acting is that an actor is literally doing all those things in real life, so it doesn’t come off as “acting,” and people would think what a great actor they are.
However, the con of method acting is that it’s probably one of the toughest things in the world. For example, if a character is going through a mental illness like dissociative identity disorder (DID), it would take a lot on them to do that. Actors like Danny Day-Lewis, Meryl Streep, and Marlon Brando are some of the best method actors.
Character Acting or Method Acting?
There’s no right or wrong way to act. Everything depends on the actor, their skillset, their training, and finally, the character they have to play. Some characters don’t require much hard work and are rather easy to perform. But for more challenging roles, actors who put their method to it find it difficult to separate the character from themselves as a sole entity, which often affects their mental health.