Terry talks about... acting and his career


Jun 06 2005
Try it in the mirror......... it's pretty hard at this stage in my career to put into words how I do what I do. I guess for anyone who does something long enough without describing the process on a regular basis is at risk of losing the "language" of it. Talking about something is a separate talent from doing it, although to do either task well at all ..............you must know your subject.

Apr 04 2005
I get inspiration from music, literature, people, nature, but first of all, I remember just wanting to perform. I don't know why, but I did and I agree that the performances of other actors can be very inspirational. Look for some of the great ones from a few , or even 10 or 20 years ago. There's a endless supply of really great work.

Mar 27 2005
I so rarely turned down a role, that I can't say I have any regrets in that regard. There were many roles that I would rather not have done, but having a home and family requires that we sometimes do things we would rather not. I have done a few roles that I've never watched, and if I happen to be flicking through channels and one pops up, I quickly move on. It's hard enough to sustain some self confidence without being reminded of things we'd rather not revisit but, in the end, it comes with the territory.

Feb 27 2005
I don't know exactly how it works.........the process I mean. I try to make sense of the script and understand what my job is in the scene............. and fear.........that helps...............gives lots of energy

Feb 17 2005
Yes, I do get nervous before auditions. I think of it as a part of the process and try to use the nervous energy as a positive source, and I believe I am able to do this (sometimes) because no, I don't doubt my ability.........that's a dead-end road. I guess you could say everything happens for a reason, but I think I prefer "What will be, will be."

Jan 26 2005
I need to think, as an actor, that everyone has all the colors in their color wheel, and that some colors are stronger in some people, and others in others, and that an actor has to try to be able to tap into any of them as the need arises. The rest just depends on his or her imagination and choices.

I don't really think about films or TV I did in terms of what was particularly good work. I tend to remember the experience more than the work.

Jan 23 2005
In a director I want a person who comes up with ideas, and listens to ideas, is eager to discuss, and knows when to zip it..................to give ideas a chance to percolate...............who knows when you're struggling..................and has something to offer...................and is prepared, has asked himself a lot of questions about the material.

Jan 21 2005
It's definately more interesting playing someone as ambiguous as Locke. And more interesting is more satisfying. It's tougher to play boring roles. It's more fun to play someone who has a lot of angles and edges. I didn't think it would be, but it's kind of freeing to not know much about the character's history.................no baggage, no rules, no history to weigh you down, to influence your choices or warp your motives................it's fun. I don't act as I normally would, but I often act as I wish I would......................does that make sense?

It's interesting, that movie thing. I'm sure there's a good deal more interest because of LOST. The downside of the popularity of the show is that a lot of film makers would rather not use someone who's so visible on the small screen just now.................too much exposure, or perhaps they're afraid the audience will relate to the actor in his TV personna ( is that the word?) In any case, there does seem to be a lot of buzz. LOST doesn't leave a lot of time, though, and truthfully, it would be tough finding anything that would be a greater kick than this is.

Jan 19 2005
I don't think I could play a character that I couldn't relate to somehow. I'm not unfamiliar with frustration, anger, shame, helplessness and a load of other emotions that make up our psycho - soup. I try to focus on that frustration, that sense of unfairness, and multiply it.

I try to look at fear as just another form of excitement..............................as if you could flip the coin and see it as a positive form of energy. Sometimes when I'm working on a scene and something upsets me; a director, an actor, my agent, my luck, my inability to get ahold of the scene I try to remind myself to "throw it on the fire......it'll burn." A lot of different feelings can contribute to the creative fire. Try to accept your fear as a form of energy, and make it work for you. And remember, the people who are in the room want you to do well. They want you to succeed...........................so breathe...............................and try to enjoy the experience.

Jan 17 2005
I can't say that acting was what I always wanted to do. I guess I was in college when it began to dawn on me that I might be able to attempt it as a career, partly because nothing else presented itself to me as a possibility. I suppose that's how a lot of our choices are made, and it's been up and down but, at the moment, it looks like a good idea.

It's easier in many ways to have only a little personal history to remember and act upon. In another situation it might be a concern, but in this instance I think my character believes, at least for the moment, that the past has little relevence and that everyone on the island has the opportunity to begin again. The problem with inventing a personal history [for his character John Locke] is that I would probably be dead wrong anyway. I'm quite happy just freewheeling, so to speak.

I never set out to play the sci -fi roles in particular, but it seems like I've done a lot of them, and now that I think about it, they often present more interesting challenges than the more traditional things. Maybe it's because there are no rules in sci -fi, or because you can make your own, which is one of the most appealing things about portraying Locke.

Dec 31 2004
As for my name...........when I first joined the theatrical union after being cast in my first professional stage play. My given name, Terrance Quinn, wasn't availabe. Someone in the union had already taken it. So I added the "O" in the old Irish sense as in, "of Quinn". I actually changed it back briefly when Quinn came available, but everyone, including my father, said they preffered the old way so, there it is.

Dec 27 2004
Find every opportunity you can to practice your craft. There's almost no such thing as a bad experience as long as you learn something from it. Find people who share your interest. It's hard to do it alone. You need to trade ideas with people....and act, act, act.....in classes, plays, anything! Just do it as much as you can and see where it takes you.

Dec 26 2004
All other things being equal (except the writing and the position in the credits, so to speak) give me the better ROLE every single time. Nothiing takes the joy out of my work faster than boring scripts. Besides, why would I want a huge audience to see me in something that I found dull and uninspiring?

I got into acting in college. I was a little confused as to what to do.....wandering around my college campus and saw auditions for a play, Henry 1V (part one) by Shakespeare. I auditioned on a bet with some of my friends, got a part and fell in love with the life and the people.....I found my niche......just lucky......or .. destiny?

It's pretty involved, actually, because there a lot of different scenarios. Sometimes the script does most of the work and sometimes the actor does. I read it a lot and try to imagine how each scene works. Then I try to tie everything together. I try to stay as close to myself as possible while also trying to make the character consistant and interesting. If I could write a book.................

Dec 17 2004
I'd have to say that the theatre supplies tons of roles that would be exciting. Lots of Shakespearean stuff. I did quite a bit of theatre early in my career and it was always a rush. I'm not lying when I say Locke is one of the most rewarding parts I've ever had the pleasure of taking on. I know that's not very specific but if your favorite role isn't the one you're doing now, hopefully it's the next one.

Dec 13 2004
I don't have any hard and fast rituals that I go through to prepare once I get to work. Most of my preparation has been done before I get there. There's a sort of transformation that happens in one's head, and I think it's true of a lot of actors, when you show up and have a bite and some java, say good morning to people, climb into your wardrobe, sit in the makeup chair, think about the scene you're about to attempt, It's a kind of unconcious preparation.

Dec 12 2004
When I prepare a role or a scene, the first thing I try to figure out is the writer's intention. What does he or she want the audience to take away from the scene. I try to fulfill that intention and at the same time make the character interesting in the way he presents the writer's ideas. I think the writers want Locke to be mysterious. I do believe, however, that sometimes the writers respond to what they percieve to be the actor's strengths. In that way, expecially on T.V., they jointly evolve the character ( in a perfect situation) and this situation's pretty good.

I don't really know how to describe what I do.....I been doin' it so long. It's really just about focus and prepa ration....and a lot of it (a real lot of it ) is about listening to, and observing, and thinking about what the other characters are saying or doing......a lot of times when you see real good actors working, what's impressive is not what's happening when they're talking, but what's happening when they're not.