Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What are they thinking?

It happened several times in the past few days.  People of all ages, teens, twenty-somethings, thirty somethings, forty somethings and fifty somethings. have written to me saying that they a just dying to become an actor but they have never done anything.  They saw one particular film that made them thing that they have to do that,too.  They are trapped in boring circumstances, a good job that pays well,but is not exciting, or they are bullied and know if they were an actor they would be admired instead.

Only problem is that it ain't gonna happen.  How do I know?  After all the young girl in the Chocolate Factory film with Johnny Depp had never done anything before!   And now she's a star.  I know an actor who was a sculptor until he read for his first film.  He had no previous acting training nor experience.  He got the second lead in his first film and the lead role in his second film.  Such stories and the magic that is film, the illusion it creates of greatness and consequential events and great loves and romances seem to erase any sense of reality and logic from peoples' minds.

These starry-eyed dreamers have no concept of what acting and being an actor is all about.  They just know that the images on the screen are wonderful and that they want to be wonderful as well.

Now, I have to separate two things.  The dream and the  purpose of plays and films. Okay?
First the dream is an un realistic fantasy set off by the purpose of the drama.  The purpose of the drama is to remind ordinary people that they are extraordinary. Theatre and film's purpose is to show mankind how wonderful he can be, how wonderful he is, and as Shakespeare put it, "how like a god."   When the audience member does not understand that the purpose of the drama is to make him or her feel wonderful and important and extraordinary for a few moments and that after the film or play, they are returned to being wonderful only in their dreams. They still have to go to work in the morning and live their seemingly hum drum lives.

But if they would take it to heart, what the theatre and film are telling them, that all of us are extraordinary in some way, and do something about it. Get involved in a charity or even a political movement, being careful, of course, of not choosing some leftist wacko group. But to get involved and start being something more than just a hum drum person.  If they want to be actors, then they have to get involved with the drama somewhere. Community theatre,  acting classes, acting schools, etc.  Being an actor is how to get started being an actor.

You know, I get many questions telling me that the writer has done all this acting and studying, but what should they do next?  I have to tell you that I really believe that the people who become actors do not have to be told how to get started or what to do next.  They just know what to do and do it.  If they are actors, they keep acting in every and all opportunities. They know now to move forward in their career and get agents.   Perhaps they learned this form others they worked with, and perhaps they read how to do it in a book just as "Acting As A Business" by O'Neil.  

I am afraid, you see, that those who have not on their own found out how to get started and how to become an actor are never going to make it.  The ones that make it are born with enough drive to go and get it on their own.  

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