It’s occurred to me I haven’t talked about my classes, so I thought I’d share a bit, considering this is study away. I’m taking a film acting workshop and Intro to Theatre in London. You’ve already heard a bit about my Theatre in London class because that’s basically going to a lot of shows and discussing them after. So, film workshop time.
We’ve spent a lot of our time doing cold readings to pick really good material to film next week. Additionally, we’ve been practicing in front of the camera with continuity exercises, and performing past material we’ve done for stage and learning how to translate that to film.
This week we had a guest, Ewen MacIntosh, who has appeared on the British version of The Office. He worked with us on various improv exercises. His main focus was exploring the status (pronounced state-us, in his dialect) of people. Though it could play a factor, socioeconomic status isn’t the focus; rather, it’s about how people carry themselves. How I best understand it is that it correlates with confidence levels. We did one exercise where we walked as status level 1 transitioning to 10 — 1 is extremely unsure of oneself and fidgety while 10 exudes confidence and is more direct. Then, we did improv scenes where we were assigned characters with a status ranking. The higher status characters became pompous, demanding, and rude, while the lower status characters lacked any spine at all.
For yesterday’s class, we were prepared to run through the memorized scenes we’d decided on. Before we began, our professor charged us with ranking each other on the status level we each give off as people. The other two separately agreed that I’m an 8 or 9, to which my professor said he had received the same vibe.
After the high status characters we developed the day before, I began to question if this persona I give off is a good thing. When my professor asked my classmates to elaborate on their reasoning, they said it’s because I seem very calm and able to rationalize my decisions without being affected by others.
This was nice of them, but I still felt unsettled. Then I realized all of the high status characters we developed looked down on the lower status characters. That’s totally unnecessary.
It’s okay to be strong in who you are and carry yourself with confidence, but that doesn’t elevate you above others. Self love is not a limited resource. We can all learn to be 8s, 9s, and even 10s because life’s too short to be questioning our right to be here. So, stand up straight, smile, and don’t apologize for taking up space!