Written by Luis Alves
As artists we are often inspired by the outside world. When we're asked what moves us, our answers are usually similar; nature, art, movies, and other artists. These answers are never wrong, but they tend to overlook the inside. The inside is where all of these aspects of life have gone to simmer and wait till they are called upon. They manifest themselves into our thoughts and through the alchemy of spirit, they materialize into inspiration, passion, and the tangible. Luis Alves reminds us to look at our subconscious thoughts and cherish the inner work as much as we do the outside. Ultimately, our subconscious dictates how we experience the world; positively or negatively. These lessons can be used to achieve greatness in acting. Luis is one of those actors who immediately struck me, because his performance comes with the gravitas of an ironlike presence and confidence. It's magnetic and most importantly unapologetic. He reminds us to tap into ourselves and only when you are silent will you begin to hear the answers.
Thank you Luis for blessing us with this mantra to live by.—E.R.
You can listen to a full recording by the actor below:
Be still: Presence
Preparation leads to confidence.
Confidence will befriend harmony.
Harmony commutes with presence.
Presence, well… presence leads to bookings ladies and gentlemen.
Allow me to begin by voicing my deep gratitude for the opportunity to interact with this brilliant community of artists. As social creatures we need and depend on one another, and for this precise reason I’m grateful to have been welcomed in “The Modern Actor” family. I write this piece with the intention and wish to add value to your artistic journey. I’m here to present my truth. And I humbly ask you to embrace what resonates, spread what moves your spirit and toss aside the irrelevant. We are artists, creators, human beings and we understand that this voyage reveals our truest and most authentic self.
As actors, we need to steadily engage in the act of sharping our axe. I believe we get ready for an audition or a job by having a set routine in place that constantly works on refining the craft. We do this with the intention to be prepared for the opportunity once it reveals itself. How does one prepare or stay prepared? How do we sharpen our axe, our skills, our talents as artists? Well, there’s the obvious nonetheless important customs like be in class, learn the lines, research the material and people behind the project, basically come informed and ready to work. On the other hand, there is another approach which is more of a mental or life-style approach to preparing. I’ll elaborate on this type of approach as we move through the article. We’re all different so our preparation or routine ought to cater to our own unique needs and personality. So first things first, ask yourself what allows me to be my truest and best version.
To prepare thy self, one needs to know thyself.
Take a moment, sit still in silence (15min) and permit yourself to be guided. Meditate. Trust and discover what allows your best self to flow out. I believe we're all fully equipped with everything that we need to succeed in this world. Our job is to quiet our minds which will allow us to hear and feel what we truly need. For some actors the groundwork might include: to commit to a weekly submersion in nature, visualizing your performance, reading daily, taking a movement or voice class, studying film and plays, exposing yourself to different types of art in museums, or to be active within a community of artists. Whatever it might be, remember the preparation or routine is there to pull the best out of you. The above list is my list. This list allows me to be my truest version. It’s what leads me to feel confident. And confidence is one of the central pillars that upholds your artistic abilities.
Preparation arranges the groundwork for confidence to firmly stand on. Have you ever questioned yourself or your artistic abilities? Don’t fret if you have, as you’re no lone ranger in this matter. I’ve been there. First step to establishing unwavering faith in yourself is by “Standing guard at the door of your mind” quoting the British philosophical writer James Allen. This means that we deliberately choose the thoughts we dwell on. Our thoughts turn in to narratives, and these stories determine the way we see and talk about ourselves and consequently the world. If the self-talk is negative, highly critical or constantly reminding you of the jobs you did not book your world will have the tendency to match that gloom. This could subsequently seep into your character and make you hesitant and anxious on stage and screen.
The way you see yourself is what determines the level of poise in your performance.
Our inner dialogue or the master narrative is what governs our choices and behavior. The way we perceive ourselves is in accordance to how we act. We tend to believe in our thoughts, whether constructive or destructive, and those thoughts turn into beliefs and those beliefs affects our artistic capabilities. If we want to build self-confidence, it is at this fundamental phase in our thinking that we must generate a different master narrative. The ability to feel self-assured comes from listening to this inner dialogue subjectively. Learn to separate out the stream of thoughts and choose which of them are helpful, which are damaging, and which are just plain old self-sabotage. When we monitor and change these conversations within, confidence and harmony will be reflected without.
As confidence resolutely stands on the groundwork laid out by preparation, a harmonious performance will be attained. The word harmony is generally linked to music. When mentioned, we may think about how the voice and instruments in a song are harmoniously aligned. There is an elegance behind the workings of a harmonic sound or performance as it reaches our ear and heart. On the surface we understand that the notes and the pitch seem to be working together to create a lovely arrangement, nevertheless what’s at the core of the composition is only known by the artist.
Harmony can be very subtle when done well.
This arrangement of the elements within a musical composition is also found within the art of acting. Harmony is an important principle of design that gives the performance a sense of wholeness or completeness. The principles of design are ways to organize the elements of acting (voice, movement, rhythm, emotion, sound, imagination, environment) to create a wide range of effects. Harmony is when all the components of acting are tied together to develop a compelling performance. Through harmony there be will variety in a performance, as you combine the elements to create the act.
Be still and discover presence for yourself. Silence is the language of the soul.
Hello fam! My name is Luis Alves. I’m a Cape Verdean-Dutch actor based in Los Angeles. I was born in Cape Verde on the island of Praia, which is located right off the Western coast of Africa. I moved to The Netherlands with my family when I was very young. I received my classical training in theater while in Rotterdam, Netherlands. After completing my studies in Europe, I made the move to the United States to further establish my craft. Follow Luis on Instagram