Actor

Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances. – Sanford Meisner

An actor is a fool for God. – Gerardine Clark

Without wonder and insight, acting is just a business. With it, it becomes creation. – Bette Davis

The best acting is instinctive. It’s not intellectual, it’s not mechanical, it’s instinctive. – Craig MacDonald

That’s what makes acting so attractive. You get to break all your own rules. – Gerardine Clark

Acting should be bigger than life. Scripts should be bigger than life. It should all be bigger than life. – Bette Davis

Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly. – Rosalind Russell

Find in yourself those human things which are universal. – Sanford Meisner

The more personal, the more universal. – Gary Ballinger

An actor has to burn inside with an outer ease. – Michael Chekhov

Use what you know. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. – Michael Shurtleff

The actor has to develop his body. The actor has to work on his voice. But the most important thing the actor has to work on is his mind. – Stella Adler

An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words. – Sanford Meisner

Conflict is what creates drama. The more conflict actors find, the more interesting the performance.             – Michael Shurtleff

If you really do want to be an actor who can satisfy himself and his audience, you need to be vulnerable.
– Jack Lemmon

Creating relationship is the heart of acting. It is basic. It is essential. – Michael Shurtleff

Listening is not merely hearing. Listening is reacting. Listening is being affected by what you hear. Listening is active. – Michael Shurtleff

Whatever you decide is your motivation in the scene, the opposite of that is also true and should be in it.
– Michael Shurtleff

Humor [in a scene] is not jokes. It is that attitude toward being alive without which you would long ago have jumped off the 59th Street Bridge. – Michael Shurtleff

Every scene you will ever act begins in the middle, and it is up to you, the actor, to provide what comes before. – Michael Shurtleff

Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there. – Meryl Streep

Good acting — real acting is impossible to spot. Do you ever catch talents like Robert Duvall or Kathy Bates acting? No. I defy you to show me where. – William Esper

Stop explaining yourself. Shut up and act! – Craig MacDonald

The first step to a better audition is to give up character and use yourself. – Michael Shurtleff

Competition [in a scene] is healthy. Competition is life. Yet most actors refuse to acknowledge this. They don’t want to compete. They want to get along. And they are therefore not first-rate actors. – Michael Shurtleff

Honesty isn’t enough for me. That becomes very boring. If you can convince people what you’re doing is real and it’s also bigger than life — that’s exciting. – Gene Hackman

Take nothing for granted. Make an emotional discovery as often as you can find one in every scene. Ask yourself: What is new? – Michael Shurtleff

There’s only one reason why a character drinks: to seek confrontation. To fight for what they want in ways normally denied them. – Michael Shurtleff

My job is usually to express emotion as freely as possible. – Meryl Streep

I’m curious about other people. That’s the essence of my acting. I’m interested in what it would be like to be you. – Meryl Streep

I think the most liberating thing I did early on was to free myself from any concern with my looks as they pertained to my work. – Meryl Streep

I believe in imagination. I did Kramer vs. Kramer before I had children. But the mother I would be was already inside me. – Meryl Streep

All an actor has is their blind faith that they are who they say they are today, in any scene. – Meryl Streep

The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays that part.
– Miguel de Cervantes

Actors think more with their hearts than with their heads. – William Esper

Show me a great actor and I’ll show you a lousy husband. Show me a great actress, and you’ve seen the devil. – W. C. Fields

Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. – George Burns

The theater has never been any good since the actors became gentlemen. – W.H. Auden

Actors die so loud. – Henry Miller

I love acting. It is so much more real than life. – Oscar Wilde

If I wasn’t an actor, I’d be a secret agent. – Thornton Wilder

The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation. – Stella Adler

I’m a skilled professional actor. Whether or not I’ve any talent is beside the point. – Michael Caine

Acting in theatre or television or screen is only for the irrecoverably diseased, those so smitten with the need that there is no choice. – Michael Shurtleff

Why, except as a means of livelihood, a man should desire to act on the stage when he has the whole world to act in, is not clear to me. – George Bernard Shaw

There’s nothing more boring than unintelligent actors, because all they have to talk about is themselves and acting. There have to be other things. – Tim Robbins

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. – Stella Adler

I think your self emerges more clearly over time. – Meryl Streep

I need to go where people are serious about acting. – Meryl Streep

The work will stand, no matter what. – Meryl Streep

“If you get a chance to act in a room that somebody else has paid rent for, then you’re given a free chance to practice your craft.” — Philip Seymour Hoffman

“I’ve always approached things with hunger and just enough fear. Plenty of confidence, you know, but just enough fear to work extra hard. Paralyzing fear does nothing, but the kind of fear that makes you nervous enough to really be aware and focused? I like that kind of fear.” — Queen Latifah

“You’re not going there to get a job. You’re going there to present what you do.” — Bryan Cranston

“If you’re an actor, even a successful one, you’re still waiting for the phone to ring.” — Kevin Bacon

