How do I become an actor? – The title for this column comes from some research on how actors look for acting classes.
The most often asked question on-line pertaining to acting is, “How do I become an actress?” followed closely by, “How do I become an actor?” I have heard many flip quick responses to that question over my years both as an actor and acting teacher. The odd thing is, I never asked that question myself, nor did many of the actors I know. We just knew we were actors. It defines who we are.
We have had Academy Award winning actor [THE FIGHTER] Melissa Leo, here for two weekend workshops. She works with our Acting Lions as well as talented actors from around the world through Film Lab, based in Europe. One of the first thing Melisa says to the class is, “I am an actor!” That is how she describes herself. This is a concept most actors understand. My take on this is, “You don’t choose to become an actor. Acting chooses you.”
That is exactly how it happened to me. Early in my freshman year of college, I decided to audition for a play put on by the theater club. I hadn’t been in a play since 2nd grade. I showed up with no idea of what acting was or what to expect. When I nervously entered the room for my audition, the director asked me why do you want to be in this play? I suddenly heard a voice confidently boom out, “Because I am an actor!” I looked around to see who had said that, only to discover we were the only two people in the room. That was the day my life changed for ever. I was an actor! The show was Waiting for Lefty by Clifford Odets. As I researched the play, I learned about Stanislavsky, and the legendary Group Theater. After my Freshman year I did 10 shows in 10 weeks of summer stock. Quit college. Went to acting school. I haven’t looked back in 50 years! I am an actor. How do I become an actor?
Being an actor has nothing to do with experience or training, it is a state of mind — it is who we are. Don’t get me wrong, proper training is crucial to being a good actor. But when you truly “are an actor,” you will have a great respect for the traditions and craft of the profession as well as other actors. You will want to study because you will have to be the best actor you can be, with every cell in your body. You will seek out the best, work hard and study for the rest of your life not because you have to but because you want to. You will want to learn and grow as an actor until the day you die. Because, You are an Actor!
Being famous and being on TV, Broadway, or in a movie do not make you and actor. They are the icing on the cake. When you are an actor, you act where-ever and whenever you get the chance. … Because you have to act. Now if you are just starting out, get into a good acting class that really teaches the acting technique. Build a solid foundation first, then work on it constantly to get better at it. If you are an experienced actor get back in class and get a good coach. Above all be professional, respect your profession and work hard. “The actors who work the most, work the most.”
Now I may be biased but Penny’s book, ACTING LIONS is a great place to start
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Hank Schob A graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and a 50-year acting industry veteran, Hank teaches the Camera Class, Beginning Class, Scene Study and Script Analysis Class.
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