Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Academy Awards

Award shows for actors and films and everything else have gotten out of hand. It is difficult for someone in a good role in a film not to be nominated for some award or other. The Academy Awards are probably the oldest film achievement awards, but in recent years they have become a platform for political statements or simple popularity contests. They just don't have the meaning for being a real mark of achievement for quality in cinema any longer. They have become what all the award shows for film, TV, stage, music,etc have become, a simple publicity event often of questionable taste, at least so far in what the participants say and do. 

I stopped being excited about them years and years ago. And then when I became a screen actor and when I studied film acting, I realized that it is impossible to tell what makes an actor's performance good in a film. It could be the directing, the editing (mostly that I think), the script, the special effects, and a myriad of other contributing factors.

Mostly the actors don't have to do much. In film most of the work is done for them. Anyway, for one, I am sick of the hoopla over award shows and not at all excited about the Academy Awards, The Golden Globe Awards, The SAG/AFTRA Awards, The People's Choice Awards, etc. etc. etc.

They are all just something that tries to convince, and in most cases does convince, the public that actors and actresses are very special people who live in glamour and spotlights. It is all fake. People who are actors are not much different than other people, except they act. Their everyday lives are not as glamours as the awards shows make them seem.

Worst of all is that these programs make the actors believe they are special and as such are ezperts on poltics.  They may have strong political conviction-even I have that.  But if they happen to also have fame and money, they can parlay that into a public platform for their ideas.  Sad, but true.  And especially sad when they use the award shows for political statements.  Acting used to be an art.  Artists used to be apolitical, because if they became political they became propagandists.  Some artists politics favor propaganda.  Mine favors truth.

I Need A Monologue

When one starts out in this endeavor of trying to help aspiring actors,  he seldom realizes that he cannot nor should not try to help them all.  Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people want to be actors.  Only a few have what it takes to succeed.  Why should we waste our time and effort encouraging those who are never going to make it?  Then again, what makes someone like me think he is so great that he knows who is and who is not going to make it?

Well, expereience working with aspiring actors is one thing that helps me recognize who may have the qualities for success.  How much the aspirant has done on his or her own is another indicator.  And here is where the topic of this post comes in. 

I am forever being asked for help in finding or chosing a monologue for someone.  They need them for a play audition or for an acting school audition, or for an agent audition, or for heaven knows what.  So when I first got into the actor advising game (for me it is not a business and I do not make any money at it.) I became a co-dependant for the unqualified applicant.  I developed a web page that gives sources for monologues and regularly gave it out to anyone with a monologue problem.  Even now I will still  suggest specific monologues for people.  But I don't think this helps them very much.  The reason for that is that most of these people are never going to make it because they have not done enough playgoing and play reading  and acting to have built up their own sources of monologues.

When a person has to ask for help in finding a monologue, it generally shows that this person has not put in enough effort to be a professional actor.  It is just another of those little signs that experience teaches an old dog like me. 

If you want to become an actor then you must be an actor.  You must do a lot of plays and see a lot of plays and read a lot of plays, because that is what an actor does.  Yeah, there are exceptions. Someone who has never done any of the above is chosen to star in a film.  I have worked professionally with such people.  They were just born with what it takes and happened to be in the right place at the right time.  I must also report that they often are accomplished in other artisitic fields.