DALLAS, April 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- If you ask Richard Feldman, associate director of the drama program at the Juilliard School, what he thinks the most important quality an actor needs to have in order to succeed, he will tell you: "an ability to live in the moment…that's the holy grail for actors." But what does that actually mean and how does an actor get there?
Kevin Page is an actor who also has studied psychology and he thinks he's found an answer for those questions using neuroscience and modern psychology. "Mindfulness meditation is a technique that has been around for thousands of years but has only recently been studied by Western scientists," said Page during an interview about his new book, 150% Better Auditions (Acting Theory Books, 2018). "And those scientists have confirmed that the same ability to 'be in the moment' that is so important to actors, can actually be trained using meditation."
As an actor, Page has appeared in more than 70 films and TV episodes. "I've worked with a lot of good actors, and they all share one quality in common: when the camera rolls, they are right there, totally focused on whatever is going on at that moment." Page attended graduate school for both acting and psychology, where he studied meditation and consciousness. While completing a master's degree in psychology, he noticed how similar meditation training and actor training often were. "But what surprised me was how rarely acting teachers actually used mindfulness training to help their acting students."
To solve that problem, Page started doing research on meditation techniques that cultivate mindfulness or "the ability to live in the moment." He discovered research studies by scientists from the University of Rochester, New York, that confirmed mindfulness practice improves "attention to and awareness of current experience or present reality" (Brown & Ryan, 2003). He found other studies that demonstrated positive physical changes in the brain associated with longer-term meditation practice (Brefczynski-Lewis, Lutz, Schaefer, Levinson, & Davidson, 2007; Chiesa, Calati, & Serretti, 2011).
"It was amazing," said Page. "Here was a training tool [meditation] that science had demonstrated actually helped people concentrate their attention better, and yet very few actors even knew about it!" To help other actors, Page wrote a book called 150% Better Auditions that applies meditative techniques to the acting process. "If you use the techniques I outline in my book, you can improve your auditions and your performance on either stage or screen significantly. You will actually start seeing improvements in your acting in as little as a week or two."
Ultimately, Page believes the kind of exercises he has introduced for actors can be used by a broader audience of public speakers, business executives, and any person who is called upon to present themselves with high energy and charisma. "In my mind, someone giving a keynote speech or important business presentation is doing the same thing as a movie or stage star," says Page. "Everyone from CEOs to salespeople to college professors can use these techniques and see, directly in their own experience, if they work for them or not."
150% Better Auditions is now available on Amazon.com.
About the author: Kevin Page is an author, actor, and holds a master's degree in psychology. On screen he was blown away by a robot (ED-209) in the classic movie, RoboCop (1987), offered Jerry his "show about nothing" on SEINFELD, and played the character that ultimately shot and killed "JR Ewing" on the 2012 re-boot of DALLAS.
SOURCE Kevin Page