Monday, July 26, 2010

An Acting Career Must Have a Sound Foundation

Over and over again I see young people (and adults as well) wanting to know how to start a career in acting. Mostly, they want to know what web site or 'acting agent' will put their mostly untested talents in front of producers, directors and thusly in front of the public as new and shining stars in the firmament of Hollywood. Of course, that is not how people become actors. Oh, there may have been one or two people who went from being just another person in this world to being a film star. They among the hundreds of thousands or even millions of those who want to become actors. Such a rare event is the mythology of Tinseltown, and it is reapeated over and over like the myths of Ancient Greece until most of the innocent and unschooled actually believe it is the way someone becomes an actor or actress. But it is MYTH. There may be some truth in its creation, but the truth becomes lost in its retelling over and over. In REALITY, an acting career needs a solid foundation. The main feature of that foundation is experience. Experience is acting in plays and films. Plays are the most numerous and easiest to access. Thus, almost every professional actor begins his or her career by acting in the school and community theatres available to them. Amateur theatre is the well-spring from which careers are begun. And I am not speaking here of just a few plays as the foundation for a career. (One naive youngster actually wanted to know the exact number of plays that should be on their resume before submitting to an agent for representation.) The foundation of a career must have as many plays as possible included. I had been in perhaps fifty or sixty plays in the years between ninth grade and the time I auditioned for a speaking role in a film at forty years of age.
I had also read a great deal about acting and having a career in acting. Several books on each topic were in my background and I am still reading such books long after my retirement. I had also been in a government film and had been an extra in a film when I auditioned for my first speaking role. With my background, getting the role was easy. I knew how to act, how to audition,and how to do the role. I was an excellent actor with a very sound foundation. Now, it is not necessary for all aspiring actors to spend twenty years from their college graduations preparing to become professionals. But it is necessary to have as much experience as one can get to really have a sound foundation for their acting careers. I do not recommend colleges for professional acting preparation, but colleges are often the very best way for someone to get a lot of experience on stage over a four year period of time. It does take time, years and years in most cases, for someone to become a professional actor. Those years are the time the aspiring actor spends building the foundation for his or her career.

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