Saturday, October 12, 2013

How do they do that?

Thousands of  people every year decide they would like to become an actor.  They see the newest stars of all ages on the screen and dream and ask themselves, "How do they  do that?" Soon after a question appears on Yahoo (for the hundred-thousandth time) "How do I become an actor?"

I have  answered this question over a hundred times, I am sure.  There is one answer for children, pre-teens and teens:  The way you become an actor (given the facts that you have the look, talent, charm and intelligence) is that your parents have to make it happen for you.  Most starry-eyed youngsters cannot believe that is the way.  Why, they have not even told their parents they want to be actors.  They have heard about someone who posted You Tube videos and an agent or producer saw them and signed them up.  There are also the urban legends about a producer seeing a young person in the mall, etc. etc.  These stories are stories. They become legends perhaps because one person was "discovered" in such a manner.    One out of the literally hundreds of thousands world-wide is not even in the realm of possibility as odds go.

I recently did a little research about the background of young people who became well known actors before they were  18.  Their stories are remarkably the same.  Their parents provided every opportunity for them to become prepared and enter the business.  This is what I mean by parental support: one or both parents work like mad promoting the kid and his or her career. And let's not forget that the kid is talented, charming, photogenic and intelligent.  Finally, they get a part that draws attention to them and their talent.  And that's it.  That's how a youngster becomes an actor. Oh, I must also mention that in many cases these youngsters have been acting since they were very small children.

For adults, how to become an actor is a different matter.  Of course the aspiring actor has to have all the required qualities.and then the actor must build their resume and promote themselves in the business. It is a long and difficult road that only a very few have what it takes to travel.  Indeed, most of the aspiring actors that I advise do not become actors.  Some try for a while and give up.  Others devote their lives to the task and meed with some modicum of success.

What about acting school?  Won't I have a better chance of becoming an actor if I go to acting school?  Well, that used to be the case, but now that so many of us have studied the process of becoming an actor, we have learned that only a tiny fraction of acting school graduates ever become actors.  And, at the same time, a great many people become actors without going to acting school.   I'd say that acting school is more important for stage actors than for film actors.  Film actors are helped by the mechanics of film making-carmera lenses and filters and angles, and by editing and special effects, and by music and sound, and on and on and on. Not that film actors don't have to have great talent.  Of course they do. But it is enhanced by film technology more that a stage actor's talent is enhanced by stage technology.  It is much more likely that a film actor has had no formal training than his stage counterpoint.

Well, I don't want to get too far afield from my thesis.  To become a preofessional actor, a minor must have the full support of one or more or her parents if she is going to succeed.  You can't do it by yourself, and anything less than the parent(s) being fulling involoved in their kid's career will not work. 

I wish all of you aspiring actors out there great success. Nothing would make me happier than for you to become rich, famous, and honored.  God bless you, Doc