Sunday, January 3, 2010

Devotion, the Method, and Hurdles to Overcome

Acting as a career is not what we see on the tv or cinema screen. Far from it, the career of acting takes all sorts of devotion, leads you on a twisting path rife with pitfalls and strewn with barriers.
My former student in NYC writes about these things:

Devotion: "I burned my bridges behind me and left college without a degree. The young actor must be dead set upon an acting career. He must realize he is not only trying to get work, he is entering a whole new way of life. His parents will not be pleased when they see him dressed in hand-me-down clothes and living in dive hotels. And he will not be pleased when he, also, is the proverbial snowball in hell. He will already be in possession of this general truth but the problem is he secretly believes he is the exception to the rule."

The Method and more: "I have used this book [Acting Professionally by Rober Cohen] as a virtual Bible since I left [home]. Thus, I avoided scams, traps, the too good to be true propositions, etc. You mention, repeatedly, the importance of simplicity in acting. It is fair to say that the purpose of any technique should be simplicity, not to complicate. Under no circumstances should the homework for a role be agony. I don't like agony. Agony hurts. You are correct again when you write about Affective Memory. I abandoned any such method of work many years ago. And let me take this opportunity to declare that confusion around this issue has been the biggest stumbling block in my life. Had it not been for the quagmire of self-indulgence, literal feelings, warped perceptions, etc., I might have progressed a lot faster in my career. ... Now, acting should indeed be fun. I consider the homework fun as well. We do it because we love it."

Hurdles: "Acting class is a place where you go to practice the craft. If you can only learn acting by really doing, then acting class is where you are going to be doing it. Theater at large will not allow you the luxury to learn on the real stage. If you lack training and experience, they are not going to risk the show so you can learn to act. You have got to practice somewhere. You cannot do it in the street. Or anywhere else in public. You need a formal audience. Where else are you going to find one? Now, it should be needless to say that while you are studying, you should still be seeking any and every real production project to act in. You go to any audition you can find. But don't be surprised if you are just starting out, that getting cast can take a few years. You not only have talent and craft hurdles to overcome but political ones if you are vying for the choicer roles in the choicer productions."

1 comment:

  1. This insert has put my mind to work. The things in here are true and not sugar coated. Under the section method and more one line really stood out to me; "We do it because we love it." I love this line because this is what actors really think of when things are hard, you have to really love this to enter it because there are probably going to be days that will test you more then others.