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A Professional Acting Philosophy
by Kingsley Martin
For those of you who are pursing the industry as a full-time profession, I would like to share my philosophy on the 3 keys necessary to achieve your professional dreams
Is there anything else you can or want to do with your life?
If this question hits you hard and you think, "Well, I have wanted to get into interior design." Go do it. Seriously, I'm not kidding. It doesn't mean quit acting, just realize its importance in your life. For those who read the question above and are sitting there thinking, "What the hell else do I know how to do or want to do besides acting?" You might be in the right business.
What we just went through above is the first step in developing your professional actor's outlook. Once you realize you are in the industry to act and make money, you can prepare to make your approach on the fortress that awaits your charge.
Now, lets talk about self-confidence. When I first got started in the industry, I was always apologizing for things. I didn't even realize I was doing this until an agent told me about it. Do you apologize a lot?
Rule #1: Don't apologize for anything unless it's your fault and it's REALLY bad.
You would be surprised how much of an effect saying, "I'm sorry" all the time can have on your confidence.
I had a conversation about this next bit with a co-star the other day. When you go to an audition late (which you should NEVER do), do you have the tendency to say, "I'm sorry I'm late, but... (...traffic was crazy) ... (...I lost track of time)." Don't do that. Not only are you wasting more of this CD's precious time by attempting to explain something for which you have no excuse, but you are smacking yourself with guilt that will haunt you that entire audition and probably afterwards. If you must say something, how about "Thank you for your patience." My co-star asked me "why do you feel it's better to say the ladder statement?" Okay, here's my reasoning. You go to the audition LATE and say the "Sorry" bit. You're not showing any appreciation to the CD, who could have easily told you to go away, you shouldn't have been late. By showing your appreciation instead of offering an apology/excuse, they know that you appreciate their time and you keep your confidence in place.
The next thing in your pro actor's attitude is your respect for other actors and the projects. When you go to an audition for a film/tv/play production, what do you see more than anything? PEOPLE TALKING. Why would you possibly show such a lack of respect for your colleagues, the production you are reading for and most of all to yourself. Auditions can be GREAT networking sites, but above all the audition is the focus. When you get to your audition, spend the time before hand reading your script, rehearsing your monologue, etc. That way when you go in to read you are focused and prepared. Also, think about it this way. You are a director for a film. You walk out into the waiting room and see a bunch of actors sitting around talking about random topics. Then you see that one actor sitting alone in the corner reviewing his audition piece. Who do you think is focused on their craft? I'm not saying be anti-social when you go to auditions, just save it for when you are done and the person you want to talk to has finished. Respect all parties.
What can be confused as egotistical:
When you first get started in the business and you hear these stories about how Tom Cruise is demanding a private entrance/exit, you think that is extremely egotistical. Why does he need that? Sure, it could be ego, but it also has to do with privacy and safety. How many stalkers are out there? How much time does this guy get to himself. He spends 16-18 hour days working on a product. It seems perfectly reasonable to want some time just for yourself. I think that's a perfectly logical demand.
There's nothing wrong with a well-tempered ego. People respect you if you give the impression of knowing what you are doing, even if you don't. I'm not saying have people bow in your presence or kiss your bum as a constant personal reminder of how GREAT you are, but if you present a professional attitude, people will respect you and trust your work ethic. Remember, if you are a CD or director, who would you rather hire? Would you rather hire the person who looks like they know what they are doing or the person who is still learning the ropes?
Overall, what I want my fellow pros to take into consideration is that your attitude; the way people treat you, the way you treat people, and the sense of respect that you ooze is the difference between a novice and one who is in the industry to make a living.
One last thing. BE YOURSELF. I'm talking about handling yourself properly. You are the same person you were yesterday, you just have a deeper focus on your career path. If you got into the industry because you love people and love to entertain, like me, hold on to that. Passion is an important key to being successful.
Next time we'll talk about PRESS and how that impacts your career pursuit.
"Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid." & Anthony Hopkins, The Actor's Studio
I welcome your thoughts and comments @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Thanx to: