SIFF MasterClass | How to Become the Best Actress?
On the afternoon of June 22, the Shanghai International Film Festival ushered in its last "SIFF MasterClass". Emily Beecham and Yong Mei, who won the Best Actress at Cannes International Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival respectively this year, met with fans. They hit it off straight away and talk with fervor and assurance in the aspects from the acting skills to how to get out of the role, and from finding the creative inspiration to trying to act as a director, which vividly explained how the best heroine was trained.
Believe that life is always the best teacher.
When talking about their acting experiences, there were many similarities between Emily Beecham and Yong Mei who were untutored in performance. "Life is my best teacher", Emily said, "when you want to better understand the archetypes of the characters, the best way is to get into life". "I'm also a practical actress", Yong Mei said, "although the necessary performance training is needed, the experience and observation of life is the most important. That's how I got here basically".
However, they also mentioned that talent was still essential to be a good actress. Emily believed that a talented actress tended to have extraordinary understanding and observation, and "can read your heart and observe how you feel", which will be of great help to an actress in interpreting roles. While Yong Mei warned newcomers that your love for acting doesn't mean you have talent. She said, "if you think you can't meet that requirement no matter what you do, you should have self-knowledge. You could try other positions related to performance, and you might do it better".
Maintain a healthy body, mind and lifestyle
An actress is often stuck in a character because of excessive emotion. Emily said that she often encountered the trouble of ''difficult to enter into the role before filming and out after filming'', and her solution was ''meditation''. ''Like muscular training, you can train and control your feelings as that way.'' She revealed that her adrenal hormone had been in a surge when filming a thriller, and that she couldn't calm down to go to sleep even after finishing her work, and finally she successfully released her stress by meditation.
Yong Mei also told of an experience when she filmed SO LONG, MY SON. "I am just too easily touched. When I read the script, I kept crying several times. If I can't pull myself out, I will weep even harder during filming, which will affect the normal shooting". She revealed that she warned herself to try to complete the character with restraint and reason during that time. "When the last shot was finished, I found I did it."
Yong Mei believed that actors should pay attention to their mental health, "especially young actors who face fiercer and more complex competition and dilemma than ever before. Only by making your body and mind healthier, can you cope with all kinds of situations and better complete the characters." Emily pointed out that a good lifestyle can help actors build confidence. "Actors are often rejected in auditions and test shots. When you have a better and comfortable lifestyle, you can maintain a positive attitude to deal with setbacks."
Only by returning to normalcy can we find inspiration.
When Yong Mei returned from Berlin, her life changed a lot. The extensive interviews and cooperative invitations made her unable to adapt for a moment. "When the desire comes, it will confuse you, and a lot of things can't be seen very clearly". So she decided to turn off her cell phone and take the initiative to cut off contact with the outside world. "I want to try to maintain my previous status of life and maintain a sober attitude, so that I can screen out a good script."
Emily also expressed her confusion after winning the prize. "I think I'm still very young. I don't seem to have anything to do with Best Actress. I have a lot of good actors around me. I often ask myself, why me?" Although the award brought Emily great honor, she kept suggesting in her heart that "the award has nothing to do with my continued pursuit of the film". However, she was honest that she could be herself better than any other actors who could not take acting jobs. "Now I have more time to read and travel and experience life. This is the source of inspiration for our creation rather than thinking about when I can get my next job constantly, otherwise you won't be able to be an interesting person."