There are two types of silent moments that I want to consider – those on stage and those off stage. BOTH will make you a better actor (this can be translated to non artsy business as well).
Let’s start with onstage. Less mature actors often do not take advantage of “silence” and “pauses.” You may have a monologue of two paragraphs or two pages, but either way, look for places that you can pause and break it up. Pauses and silence bring mystery (Bill vlogged about this a few months ago) and weight to a scene. Even though an answer is given to a question or a response to a comment by your scene partner, explore the “pause”, the moment to reflect or hold.
Be aware of how you talk… and how people around you talk. Watch for their pauses. When people stop to think, they sometimes pause to grasp for the right words or they stop because they are through… Then remember another thought and start talking again. Sometimes people pause because what they want to say is hard to get out; maybe they think the person they are speaking to will not receive it well and there is that hesitation by the speaker. Less mature actors will just put one line in front of another often too fast. Don’t do it. Pauses and silence are weighty and they increase attention and the tension of the moment.
Now moving to offstage. We live in a very “noisy” world. I would encourage creative people to develop a habit of getting quiet on a regular basis and developing and using their imagination. Sometimes it may be focused on a particular project or idea, other times it might be just “listening for our Creator to speak”.
Also, before an audition (or perhaps an important sales or client meeting). Get quiet and rehearse some wins you have had in the past. That great audition you had that won the leading role. That super talk you gave at the sales meeting. Spend a few minutes reliving those great moments in your mind when everything went right.
This is when I would pull out my journal of these specific moments so that I can “rehearse” them. These will encourage your spirit and counteract the “accusing voices” that often come to bring negative and defeating thoughts. I love Jeremiah 33:3 which says, “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand.)” God wants to tell you stuff… cool and amazing stuff that will enhance your gifting (that He put in you) and cause you to shine! This most often happens when we get quiet… on purpose.
Words are often part of the “noise” of the day. Add some contrast, mix it up, get everyone’s attention, and create a little drama: BE QUIET. Whether for a few seconds (to highlight an important moment in your work), or a few minutes (to settle and redirect your spirit), or for a few hours (if done daily it can reset your life), pauses of silence can be gold.