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Thursday, July 10, 2014

No Short Cuts

I hear that actors are being told not to do "old" material and work with classics. It seems that learning how to act, use the instrument and stretch to a level where you can compete are not as important as having the tools to go in down and dirty for work in LA.

Not every monologue is for auditions, not every scene and certainly not the work you do in an acting class. The work exists to help you grow, stretch, learn and appreciate your own talents and the craft. 

It exists to work on your particular needs to grow, to become a better actor and to be ready for what is thrown at you.

The down and dirty buy into LA mentality that is part of the money making machine that is the sub-industry of LA is dangerous to the development of real actors.

Why?

Because failure is a part of success in this industry.
Working on difficult or uncomfortable material, with words you re not comfortable with and with the well-written classic material of writers who and are masters in their trade are a part of growing and expanding as an actor.

There is no quick fix.

The LA Get Rich Quick, you all can be a start sales pitch is strong, backed by little more than then positive thinking (which can be very strong but does not replace studying and being prepared, leads to those who fall into the trap of a life working outside the industry and working only on showcase and in community theater. The easy contemporary sales pitch that belittled experience, education, study and patience contributes to bankruptcies, poor decisions and even the higher than normal suicide rate among actors.

It is not uncommon to take five to ten years to "make it" on a very basic level in Hollywood, An "overnight" success takes years or even decades of dedication and hard work. Ask Arnold.

Study the classics. Accept old and off the wall monologues and scenes. Know the names of authors, classic films, directors, producers and film history. It will score you points with those in the industry who have a passion foe the industry. It will not cause you to be tossed away or treated as an amateur, as those who sell fast track fame would lead you to believe.

Jump in with both feet, like my students at Casting Call. Do your homework. Put in extra hours. Watch films, read scripts, learn about the industry and do not be afraid of what is old..

"His Girl Friday', "It Happened One Night", Dr, Zavago", "Ben Hur", "Streetlight", "The Thin Man", "My Man Godfry",: The Maltese Falcon" all are industry standards.

And what about silent films? Try acting without spoken words. Study the drama and comedy of the silent era, You see it copies and redone and mastered though all generations of film makers and movie goers, right up to what will hit theaters this fall.

Contemporary is not quality and old can be very contemporary.

And remember, you work to learn and grow. Not everything is an audition piece. Not everything is put to immediate use. 

Don't be afraid to actually act and go against their grain.

Be talent, not someone's bankroll or some wanna-be.
Do theater, get actual film on yourself from real television and film projects, and when you are ready, join the union.

Be a pro.

-Art Lynch

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