What makes award-winning performances so memorable, so powerful, and so award winning is because the actors entertained us as serious artists. Most actors are good at the part about being serious artists. What they forget at their careers’ peril is the part about being entertainers.
The difference between an artist and an entertainer is the artist does it for the art and the entertainer does it for the audience. What makes great actors great and filmmakers want to cast actors is when actors are both. As film artists, it’s all of our jobs to entertain our audiences so that we can then move them, inspire them, provoke them, make them think and want to change the world.
Many actors recoil at the idea of being entertainers because they think being entertainers cheapens their art. On the contrary, being an entertainer not only enhances an actor’s art, it is the main reason the actor’s art connects with an audience. It is the “entertainer” part of the equation that sparks an audience’s imagination, taps into an audience’s emotions and dreams, and inspires an audience to soar beyond the limits of the human experience.
If you want a more practical incentive for delivering as an entertainer that which you have created as an artist, ask yourself what you think directors are looking for when casting actors for a project. They’re not looking for great actors. They’re looking for actors who entertain with great acting.
Besides break down the word entertain into its two parts and you have “enter” from the latin “inter” meaning “to be among something” and “tain” from the latin “tenere” meaning “to hold”. To make audiences feel they are part of something and to hold them there sounds like great art.