Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Road Not Taken

I am really frustrated again by the naivte of people who say they are greatly talented and want to be actors. Well, to be fair only some of them say they are greatly talented. Anyway, talented or not, the aspiring actor who cannot follow the most simple and common sense instructions on how to prepare to become an actor is driving me mad. Over and over and over and over I am asked to supply monologues for aspiring actors for auditions from everything from the school play to the RADA. In my book, The Tao of Acting, and in countless answers on Yahoo Answers, I say that these aspiriants must read plays, lots and lots of plays. And you know what? I don't think any of them do. Well, that's ok in a way. At least we won't have them around to clutter up the path to success for the truly prepared actor. I had an advisee of mine ask me for advice about something a little while back. I said I had written about that in my blog. He admitted that he did not follow my blog. Another drop out in the making. Here is a perfectly good source of practical info about acting and having a career in acting and he chooses to ignore it. Well, lots of luck to those who cannot or will not follow simple, practical, common sense advice. And I guarantee you they will not be around to get in the way of someone who is really and truly serious about becoming and actor and is preparing for it as advised.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Two questions that drive me wild.

Of all the questions young people ask about acting these two make me most frustrated: 1). Is such and such a big role? and 2) How shall I play my role? The reason these questions bother me so much is that they illustrate that the asker is not really into the theatre and acting. Those who ask how big their parts are obviously have no patience. When they go to rehearsal, they will find out. Or they have never heard of Stanislavsky's famous saying "There are no small parts, only small actors." This means that there are no insignifican parts, only insignificant actors. Every part in a play is put there by the playwright to help make the play better. As far as the effectiveness of the play is concerned all parts are equal in importance. When I was directing, i fequently said that the chorus parts in musicals were more important than the leads as far as casting was concerned. Everyone wanted to play the leads. It sometimes was difficult to find chorus members. When I was acting in films, I did not always have the support of my administrators. Once in a meeting with my department chairman and the dean of our school, one of them denigrated my film acting saying, "That is only a small part." I replied that in the theatre we believed that there were no small parts. One of them said, "You don't really believe that?" I said, "Of course I do." And I still do. Every role in every play is as important as every other role.
Now asking about how to play one's role is a question that occurs to many actors. The problem is whom you ask. If you ask anyone but the director of the show about how to play your role, you are being disloyal to the director. As a director, it is their job to make sure each actor plays their role well. When you ask anyone else,you are undercutting the director's job and authority. It is also an unprofessional way to behave. In many theatres it is cause for being dismissed from the show to ask anyone except the director for help in playing your part. Avoid it at all costs. Conversly, it is just as bad an offense to offer help to someone whether they ask for help or not.
Respect the director and the playwright. Make sure you seek information for the right reason and from the right person.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

So Many Peope Want to Be Actors, Do I Have a Chance?

A good question. But the answer is that of the hundreds of thousands of people who say they want to become actors, only a handful will actually try. It is just too hard for most people who when they learn how hard it is, they fade away. I said in my book that these thousands of people are the cholesterol that choke the arteries of acting. Those really talented people who drop out or never make it may have had a better chance if they could have got through the crowd to be noticed. That is why we network, to get though the crowd and be noticed. You will also be noticed by your look, your experience, your training, your personality and your know how regarding the industry. Every one who wants to be an actor has almost no chance of ever earning a dime at acting. But a few do become actors. They are dedicated and unbending in their determination to succeed at acting. Hundreds of young people ask questions about becoming an actor that start "I want to be an actor, but...." And there you have it. If you have any reason at all to doubt that you can become an actor, forget it. Those who succeed know they will become actors. They just never give up. The multitudes do give up. Simple as that.