Will by Will Smith

Will by Will Smith

Author:Will Smith [Smith, Will]
Language: eng
Format: epub, pdf
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2021-11-09T00:00:00+00:00

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Meanwhile, in my other career . . .

I studied my lines obsessively. In those early days of the Fresh Prince, I was so terrified of failing that I would memorize the entire screenplay—not just my lines, but everybody’s. It was the only thing that kept my anxieties at bay. If I was going to lose, it was damn sure going to be somebody’s else’s fault.

I may have overdone it slightly. I was so prepared that I was unconsciously mouthing all the other actor’s lines on camera as they said them.

Fortunately, there’s an interesting thing that happens when you watch TV—your eyes focus on the person who’s talking. This is a form of something called “inattentional blindness.” Daniel Simons, in Smithsonian magazine, describes it like this: “This form of invisibility depends not on the limits of the eye, but on the limits of the mind. We consciously see only a small subset of our visual world, and when our attention is focused on one thing, we fail to notice other, unexpected things around us—including those we might want to see.”

A perfect example of this phenomenon is in season 1, episode 5, “Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy.” Don Cheadle plays my boy from Philly, Ice Tray. If you look closely, you’ll see that I’m mouthing Don’s lines. But even though I’m front and center, mouthing away like an idiot, you didn’t notice at home because your attention was focused on the actor who was speaking: inattentive blindness. Feel free to pull up that episode and watch me nincompoop my way through the scene.

Karyn was nominated to break the embarrassing news to me. Of course, I denied it, and was horrified (and remain so) when I was shown the excruciating evidence. To this day, I cannot bear to watch that episode.

All of these world-class, stage-trained master thespians, and the dumbass rapper is mouthing their words back to them. And the show is named after him.

It took me a couple of weeks to break the simian habit. I would be in a scene, damn near biting through my bottom lip. But I got it.


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