Just because you are hearing doesn’t mean you are really listening. Active listening is the first step in learning how to be a great actor. Great listening is not only hearing but understanding and feeling what the other person is saying. It takes great concentration and focus to have the perfect connection. If all that is present then it’s possible to truly capture the thoughts and feelings of others which then filters into reacting and expressing back to the other actor or actors. Plus, when listening is so purposeful, a person can even hear thoughts or feelings that may not even be spoken.
Listening and connection allows for authentic work and a truly believable experience. Commitment to acting is easy when listening and connection are driving performance. It is very easy to be distracted as an actor. There are too many things that can cloud the brain. Things like “What’s my next line?”, “What is the cue word before I speak?” or thinking about being nervous and making a mistake. If these kinds of things enter an actor’s mind, then they are not focused or concentrated enough to be listening, understanding, and feeling all that they are experiencing. You can improve this ability by taking time to just listen better in your own life. You can be alone and listen to the environment or just really listening to others without interrupting. This exercise will heighten your listening abilities which is better for your life and your acting. Developing that awareness can heighten your craft, make you more interesting, and add more success to your overall career.