How to Lie like a Professional Actor

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

This is what I have learned from being an Actress and from wanting to achieve the most convincing performance possible. Or to put it simply: Lying, making something seem true when it isn’t. From day one when you start something like drama school or a drama class, you’re hit with the fact that it’s not so much about learning how to lie, it’s about learning how to spot the lies that you carry about yourself within you. You must be free to show your vulnerability and your Truth on stage. The irony is that in order to be able to convince someone that something imaginary isn’t imaginary and is in fact real, you actually have to clean up your soul and psyche of all the misconceptions, illusions, denials and traumas. In other words Lies! Which includes all the things that you pushed down in order to protect yourself all of the years prior to wanting to explore yourself as an actor.

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When you want to learn how to convince someone that something is true, you have to unlearn all the traits and values that you have acquired up until that point. You have to learn to face yourself in the most sincere form and ask yourself very intimate difficult questions. The more scared you are of asking something to your inner most self, the more pertinent it is that you build up the courage to do so. Carl Jung would call it the shadow self; many just call it the demons that we carry within. What we perceive as being completely real, logic facts about ourselves, after much investigation we come to understand that, things that we associate with our life and personality are only illusions or projections of other people’s expectations or our own false idea of who we are.

It’s great to be able to show off that I know how to portray truth when it’s false. How I’m a fantastic “liar” but it’s actually a decade long pursuit which has led me to develop techniques that allow me to convince myself so heavily that the script/story/character that was handed to me is truer than life itself. Most actors that I consider to be very excellent at their craft are simply capable of this. Capable of concentrating on an imaginary circumstance for so much time and with so much intensity that they end up incorporating it as being true in every fibre of their being.

The good news is that in order for an actor and actress to achieve that type of level in lying, they have to really face a lot of truths about themselves. Therefore, they must clean up all the lies and misconceptions about their own lives. This quest to find the truth tends to leak into their personal life and individual philosophical journey.

It’s an arduous process to learn how to be so completely confident and okay with who you are and with being judged. We’re always going up on stage and being scrutinized and humiliated. We get used to it and we develop thick skin. After a while we end up wanting to show ourselves more and more. Since we’re going to be so exposed, literally with a spotlight on us, then we want to be as real and engaging as possible. As an actress I have learned to be unafraid of being completely and entirely myself onstage and off. Completely naked spiritually, physically and mentally.

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It builds character and by the time you are a really magnificent artist in the art of lying you are no longer tempted to pretend. From my experience, by the time I achieved the mastery of turning fiction into reality I no longer wanted it as a coveted skill. Mostly, everyone wants to be an amazing liar so that we can get away with stuff and manipulate people and get our way all the time or be able to lie ourselves out of sticky situations. It’s been turned into an enviable technique. Lying. In the world of business and marketing, “bluffing” and pulling out a convincing “poker face” are essential skills to being successful in selling and negotiating. And don’t even get me started on the lying and performance techniques in the realm of politics.

Thankfully by the time I mastered acting, I no longer wanted to lie to myself nor to anyone else. Firstly, I would need to be paid for it because it is rather hard work and secondly, I’ve learned the utmost importance of expressing truth. That’s the irony.

If you want to be brilliant at lying you have to confront yourself first and really be able to tell the difference between a truth and a lie. The closer you are to yourself the more entirely you can project a fictional story and convey it in a way that comes across as being absolute reality. To tell a story is a generous act. You grow so much as a person when you’re studying acting mostly because you’re studying human behavior and what humans are all about. Thereby you end up understanding who you are much more thoroughly. In carrying out this elaborate investigation, you no longer feel the need to put that technique to work on a day-to-day basis.

The internet is filled with rubbish. It’s filled with things that are just assumptions of things about someone somewhere. And t’s not usually first-hand experience. I wanted to share something that’s first-hand experience with you today, which is my life as an actress. It’s honest and I’m trying to express it in the best way I can because I want real things to be out here on the matrix that is the internet . I don’t just want it to be make-up tutorials and recipes and a shit ton of fake ideas from fanatics or sensationalists. To me it’s pertinent that there’s good stuff out there to watch and read also.

Seeking the truth is very important to me and it’s one of the rarest qualities on the internet and in the world at large. We tell many lies during a day. If somebody says “Do I look good in this?” you say “Yes!” because you want them to feel good. If somebody says “Did you like the pasta I made for you?” — “Yes, it’s delicious!” Even though it was a little dry. It’s the type of thing that you have to do in order to keep going in a society that navigates on rules and social cues. However, I don’t want to lie about the big stuff.

Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash

I’m constantly fighting back illusions and perceptions of who I may be or my behavior at large when I’m in a social situation. Do I want to compromise and cover up the real me for a bit and be liked or do I just want to be myself and have fun in spite of rubbing some people the wrong way? I’ve chosen to be myself and have fun. Of course, there are days where I get caught up in the idea of wanting someone to like me. All of us want to be liked, but mostly I would prefer to be so myself and so in the present moment that I don’t need any illusions. The truth is actually so rare to come by that’s it’s more valuable now than ever, in my humble opinion..

When I tell the biggest truths about myself, people usually laugh because they don’t think it’s true. We’re so accustomed to hearing lies that we can’t even tell a true statement from a false one. It’s worrying to me because I understand the extent to which it can affect us politically, socially, economically and spiritually. Acting taught me to be more honest. Even when I lie on stage, I’m honest. I’m actually putting myself in the character’s situation as closely as I can. I’m absolutely feeling real things and sharing them with the audience.

Photo by mona Masoumi on Unsplash

In real life, where there’s no script, I just strive to always be sincere in my reactions. To be honest! How revolutionary, I know! But it attracts people that are more like-minded to me into my life and it attracts things that I honestly want. What can I say? The truth is always better. Lying brought me closer to my truth or acting brought me closer to my truth. Just like the tale of the Alchemist who finally discovered the way to turn a poor metal into gold; he only unveils the secret when his soul no longer craves Gold. It’s beautiful that it should be that way. I mastered the art of lying when I understood the power of telling the truth! Anyway this is my ode to Honesty! Hope it resonated with some of you out there. If not, it’s my truth and ultimately it’s all that matters…

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THE TRUE TRUE with Pattie Martins

THE TRUE TRUE with Pattie Martins

A place where universal truth, doubts, fears and aspirations are confessed and discussed. Let’s get rid of all the noise and discuss some truths!

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