Are you a saint at heart?
Sadly, actors shouldn’t be saints. You see, when actors do saintly things, they need a motivation: a deep desire, usually selfish or competitive. Why? The silver screen aims for tension, hence the crazy emotions.
As a student, you want to add competitiveness and selfishness (and love) to your essays. Also, sprinkle importance into your essay; in other words, bubble over with emotion for each citation. Why? These tricks create lively writing?like the scripts of blockbusters.
Only plagiarists seek to read your dull essays, but everyone loves to go to the cinema, right? So, if you liven up your essays with dramatic tension, your professors will grade you with gold. The takeaway? Act saintly in real life, but in your essays, unleash your inner martyr.
Michael Shurtleff, author of Audition, shares acting advice in bold below. I follow with tips to primp essays for the prima donna performances.
Use subtexts. The actor says one thing, but feels and thinks another way. Try to find the subtext in citations. Maybe a female author says, “liberalism marks a movement of peace,” but you see her mugshot setting fire to a Chevrolet and kicking a bank’s glass wall while carrying a placard that says, “Love Trump’s hate.” The author’s use of “peace” conceals subtext. Uncover the subtext.
Unselfish motivations create dull scenes. If you selflessly help a fellow student with homework, Mother Teresa may approve, but movie directors won’t. Actors want selfish motivations?desires or dreams?to spur them to action, according to Shurtleff. Similarly, when writing your essays, don’t selflessly argue that “environmentalism marks the wave of the future.” Instead, figure out what benefits environmentalism holds for you personally. Selfish motivations help answer the “so what?” questions.
Games lack fun if void of competition. The same holds with acting scenes. Similarly, your essays should have an element of competitiveness. Compete with the authors you cite. Try to one-up their best ideas. Prop yourself up as a coming expert. Does this seem too harsh? Welcome to the cinemas.
On a brighter note:
Write plays about the most exciting points of the character’s life. In your essays, too, focus on the highlights, not the humdrum. Write about Hitler during a battle, not about his preferred brand of deodorant.
But if you must write about his deodorant, then you need the next idea.
Make significant the trivial. Good actors throw fits over missing toothpaste lids. In your essays, shed tears and shout about the cardiovascular system. Have a temper tantrum over an amoeba’s life span. A professor threw chairs across a classroom to highlight his key takeaways. Adrenaline? Give your essays equal push.
Remember: great actors find the love. Love the lovable?and the unlovable. Once, I watched a crazy professor dissect a human brain. After he sliced the brain, he laid out human intestines, stretched from one end of the room to the next. His eyes bugged. He frothed. To him, brains and intestines looked like ribeye steaks after weeks of starvation.
I would sign up for his class. So, find the love in your essays. No love? Then discover the tricks to good acting: importance, competitiveness, and selfishness.
A paradox? I call it a creative spark!