Finding one’s passion is trendy now.
Don’t you agree?
When I listen to my elders talking about the old days, I am thrilled to be alive in these new days. Most of my relatives came to this country, got a job, raised their children and worked hard until they retired. It never crossed their minds that they could/should pursue their passions. I recalled asked one relative what she like doing as a child and what she would have been if she could have, and I was shocked to hear her say, “I loved singing and reading poetry. I sometimes wondered what it would have been like to be an actress.” Huh!!!!??? Wow! I had no idea that the passion to act was hereditary. While I felt like I was paving an uncharted land when I decided to be a performing artist, I was blessed to live in a time when it was acceptable to “just do it.”
So, if you are sitting out there dreaming of being an actor – here’s the best advice I can give you as you take your first step.
Go study an acting technique.
No – I didn’t say take an on-camera acting class. I didn’t say take a commercial acting class. I didn’t say spend $1000 on headshots and a few more thousand dollars on shooting your own video.
I said – go study acting technique(s).
There are a few popular techniques out there. But before I name them, let me share the “why “of my advice. Acting requires self-awareness, self-knowledge, honesty, and vulnerability, and a technique to fall back on when all the meditation in the world won’t help you relax and be in the moment.
Let’s consider self-awareness. You have to know yourself to be able to play a character. How well do you know yourself? Do you know all the fears and desires that drive your choices? Do you have a clear understand of the likes and dislikes that trigger your responses to various circumstances – or do you feel like you kind of just do “whatever” because you are you? Do you know what you life goals are? Not your career or relationship goals are – but your overriding life goals are? Do you know what is stopping you from achieving life and in-the-moment goals?
Okay take a breath. Did those questions make you feel out of breath? Are you able to answer them, or are you feeling stuck?
Well, it’s an actors job to be able to answer these questions for a character in order to be able to embody and enliven a character. If you are one of those people who have a really difficult time answer those questions – there are techniques to help you access the answers – if not on intellectual level, then on a physical/emotional level.
It takes a learning and mastering one or more acting techniques to learn enough about yourself that you can soar as an actor/actress.
Acting is doing. Acting is giving three dimensionality to language and circumstances created by a writer.
Acting is art form.
Just as you realize your dream of becoming a musician by practicing scales – you must pursue your passion to be an actor by learning the techniques that will help you act.
There are great acting teachers out there. Some of them have developed their own techniques. Some teach the work of master teachers – Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, Meisner, Michael Chekhov’s, Earl Gister, Stella Adler…and more.
There are movement and voice techniques that will open up creative channels that will take your acting to a whole new level – Alexander Technique, Laban, Chakra Awareness, Linklater technique, Clowning, Feldenkrais Method….and the list goes on.
You have to learn to walk before you run.
Acting is doing. Acting is speaking. Acting is moving.
Acting techniques are not “one-size fits all.” You like certain aspects of a technique and not the others . You are building your tool box that will serve your needs when you start your acting career. So, if you want to figure out if you want to invest your money into taking a particular class – read books by the creator of the technique. Or even look on youtube to see you can find an example of an exercise created by the teacher being taught.
If you are ready to follow your dream and become actor – study acting technique, voice for actors, and movement for actors.
Study in a group class.
Whatever you do, when you embrace your purpose is to be an actor – study acting.