Running from Discomfort
To be successful at anything you must be willing to feel uncomfortable. You don't get in great shape by attempting what you can already do. Walking for 20 minutes at a casual pace will not give you the benefits of exercise that you desire. Chatting to the same 4 people you already know will not get you a date. The same goes for your acting. When you feel too comfortable in your training, you are not growing. When the choices you are making are obvious and lack a risk, your audience will not be moved. When you avoid your true emotions because they are uncomfortable or you are afraid to look bad, your performance is forgettable and that is why you will not book that job. You, the actor, the artist have a great duty and responsibility. You give people permission to feel, to express, and to live a full experience simply by watching you in a dark theatre on stage or a screen. So you must be willing to sacrifice your own comfort and find your strength in your vulnerability, to be willing to give up control. That is what will make you compelling to watch. To give up looking good and risk looking bad. In other words, "believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything"
If they knew what they wanted breakdowns wouldn't be so generic, vague and stereotypical. They have an idea of what they want but you must go in and show them something they never could have thought of until they met you. Your unique deepest truth is something they never could have imagined. So playing an idea of "what they want" is a waste of everybody's time. It is better to make huge, completely wrong choices you commit to, than a safe middle of the road version of what you think makes you look cute. Acting is simply a true expression of human behaviour, of humanity in an imaginary circumstance and for that you must be willing to do what's true over pleasing people. Rather go for being respected as an artist over being liked and the jobs will start coming to you.
There is nothing worse than watching a performance of someone completely breaking down in a pit of emotion and not feeling anything. The ability to access your emotions is a wonderful skill and incredibly necessary as an actor. However, theres a fine line between expression and indulgence. Indulgence is lame, true expression brings tears to the audiences eyes. How do you know the difference when you feel so much? Great question! You must train to play the action and simply allow the emotions to come up as a by-product of what you are doing. Your action, speaking these words, or giving a speech, or stopping the love of your life from walking out, that is where your focus needs to be. Allowing emotion passively is an art and a skill. But remember that its not about your emotions, its about your actions....thats why you are an actor and not an emoter.