“It’s all possible all the time. That’s the magic of ‘action’ and ‘cut.'”
– Andrew Garfield
Have you ever heard or seen something that hit you so hard in that moment your life seemed to turn on its head if only for a brief period of time?
I listened to this Off Camera with Sam Jones interview with Andrew Garfield shortly after it aired, and something he said moved me. I love this particular podcast, as I do many long-form interview shows, because it’s always inspiring and fascinating to get to know artists on a deeper level. This particular time I was driving home to Pennsylvania from Nashville (a 10-hour trek), so I had several episodes queued up.
About 20 minutes in, Andrew said something that hit me so profoundly, I actually started crying. I paused the interview and let this revelation sink in for probably a solid hour. Keep in mind, this wasn’t a prepared thought by Andrew, so it wasn’t stated eloquently or in a way that was meant to inspire, but it hit me so hard I needed to share. The idea was this: Between “action” and “cut” anything is possible.
How gloriously freeing is that? Literally anything, everything is possible.
IT DOESN‘T MATTER WHAT YOU‘VE EVER BEEN TOLD ABOUT WHAT YOU SHOULD OR SHOULDN‘T BE OR HOW YOU SHOULD OR SHOULDN‘T ACT, BECAUSE YOU ARE COMPLETELY FREE IN THAT MOMENT.
To give the personal gravity of the statement a little substance, allow me to go down a philosophical rabbit hole. We – as human beings, as global citizens, what have you – are always controlled, constrained, and taught to conform. “Fit in to the family system, to the school system, to society” they say. “Salute the flag,” “respect your parents,” “get a job,” “pay your taxes…” None of that matters – politics don’t matter, religion doesn’t matter, social status doesn’t matter – these things don’t even exist between “action” and “cut.”
Kind of freeing, right? Then you’ll love this too…
If you think about it, almost everything is available to you all the time. Every human emotion, every thought, every physically-viable human action or interaction is always within the realm of possibility. Meaning many, many things prevent us from saying certain things, doing certain things, or acting certain ways, but we could. To quote Andrew from his interview again, “I could kill someone… I could make love to you right now.” Now, before anyone uses that as a direct quote completely out of context, let me expand. He’s saying it’s all possible. It’s all available all the time, and when you’re acting you get to use it.
It’s like someone giving you permission to say “fuck it.” You get to say “fuck it.” You get to fall in love, to rebel, to break the law, to have childlike wonderment. You get to beat the shit out of that bully from high school. I never thought of acting in such an enlightened way. Acting is freedom from everything. Between “action” and “cut” your world is infinitely expanded. It’s heaven. And hopefully that translates to the audience. One reason people love experiencing great art is because they want to say “fuck it,” and fall in love, and rebel, and break the law (to some extent), and be in awe. Because isn’t that kind of freedom heaven for us all?