Recently Wells Fargo Bank released a series of advertisements suggesting that they support science over the arts. Though they have publicly apologized for the advertisements, it’s important to reflect on their tagline “An actor yesterday. A botanist today. Let’s get them ready for tomorrow,” and what it implies.
There seems to be a misconception that art related fields are not “real” work. However, it’s quite the contrary. To be a working artist, that is exactly what one has to do: work hard. This work begins, first and foremost, with training and education.
Many actors who are just starting out have a misguided belief that in order to be an actor, one must simply declare his or herself as such. False! As with any profession, proper training is the foundation of an actor’s craft. Yes, talent plays a part. However, hard work gets work – not talent. A talented actor who sits around and watches TV will book far less work than their less talented counterpart who trains their body and voice rigorously. If you are talented, great! But realize that you have an obligation to your talent and to your potential. Give your talent a bedrock. Train your instrument, develop your unique technique, and refine your craft.
Training is all about expanding past what one already knows. It is about broadening the scope of one’s current abilities in order to constantly improve oneself. Traditionally this is done in an acting class or a studio. But as an actor it vital to remember that one of the most potent and accessible forms of education is simply life experience. An artist naturally works from what resides within them. Therefore, it is critical that an actor constantly exposes themselves to other art, artists, and just life experiences. This will allot them a larger pool to draw from when they create. Other non-traditional forms of training happen on set or on stage. Many of the lessons actors learn on-site cannot be taught within the classroom.
Finally, there are benefits to an actor’s training that go beyond movement and voice. Taking an acting class is also an excellent form of networking. Acting classes are full of other actors who know other actors and directors and so on. Not to mention, it is standard for many training studios or education programs to hold performance showcases for casting agents. Pursuing an acting education also opens up the possibility of teaching one day. Finally, training one’s instrument and refining one’s craft ultimately leads to confidence as an actor. This may be one of the most invaluable benefits of training. Auditions are stressful affairs for many. However, walking into the audition room with the backing of experience and technique will allow an actor to confidently show off his or her work and hopefully book the gig. Getting ready for tomorrow is all about the training and education an artist gets today.