Who do you consider to be a genius? Picasso, Rembrandt, Chopin, Mozart, Shakespeare? They all possessed the drive and courage necessary to express their talent in remarkable ways. What about Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Michael Jackson? All geniuses in their own right.

So let’s take a look at The 24 Characteristics of a Genius and see what we discover:

We might shatter some myths along the way. It’s a kind of spiritual guide to helping you as artists achieve greatness.

Drive: Geniuses have a strong desire to work hard and long. They are willing to give all they’ve got to a project. Develop your drive by focusing on your future success and keep going.

Courage: It takes courage to do things others consider impossible. Stop worrying what people will think if you are different.

Devotions to Goals: Geniuses know what they want and go after it. Get control of your life and schedule as something specific to accomplish each day.

Knowledge: Geniuses continually accumulate information. Never go to sleep at night without having learned at least one new thing that day. Read and question people who know. Reading and reaching out to people who are knowledgeable from all walks of life is so important to growing as an artist and a human being.

Honesty: Geniuses are frank, forthright and honest. Take responsibility for things that go wrong. Be willing to admit, “I goofed,” and learn from your mistakes.

Optimism: Geniuses never doubt they will succeed. Deliberately focus your mind on something good coming up.

Ability to Judge: Try to understand the facts of a situation before you judge.

Let’s review that. Try to understand the facts of a situation before you judge. Evaluate things on an open-minded, unprejudiced basis and be willing to change your mind.

So, how would that apply to acting? What about not judging the character you’re playing or their circumstances? Sometimes an actor will judge a character for being or doing something they disagree with personally. That can interfere with the work and put you at odds with the person you’re portraying. You don’t have to agree with your character or their behavior in your personal life, but artistically you want to push aside all bias in order to play the role truthfully.

Your job is to understand what drives them to do what they’re doing in the story.

When you truly understand that, you can step in and play that person freely without judgment.

The characteristic of evaluating things on an open-minded , unprejudiced basis, with a willingness to change your mind is an extremely important quality. It means you can step back, and regardless of how you felt before, look at the greater good and make the best choice for the scene, the story, the audition, or the film. Artists are usually very passionate about their choices and understandably so. As a director, I may love an idea for a scene or a moment, but on review sometimes it isn’t the best way to go, so I move on to what will tell the story in the best way and set about doing so. It isn’t easy, but I console myself by thinking I’ll use that idea in another project.

So those are the first 7 characteristics for you to consider. They’re all things you’re capable of doing and being if you decide to do so. More to follow.

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