“My thought process has always been, I’m excited to show you what my version of this story would look like. You’re going to be able to get a little condensed show. That took the pressure off getting the job” —Tituss Burgess

“If all the circumstances of acting are made too easy, then there’s no grain of sand to make the pearl.” —Peter Sarsgaard

“It’s important to say that the more challenging a scene is, in a way, the more fun it is because the more of my job I get to do.” — Daniel Radcliffe

“Learn to live your life—there’s no recipe for it. You can’t go to acting school to learn to be a deep person with a lot of experience to draw from; you can only become that person by feeling, by getting hurt, by feeling incredibly happy, by seeing the world; those are the things that make you richer as a person and give you a much bigger bank to draw from when you bring characters to life.” — Pablo Schreiber

“If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.” — Geena Davis

“Goals on the road to achievement cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency.” — Denzel Washington

“If you live in the past that’s depression, and if you live in the future that’s anxiety. So you have no choice but to live in the present.” — Sarah Silverman

“Giving voice to characters that have no other voice—that’s the great worth of what we do.” — Meryl Streep

“For me, our job as artists is to serve the story, serve the director, and serve the fellow actors. And if you do that, by osmosis you’re serving yourself because you’ll get the best out of yourself.” — David Oyelowo

“We think too much and feel too little.” — Charlie Chaplin

“When you’re in a theater, it’s about reaching the back rows. When you have a camera in your face, it’s just about knowing the size of the room.” — Corey Stoll

“An actor is at most a poet and at least an entertainer.” — Marlon Brando

“Without wonder and insight, acting is just a business. With it, it becomes creation.” — Bette Davis

“Study, find all the good teachers and study with them, get involved in acting to act, not to be famous or for the money. Do plays. It’s not worth it if you are just in it for the money. You have to love it.”

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

“Acting isn’t something you do. Instead of doing it, it occurs. If you’re going to start with logic, you might as well give up. You can have conscious preparation, but you have unconscious results.”

“If you have the emotion, it infects you and the audience. If you don’t have it don’t bother; just say your lines as truthfully as you are capable of doing. You can’t fake emotion.”

To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.”

“I think the most liberating thing I did early on was to free myself from any concern with my looks as they pertained to my work.”

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

“You have to understand your best. Your best isn’t Barrymore’s best or Olivier’s best or my best, but your own. Every person has his norm. And in that norm every person is a star. Olivier could stand on his head and still not be you. Only you can be you. What a privilege! Nobody can reach what you can if you do it. So do it. We need your best, your voice, your body. We don’t need for you to imitate anybody, because that would be second best. And second best is no better than your worst.”

“An actor has to burn inside with an outer ease.”

“The actor has to develop his body. The actor has to work on his voice. But the most important thing the actor has to work on is his mind.”

“What sets you apart can feel like a burden, but it’s not. A lot of the time it’s what makes you great.”

“Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset.”

“When you do something that people respond to, and then you start altering the blueprint for what worked, it’s pretty fear-inducing. But sometimes, you have to do that, in order to push the boundaries.”

“There is a kind of invisible thread between the actor and the audience, and when it’s there it’s stunning and there is nothing to match that.”

“If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously.”

“You can’t learn to act unless you’re criticized. If you tie that criticism to your childhood insecurities you’ll have a terrible time. Instead, you must take criticism objectively, pertaining it only to the work being done.”

“I think the crucial thing about being an actor is to be doing it.”

“Once you are gold, you need to keep yourself golden. Even the best of it needs to be cleaned and re-exposed and put into the world again.”

“To grasp the full significance of life is the actor’s duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.”

“I think that young women and little girls need to see that they don’t have to be the damsel in distress. They don’t have to not show their strength. They don’t have to be whatever the stereotype is or the tropes that we go to in our minds.”

“Acting requires faith. You just have to believe that you are the person you’re playing and that what is happening is happening to you.”

“Life has to be everything. It can’t be all sad. It can’t be all peaches and cream. Because the lows have you appreciate the highs. And the highs give you perspective on the lows. If it’s not everything, it becomes flat or mundane.”

“The thing I like about acting is being able to lose yourself completely in someone else. I’m not that comfortable when I get recognised.”

“I think you should take your job seriously, but not yourself. That is the best combination.”

“Integrate what you believe in every single area of your life. Take your heart to work and ask the most and best of everybody else, too.”

“As an actor you try to bring as much of yourself to a part to try and create a feeling of authenticity and emotional truth and resonance.”

“Acting is really about having the courage to fail in front of people.”

“Acting is not about being famous. It’s about exploring the human soul.”

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

“Never stop fighting. Never stop dreaming. don’t be afraid of wearing your heart on your sleeve – in declaring the films that you love, the films that you want to make, the life that you’ve had, and the lives you can help reflect in cinema. for a long time… maybe I felt inauthentic or something, like my voice wasn’t worth hearing… So if you’ve got something to say, say it from the rooftops.”

“Acting is a form of self-expression, it’s not becoming someone else, and it’s not playing make-believe; it’s about using the fiction of being someone else to express something about yourself.”