The SAG-AFTRA Foundation provides vital assistance and educational programming
to the professionals of SAG-AFTRA while serving the public at large through its signature children’s literacy programs.

At its core, the job of an actor is to reflect humanity. Or, as Natalie Portman succinctly put it, “An actor’s job is empathy.”

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation is producing a panel discussion to explore the role of empathy in art and, specifically, how it can be utilized by the actor as a tool to shape character and embody the experiences of others.

In addition to understanding the general principles of how empathy works – both in life and art – we are also interested in exploring techniques an actor can employ to enter the mind of a character through empathetic practices. What is happening in the brain when we experience empathy for another person and how can we more readily access it? How can we empathize with a villain? And beyond just the actor’s craft, what role does empathy play in film, television, and art as a whole? Can it be harnessed to create a more caring and civilized society? It would be a privilege to have your take on these topics.