Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where Did They All Go?

I decided to clean out my address book which is full of email addresses of people to whom I sent an email some time or other, and for the most part have never returned the favor. I have only just finished the D's and am about to start the E's.

I suppose everyone's address book is like that, but since most of my correspondence is about acting and becoming an actor I find it a little baffling that those hundreds of people who swore that acting was their life or their passion, or their only possibe career have not returned an email to ask another question, or report a success in the quest.

I think that most of them have given up on becoming a professional actor. That would be hundreds and hundreds of people who contacted me who have fallen by the wayside. It is amazing how complicated and difficult it is to become a professional for most aspiring actors. A lucky few are "discovered" and waltz right into it. But that is a very very lucky very very few.

So much energy wasted by people who, if they had done a little research or asked another question, might have been spared the waste. Or might have found some success.

I decided a while back to tell the truth about acting. Almost everyone else who answers questions on Yahoo Answers or who has a web site about acting encourages aspiring actors to go for it. Well, very few of them have any idea what they are going for. That's what Iam trying to do, give them an honest reply.

Acting is so overcrowded now with aspiring actors (ten thousand graduate academic or professinal acting schools every year) that I think it is a better service to discourage the unprepared (or at least tell them what it is really like) and get them the hell out of the crowd. This may sound cruel, but I think it is really kind to those who have an honest chance and to the profession as well.

Well, that's about it. A few thoughts that were inspired by my address book. If you have ever contacted me, and you are still acting, I 'd like to hear from you again.
God bless, Doc

Friday, October 21, 2011

This May Be of Help

It seems that I have found an honest web site for casting and for acting information of all kinds. It is JB Casting Network. I encourage all aspiring actors to take a look. If you have questions, let me know. God bless, Doc

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Must an Actor Be Good Looking?

I get a lot of email from people who would like to be be actors, but they are concerned that they may not be handsome or beautiful enough.

What an actor looks like has a great deal to do with his or her success. Professional casting is always done first by look--does the actor look like the character. There are often characters in plays and films that are not necessarily handsome or beautiful in appearance. Many film stars of both sexes were not. In fact, some stars' careers were built on their "ugliness."

Before everyone gets all excited that they are going to become film stars in spite of their mediocre looks, we need to consider that the actors and actresses who succeeded without being handsome or beautiful were still attractive in the sense that the audience was drawn to them. This happens because of the charisma, or charm, that the actors and actresses have. Charisma is that unidentifiable quality that makes someone interesting. It could be a vocal quality, a sparkle or twinkle in their eyes, or any number of other things that draw people's attention.
This quality must be strong enough to make the audience want to see that actor again.

Good looking or not, the thing that the actor must project is being someone that the audience can idenify with -- someone that the audience finds exciting, interesting, and appealing. When we say the audience identifies with an actor or character, we don't mean that they recognize qualities in them that remind them of Uncle Joe or their brother. What we mean is that they recognize in them the people that they, they audience, wish they were -- romantic and exciting people -- instead of the boring, everyday drudges that they are. That is what makes film and TV popular -- that it provides a means for everyday people to live exciting lives via identifying with the characters and actors in the shows.

Because of this identifying process, actors must make themselves extraordinary people. They work hard to develop those characteristics that will make them attractive to the audience. They have personal trainers. Some have cosmetic surgery. Others develop powerful voices or physiques. But most actors and actresses don't just rely on the looks they have been born with. Instead, they spend hours and sometimes lots of money to become the idols of the audience.

There is so much more to being an actor than acting. There is becoming an interesting physical person. There is developing a charming personality. There is having the business savvy needed to succeed. There is the hard, physical work of staying fit and healthy. And there is much more to this complex, fascinating business called being an actor.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Education and the Actor

Would you believe that this blog, my e-book, and my web site came into being because I was contacted by a high school student from Houston, Texas several years ago? He had seen a posting on a forum that I wrote which said that I did not think it was necessary for actors to go to college, and he wanted to know if it were true. Well, it was true. I did write such a post. Moreover, I still believe that it is not necessary for a person to go to college to become an actor.

In my e-book, I explain why colleges and acting schools are not necessarily the best way to prepare for a career in acting. However, most people would benefit from the added knowledge, experience, and maturity that the four years of college provides. It really is the exception that someone becomes an actor with no formal education or training.

I have talked to many teens who wanted to become actors, but could not see the benefits of formal education. Most want to know how to become actors without going to college or acting school. One wanted to drop out of high school. One wanted to know which college acting programs did not require good grades. I forgot to tell him my daughter was dropped from a prestigious university acting school because her academic grades at the university were not sufficiently high. Teens sometimes get the strangest notions about becoming actors: that a BFA Acting degree does not require the same academic classes as other degrees; that somehow they just go to an agent and say 'I am an actor, find me a job;' or that because one of their high school teachers told them they should become an actor that they can do so.

First, no one wants an uneducated actor. An actor needs good grammar. He needs to know how to find information about things such as the time and place of the play historically. He needs to be well read. And he needs to be able to carry on an intelligent conversation on many subjects. Only a formal education or an extraordinary informal education would provice these things. Intelligence in actors is much prized by directors.

So I am afraid that if someone really wants to become an actor, that person needs to be well educated. High school and college grades are important--not to get a job as an actor, not to be brilliantly talented, but to be the most effective human being you can be. Acting is such a difficult profession that many of the most talented people never make it because they are not properly educated and guided toward success as an actor. That is why I created my web site--to offer the kinds of information and guidance needed by people who want to become actors. It does not substitute for formal education. It adds to it. There are other things aspiring actors need as well, but they are subjects for another time. Pehaps they are elsewhere in this blog or elsewhere on my website.

Monday, October 3, 2011

An experience in film acting.

Film acting requires the actor(s) t0 do some pretty odd stuff when they perform their roles. Take for example Roy M. Davis working on the French film "Nous York." For the director to get just what he wanted, Roy had to repeat his singing over and over again without the takes being cut and restarted in the traitional way. He writes:

"I completed the film engagement on the French film, Nous York. As it turned out, I only had to sing the first two lines of the song but the drawback was that I had to do it over again several times during each single take. I mean that I had to sing the two lines,wait ten seconds and start again. Without cutting. And then we did at least half a dozen takes.One more lesson on how drastically film acting can differ from acting on the stage. And I did not have to make any effort at projection. I was wired up with one of those sound devices that almost makes it possible to record the dropping of a pin and yet have the sound register in the movie theater very audibly. So I sang very quietly. A new experience. I am so glad that I was ready. I may not have been two years ago. Let us keep in contact."